Gambling Bill Fate Still Uncertain
By dave
Despite last week's overwhelming vote in the House for Internet gambling restrictions, the outlook for similar legislation in the Senate appears uncertain.

Two key senators, Republicans Jon Kyl of Arizona and Richard Shelby of Alabama, on Tuesday pledged to move aggressively on Internet gambling controls.

But the Senate Banking Committee still has not scheduled a vote on Kyl's bill to outlaw credit cards, checks and electronic fund transfers to pay for online wagers. The House passed those restrictions last week by a vote of 319-104.

Last year, the House approved sweeping Internet gambling restrictions by voice vote only to see the legislation die in the Senate because of objections from Indian gambling interests.

Another potential holdup for the Senate bill is the lack of endorsement from the Department of Justice.

During the March 18 hearing, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Malcolm expressed concern that the Kyl bill would not outlaw bets placed over the telephone. Malcolm also complained that the bill would exempt Internet service providers from criminal penalties and force law enforcement authorities to prove the illegality of Internet wagers.

'We have asked for input from Justice on the issues that would have to be resolved. Conversations are ongoing,' Banking Committee spokesman Andrew Gray said.

Gray said Shelby would prefer to pass the Kyl bill without removing criminal provisions, which were taken out of the House bill.

'We can work out the differences in conference (between House and Senate members),' Gray said.

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