TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Internet Gambling Bill Gets Last Minute Push

Internet Gambling Bill Gets Last Minute Push

Reuters News Wire (
Fri, 29 Sep 2006 22:29:33 -0500

By Peter Kaplan

Most forms of Internet gambling would be banned under a tentative
agreement reached on Friday by U.S. congressional negotiators.

Pending a review by other lawmakers, the measure could be brought up
within hours for passage by the House of Representatives and Senate
and then forwarded to President George W. Bush to sign into law.

The measure would be attached to an unrelated measure to bolster port
security. Democrats had accused Republicans of pushing the bill to
placate its conservative base, particularly the religious right, in
advance of the November 7 elections.

"It's been over 10 years in the making. The enforcement provisions
provided by this bill will go a long way to stop these illegal online
operations," one of the bill's key backers, Sen. Jon Kyl (news, bio,
voting record), a Republican of Arizona, said in a statement.

The agreement, a blend of earlier measures passed by the House and
Senate, would make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to
make payments to online gambling sites.

Efforts to win support for the House version had been opposed by
lobbyists representing casino owners and other gambling interests.

The bill would leave out an additional provision of the House bill
that would have clarified that a 1961 federal law banning interstate
telephone betting also covers an array of online gambling.

Investors in British-based gaming companies such as BETonSPORTS Plc,
Partygaming Plc and 888 Holdings Plc are closely watching the U.S.

Democrats have criticized the Republican-backed measure as an
election-year appeal to the party's conservative base, particularly
the religious right.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a potential 2008 presidential
candidate, recently appeared at a hearing in Iowa -- the state that
holds the first presidential nominating contest in 2008 -- to listen
to concerns about Internet gambling.

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky)

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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