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Kyl Expects Anti-Internet Gambling Bill To Pass Congress

by Glen Shapiro,, New York

30 September 2003

Speaking last week, Senator John Kyl (R-Ariz) predicted that his bill outlawing internet gambling will pass Congress this year, despite opposition from the US mainstream casino industry to provisions contained within the Senate legislation which would prevent states from legalizing online betting.

In a version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year, state-sanctioned sites offering wagers on horse and dog racing were exempted from the ban, which is principally aimed at cracking down on internet gambling services offered to US citizens by offshore operators.

However, the Department of Justice complained that allowing state authorities the right to legalize some forms of internet betting could increase the amount of betting activity taking place, an objection which led to the introduction of stricter legislation in the Senate.

Both bills, however, seek to prevent the use of credit cards and electronic fund transfers for the purposes of online gambling.

Responding to Senator Kyl's confident assertion, president of the American Gaming Association (AGA), Frank Fahrenkopf insisted that the states should be allowed to choose if they want to legalize internet betting, and went on to suggest that the Senate bill "can easily be fixed by including language which would say gambling must be legal in states where the (internet) gambling transmission is coming from."

However, there are fears that if that kind of change is made, the possibility of increased competition could mean that the legislation loses the support of tribal gaming interests, which have thus far supported the bill on the understanding that reservation-based casinos would be allowed to retain technological links for bingo and other gambling activities.

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