Internet Gambling Bill Passes Congressional Committee Vote
Barney Frank presided over the Houses Financial Services Committee today as it passed his measure establishing regulation and licensing rules for Internet gambling. A voice vote clearly carried the online casino bill, but a roll call registering who voted which way will be held later this afternoon at the behest of ranking Republican Spencer Bachus, a leading gaming opponent.
Several amendments to the initial proposal were debated by the members of the House Financial Services Committee, with several being added. Peter King of New York suggested a clause denoting that all sports betting, including online, remains illegal. The amendment passed, but not before Frank sarcastically noted the NFL's fear US residents might begin to gamble on sports without the additional language.
Gary Peters of Michigan moved that entities already given exception to the UIGEA by language within that bill, such as tribal casinos and state lotteries, be exempt from regulation from Frank's H.R. 2267. Bachus argued that the regulation should apply equally to any and all online gambling, but the amendment passed.
Mary Jo Kilroy of Ohio proposed including restrictions on the advertising of online gambling by licensed casino operators. She voiced concern over predatory ads aimed at problem gamblers, and asked that unsolicited marketing be limited. This also passed.
While the original bill includes wording allowing states not wanting to participate to opt out, Bachus suggested the law should instead make states choose to opt in, remaining under the UIGEA gaming ban until they had done so. This measure failed.
Bachus also raged against what he saw as lobbying and influence purchasing by overseas gambling interests. He did not mention his own backing, which includes radical evangelist groups who may use the upcoming roll call to select targets in re-election campaigns.
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