Bi-partisan coalition fights internet poker bill

06/30/08 Mitch E. Perry
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On the last day that Congress convened before recessing for the 2006 elections, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed in the House and Senate.

Sponsored In the Senate by former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the somewhat confusing legislation forces banks and credit card companies to block electronic transactions to internet gambling businesses.

After the bill passed the Senate, Frist said “For me as majority leader, the bottom line is simple: Internet gambling is illegal. Although we can't monitor every online gambler or regulate offshore gambling, we can police the financial institutions that disregard our laws.”

But there has been strong criticism of the bill, and in the House, Texas Ron Paul and Massachusetts Barney Frank has introduced new legislation that would prohibit the Treasury and Federal Reserve from enforcing the laws.

Because of the vague language of the bill, such as the fact that horse racing online is illegal while dog racing is not, the banking industry has had to decide for itself what is legal under the legislation.

Jay Lakin, vice president of PokerSourceOnline, spoke to us about the legislation earlier this month. Lakin says billions of dollars are spent annually on poker online worldwide.

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