On the 15th of February US Congressman from Virginia Bob Goodlatte reintroduced HR 4777, the “Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.” Goodlatte hopes to pass the bill, that’ll amend the earlier Title 18 of the United States Code containing the Federal Wire Act passed in 1961. The Wire Act outlawed telephone betting by making it illegal to place bets by “wire transmission.”
The explosion of Internet poker rooms and sports books recently was possible only as a result of the ambiguity surrounding the definition of “wire” ;.While opponents of Internet gambling insisted that the meaning included cable, satellite, and cellular technology, no court would uphold a conviction predicated on that definition. Goodlatte hopes to amend that by expanding the Code to incorporate all forms of electronic transmission, along with to incorporate all types of bets.
Earlier attempts to pass the legislation were thwarted vegus168 by the lobbying efforts of Jack Abramoff, according to Gooodlatte’s office. But Abramoff’s recent guilty pleas to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials have added political capital to Goodlatte’s campaign.
According to Goodlatte “Illegal online gambling doesn’t just hurt gamblers and their loved ones, it hurts the economy by draining dollars from the United States and serve as an automobile for the money laundering,” stated Goodlatte. “It is time for you to shine a brilliant light on these illegal sites and bring a fast end to illegal gambling on the Internet.”
“But outlawing online gambling won’t stop the activity.” says Will Catlett of Sportsbettingscams.org, an industry watchdog site. “It will only drive it underground. If online gambling is outlawed then your government will lose its ability to legislate online gambling policy and police it’s dangers, as well as its ability to tax the transactions. Goodlatte’s bill will do exactly the opposite of what it really wants to do.”
By July 2005, according to Forrester polls, there have been over 300,000 gambling websites entertaining over 7,000,000 online gamblers. While the majority of traffic to these websites initially came from the United States, that number is now around 40% as players are attracted from all over the world. If the bill is passed, a will shrink dramatically, and shift its focus to other nations. Meanwhile, online gamblers in the United States will undoubtedly be out of luck. “It’s amazing to me that bill might just pass quietly with little or no resistance.” says Catlett. “Anybody who enjoys gambling online should write their State Representative to let them know why this bill shouldn’t go through.”