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House Committee Approves Limits on Online Gambling

The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation to toughen U.S. laws against Internet gambling, clearing the way for consideration by the full House of Representatives.

The committee voted 25-11 to approve the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act sponsored by Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, and prepared to support a second measure, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, sponsored by Jim Leach, an Iowa Republican.

The Bush administration Justice Department supports the proposed legislation. Online gambling's legal status in the U.S. is unclear under current law. The Justice Department interprets a 1961 law against using telephone lines to place interstate bets as prohibiting online gambling. Goodlatte said his bill would make that explicit.

The Goodlatte measure would force U.S. financial institutions to cooperate with federal law enforcement authorities in shutting down illegal gambling sites based outside the U.S. The measure exempts horse racing, fantasy sports betting and state lotteries in the U.S.

Leach's measure would make it unlawful for credit-card companies to collect payments for transactions with online-gaming sites.




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