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House Votes Yes to Ban Online Casinos

Yesterday the US House of Representatives voted yes to approve a controversial bill that will effectively ban online casinos.

By a vote of 317 to 93 the bill will attempt to ban online casinos by homing in on financial institutions and internet service providers.

The law will disallow banks and credit card companies to process any transactions that are between gamblers and online casinos based in offshore locations.

The floor debate lasted for four hours and Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte who proposed the bill referred to online casinos and internet gambling as the scourge of our society. The bill now moves on to the Senate where it is thought the subject of online casinos is not a priority.

Some Democrats were behind the measure and believe online casinos should be banned, while others pointed out that the bill was full of loopholes. One area of the bill that appeared particularly slanted was the fact that the measure would still allow for wagering on horse racing and lotteries to be conducted via telephone lines and the internet over state lines and this point for many, smacks of hypocrisy.

Presently, the law that makes online casinos illegal is the 1961 Wire Act, which makes gambling over state lines, via the use of telecommunication systems illegal. When this law was written, the internet did not exist but now the law is asking to be amended to take in to account the means of placing bets via wire less methods, such as mobile phone gambling and via BlackBerries.

Many, who are behind the bill that will update existing laws, believe that problems such as underage and addictive gambling will be eliminated. The flip side of the coin argues that banning online casinos is not constitutional as the internet is for everybody to enjoy, and it is up to those close to vulnerable individuals to protect them from their weaknesses. It is possible for children to log on to all sorts of harmful sites on the internet such as hard core pornography and children can 'chat' to paedophiles on the internet, so why has internet gambling in online casinos taken precedent over protecting children from hardcore pornography and sexual predators?

Cynics are certain that this move is to gain Republican popularity and to keep Republican control of the House of Representatives before the election in November. Many Americans are against gambling in general but in a recent survey undertaken on Wall Street, results showed that 85% of Americans thought that banning online casinos was not the right decision.

There are many online casinos proponents that feel the only way to reign in this problem is by making online casinos legal. Great Britain has made online casinos legal and is beginning to put regulations in place to protect gamblers.

A spokes person for an online casinos association asked "Should the government be filling the role of parents to protect the vulnerable at the expense of Americans freedom of choice?"




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