Lawmaker Says Youbet.com Violating Cease-and-Desist Orders

Youbet.com, the online wagering company headquartered in California, plans to review statements given by Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan during the May 2 U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing at which the Democratic Congressman said the company is operating despite a cease-and-desist order from the office of the U.S. attorney general.

During the hearing, at which the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act was approved and sent to the House, Conyers, said: "Today, only 17 states have expressly authorized the placement of advanced deposit horse bets, including Internet horse bets, yet one provider, the Internet horse betting service Youbet, takes bets from more than 40 states, despite having received cease-and-desist letters from the attorney general, and that's why I'm trying to make this very clear that it's not a carve out or a penalty to anybody. We've got to protect our kids better than we're doing right now."

Conyers made the comments while discussing an amendment he introduced that would have narrowed the scope of the Interstate Horseracing Act by requiring the state where the pari-mutuel wager is placed to have explicitly authorized the acceptance of such wagers. The committee defeated the amendment by three votes.

Lonny Powell, vice president of public affairs for Youbet.com, said the company has not yet seen the transcript of the hearing and couldn't make specific comments until its attorneys have had the opportunity to do so.

"We have requested the record (of the hearing)," Powell said. "We are concerned he may have said such things. We're going to do a review to determine for ourselves. Based on what we know of right now, from what we're hearing, those comments sound to both be totally inaccurate, as well as verging on being reckless.

According to the Youbet.com Web site, the company prohibits residents of Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Utah from wagering through its system. That would leave 39 other states from which the company could take wagers; in contrast, TVG takes bets from residents in only 12 states.

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