Legislation Targets Illegal Gambling

Congressman Robert Goodlatte on Thursday introduced the Combating Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act, which he said is designed to crack down on the problem of illegal off-shore gambling.

A release from Goodlatte's office said illegal off-shore gambling "sucks billions of dollars per year out of the U.S. economy, serves as a vehicle for money-laundering, undermines families, and threatens the ability of states to enact and enforce their own laws."

The bill, his office said, would tighten up existing federal law and make clear that the prohibitions apply to the Internet and other new technologies.

"These illegal, off-shore gambling Web sites are unlicensed, untaxed, and unregulated," Goodlatte said. "Illegal gambling sites evade existing anti-gambling laws by operating off-shore, providing a nearly undetectable harbor for criminal enterprises."

The Combating Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act would crack down on illegal gambling by updating the federal Wire Act to cover all forms of interstate gambling and account for new technologies. Under current federal law, it is unclear whether using the Internet to operate a gambling business is illegal.

The Wire Act, written well before the invention of the World Wide Web, has become outdated, Goodlatte's office said. The Combating Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act amends the Wire Act to make it clear that the prohibitions include Internet gambling and the use of other new technologies.

The Combating Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act allows states to continue to regulate gambling within their borders with tight controls to be sure that it does not extend beyond their borders or to minors. It also prohibits a gambling business from accepting certain forms of payment, including credit cards, checks, wire and Internet transfers, in illegal gambling transactions.

The legislation allows federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials to seek injunctions to prevent and restrain violations of the act and obtain cooperation in the fight against illegal gambling.