Internet Gambling Provisions Struck From House Bill

The House of Representatives Wednesday night passed money-laundering legislation that didn't include provisions to limit Internet gambling. The provisions offered by the House Financial Services Committee were opposed by the credit-card industry.

The measure passed 412-1, the Washington Post reported. The action allows the House and Senate to reconcile legislation that targets terrorism. The legislation could pass by the end of October depending on how long an anthrax scare disrupts Congress, the newspaper reported. The Senate anti-terrorism bill, which passed the week of Oct. 8, includes money-laundering provisions.

The Internet gambling provision in the House bill would have barred the use of credit cards in connection with illegal Internet gambling. The provision would have protected the pari-mutuel industry, which already partakes in legal account wagering, and was aimed at off-shore betting.

American Horse Council president Jay Hickey said "transactions with a business licensed by a state"--racetracks, for example--would have been allowed under the provision struck from the House money-laundering bill. Hickey said legislators at some point probably will re-introduce Internet gambling measures.

The Post reported that some credit-card industry lobbyists claimed Bush administration officials actively lobbied with them against the measure. Visa, MasterCard, BankOne, and Bank of America are among the companies that fought the provision, the newspaper said.