Internet Funding Language Added to Betting Act

The Senate Commerce Committee has amended the Amateur Sports Integrity Act to include the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Bill. The American Horse Council reports it could adversely affect the pari-mutuel industry and its efforts to foster interactive wagering.

The amendment, offered by Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana, would prohibit financial institutions from collecting on credit-card debt if they know the debt was incurred by someone who gambled illegally through the Internet. Though pari-mutuel operators can legally offer interstate wagering, the AHC said the "industry is concerned that the Breaux amendment might chill the interest of banks and credit-card companies in allowing the use of their credit cards for interactive pari-mutuel wagering."

The Amateur Sports Integrity Act, introduced by Senators John McCain of Arizona and Sam Brownback of Kansas, would make it illegal to wager on the Olympics, and college and high school sports. Such betting is legal only in Nevada. The act has been reported to the full Senate.

In other Washington, D.C., action, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California has suggested an amendment that would raise the national minimum gambling age to 21. Many states permit people under 21 to wager on horse races and purchase lottery tickets.