Bill Targets Ways to 'Fund' Internet Gambling

Legislation that would prohibit use of credit or money transfers for Internet gambling has been introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to the Committee on Financial Services. At the very least, the measure could impact pari-mutuel operations that employ Internet wagering platforms.

HR 556, titled the "Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act," was sponsored by Republican Rep. James Leach of Iowa and filed Feb. 12. Leach introduced similar legislation last year, but it failed to gain support. Leach was chairman of the Committee on Financial Services last year, but this year, Republican Mike Oxley of Ohio heads it.

The bill would ban use of checks, credit cards, and wire transfers to make bets through the Internet. The bill makes no mention of telephone account wagering or, for that matter, pari-mutuel wagering.

This year's bill is different in that it makes the important distinction between legitimate state-sanctioned businesses and unregulated ones, American Horse Council president Jay Hickey said. He did say the bill is broad, and that it warrants some concern as it moves through the legislative process.

Legislation to ban Internet gambling has been on the table for the past two years but has failed to become law. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, or some form of it, could resurface again this year.