Internet Gambling Legislation 'Still Moving'

American Horse Council president Jay Hickey called on members of the pari-mutuel industry Monday to contact their legislators in support of the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, which still has a chance to come up for a vote before Congress adjourns in early October.

During a legislative briefing at the AHC convention in Arlington, Va., Hickey indicated that House Bill 3125, whose chief sponsor is Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, isn't dead, contrary to some reports. Support by Democratic legislators is needed to get the bill on the floor under a rule that would limit amendments.

Kim McKernan of the lobbying firm O'Brien & Calio said the legislation could be on the floor by Wednesday or Thursday. Then again, she said a lot has to happen for that to take place. "There have been many obstacles thrown in the way of this," she said.

A newsletter called "Congress Daily AM" has listed HB 3125 as "still moving," which McKernan called positive given the other two categories for bills listed in the publication: "barely breathing," and "dead."

It's possible the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act could be included in an omnibus spending bill late in the session, as could legislation that would shorten the holding period of horses for capital gains purposes from 24 months to 12 months.

HB 3125 is a companion to Senate legislation sponsored by Jon Kyl of Arizona. That bill passed the Senate last year.

In other news, legislation that deals with immigration issues and revision of the Animal Health Protection Act has stalled but is expected to be pushed again early next year. AHC lobbyist Amy Mann said some animal health statutes date back to the 1880s.

"An animal health emergency could occur, and the United States Department of Agriculture won't have the authority to address the problem," Mann said.

Hickey also noted there is talk of provisions for merged international pools in regard to taxes on winnings. Clarification is needed so that, for example, a person who wins a wager on a U.S. race in Australia isn't taxed in the U.S. as well as Australia.

It could become an issue in the future. Currently, Breeders' Cup commingles pools with France. The Racing Network is in the process of facilitating wagering in Great Britain on U.S. races, and the TV Games Network is working on deals for the international transmission of races.