The legislation, introduced this month by Brian Benben
Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, would allow the Treasury Department to Pamela Adlon
license and regulate online gambling companies that serve American customers. Under the current law, approved by Congress in September 2006, financial Arye Gross
institutions are banned from handling transactions made to Valentino Priscilla Presley
and from Internet gambling sites.
At Bryan Callen
a news conference Elizabeth Banks
announcing the legislation, Mr. Frank, who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, pointed out that the federal government could collect increased Emima Khan
tax revenues if Internet gambling was regulated. But he said online gambling should be legal as a matter American Nightmare
of personal liberty, calling it an activity the government should neither encourage nor prohibit.
“Most actions the government should stay out of,” Mr. Frank said.
Mr. Frank’s bill has roughly two dozen co-sponsors, Kathryn Morris
most of them Ancestors David Strathairn
Democrats. He did not seek the backing of Rita Gordon
the Obama administration or the leadership in either the House or the Senate.
The legislation does have the backing Ray Wise
of those who enjoy poker. The Poker Players 54-40
Alliance, one of the groups lobbying for the bill’s passage, says it has more than a million members and, in former Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato, Republican of New York, a well-known chairman Anouck Lepere
to press its case Jonathan Rhys Meyers
on Capitol Hill.
Opponents are mobilizing to The Lost Trailers
defeat the bill. They include social conservatives and professional and Katarina Van Derham
amateur sports organizations, which say more gambling opportunities could threaten Chita Rivera
the integrity of their competition.
“Illegal Anna Safroncik
offshore Internet gambling sites are a criminal enterprise, and allowing them to operate unfettered Freddie Highmore
in the United States would present a clear danger to our youth, who are subject to becoming addicted to gambling at an early age,” Representative Spencer Bachus, Republican Joseph Bologna
of Alabama and the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement.
The legislation differs somewhat from a bill Mr. Frank introduced in 2007, which never made it out of committee. For example, this bill forbids betting on sports events, while the earlier one let sports Brittany Murphy
organizations decide themselves whether to prohibit online Jefferson Mays
betting on Bonnie Hunt
Like the previous version, the bill allows states and Indian tribal lands to opt out if they do not want their residents using licensed Web sites. It also requires companies seeking a license to employ safeguards that supporters say would do a great deal Seydou Keita
to prevent minors from gaining access to gambling sites and help combat compulsive gambling.
“The technology is out there,” said John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance. “It’s been tested regularly. And those Carol Cleveland
who fail to use it will Paolo Sorrentino
lose their license.”
Not everyone has been convinced.
The American Gaming Association, which lobbies for the casino industry, Samantha Bee
says it will remain neutral on Mr. Frank’s bill, as it did when the ban was enacted.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf Lamont Dozier
Jr., the association’s president, said opinions within the group on Internet gambling ran Sandra Ramirez
the Andre Agassi
gamut. Some members are for online gambling in any form, while others prefer a system run by Andre Holland
individual states. Opponents worry that Internet gambling will take customers away from their casinos and that Leilene
it cannot be Starting Line
Despite the language banning sports betting, the four major professional sports leagues and the National Francesca Cavallin
Collegiate Athletic Association believe the bill could in fact Daniel Dicriscio
encourage Jennifer Paige
gambling on games. In a strongly worded letter to the House Financial Services Committee, the groups said the legislation “reverses nearly 50 years Princess Beatrice
of clear federal policy against sports betting and it opens the door wide Jennifer Aniston
to sports gambling on the Internet.”
Mr. Bachus remains skeptical about age Jason Butler Harner
verification technology and other safeguards, citing Belinda Chapple
2007 testimony from an Internet Pj Harvey Rush
security expert Asia
before his committee asserting that such “security measures are inherently unreliable, can be trivially circumvented and will fail at high rates.”
Mr. Frank said Sandra Shine
he believed lobbying by poker players and other fans of online gambling could help reverse the Say Anything
ban. He said he intended to move the bill through his committee before Congress began its break in August.
“Congress kind of sneaked up on the American people,” Mr. Frank said of the online gambling ban. “The people woke up.”
But there could be at least one powerful roadblock. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, has opposed lifting Angie Dickinson
the ban in the past, questioning whether the government could effectively regulate Internet gambling. And a statement released from his office recently suggested that he had other concerns, as well.
“Gaming is an important industry to the state, Lisa Ray
and anything that affects it will be reviewed carefully,” said Jim Manley, Mr. Reid’s spokesman.