INTERNET GAMBLING PROHIBITION AND ENFORCEMENT ACT
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Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I want to thank my colleagues, Mr. Goodlatte, Mr. Leach, Mr. Sensenbrenner, for their hard work and leadership on this issue.
Mr. Speaker, it is time that we enforce the law when it comes to Internet gambling.
Dozens of Web sites entice Web surfers to bet online with free software offers. Online sites advertise openly on TV. Stores carry books on how to get rich by gambling online.
The only problem? Online gambling is illegal.
This bill makes that clear and provides mechanisms to effectively enforce the law.
This year Americans will send $5.9 billion to offshore, unregulated online casinos. The Justice Department warns that many of these sites are fronts for money laundering, drug trafficking, and even terrorist financing. And unregulated online gambling also takes a toll in untold numbers of personal lives destroyed.
Gambling online is unique. No casinos, horse tracks, or betting parlors are required. All you need is a computer, credit card, and Internet access. With that, players are able to play 24 hours a day from the privacy of their homes. Minors are easily able to defy age requirements if they wish to play. And the online environment and credit card payment system combine to promote addiction, bankruptcy, and crime.
Currently, online gambling operations avoid Federal and State law enforcement by locating offshore, and this bill addresses this loophole in three ways: first, it clarifies previous law, making it a Federal felony to use wire communications facilities to transmit bets or wagers. Secondly, it cuts off the flow of money to online gambling sites by regulating the payment systems they use to collect the money. And, finally, it authorizes penalties against those who facilitate illegal online gambling.
Simply put, Mr. Speaker, the law is being flouted, and this bill does something about it. I strongly urge its adoption.
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