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Goodlatte and Boucher Reintroduce Legislation to Prohibit Online Gambling

Location: Washington, DC



Washington, DC: At a press conference today Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) reintroduced the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. This bipartisan legislation will crack down on the growing problem of illegal, off shore gambling, as well as illegal gambling that crosses state lines over phone lines and Internet technologies. These activities suck billions of dollars per year out of the U.S. economy, serve as a vehicle for money laundering, undermine families, and threaten the ability of states to enact and enforce their own laws.

Congressmen Goodlatte and Boucher previously introduced similar legislation in both the 106th and 107th Congresses only to have their legislation derailed by Jack Abramoff and the lobbying effort he led. In fact, in the 106th Congress, the Goodlatte-Boucher legislation received support from more than sixty percent of the House of Representatives but fell victim to Abramoff's campaign of misinformation and lacked the two-thirds required for passage under suspension of the rules.

"I have been continuously committed to putting an end to gambling on the Internet," said Rep. Goodlatte. "For too long our children have been placed in harm's way as online gambling has been permitted to flourish into a $12 billion industry. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act brings the current ban against interstate gambling up to speed with the development of new technology."

The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act cracks down on illegal gambling by updating the Wire Act to cover all forms of interstate gambling and account for new technologies. Under current federal law, it is unclear whether using the Internet to operate a gambling business is illegal. The closest useful statute currently is the Wire Act, which prohibits gambling over telephone wires. The Wire Act, which was written well before the invention of the World Wide Web, has become outdated. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act amends the Wire Act to make it clear that the prohibitions include Internet gambling and the use of other new technologies.

"The explosive growth of the Internet has provided a means for gambling operations to evade existing anti-gambling laws," Boucher stated. "These Internet gambling websites typically operate offshore and often serve as a prime vehicle for money laundering and other criminal enterprises. Our bill sensibly updates federal law to keep pace with new technologies by bringing the Internet within the fold of the anti-gambling restrictions that govern telephones."

The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act allows states to continue to regulate gambling within their borders with tight controls to be sure that it does not extend beyond their borders or to minors. It also prohibits a gambling business from accepting certain forms of payment, including credit cards, checks, wire and Internet transfers, in illegal gambling transactions. The legislation also allows federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials to seek injunctions to prevent and restrain violations of this Act and obtain cooperation in the fight against illegal gambling.

Additionally, this legislation increases the maximum prison term for a violation of this Act from 2 years to 5 years.

"Illegal online gambling doesn't just hurt gamblers and their families, it hurts the economy by draining dollars from the United States and serve as a vehicle for money laundering, stated Goodlatte. "It is time to shine a bright light on theses illegal sites and bring a quick end to illegal gambling on the Internet."

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