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Pence Supports Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act

Location: Washington, DC


Congressman Mike Pence made the following statement regarding passage of the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act today in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Gambling is an addiction that destroys families across America and unfortunately, gambling on the Internet has been allowed to go on unregulated. This bill provides the necessary enforcement tools to combat illegal gambling," Pence said. "By cutting off the flow of money to gambling websites and authorizing law enforcement to seek injunctions against persons who facilitate illegal online gambling, Congress is taking great strides to curb the moral and legal consequences of this unregulated activity."


1. It clarifies the Wire Act, a 1961 statute that made it a Federal felony for gambling businesses to use wire communication facilities to transmit bets or wagers, or related money, in interstate or foreign commerce. The Wire Act did not contemplate the Internet or wireless communication devices and is ambiguous as to whether it applies to only sports-related gambling or all forms of gambling. The bill updates the Wire Act to clarify that it covers all types of gambling and all types of "communication facilities." H.R. 4411 also increases the maximum penalty for violations of the Wire Act from two to five years in prison, and explicitly preserves the right of States to regulate gambling that occurs solely within State borders.

2. The bill cuts off the flow of money to Internet gambling websites by regulating payment systems. The Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve will jointly develop policies and procedures for identifying and preventing financial transactions related to illegal Internet gambling. Payment systems will be required to comply with these regulations. Even when criminal law cannot be enforced, the Federal government's jurisdiction over financial systems can nevertheless cut off the money sources for these illegal businesses.

3. The bill authorizes State and Federal law enforcement to seek injunctions against persons who facilitate illegal Internet gambling, even when that person is not criminally liable. For instance, websites or brick-and-mortar businesses providing advertising space to illegal offshore gambling businesses can be enjoined to remove the advertisements.

4. When deliberating with foreign governments, the U.S. government is exhorted to advance international cooperation in law enforcement efforts against illegal gambling and related money laundering. The Secretary of the Treasury will report to Congress about these efforts.

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