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Public Statements

Internet Gambling Prohibiton and Enforcement Act

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I supported H.R. 2143, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, which passed the House by an overwhelming 319-104 vote in 2003. I also voted in favor of H.R. 3125, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, in 2000. I supported reforming Internet gambling then, and I am pleased that Congress has decided to take up this issue again today.

Current regulations on Internet gambling are out of date and ineffective. Forty-eight State Attorneys General have already written to Congress asking for Federal Internet gambling legislation, and many sports organizations have echoed their support. Although States have passed laws attempting to stem the tide against Internet gambling, it continues to occur with greater frequency, with more and more Web sites being created daily that explicitly target our children. These sites not only take advantage of young Americans who have no means to pay their debts, but also encourage a dangerous, and possibly lifelong, addiction. Equally problematic, online gambling also serves as a tool for criminals to launder money and evade taxes. We must ensure that this stream of funding is closed to those who seek to do harm to the United States.

While it is essential to protect an individual's right to engage in legal and honest gaming, I also believe we have a duty to protect the public from abusive and fraudulent websites that take advantage of minors and exploit the system for their own gain. H.R. 4411 walks the fine line between these goals and provides law enforcement with the tools it needs to aggressively crack down on illegal gambling. I support this legislation and am pleased at its passage through the U.S. House of Representatives.


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