Senate unlikely to pass
ban on Internet betting

Aug 8, 2006 6:33 AM

While the Department of Justice is crusading against off-shore bet shops like they were Martha Stewart franchises, the U.S. Senate likely won’t pass an Internet gambling bill in the near future.

Efforts to move a House-passed measure through the Senate have run into opposition from industry trade groups and lawmakers.

The bill would prohibit most forms of online gambling and make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.

Supporters of the crackdown on Internet gambling say legislation is needed to clarify the 1961 Wire Act which bans interstate telephone betting.

However, congressional aides said some Republican senators have placed holds on the bill, which prevent it from being brought up for a vote until concerns about the measure are resolved.

A congressional source said concerns had been raised by representatives of casinos as well as racetracks and lotteries about limited exemptions in the bill.

"There is always a chance that differences can be resolved and the Senate could vote before the August recess, but not a very good one at this point," one Congressional aide said.

Supporters of the bill could take it up when the Senate reconvenes in September. But it would be difficult to work out changes in time for members of Congress to return to their districts to campaign before the November elections.