US Considers Bill on Web Gambling
5/7/09 - Financial Times
Barney Frank, chairman of the US House Financial Services Committee, presented legislation yesterday that would legalize internet gambling in the US and pave the way for overseas companies to return to the market.
Calling existing law "the single biggest example of an intrusion" into internet freedom, Mr Frank said he was confident of some cross-party support for the bill, which would regulate and tax online gambling.
"It is my intention to move on this legislation before the break in August," said Mr Frank, a Democrat representative from Massachusetts. He was joined at a press conference by Peter King, a Republican representative, offering some hope of bipartisan support.
However, the change faces opposition from antigambling organizations and other Republicans. Even if legislation is passed, individual states would be able to opt out and continue the ban on internet gambling.
Bob Goodlatte, a Republican representative from Virginia, predicted that "proponents of repealing the internet gambling ban will have a very tough road ahead of them".
Measures to tighten existing laws forbidding internet gambling were passed in 2006 and firmed by the Bush administration last year.
The Remote Gambling Association, representing European operators who gave up hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue when they withdrew, welcomed Mr Frank's move and said it was cautiously optimistic of the bill's chances.
The shares of some European operators forced to abandon the US surged yesterday, including PartyGaming and 888 Holdings.