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Step aside, war on terror -- now it's war on Internet gambling

The House of Representatives today voted 317 to 93 for a bill that tries 
to prohibit offshore Net-gambling. It targets Internet service providers 
and financial intermediaries, namely banks and credit card companies 
that process payments to offshore Web sites:
http://news.com.com/2100-1030_3-6092852.html

Here's the vote total, which is largely (though not completely) 
partisan, with the Republicans supporting the so-called Unlawful 
Internet Gambling Enforcement Act:
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2006/roll363.xml

Here's the text of the bill, which says ISPs can be forced to block 
access to offshore gambling sites after being slapped with a court order:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.r.04411:

There are two interesting asides here.

First, how will this work on a technical level? The Federal Reserve is 
supposed to come up with regulations applying to certain "designated 
payment systems" (including not just credit cards and Paypal but also 
eGold and FirePay). Those DPSs must find ways to block payments 
representing a "restricted transaction," which should be entertaining to 
try to identify.

Second, the bill contains carve-outs for, say, horseracing. That's 
according to no less an authority than the National Thoroughbred Racing 
Association:
http://www.ntra.com/content.aspx?type=pac&style=red&id=18064

But a vote on an amendment (admittedly, a poison pill one) to cover 
*all* forms of Internet gambling failed:
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2006/roll361.xml

-Declan

Posted by Declan McCullagh on Jul 11, 2006 in category economics


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