Saturday, February 18, 2006
U.S. online gaming ban will not cover betting on horseracing

A bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on 16 February, which aims to reinforce the ban on Internet gambling. The bill was proposed by Virginian Representatives Rick Boucher (Democrat) and Bob Goodlatte (Republican) and backed by over 100 other Representatives.

Online gaming is already banned in the US through the Wire Act, which prohibits any interstate gambling. The Justice Department has said that the interstate gambling ban also applies to the Internet, but the new law would provide new tools for enforcement. For example, the proposed bill would prohibit a gambling business from accepting credit cards, checks, wire and Internet transfers. It also would set a maximum prison sentence of five years for violations.

Although previous attempts for an anti online gambling bill failed, this proposal is made a different political climate. It follows the recent scandals around Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who represented online gaming interests and was accused of bribery.

Interstate betting on horseracing is legal in the U.S. under the Interstate Horseracing Act. It will remain unaffected under the proposed legislation.