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Congress Passes Act to Curb Online Gambling

It Was Slipped Through on the Back of Port Security Bill


It took a backdoor move by the Senate Majority leader, but the bill designed to curb online gambling in the United States has passed.

Sen. Bill Frist helped get the Internet gambling ban attached to a defense bill designed to boost security at nation's ports. The bill passed Saturday.

The bill calls for banks to work with the federal government to stop transactions between customers in the US and offshore gaming companies. The bill makes it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make transactions with online gambling companies.

The bill considers online poker a form of gambling. Recently, online poker sites have worked harder to expand their customer base outside the United States, where about 80 percent of online poker players live.

The bill would not target players but does call for prison time for people who run online gaming companies. Banks that don't comply with the bill may also face punishment. A representive from the Independent Community Bankers of America testified to the House that its members will have trouble enforcing the act.

The United States is moving in an opposite direction concerning this issue compared to the rest of the world. The United Kingdom recently moved to tax and regulate online gambling sites, and the European Union has made it clear that it considers online gambling a product that should be allowed to be freely traded.

Tags: poker law


almost 16 years ago

How about helping us in Washington State, where online poker is spelled out in the law that went into effect 06,06,2006 which makes online poker a class C felony. We need help to reverse this law which is far more strict and makes playing poker more risky due to loss of cival rights if proscuted. Also the head of the Washington State Gaming commusion stated they will prosucte online poker players. To ignore us is inviting other states to write simular laws which would be much worse then the new federal law.


15 years ago

It is hypocritical for the US the ban online gambling either for moral reasons or on the grounds that it is for the protection of the consumer when the state sponsors lotteries and scratch tickets. I think the point America is losing out on huge tax revenues is an important one. Just like state lotteries, online gambling could provide states with much needed revenue that would towards improving roads and welfare programs. Even so, I have a hard time believing that this law will be repealed any time soon. Free American online poker sites that offer real cash prizes, such as and , are already starting to appear giving the American a safe, although less exciting and less lucrative, alternative to real money gambling.