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Frist Pushes Internet Ban Bill in USA

Aides to US Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist said on September 5th that he is still trying to find a way to pass a bill to outlaw most forms of Internet gambling in the USA. But he offered no guarantee a deal could be struck before lawmakers recess at the end of September.

Frist would like to bring up the bill under unanimous consent, a process by which leaders from both parties agree to bring a bill to a vote on the Senate floor, the aides told reporters.

Outwardly there has been little movement on the bill. A similar version has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives. But efforts to move the Senate bill ran into opposition earlier in the summer from lobbyists representing casino owners and horse- and dog-racing interests.

The bill would prohibit most forms of Internet gambling (oddly enough except for horseracing and lotteries). It would make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.

Supporters of a crackdown on Internet gambling say legislation is needed to clarify that a 1961 federal law banning interstate telephone betting also covers an array of online gambling.

Investors in British-based gaming companies such as BETonSPORTS Plc, Partygaming Plc and 888 Holdings Plc are closely watching the U.S. legislation.

The Republican-backed measure has been criticized by some as an election-year appeal to the party’s conservative base. Frist, of Tennessee, is widely seen as a potential presidential candidate. Last week, Frist appeared at a congressional field hearing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa — the state that holds the first presidential nominating contest in 2008 — to hear concerns about Internet gambling. However, congressional aides have said some Republican senators have placed holds on the bill, and that Democratic senators may eventually do so as well depending on how talks proceed. Any member of the Senate may place a secret “hold” on legislation, which prevents it from being brought up for a vote until concerns about the measure are resolved.

Please see related Current Affairs Article- Preserve Online Poker for US Players at http://www.pokerpages.com/articles/archives/current-affairs-0002.htm

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