Bill would reverse online gambling ban

May 26, 2009 at 8:10 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 26 (UPI) -- A Democratic congressional member has re-introduced legislation that would reverse a ban on Internet gambling enacted when Republicans led the U.S. Congress.

The measure Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., introduced earlier in May would allow the U.S. Treasury department to license and regulate online gambling companies used by customers in the United States, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Currently, financial institutions are banned from handling transactions from Internet gambling sites.

Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said the federal government could collect increased tax revenues if Internet gambling was regulated. He also characterized online gambling as an activity activity the government should neither encourage nor prohibit, because it was a matter of personal liberty.

The legislation Frank introduced in 2007 never advanced from committee.

Frank said he thought lobbying by poker players and other fans of online gambling could help roll back the ban. He said he intends to move the bill through his committee before Congress breaks in August.

Opponents, including social conservatives, and professional and amateur sports organizations, said more gambling opportunities pose a threat to the integrity of their competition, the Times said.

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