Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

House Rejects Bill Banning Internet Gambling Anti-Gaming Groups Fought the Measure

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

House Rejects Bill Banning Internet Gambling Anti-Gaming Groups Fought the Measure

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- An unusual coalition of libertarian lawmakers, pro-gambling Internet entrepreneurs and anti-gambling social groups dealt a losing hand yesterday to a House bill that would have banned gambling on the Internet.

The bill was rejected with 245 votes for and 159 against, 25 short of the 270 votes necessary. House leaders brought it to the floor under rules prohibiting amendments, limiting debate to 40 minutes and requiring a two-thirds majority for passage.

The vote was a victory for a much-maligned but fast-growing industry that brings sports betting, casino games and other gambling opportunities to any computer with Internet access. The industry had accepted that it should be regulated or even taxed, but its spokesmen said prohibition was unwise and unworkable given the Internet's global reach.

"It appears that cooler heads have prevailed here," Sue Schneider, chairwoman of the Interactive Gaming Council, said after the vote. "We have a brand new medium we're dealing with. We don't have the same kind of borders we had before."

The bill's advocates said their goal was to curb proliferation of Internet sites offering casino games and sports betting to everybody with credit cards and computers, regardless of whether gambling is legal where they live. They said such sites attract compulsive or underage gamblers.

"One way to promote the Internet is to make sure that the seamy side of life is dealt with on the Internet," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. …

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