US Congress studies online gaming ban bills
Lawmakers from the Republican and Democratic US political parties have introduced legislation in the House and Senate in an attempt to ban online gambling in the country.
According to the Associated Press news agency, the bills are aimed at reversing a decision in 2011 by Attorney General Eric Holder that a 1961 law used to ban internet gambling only applied to sports betting.
The new bills would expand prohibition to where it originally stood before the 2011 ruling.
New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada are the only three states to have legalised online gaming since the 2011 ruling, but a number of other states have also considered doing so.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, is the chief Senate sponsor while the House version is sponsored by Republican Jason Chaffetz from Utah. Each bill also has co-sponsors from both parties.
“Virtually any cellphone or computer can again become a video poker machine,” Graham said. “It’s simply not right.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, controls his chamber’s agenda and has supported legalising online poker.
Nevada’s other Senator, Republican Dean Heller, also favours internet poker in Nevada and said it should be up the each state to decide whether they permit online gaming.
However, a spokesperson for Heller said that the Senator believes a major expansion of online gambling would be “bad for Nevada and for the country”.