A new bill which could see America’s controversial Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act SCRAPPED has passed a big milestone.
If the proposed new law gets final approval from a full vote in Congress, government agencies would be forced to define exactly what unlawful Internet gambling is for the first time.
Yesterday, the new bill — sponsored by Congressman Barney Frank — sailed through its committee stage by 30 votes to 19.
The bill’s backers say this would stop them defining “illegal” in any way they see fit.
They claim America is not using a level playing field when it comes to online gambling, with some international companies being prosecuted while U.S. operators are left alone.
And they believe that closing UIGEA’s loopholes will show how impractical it really is and lead to it falling apart.
Among the proposals in Tuesday’ new bill is a clause which would ban Internet sports betting.
One of those backing the bill was Missouri Democrat Congressman William Lacy Clay.
He said: “I’m trying to figure out what the difference is between Internet gambling and legal sports books run by all the major casinos in Las Vegas.”
Supporters hope the size of Tuesday’s vote — 30 votes to 19 — will persuade Congressional leaders to plan in a full vote before the house adjourns in the next few weeks ahead of November’s presidential election.
But they are now convinced that even if the bill doesn’t make it this year, it will provide unstoppable momentum to scrap UIGEA when Congress reconvenes next year.
A team of E.U. investigators is in Washington this week to quiz U.S. Justice and Trade chiefs about how UIGEA is being enforced.
If they decide it is breaking world trade agreements, they could recommend a protest to the World trade Organisation and tough sanctions against American companies.