Financial Services Committee approves legislation that would allow some legal online wagering.
Thursday 29th July 2010
In America, the House Financial Services Committee has voted in favour of a measure that would legalise and regulate some forms of online gambling as well as overturning an existing law that bans Internet wagering.
The Committee voted 42-21 in favour of the measure which was sponsored by Democratic Representative Barney Frank. The vote doesn't make Internet gambling a foregone conclusion but it does increase the likelihood that a bill could go before the House, possibly later this year. Rather than banning online gaming websites, the new legislation would regulate US-based sites instead.
A number of amendments were made to the original bill including raising the minimum age for online gambling to 21, banning the use of credit cards for deposits and prohibiting advertising aimed at young people. Bets on sporting events such as the NFL and MLB would remain off limits.
The vote was welcomed by online poker advocacy group the Poker Players Alliance. 'The fact is, online poker is not going away. Congress has a choice â€• it can license and regulate it to provide government oversight and consumer protections, or our lawmakers can stick their heads in the sand, ignore it, and leave consumers to play on non-U.S. regulated websites in all 50 states,' said former Senator Alfonse DíAmato, chairman of the organisation. 'I'm glad the Financial Services Committee today overwhelmingly chose to act and protect Americans as well as preserve the fundamental freedoms of adults and the Internet.'
The US offshore Internet gambling market is worth around $5.5bn but that figure could balloon should the US legalise online gaming.