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Federal Lawmakers Eye Online Gambling With Differing Motives

The Senate has been the starting point for dozens of failed online gambling bills over the past decade. In the years since the 2006 Unlawful internet Gambling Enforcement Act, several senators have taken the lead on new gaming bills, and each has been rejected by a majority of their peers.

Although failure within the issue has become commonplace among those looking to regulate Internet betting, there is renewed optimism with the latest round of conversations in the Senate. The pendulum has swung, and now a majority of senators are in favor of regulation, although many with far different motives. Surprising to some, is who is leading the charge for regulation.

"Shame on us if we don't get something done on this because, when I think about the possibility for money laundering, terrorism, drug trafficking and the potential for children to get access to use the Internet as well as people to add to the addiction issue," said Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte. "I hope this is something that we move very quickly on."

The rise of the Internet gambling industry has occurred swiftly in recent years. The proliferation of the industry began in Europe, and has made its way across the pond to the US. Several states, including Nevada and New Jersey, have passed online gambling regulation laws, forcing the federal government to examine the issue a bit closer.

Before pushing further bills that could possibly fail, this time around lawmakers seeking change are trying to get a majority in their favor.

"I would like to put together a piece of legislation, as does Senator Reid, but we want broad support," said Republican Senator Dean Heller. "I want broad support."

Reid and other supporters have been pushing regulation with the theory that illegal operations are currently allowing online gamblers to wager at their websites. Now, a group of lawmakers are addressing the crimes being committed by these illegal operations, and have decided that stricter regulation is necessary.

"We don't know that the profits of the casino aren't disguised profits of crime," said Attorney Jack Blum. "The only way you can do that on the Internet is to have a uniform federal standard. The current situation is open season."

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