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Virginia Legislators Tighten Up Online Gambling Laws

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Around the US, the movement has begun at a state level to end online gambling prohibition. Virginia lawmakers, however, have tightened up their Internet gaming laws to ensure that prohibition stays in place for the near future.

Delegate Clifford L. Athey Jr's legislation clarifying online gambling laws has passed the General assembly. The law is an attempt to criminalize all forms of online gaming, from the lottery to Internet cafes that offer customers the chance to buy Internet time and then play their favorite games online.

The clarification in the law removes the word "sweepstakes" from the existing law. Many Internet cafes have used the sweepstakes claim as a way to offer various gambling options. Athey Jr.'s bill asserts that in order to be legal, the purpose of the game should in now way be associated with illegal gambling.

"I want to thank Senator Obenshain and Delegate Oder for their hard work on the companion House Bills 1700 and 1584 and Senate Bill 1195 which outlaw Internet casino gambling in Virginia, while preserving the ability of restaurants to offer Internet time and games, which don't involve gambling," said Athey.

Virginia is going one way with Internet gambling, while states such as California and New Jersey are going in a different direction. New Jersey legislators have already passed a bill that would allow Atlantic City casinos to operate online casinos. California has two bills that have been proposed to regulate online gambling.

The new Virginia law will allow the state to pursue criminal charges against the owners of any establishments that are still attempting to use loopholes in the past law to offer sweepstakes-type video gambling. Internet cafes in Virginia may still try to circumvent the law, and Athey believes that will be a mistake.

"I never underestimate the ingenuity of people who are trying to skirt the law," said Athey.

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