Bill to allow online gambling heading for US Congress

May 5, 2009
A Roulette wheel at a casino. A US congressman announced plans Tuesday to introduce legislation that would allow online gambling in the United States.

A US congressman announced plans Tuesday to introduce legislation that would allow online gambling in the United States.

Representative Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement that he will unveil the legislation at a press conference here on Wednesday.

Frank said the bill will "enable Americans to bet online and put an end to an inappropriate interference with their personal freedom."

"The new bill would create an exemption to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) for operators that are licensed and regulated," the statement said.

UIGEA, enacted in 2006, bans US banks, credit card and financial companies from handling Internet gambling bets and has been the target of fierce criticism that it would be an enforcement nightmare.

It specifically prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments made through credit cards, electronic funds transfers and checks.

The US ban on Internet gambling, enacted by the Bush administration and a Republican-controlled Congress, has been challenged as an unfair trade restriction at the World Trade Organization.

The European Commission has also launched an investigation into whether the US ban discriminated against EU firms.

(c) 2009 AFP

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