Tony Batt Stephens of RollingGoodTimes.com reports that the 319-104 victory seen in the House last week for the Bachus anti-Internet gambling bill may come to naught in the U.S. Senate, if the fate of a similar Senate bill is any indication of the mood of the upper house toward I-gambling.
There are other forces that seem pitted against this legislation.
The co-sponsors of the Senate bill, Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona and Republican Richard Shelby of Alabama, have “pledged to move aggressively on Internet gambling controls,” writes Stephens.
That’s not the same as saying that they expect the bill to pass. The Senate Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction on this matter due to the nature of the content of the bill, has yet to schedule a vote on it. Kyl’s bill would outlaw credit cards, checks and electronic fund transfers as means by which to pay for online gambling.
However, Shelby is the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. “We’re pushing this bill. I’m sure there will be [a committee vote],” he said, though he did not predict when.
The bill is also co-sponsored in the Committee by a Democrat, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.
A March 18th hearing on the bill in the committee produced no other sponsors for the bill in the Banking Committee.
Senator Kyl dismissed the prospect of objections to his bill coming from Indian gambling leaders, though the tribes won the Senate over last year against a similar anti-Internet gambling bill that had passed the House in a voice vote. “I think we’ve made progress in working out the problems (with tribes) satisfactorily,” Kyl said.
However, “two Capitol Hill sources, who requested anonymity, disputed Kyl’s assessment, ” Stephens wrote, quoting one source as saying, “The tribes are very unhappy with the House bill because they feel like they were ignored. They believe they should have the same exemption (from Internet gambling restrictions) that state governments have. Unless their concerns are addressed, it will be easier for the tribes to tie things up in the Senate.”
Nor is the Department of Justice forthcoming about support for Kyl’s bill. At the Senate Banking Committee hearing on March 18, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Malcolm argued that the Kyl bill would exempt from prosecution gamblers who made bets made on the telephone, and exempt Internet service providers from criminal penalties, and “force law enforcement authorities to prove the illegality of Internet wagers,” Stephens wrote.