Combating Internet Gambling

Gambling on the Internet has become an extremely lucrative business. Numerous studies have charted the explosive growth of this industry, both by the increases in gambling websites available, and via industry revenues. Internet gambling is now estimated to be a $12 billion industry, with approximately $6 billion coming from bettors based in the U.S. It has been reported that there are as many as 2,300 gambling sites.



Virtual betting parlors have attempted to avoid the application of United States law by locating themselves offshore and out of our jurisdictional reach. These offshore, fly-by-night Internet gambling operators are unlicensed, untaxed and unregulated and are sucking billions of dollars out of the United States. These offshore online gambling websites are cash cows and the greed that propels these companies leads them to solicit bettors in the U.S. despite the fact that the Department of Justice already believes this activity is illegal.

My bipartisan, sensible legislation, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, cracks down on illegal gambling by updating the Wire Act to cover all forms of interstate gambling and account for new technologies, with no exceptions. Under current federal law, it is unclear whether using the Internet to operate a gambling business is illegal. The closest useful statute currently is the Wire Act, which prohibits gambling over telephone wires. The Wire Act, which was written well before the invention of the World Wide Web, has become outdated. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act amends the Wire Act to make it clear that the prohibitions include Internet gambling and the use of other new technologies.

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