Lawmakers discourage online gambling rules

Leading House Democrats and Republicans are urging federal regulators to postpone new rules designed to outlaw online gambling.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), along with 17 other lawmakers, urged federal regulators to postpone the effective date of the new rules by one year. The regulations are set to take effect on Dec. 1.

In a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the lawmakers said a law passed in 2006 to outlaw the practice is "flawed."

"We also believe this is an unreasonable burden on regulators and the financial-services industry at a time of economic crisis," they wrote.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, signed by President George W. Bush in 2006, was meant to prevent financial institutions from making payments associated with online gambling.

While they are pushing regulators to make the change, the lawmakers wrote that legislation designed to postpone the effective date is "likely to move" in Congress.

Frank introduced a bill this year with 60 co-sponsors that would legalize and regulate online gambling.

Conservative Christian groups and some professional sports leagues are opposed to legalizing and taxing online gambling.