King, Capuano looking for online gambling bill cosponsors

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While many forms of Internet gambling are currently allowed under federal law, “it is not uniformly regulated, the operators are not licensed, and consumers lack protection from fraud and abuse,” they add. “With states approaching this issue piecemeal, it can lead to conflicting and inconsistent laws from state-to-state, varying levels of consumer protection, and a perverse incentive for a race-to-the-bottom on standards to attract gaming operators and revenues.”

The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act, which the two introduced in June, would have the federal government issue licenses and set up a regulatory system for online gambling. It would set up a new office in the Treasury Department to monitor state and tribal licensing agencies and legalize all licensed online gambling except for sports betting. 

Under the legislation, states like New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada, which have already legalized some form of online gambling, would be allowed to continue setting their own course.

Internet gambling has been legal since the Justice Department’s 2011 determination that existing laws only banned betting on sports, not casino games like poker and lotteries.

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate have expressed concern about the current rules for online gambling, which some worry make it easy for criminals and terrorists to launder money and for children to become easily addicted to online betting.

Online gambling advocates encouraged members of the House to back the bill.

"This letter articulates well why Congress should get involved and ensure Internet gambling is not governed by inconsistent state laws. Federal intervention is the only way to guarantee there are uniform rules to control Internet gambling activity and protect every American,” said Michael Waxman, a spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, in a statement.

In the upper chamber, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) has indicated that he is working on a bill with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to rein in online gambling.

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