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House Bill Introduced to Study Online Gambling

House Bill Introduced to Study Online Gambling 0001

Representative Shelley Berkley (D, NV) introduced a bill (HR 2140) to the House recently that would have The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences conduct a twelve month study to assess the proper US response to the growth of online gambling. The study would examine the practices and technology other nations and international bodies have used to regulate online gambling. It would also study current Federal, State, local and tribal internet gaming laws to better understand where the laws currently conform or conflict with one another. The impact of the UIGEA and the WTO's ruling relative to online gaming would also be examined.

While Berkley has been outspoken about her disdain for the UIGEA, she argues that her current bill is agnostic relative to online gambling. "One of the advantages of this legislation is that it doesn't take a side. It doesn't say online gambling is good or bad. It says, 'Let's study the issue.' "

The introduction of the HR 2140, or the Internet Gambling Study Act, comes less than two weeks after Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced his Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act. Frank considers Berkley's bill to be complimentary to his own, and he is one of HR 2140's 60 co-sponsors. Other co-sponsors of HR 2140 include Nevada's remaining two representatives from across the partisan aisle; Dean Heller (R-NV) and Jon Porter (R-NV).

The bill has been referred to three House Committees for review (Financial Services, Judiciary, and Ways and Means) where it will come up against three sympathetic Committee Chairmen. Barney Frank is Chairman of the Financial Services Committee. John Conyers (D-MI) is the Judiciary Committee Chairman and is also a co-sponsor of HR 2140. In 2003, Conyers introduced the Internet Gambling Licensing and Regulation Act that, had it passed, would have created a US commission to study the legalization of online gambling. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) is the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Rangel voted against the UIGEA last July and is also a co-sponsor of HR 2140.

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