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Last Updated: Friday, 17 February 2006, 12:38 GMT
New US plan to ban internet bets
Gambling chips
Online gambling has surged in popularity in recent years
US politicians have launched a fresh bid to stop overseas internet gambling sites reaching American users.

The move comes in the shape of a new bill being introduced in the House of Representatives with support from both Republican and Democrat members.

The bill aims to extend existing laws that ban interstate telephone gambling.

It would, however, fall foul of a World Trade Organization ruling last August that the US must not block online gambling sites based overseas.

Caribbean complaint

The WTO made the ruling after backing a complaint made against the US by the Caribbean island of Antigua, which is home to a number of internet betting websites.

These internet gambling websites typically operate offshore and often serve as a prime vehicle for money-laundering and other criminal enterprises
Rep. Rick Boucher

Under the WTO ruling, the US was given until April of this year to bring its legislation into line or else face sanctions, such as fines or tariffs.

America could, however, choose to ignore the WTO ruling and accept the sanctions.

The proposed new law has only just been put forward, and if it were to pass through the House of Representatives, it could still be rejected by the Senate.

Prison sentences

Rep. Rick Boucher, a Democratic member for Virginia, is one of the main politicians backing the ban.

"These internet gambling websites typically operate offshore and often serve as a prime vehicle for money-laundering and other criminal enterprises," he said.

The planned US legislation would specifically prohibit a gambling business from accepting credit cards, cheques, wire and internet transfers in illegal gambling transactions.

It would also set a maximum prison sentence of five years for violations.

Online gambling has surged in global popularity in recent years, leading a number of such firms to float on stock markets around the world.




SEE ALSO:
US given deadline in gaming row
19 Aug 05 |  Business
US and Antigua dispute WTO ruling
07 Apr 05 |  Business
Going good for Britain's bookies
04 Mar 04 |  Business
Warning over traditional gambling
02 Mar 04 |  UK Politics
Public 'opposes gambling shake-up'
10 Dec 03 |  Lancashire


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