INTERNET GAMBLING: Togel Hongkong Prospects bleak for ban bill
“I think that would be very difficult,” Kyl said. “The amount of money in Internet gambling is so great now that it has become a multibillion-dollar industry.”
The measure’s House sponsor, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., plans to negotiate with GOP leaders to salvage the bill during an upcoming lame-duck session of Congress scheduled for later this month.
There has been talk that the Internet ban could be added to an appropriations bill during the special session, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 14.
Nevada law prohibits Internet gambling from within the state’s borders, but federal law is not so clear on the issue, with U.S. Justice Department lawyers arguing that a ban is in place and others saying that loopholes exist.
Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., the bill’s leading Democratic sponsor in the Senate, agreed with Kyl Friday, saying the measure’s prospects look bleak.
“I believe next year Internet gambling will have reached critical mass, and there is very little likelihood to get prohibition,” Bryan said.
Bear, Stearns & Co., a Wall Street investment banking firm, estimates Internet gambling sites will generate revenue of $1.48 billion this year, with that figure climbing to $6 billion by 2003.
The outlook was not so gloomy for the ban in November 1999 when the Senate passed Kyl’s bill by a unanimous voice vote.
But hopes for smooth passage through the House ended abruptly on July 17 when a 245-159 vote in favor of the ban fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the bill under a fast-track procedure.
“The Internet gambling bill was such a moving target it was like a bowl of a Jell-O,” said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. “So many different people were interested in it, and so many of the interest groups split.”
Kyl blamed the legislation’s troubles on special interest Togel Hongkong groups that demanded changes and exceptions, making its language “confused and muddied.”
He also cited the influential opposition of key House Republicans — Majority Whip Tom DeLay of Texas, and Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier of California.
“Both have concerns that sometimes are a little hard to fathom,” Kyl said.
The men have expressed concerns about any legislation that would regulate the Internet.
Vice President Al Gore also opposes the bill, claiming it contains loopholes that might foster more wagering instead of less.
Meantime, a split over the issue extended to the religious community.
While the Family Research Council supported the Kyl bill, the Traditional Values Coalition complained it contained too many loopholes for horse and dog racing, jai alai and fantasy sports.
Virginia’s Goodlatte hopes to convince Dreier to bring the bill up on the House floor under regular procedures for a simple majority vote.
“We feel we’re in a better position to continue negotiations for a vote on the bill on the House floor instead of tacking it on to an appropriations bill,” Semones said.
If the House does not pass the bill this year, Goodlatte may offer it again in 2001, Semones said.
Instead of a sweeping ban on Internet gambling, Congress may be more receptive next year to restrictions, said American Gaming Association President Frank Fahrenkopf, the casino industry’s chief lobbyist in Washington, D.C.
“I think we’re going to see continuing efforts to prevent it like the bill (by Reps. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, and John LaFalce, D-N.Y.) that would ban the use of credit cards to gamble on the Internet,” Fahrenkopf said.
Kyl Bill May Be Dead
It’s unlikely Senator Kyl’s proposal to ban Internet gambling will pass this year and he may not re-introduce the bill next year, according to a report by the LasVegas.com Gaming Wire.
Now that Internet gambling is a multi-billion dollar industry — and growing — it may be too large to successfully prohibit.
“I believe next year Internet gambling will have reached critical mass, and there is very little likelihood to get prohibition,” said Senator Richard Bryan (D) of Nevada in the report.
Still, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R) of Virginia may attempt to salvage the bill in Congress later this month.