WASHINGTON -- After years of struggling, former House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach (R-Iowa) has gotten his Internet gambling bill on the books.
On Oct. 13, President George W. Bush signed H.R. 4954, the SAFE Port Act, into law, which included language from the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act (H.R. 4411). The law regulates the payment systems to try to cut off the flow of money to Internet gambling sites while maintaining states' rights to regulate gambling that occurs solely within state borders. It is designed, according to the Financial Services Committee, not to change the gaming laws, but to provide law enforcement and private parties, such as credit card companies, with new enforcement tools that will prohibit illegal Internet gambling transactions even when the Web sites are operated offshore.
"By cutting the flow of money from gamblers to Internet casinos," Leach said, "this measure gives federal and state authorities tools to thwart a destructive and illegal activity plaguing American families and posing a threat to our national security. Unlike brick-and-mortar casinos in the U.S., where legal protections for bettors exist and where there are some compensatory social benefits in jobs and tax revenues, Internet gambling sites yield only liabilities to America and to Americans."
Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) stated, "It will keep kids and problem gamblers out of the Internet casinos that infiltrate their daily lives, while protecting all of us from the horrifying effects of money laundering and terrorist financing."