WASHINGTON-The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions, chaired by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), held a hearing July 24 on legislation aimed at curbing Internet gambling. Bear Stearns released a report in March estimating that $5 billion will be spent each year on Internet gambling by 2003. American consumers constitute half of all online gambling revenue. Internet gaming revenues are expected to grow 20% over the next two years. Many of these organizations are held to minimal regulatory requirements. While states have attempted to prohibit or limit the operation of gambling businesses, the global nature of the Internet has rendered state efforts practically ineffective. The Subcommittee heard testimony from several members of Congress who have introduced legislation to limit Internet gambling, including Congressmen Jim Leach (R-Iowa) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). Other witnesses who testified include Michael Farmer, senior vice president of Wachovia Bank Card Services; University of Kansas Director of Athletics; Bob Frederick, on behalf of the National Collegiate Athletic Association; and others. CUNA has noted their concern over the situation because of the potential for increase in bankruptcy filings.

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