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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.

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