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House Passes Ban on Internet Gambling

Bill Now Goes to Senate for Debate

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The U.S. House has overwhelmingly backed a bill to ban most forms of Internet gambling and require banks to block payments to offshore Web sites.

Co-sponsored by Reps. Bob Goodlatte, a R-Va., and Jim Leach, R-Iowa, the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act would increase criminal penalties for gambling businesses that settle Internet wagers with credit cards, checks, or fund transfers and would require financial institutions to create systems for blocking payments to gambling sites, IDG News Service reported.

It passed easily by a 317-93 vote Tuesday night and will now go the Senate for debate.

Goodlatte said on the House floor U.S. gamblers were spending over $6 billion a year on the untaxed sites.

The Poker Players Alliance lobbying group criticized the bill and questioned why it doesn't address gambling industries such as horse racing and state lotteries.