Supporters of the three-year effort to ban "virtual casinos" on the Internet contended Tuesday that online
gambling, if left unchecked, is headed for explosive growth.
Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, sponsor of a ban that passed the Senate
but not the House last year, is proposing a modified version that
would eliminate one of the more controversial provisions of last
year's bill criminal penalties for individuals who place bets via
The revised bill would also clarify that federal law will not
criminalize sports "fantasy" leagues that are already legal in
states and would address concerns of Internet providers, who may be
called upon to block access to gambling sites.
At a hearing Tuesday convened by Kyl, the Republican chairman of
the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on technology, the revised bill
was endorsed by attorneys general from Ohio and Wisconsin, a casino
regulator from New Jersey and representatives of sports
"Internet gambling is still in its infancy," said Bill Saum,
director of agent and gambling activities for the National
Collegiate Athletic Association. "As the number of online sports
betting sites continues to grow abroad, it is essential that the
United States send a clear message that ... it will be a violation
of federal law to accept bets over the Internet."
Representatives of Internet casinos criticized Kyl for not
inviting any witnesses who oppose the bill. Sue Schneider, chairman
of the Interactive Gaming Council, called the hearing a "sham."
Her group wants to see Internet gambling regulated rather than
Kyl said the witness list was limited because of time