LAS VEGAS (AP) - The House Financial Services Committee has voted 30-19 to require federal agencies to define unlawful Internet gambling before completing regulations to enforce a ban against it.
The question now is whether the margin of Tuesday's vote will persuade House leaders to schedule a vote on the House floor before
Congress adjourns in the next few weeks.
Even if the bill doesn't pass this year, it's expected to provide momentum to efforts to roll back an Internet gambling ban next year in a new session of Congress.
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the committee chairman and an aggressive foe of the 2006 ban on Internet gambling, said he plans
to continue efforts to repeal it.
Among other things, the bill that passed committee on Tuesday would require the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to consult the U.S. attorney general's office in developing a formal process to define unlawful Internet gambling.
Frank joined Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., in expressing dismay that the bill isn't good enough for the National Football League and other professional sports leagues that opposed it.
"I'm trying to figure out what the difference is between Internet gambling and legal sports books run by all the major casinos in Las Vegas like Caesars, like Tropicana, like all of the others," Clay said.
"I think it's kind of disingenuous on the part of major league sports in this country, and sometimes we should be willing to admit when we, as lawmakers, make a mistake and pass a law that is really unimportant," Clay said, referring to the Internet gambling ban.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)