INTERNET GAMING Amendment may derail ban bill

WASHINGTON — Momentum to ban Internet gambling came to a screeching halt Wednesday when a House panel voted 16-15 to attach an amendment that broadens its restrictions. The dramatic outcome came down to a final vote cast by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., on a key amendment by Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah. With the House Judiciary Committee deadlocked at 15-15, Waters walked over to the chair of Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking Democrat. After a brief discussion, Waters announced her vote in favor of Cannon’s amendment, which would remove exemptions granted to technologies employed by state lotteries and the horse racing industry. “I was trying to think of the effect of this amendment and what would happen if it passed. I wanted to slow this (Internet gambling ban) down,” Waters said. “I was trying to ferret out how to signal my distaste with it all,” Waters said. “We need to stop piecemealing what we are going to allow and not allow on the Internet.” The vote on final passage of the Internet gambling ban proposed by Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, was only slightly less compelling. With the committee again deadlocked at 15-15, the outcome hinged once more on the

Kyl growing pessimistic about banning Internet gambling

In a sharp reversal, several of Las Vegas’ most powerful casino operators no longer want to ban Internet gambling, and some are starting websites and exploring technology that could eventually offer wagering in homes, offices or anywhere there is a computer wired into cyberspace. The policy change is reverberating through Nevada and Washington, where some casino companies are gearing up to oppose legislation they once embraced that would explicitly ban Internet gambling and force Internet companies to block access to illegal sites. The $40 billion casino industry is not unanimous on the issue. But those who oppose a ban on Internet gambling say they now believe such a ban is not technologically feasible and therefore they should be allowed to compete with the 1,400 sites, operated from overseas, that already offer gambling. Some politicians and industry analysts have a more skeptical view of the casinos’ motives, asserting that the casinos are seeking to control a lucrative field that they have realized they cannot legislate out of existence. These critics expect the casinos eventually to seek regulation that could give them the only legitimate licenses, enabling them to co-opt, if not monopolize, the industry. In the last Congress, legislation intended to