What’s up with the proposed internet gaming ban? No one knows!

by Lou on September 28, 2006

While Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), are still looking for a way to include an online wagering ban in the Defense Appropriations bill, Sen. John Warner (R-VA), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he opposes the addition of any out of scope measures to that bill.

In a letter to Frist that echoed comments made last week by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the leading Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Warner wrote: “There is strong reason to believe a point of order will be raised should the (defense) conference report have out-of-scope bills attached.”

If a senator raises a point of order, 60 votes would be required to allow the defense bill to proceed to a final vote.
Carolyn Weyforth, an aide to Frist, said negotiations on the defense bill are continuing among House and Senate members “so it isn’t known if the Internet gambling ban will be included or not.”

Weyforth said that when the negotiations on the defense bill are completed, Frist will decide “if other efforts will need to be made to address the (Internet gambling) issue.”

Sen. John Ensign, (R-NV), a member of the conference committee negotiating terms of the defense bill, said he favors the formation of a federal commission to study the online wagering industry.

Ensign’s position mirrors that of The American Gaming Association, the chief casino lobbying group in Washington. In a statement issued a few days ago, they reaffirmed their support of a study of Internet gambling.

Many lobbyists are predicting the legislation is likely to linger until Congress returns after the elections, in what would be a lame duck session.

At this point, no one seems sure what — if anything — will happen regarding an online gaming ban. And no one knows when.

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