Congress: Stop Internet gambling

With college kids ringing up online gambling bills, Congress moves to ban Internet wagering. But with most sites already offshore, what effect would ban have?

A bill that would restrict Internet gambling has easily passed the House, 317-93, reports the San Jose Mercury News. Internet gambling has come under sharp criticism for being a front for overseas money laundering, drug sellers and terrorist groups and preying on gambling addicts, many of which are college students with little ability to pay.

This new legislation would update the 1961 Wire Act, which bars gambling entities from using wire-based communications for transmitting bets, to include the Internet, but would make exceptions for state-run lotteries and dog and horse racing.

Critics such as Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. are arguing that regulation would be a better solution than an outright ban. "Prohibition didn't work for alcohol. It won't work for gambling,'' said Frank.

Some in Congress say that the passage of this bill in the House is a way for Congress to make amends after disgraced Jack Abramoff campaigned against when it come up in 2000. That bill was subsequently defeated.