Online gambling is back before Congress, and some are betting it will move forward this time.
Congress has swung into action this year after moves by states to set up their own Internet wagering systems.
At least two bills to regulate Internet gambling have been introduced in the House of Representatives, and a Senate committee has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday on the matter.
After years of treating online gambling as criminal, the US government quietly shifted its stand in late 2011 when the Justice Department released an opinion stating that only sports betting should be prohibited under a 1961 federal law known as the Wire Act.
This opens the door to online poker, which is hugely popular on the Internet, and possibly other casino games along with state lotteries, say analysts.
Nevada opened Internet wagering earlier this year, and New Jersey and Delaware have both passed legislation to authorize it.
“The challenge we’ve seen is that we are already starting to have a patchwork of inconsistent rules in different states,” said Michael Waxman, spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, a group pressing for regulation of online wagering.
Waxman said the prospects for congressional action are now better than at any time, and “we’re down to the decision over whether Internet gambling activity is going to be regulated on a state-by-state basis or by the federal government.”
Read more at: Phys.org