Reps. Goodlatte and Tauzin Reach Agreement on Net Gambling Bill

(July 11, 2000) Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Rep. Billy Tauzin agreed to language on HR 3125, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. The bill can now go to the full House.

See, Tech Law Journal Summary of Internet Gambling Bills in the 106th Congress.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), is the lead sponsor of HR 3125, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act of 1999. The House Judiciary Committee, of which he is a member, has primary jurisdiction over the bill. The Judiciary Committee approved the bill on April 6 by a vote of 21 to 8.

HR 3125 was also referred sequentially to the House Commerce Committee for a period ending not later than June 23. The Commerce Committee's Telecom Subcommittee, of which Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) is the Chairman, held a hearing on the bill on June 15.

Rep. Bob


When Rep. Goodlatte and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) first introduced Internet gambling bills in the 105th Congress (1997-1998), the bills were straight bans on Internet gambling. However, many entrenched interests weighed in, including brick and mortar casinos, riverboats, associated hotels, horse racing, jai alai, dog racing, fantasy sports leagues, and states which derive revenue from lotteries and taxes on gambling operations.

In the current Congress, Rep. Goodlatte and Sen. Kyl pragmatically sponsored bills which carve out a number of exceptions for certain existing gambling operations. This has opened them up to criticism that their bills do not go far enough, that their bills expand Internet gambling, or that there is no consistent rationale for which interests get exemptions, and which do not.

For example, Rep. Tauzin stated at the June 15 hearing that HR 3125 "actually creates exemptions, which could have the effect, indeed, of promoting some forms of gambling on the Internet."

Rep. Goodlatte released a statement on July 11 which provided that the two have reached an agreement on language for the bill. The release states that "The new addition to H.R. 3125 clarifies that the bill prohibits all online gambling and only otherwise lawful State-regulated live parimutuel wagering activities that are conducted on a closed loop, subscriber-based system, not on the open Internet, are permitted."

Rep. Billy

"I have been continuously committed to putting an end to gambling on the Internet," said Rep. Goodlatte in the release. "For too long, our children have been placed in harm's way as online gambling has been permitted to flourish into a billion dollar business, with more than 700 sites in existence. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act makes it clear that online gambling must be stopped before it grows any further out of control."

"Simply put, this compromise is a huge step toward preventing run-away gambling on the Internet," said Rep. Tauzin in the same release. "My colleague and close friend, Bob Goodlatte, has done a remarkable job in bringing all the disparate groups together. This bill is now set to pass in the House of Representatives because of his tireless efforts. When finally approved, this will be a victory for American families and traditional values."

Tech Law Journal Stories on Internet Gambling
Senate Passes Internet Gambling Ban, 7/24/98.
Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Internet Gambling, 3/24/99.
Sen. Kyl Introduces Internet Gambling Bill, 3/30/99.
Rep. Goodlatte Introduces Net Gambling Prohibition Bill, 10/25/99.
Net Gambling Bills Protect Established Gambling Interests, 10/25/99.
Gambling Industry Congressional Campaign Contributions, 10/25/99.
House Subcommittee Approves Net Gambling Prohibition Bill, 11/4/99.
Telecom Subcommittee House Hearing on Net Gambling Bill, 6/15/00.
House Banking Committee Approves Internet Gambling Funding Bill, 6/29/00.