Bill Frist trying to impose restrictions on Internet gambling
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Friday September 15, 2006
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) is attempting to impose strict regulations on the growing online gambling industry by tying a measure to the Defense Authorization bill, today's issue of National Journal's Technology Daily is reporting.
Frist, widely believed to be considering a presidential run, appears to be reaching out to his political base. Organizations like the conservative Family Research Council are supporting a ban on all forms of Internet betting.
Excerpts from the subscription-only article follow...
Looking to burnish his credentials with conservative Christians who play a critical role in the Republican presidential nominating process, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is making a last-minute attempt to attach to the defense authorization bill language that would target the $22 billion online gambling industry.
Negotiators now say they probably will complete action on the defense bill next week. Frist, R-Tenn., is eyeing it as a way to move anti-gambling legislation that has stalled in the Senate.
In July, the House passed a comprehensive measure to ban most forms of online gambling. Supporters contended that this year represents the best opportunity to target the industry because of the political fallout from the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Abramoff was instrumental in helping defeat an Internet gambling ban on the House floor in 2000.
But the House measure has stalled in the Senate because of opposition from unidentified senators sympathetic to gambling interests.
The conservative Family Research Council has been leading the opposition for a ban. Minority Leader Harry Reid, who has been a strong congressional advocate for his home state of Nevada's gambling industry, opposes Internet gambling but has not taken a public stand on the House bill.
The American Gaming Association, which represents the U.S. gambling industry, has advocated a commission to study the issue.