A Closer Look at the Goodlatte Amendment

13 March 2002

On Tuesday a U.S. House of Representatives panel approved Rep. Bob Goodlatte's, R-Va., bill to ban Internet gambling.

Goodlatte, R-Va., introduced the Combating Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act in November. After yesterday's hearing and mark-up in the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, the bill will be passed on to the full committee, where it is not yet on schedule. Whether the bill is heard in the full committee is up to its chairman, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

According to an anonymous Washington insider, Monday's letter from American Gaming Association President Frank Farhenkopf to Goodlatte did more to affect the future of Goodlatte's bill than did the Crime Subcommittee hearing. In the letter, Fahrenkopf declined to throw his considerable lobbying power behind the measure, which aims to update the Interstate Wire Act to outlaw Internet gambling.

Regardless, during the mark-up, one amendment to the bill was passed. Put forth by Goodlatte himself, the amendment addresses key aspects of the bill. First, it clarifies that fantasy sports would remain legal. Second, exceptions were made to lottery provisions to allow lotteries to transmit data across state lines to out-of-state service providers. Third, it frees Internet Service Providers from liability resulting from the hosting of Internet gambling sites, as long as the ISPs cooperate with law enforcement to remove the sites when that action is requested.

To view a copy of the amendment, click here.