Kyl Bill Reported Out of Judiciary Committee

17 June 1999
The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act (Kyl bill) was reported out of the full Senate Judiciary Committee this morning, but not unscathed. A number of concerns were voiced by some of the Committee members.

Senator Feinstein from California noted that she still had problems with the current version of the bill. She's expressed reservations in the past with some of the ISP provisions.

Senators Leahy (Vermont) and Senator Feingold (Wisconsin) both stated concerns about the bill, particularly as it relates to the lack of exceptions for Indian or tribal gaming operations. In fact, Senator Feingold voted against the bill in mark-up on those grounds.

The Indian gaming issue has turned out to be a thorny one for Kyl. He's been averse to letting the tribes enjoy the same exemptions that he so graciously allotted to state lotteries, fantasy sports and the pari-mutuel industry. But, Judiciary Committee Chairman Hatch (Utah) told Kyl that he "strongly suggested" that Kyl work out the differences with the tribes or he would support sharing jurisdiction over the bill with the Senate Indian Affairs Committee (a move suggested by that committee's chairman Senator Ben Whitehorse Campbell from Colorado and Senator Inouye from Hawaii).

A variety of technology companies were very concerned about their own criminal liability, particularly for possibly having advertising for online gaming operations on their servers. These companies included MCI, Yahoo, AOL, and AT & T. Such liability issues for ISPs and other Internet-related companies are likely hard to work out without completely gutting the bill.

In an interesting side note, a Deputy Attorney General from Canada was in the audience watching the proceedings with interest.

From here, the bill will at some point pass to a vote by the full Senate. No companion bill has yet even been introduced in the House so it's uncertain how things might progress in that chamber until such time as the language of a proposed House bill is made public.

Another letter was made available from the Department of Justice which discussed their latest concerns about the enforceability of prohibition. IGN will make the content of that letter available as soon as possible.