Kyl Forecasts Defeat

6 November 2000
The future of a bill, which would ban Internet gambling in the United States, has a bleak and unclear future, according to the bill's author, Sen. Jon Kyl.

Kyl, R-Ariz., said Friday that the bill is unlikely to make it out of the House this year, and he admits that the chances of it being re-introduced next year are slim.

"I think it would be very difficult," Kyl was quoted as saying in the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Kyl blames his less-than-favorable outlook on industry backers.

"The amount of money in Internet gambling is so great now that it has become a multibillion-dollar industry," he said.

Although Kyl isn't banking on a passage of the bill this year, there still is an outside chance. After the bill passed in the Senate by a unanimous voice vote it went to the house were it fell short of the two-thirds majority it needed to pass under the fast-track procedure.

Under the bill, federal law would prohibit all Internet gambling in the U.S. Nevada law prohibits Internet gambling from within the state's borders, but the current federal law isn't so clear.

The Justice Department has taken the stance that current codes prohibit the practice, but others have argued there are plenty of loopholes in the current regulations, which make Internet gambling a possibility.

Options still do exists for the bill. Its House sponsor, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is in negotiations with GOP leaders to save the bill and vote on it during an upcoming lame-duck session of Congress which will start Nov. 14.

Another possibility would have the bill added to an appropriations bill during the special session.

Kyl isn't the only politician who feels the bill's time has passed. Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., the leading Democrat behind the bill feels as the industry grows the bill's chances weaken.

"I believe next year Internet gambling will have reached critical mass, and there is very little likelihood to get prohibition," Bryan said.

Vice President Al Gore also opposes the bill, claiming it contains loopholes that might foster more wagering instead of less.