Short-Term Prospects not Good for HR 4411 in the Senate

24 July 2006

With the Senate facing a jam-packed schedule for the next week, all indications are that Internet gambling prohibition bill, HR 4411, will not progress to the Senate floor before the recess on Aug. 7.

An aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., told Reuters last week that the bill would not receive a vote before the recess, which lasts until Sept. 4. The Senate has set Oct. 6 as its target date for ending the legislative session.

Sources indicate that the Senate's calendar is completely booked up until the August recess, and that the bill is likely to encounter opposition from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Internet gambling has clearly been in the spotlight in the United States in the last week due to the broad coverage of the arrest of BetonSports' CEO David Carruthers. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., who is leading efforts to push the bill through the Senate, stated, "This recent indictment of online gambling executives strengthens the need for legislation to ban Internet gambling. I am hopeful that legislation I intend on moving through the Senate this year will provide the Justice Department with the tools necessary to continue aggressively pursuing those that wish to circumvent the rules and engage in this sort of illegal activity."

The arrests of Carruthers and some of his associates has no doubt added new energy and exposure to the online gambling prohibition debate, but Kyl still must battle a pressing deadline as other issues take higher priority.

Meanwhile Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virg., one of the two co-authors of the bill that has already successfully passed the U.S. House, stated, "We're very pleased that the Justice Department is taking action here with the laws they have available. We join with them in trying to make it clear that the law covers all forms of gambling."