Internet Gambling Bill

Internet Gambling Bill

In the House of Representatives, there is a bill (H.R. 4777) that was introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte, of Virginia. The bill, entitled “Internet Gambling Prohibition Act”, was introduced to the House of Representatives on February 16, 2006 and was sent to the Committee on the Judiciary on the same day. The bill is one that, if passed, will affect all Americans who want to be able to gambling online—it will affect those promoting gambling oriented affiliate programs too.

The Path

It’s first important to point out that the path of this bill become official United States law is a long and difficult one. The bill has to go through many steps in the House first. H.R. 4777 has 129 cosponsors, which is roughly 25% of the representatives in the House. It does have a good shot at passing the House in the coming months.

If it passed in the House, it will be sent to the Senate, where it will have to undergo the same process as it did in the House. The bill will be sent to a committee, reports will be written and so forth. If not even one word is changed and no rider is attached, it will be placed up for vote. Should even one word be altered or a rider attached, it will need to repeat the cycle at the House of Representatives.

Should the bill be one of the few that survives this path, the President will have to sign it into law or veto it. If the bill does not make it all this way before the current session ends, the bill is quashed and will need to be re-introduced next session and start all over again.

The Bill

This main purpose of this bill is to make online gambling illegal and to make sure the language of the text includes the Internet and not simply “phone lines.” H.R. 4777 seeks to amend Section 1081 of Title 18 of the United States Code. Here’s a breakdown of the language updates.

1.“wire communication facility” will be replaced with “communication”.
2.“aid of wire, cable,” will have satellite and microwave added to the list.
3.“other like connection between” will have “(whether fixed or mobile)” added to the description.
4.Adding definitions for: bet or wager, gambling business, money transmitting service, money transmitting business, foreign jurisdiction, and others.

The bill will amend Section 1081 to be stronger and more complete. The whole concept is to do away with limiting terms like “wires” and replace it with an all-encompassing term like “communication facility”. That way the law remains strong no matter what inventions the future holds.


The bill has a long way to go to become law, but if it does, it will strengthen Section 1081. Gambling online in the United States is already technically illegal, but it’s a law that’s not really enforced. The question remains; will this improvement matter at all if the law is not being enforced anyway? Only time will tell, but the coming months should be very interesting. The United States is also battling the WTO, because of the U.S.’s stand on online gambling—it’s can’t be fully regulated and taxed by the U.S., so they don’t like it.