Las Vegas Sun

April 23, 2024

Bush administration moves on Internet gaming ban

Updated Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008 | 3:22 p.m.

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration released long-awaited final rules this afternoon to ban Internet gaming -- apparently undeterred by an article in today’s Washington Post that raised questions about the White House’s decision to seek assistance from a former National Football League lobbyist who had worked against online gaming.

The new regulations will require banks and other financial houses to prevent payments to online gaming sites, implementing the intent of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act passed in the final days of Congress in 2006.

Compliance with the new rules is required by December 2009. But critics, including House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, called the draft regulations unworkable. On Monday, Frank urged the administration to delay the final rules until President-elect Barack Obama’s administration had a chance to review after taking office in January.

The Post reported today that a former lobbyist whose firm worked on behalf of the NFL against Internet gaming was cleared by the White House to work on the new regulations. The 2006 law exempted online fantasy football leagues, the Post reported.

Nevada Rep. Shelley Berkley, a Democrat, issued a statement shortly after the Bush administration's announcement.

"These rules place an unfair burden on banks and other businesses that will now be forced to play the role of law enforcement," Berkley said. "Instead of making the situation better, these regulations will only create chaos, huge headaches and high costs for all those involved. I am appalled that at a time when our nation faces the worst economic crisis we have seen in 70 years, President Bush remains obsessed with a regulation that will only harm the financial services sector."

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