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Federal Bill Would Protect Online Horse Betting

10 August 2011 by admin

HorseracingA U.S. congressman has introduced a bill to the U.S. House of Representatives that would shield online betting on horse races from any Justice Department gambling crackdown. The bill is an attempt to clarify the legality of the betting and instill more certainty in the industry.

Congressman Chris Gibson, a Republican representing the 20th District of New York, announced on Tuesday that he has introduced a bill to protect Internet betting on horse races. A similar bill was introduced last year by Democrat Scott Murphy. Off-track online betting on horse races was made legal by the passage of the Interstate Horse Racing Act in 1978. Then in 2000, it was expanded, against opposition from the Justice Department. Still, some payment processors and credit card companies are weary of the federal government going after the industry.

The vague and often misunderstood Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, along with the subsequent Black Friday indictments have “created confusion regarding the validity of credit card transactions for legitimate wagers on horse racing that are sanctioned by the federal Interstate Horseracing Act,” said a statement from Gibson. Because of the confusion, some credit card companies have decided to play it safe and not process any transactions related to online gambling, “even legal Internet gaming transactions on horse racing.”

The hope is that passing the legislation will give credit card companies the confidence to process transactions for online horse race betting. With the online pari-mutuel wagering industry growing while the brick and mortar betting tracks struggle, the protection from the government is much needed. The bill will be submitted to the House Judiciary Committee.

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