In a move reminiscent of the alcohol prohibition of early 20th Century America, a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Wednesday approved a bill that would ban Internet gambling, an estimated $12 billion industry.
The ban could affect up to 2300 gambling websites who under new law would not be able to accept any type of payment from US citizens to play over the net. With the explosion in popularity of online gambling, and in particular Texas Hold’em Poker, it is difficult to imagine how easy it would be to implement a nationwide ban.
The final decision has yet to be made and will be only be passed if it is successful in floor votes in the House and Senate. However if republicans such as Bob Goodlatte of Virginia have their way all the online gambling facilities will be outlawed:
“Virtual betting parlours have attempted to avoid the application of United States law by locating themselves offshore and out of our jurisdictional reach. The offshore companies use Internet sites that are unlicensed, untaxed and unregulated."
The bill, which will be welcomed by the traditional casinos of Las Vegas, will have a massive impact on companies both inside and outside of America. British companies PartyGaming Plc and 888 Holdings both saw their shares tumble 5% at the possibility of the new law.
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