U.S. House bans Internet gambling

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The U.S. House has approved a Republican-written bill and has imposed a ban on most forms of Internet gambling by making it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.

Internet gambling generates some $12 billion annually worldwide, half from American gamblers. The bill exempted horse racing and lotteries from the ban. The House bill, which was also sponsored by Jim Leach of Iowa, is part of the Republican party's emphasis on moral values as congressional elections approach this fall. Supporters cited examples of college students and other young people whose lives were ruined after they became addicted to Internet gambling. In one case, they said, a man robbed a bank to try to recover his losses. Opponents, meanwhile, criticised the bill as a politically motivated bid to stir up social conservatives and boost Republican prospects in the November elections.

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