On October 17, 2001, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Bill HR 3004, otherwise known as the “Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001.” Most of the bill is designed to go after money laundering operations and “suspicious” financial transactions that involve terrorism, but somehow two provisions targeting Internet gambling were thrown into earlier drafts.
The night before the voting took place, however, these two sections were deemed to be “non-germane” by the House Rules Committee and removed. And with that amendment, Internet gambling dodged another in a series of bullets.
This is the fourth time over the last three years that the Federal Government has tried to prohibit Internet gambling in one form or another. Each attempt has failed, either due to technical rules within Congress, processes taking too long, or by majority votes against certain bills.
According to the House Rules Committee, the Internet Toto SGP gambling text was specifically removed from the bill this time because it did not belong. And this move seems to send a signal that time is on the gaming industry’s side. Online gambling is growing in popularity and it is becoming more acceptable to legislators.
According to Internet gaming lawyers, the decision to pull the gambling sections from the terrorist bill means that the industry is in the same position it was before the legislation was introduced. “Nothing has changed,” according to one industry source.
With regard to the legality online wagering, an Internet gaming lawyer stated, “The U.S. government tried to define what was illegal with regards to Internet gambling. While that part of the bill was revoked, the current law neither says its legal, nor does it state it’s illegal. It still remains undefined, just as it did when Internet gambling started.”
Major points of the new anti-terrorist legislation include:
- Any offshore bank account operated by a company with a branch/office in the U.S. (i.e., HSBC Cayman Islands) will be considered a U.S. account. Any funds can also be seized from the branch/office in the U.S.
- New verification procedures will be instituted for opening a bank account. Falsifying one’s identity will be punishable by a 5-year maximum sentence.
- A secure web site will be created within 6 months for dissemination and collection of financial information between financial institutions and the U.S. government.
The version of Bill HR3004 that did pass in the U.S. House of Representatives is certainly a positive step in the fight against terrorism. And hopefully, online gambling will be able to stay out of harm’s way in the future as well.