WASHINGTON -- The House passed legislation Tuesday that would prevent gamblers from using credit cards to bet online and could block access to gambling Web sites.
The legislation would clarify and update current law to spell out that most gambling is illegal online. But there would be exceptions - for state-run lotteries and horse racing - and passage isn't a safe bet in the Senate, where Republican leaders have not considered the measure a high priority.
The House voted 317-93 for the bill, H.R. 4411, which would allow authorities to work with Internet providers to block access to gambling Web sites.
Critics argued that regulating the $12 billion industry would be better than outlawing it. The Internet gambling industry is headquartered almost entirely outside the United States, though about half its customers live in the U.S.
Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Jim Leach, R-Iowa sponsored the bill. They successfully beat back an amendment to strip out exemptions in the legislation for the horse racing industry and state lotteries.
Goodlatte called that "a poison pill amendment," aimed at defeating the larger bill.