The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill designed to restrict online poker and other Internet-based gambling on Tuesday. According to The Washington Post, the bill was approved with a 317-to-93 vote.
The bill aims to restrict online gambling by prohibiting the use of electronic payments, including credit cards.
Backers say the bill will help curb money laundering and other criminal activities. Web-based poker and betting sites, they claim, are often based overseas and used as a front by drug dealers and terrorists to move money, and prey on children and gambling addicts.
Opponents claim that the bill will be difficult to enforce, and goes beyond reasonable control. The Poker Players Alliance commented "This bill would needlessly make outlaws of the millions of adult Americans who enjoy online poker, and is the latest example of how our representatives in Congress are ignoring real issues facing our country."
The organization recommend that the government regulate and tax online poker and betting instead of banning it.
The bill has a long history of controversy. A similar bill was at the heart of a political scandal six years ago. Lobbyist Jack Abramoff and then-House Majority Leader, Tom Delay, were able to kill the bill, and then later accused of unethical activities including bribery.
Before the bill can become law, it still has to go before the U.S. Senate.