House Panel Sets Hearing on Internet Gambling

A U.S. House of Representatives panel said on Monday it will hold a hearing on Friday to look at Internet gambling, which is effectively banned in the United States.

The hearing will examine whether Internet gambling can be regulated to protect consumers and the payments system, said the House Financial Services Committee.

Committee Chairman Barney Frank introduced a bill in April that would repeal an effective ban on online gambling imposed last year by Congress.

The Massachusetts Democrat said the ban was "imprudently adopted" and the pastime is "a matter of individual freedom."

Frank's bill would make it legal again for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.

The bill includes provisions for licensing and regulating online gambling companies to protect against underage gambling, compulsive gambling, money-laundering and fraud.

The Internet gambling payments ban was signed into law last October by President George W. Bush. It has been closely monitored by investors in some British-based gaming companies, such as PartyGaming Plc.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

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