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New Rules For Banks Target Online Gambling

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Bank yesterday issued new regulations spelling out how banks and other financial institutions must comply with a 2006 law that bans many forms of Internet gambling.

The regulations were released just a few days after critics of the law questioned the involvement of a former National Football League lobbyist in the White House's final review of the new rules.

Running 120 pages, the regulations detail how banks must identify and block illegal Internet gambling transactions beginning in January.

Companies involved in processing online payments have complained that the task will be difficult and costly.

Some Democratic lawmakers had proposed to regulate and tax Internet gambling instead, an approach opposed by the Bush administration and many congressional Republicans.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino declined yesterday to explain why ethics officers had approved the participation of William Wichterman, a former lobbyist for the NFL, in the White House's final review of the regulations. Wichterman now works in the White House Office of Public Liaison.

Internet gambling officials and Rep. Stephen I. Cohen (D-Tenn.) had called Wichterman's involvement a conflict of interest, noting that the NFL had paid Wichterman and other lawyers millions of dollars in lobbying fees, in part to press for implementation of the gambling law.

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