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Miss. congressmen vote for bill limiting online gambling

Mississippi’s four congressmen voted with the majority as the House approved legislation 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 and would prohibit most payment forms from being used to settle online wagers.

The measure also would empower law enforcement authorities to work with Internet providers to block access to gambling Web sites.

The measure passed on a 317-93 roll call vote.

Voting for the legislation were Reps. Bennie Thompson and Gene Taylor, both D-Miss., and Reps. Chip Pickering and Roger Wicker, both R-Miss.

“This bill strengthens enforcement and prosecution mechanisms in existing laws to prevent what otherwise would be illegal gambling,” Pickering said in a statement.

“Online gambling can encourage addiction and fails to provide safeguards to prevent children from participating,” Pickering said. “They also are often fronts for criminal money laundering, drug trafficking, and even terrorist financing.”

Senate leaders have not identified the bill as a top priority, but the bill’s main champion in that chamber, Arizona Republican Jon Kyl, said Tuesday he would pursue it aggressively.