Bill That Bans Online Gambling Signed Into Law By Bush

US President George W. Bush on Friday, October 13 signed into law a bill that will help prevent terrorists from sneaking in a nuclear, chemical, or germ weapon into the country in shipping containers that enter the US, many of which do not undergo inspection.

The bill, much to the chagrin of the online poker playing community, also includes an unrelated provision that aims to solidify laws that prohibit most forms of online gambling.

The president used the bill-signing ceremony to show that Republicans are a tough opponent of terrorism, one of the main issues in congressional elections less than a month away.

"We're going to protect our ports. We're going to defend this homeland, and we're going to win this war on terror," Mr. Bush said. He did not mention the gambling provision. The congress approved the bill late Sept., one of the last issues resolved before the lawmakers left for the Nov. 7 congressional elections.

A $400 million a year budget over five years was approved for risk-based grants for training and exercises at ports. The law will also require the nation's 22 largest ports to install radiation detectors by the end of 2007.

The Internet gambling provision will prohibit online wagering by preventing players from using their credit cards, checks and electronic fund transfers to pay off their wagers.

However, Jeff Markley of the gambling trade magazine Bluff said that poker players are now devising ways to move their winnings through third party web sites.

"They are never going to be able to stop the means of funding gambling accounts," Markley says.

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