The $12 billion online gambling industry will be severely hurt by a new federal law banning the use of credit cards, checks, and electronic fund transfers for Internet gaming, reports USA Today. President Bush is expected to sign the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which was tacked on to a “safe ports” bill last weekend by Senate Republican leader Bill Frist of Tennessee. Shares of publicly traded companies PartyGaming, Sportingbet, and 888 Holdings tumbled in heavy trading on the London Stock Exchange, wiping out nearly $8 billion in market value.
The U.S. has been cracking down on Internet betting on sports, poker, and other casino games that it considers illegal under the 1961 Wire Act. American bettors generate more than half of industrywide revenue. After the bill is signed, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will have 270 days to determine how it will be enforced.