Over the past 24 hours, there have been a series of reports telling us that the dreaded internet gambling bill is both alive and dead. In recent weeks, we've reported that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) had hoped to sneak the gambling bill into the massive Defense Department 2007 Appropriations Bill.
That bill has now passed through the conference committee, but it doesn't seem to be headed for guaranteed passage, nor is it clear that the gambling bill will ever be attached. Currently, House Republican leaders are holding up the bill hoping to add unrelated bills on immigration and court security.
Lawmakers are scheduled to leave Washington at the end of the week to campaign for November's midterm elections. If the bill isn't passed by then, it likely won't be addressed until later this year at the earliest. That could be a problem considering Oct. 1st is the start of the new fiscal year.
As recently as the end of last week, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman C.W. (Bill) Young (R-FL) said he was assured by GOP leaders that it would be a clean bill with no "extraneous issues, no anomalies." It would seem that amendments regarding immigration, court security and internet gambling would be "extraneous."
At this point, if I had to lay odds, it'd be 4/1 against the internet gambling bill getting attached to the DoD spending bill. The last amendments added to the bill were added on September 7th. No additional text has been added since. Let's hope the fight over immigration and court security help keep internet gambling on the back burner.