US finance committee to vote on new internet gambling law

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The financial services committee of the US House of Representatives will vote on Tuesday on a bill to overturn the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

This piece of legislation became infamous in the City four years ago after its introduction decimated the share prices of London-listed online gambling groups.

The new internet gambling legislation, proposed by the committee's Republican chairman, Barney Frank, will start the process of allowing the US Treasury to regulate online gambling in the US, rather than outlaw it. It is seen as a potential boon for the listed gaming groups, which could eventually gain licences and start operating in the US once again.

Industry insiders believe Congressman Frank's call for a vote indicates that he is confident of victory. But they are sceptical anything substantial will change before next year, as few politicians will relish debating this issue before November's midterm elections.

In a recent Barclays Capital research note, the investment bank said: "In the event of federal regulation, we believe PartyGaming would be the likely key beneficiary.... We estimate the potential [underlying profits] uplift could be 94 per cent for PartyGaming and 58 for [rivals] bwin and 888."