May 19, 2010— -- Putting a wager on online games is about to get a lot tougher. A federal law signed in 2006 will take effect June 1, prohibiting the use of credit cards, checks and other financial instruments for illegal, online gambling transactions.
The law is designed to cripple the online poker industry by toughening enforcement of existing laws prohibiting gambling. But if a group of House Democrats gets its way, certain online games could become legal.
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has introduced legislation that could legalize online poker and other casino-type games. Frank will testify before a House committee today to present his argument that the move could generate billions of dollars in tax revenue.
An estimated 3 million to 15 million Americans play poker online for money.
But the Republicans who passed the 2006 bill argue that games such as online poker can lead to much bigger problems.
"Internet poker is the crack cocaine of gambling," said Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala. "Young people are particularly vulnerable. We don't want to put a casino in every dorm room in the country. Compulsive gambling, by many accounts, is a very serious, growing problem."
So, what do you think? Should Congress legalize online poker and some other kinds of Internet gambling to boost tax revenue or let the existing law take effect?
ABC News' Rich Blake contributed.