01/09/2003 1:00AM

Internet bill to guard racing introduced


Rep. Jim Leach, a Republican from Iowa, introduced a bill in the House of Representatives on Tuesday that would ban the use of credit cards at Internet gambling sites but exempt racing.

An identical bill was passed by voice vote last year in the House but was never taken up by the Senate.

Last year, racing lobbyists supported the bill because it contained language that exempted activities that are currently legal. Bill Tate, a spokesman for Leach, said on Thursday that the language is also included in the new bill.

"If the transaction is currently legal, then the transaction will remain legal under this bill," Tate said.

Tate said the bill has been referred to the Judiciary Committee, and was co-sponsored by 15 other representatives.