10/01/2004 12:00AM

Races may be safe from Internet bills

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Amendments that would restrict Internet gambling have been added to several bills being considered by federal legislators, but the amendments would not, in their current form, affect horse racing, according to Greg Avioli, president of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

One amendment, attached to a House bill that would address concerns brought up by the 9/11 Commission, would make it illegal for credit-card and banking companies to allow bettors to make deposits with Internet gambling companies. That amendment includes language that would allow horse racing account-wagering companies to keep accepting such deposits, said Avioli, who spent Wednesday and Thursday in Washington to lobby for the racing language.

A similar bill is being worked on in the Senate, and legislators are considering language that would ban sports betting on the Internet, with the exception of horse racing. Both bills are expected to pass before legislators recess on Oct. 8.