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Rep. Barney Frank Optimistic for Online Gambling Bill at World Series of Poker

LAS VEGAS -- A Democratic congressman at the World Series of Poker to rally support for legalizing and regulating Internet gambling says he thinks he can get a bill passed by next year.

Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts told nearly 1,700 players Sunday at the no-limit Texas Hold 'em main event that he viewed Internet gambling as a right that must be protected.

Phil Hellmuth, an 11-time gold bracelet winner at series who won the main event 20 years ago, says online gambling will grow worldwide regardless of whether U.S. lawmakers soften their stance.

A 2006 law prohibits financial institutions from taking credit card payments, checks or electronic transfers to settle online wagers. The Justice Department viewed Internet gambling as illegal even before that.