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An investigative arm of the U.S. government has launched an in-depth study that is expected to further scrutinize the impact Internet gaming has on U.S. citizens.

The U.S. General Accounting Office’s study will build upon last year’s National Gambling Impact Study. U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., has again requested that the General Accounting Office look deeper into gambling issues.

As part of the in-depth study, the General Accounting Office will also investigate six areas in the United States that have legalized gambling.

The General Accounting Office has already begun studying the economical and social costs of gambling in Atlantic City. It expects to look at the effects the gambling industry has had on Las Vegas in September.

A deeper look at the effects Internet gaming has on U.S. citizens will also be included in the new study.

Rep. Wolf, who is an out-spoken opponent of Internet gambling, said the new study is necessary because the National Gambling Impact Study was not thorough enough.

The National Gambling Impact Study, which was released last June, recommended that the U.S. federal government should prohibit Internet gambling.

The study also recommended that the U.S. Department of Justice should create penalties against Internet service providers, credit card companies, money transfer agencies, wireless communication systems and any other business that facilitates Internet gambling transactions. Credit card debts incurred by online gambling should also not be recoverable, the study recommended.

In addition, the study also stated that the U.S. government should take steps to encourage foreign governments not to harbor Internet gambling operations that “prey on U.S. citizens.”

The study also looked at land-based gambling uniquecasino.fr operations within the United States and made recommendations to regulate the industry.

Rep. Wolf was the sponsor of the legislation that created the National Gambling Impact Study Commission.

“Congress cannot ignore the facts about the influence of gambling on our young people,” said Mr. Wolf. “The report tells us that 5.4 million Americans are pathological or problem gamblers, half of whom are youth gamblers. That’s over 2 million young people – sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters. It also says over 15 million Americans are considered at-risk gamblers, meaning they have high potential of becoming problem gamblers…Congress must seize the opportunity presented by the commission’s report to take a hard look at gambling.”

Gambling proponents have attacked Rep. Wolf as wasting taxpayers’ money by ordering these studies. They also point to early reports from the U.S. General Accounting Office that fail to tie social problems in Atlantic City to gambling.

“We found no conclusive evidence on whether or not gambling caused increased social problems in Atlantic City,” the preliminary report reads. Investigators with the U.S. General Accounting Office were stymied because of the difficulty of establishing a cause-effect relationship between gambling and social problems.

“This is the second gamble Rep. Frank Wolf has taken with U.S. taxpayer money in his vendetta against the gaming industry,” said American Gaming Association President Frank Fahrenkopf in a press release. “For the second time, he has come up snake eyes.”

Final results of the new study are not expected to be released until late next year.