The Senate majority leader said most people don't know that online gambling is illegal.
Which makes it our responsibility to act," Frist said Thursday at a hearing at Coe College.
The House approved a bill in July that would ban the use of credit cards, checks or electronic fund transfers to pay online gambling debts.
People attending the hearing, chaired by Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, the sponsor of the House bill, urged Frist to push the Senate version of the bill.
Former University of Iowa and NFL football player Merton Hanks said he tried to avoid gamblers during his career, but that the popularity of online gambling is making it more difficult for current players.
"I also hear from them that they are receiving increased pressure from another group of so-called supporters," said Hanks, now the NFL's senior manager of football operations. "While it remains a minority of the fans, today's players perceive it to be a growing threat.
"I do not think that this increased betting is healthy for the sport I love, nor is it good for the players who are playing as hard as they can to win games, not to cover bets," Hanks said.
A letter from Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., was the only opposition expressed at the hearing.
In the letter, which was read by a Leach aide, Porter said a ban wouldn't be effective. He said a bipartisan committee should study the problem before Congress acts.
Sue Schneider, past chairwoman of the Interactive Gaming Council, said in a telephone interview with The Gazette that the online gaming industry is "crying out for regulation and is resigned to taxation."
She said the industry is regulated and taxed in 88 countries, and regulating online gaming in the U.S. would help ban underage and problem gamblers.
Deputy Iowa Attorney General Mark Vander Linden said online gambling gets the smallest share of the overall gambling market.
But, "the most serious problems related to gambling come from those who are gambling on the Internet," he said.
Senator Frist won't be getting my vote.......