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Washington • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is pressing congressional leaders to block any attempt at legalizing online gambling for fear that it could end the state's total ban on games of chance.

Herbert sent a letter on April 4 to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner opposing proposals to regulate Internet poker and other casino games.

"It is a matter of both constitutional and social preference that matters relating to gaming be regulated by states for the benefit of their residents," Herbert wrote. "Specifically, the residents of the State of Utah have always been very clear about our views that allowing gambling on the Internet or other venues is not in Utah's best interests."

His letter comes just a couple weeks after he signed HB108, a new state law that formally opts out Utah from any federal law allowing online gaming.

Utah and Hawaii are the only two states that ban all forms of gambling, including the lottery. Utah's opposition is in large part based on the LDS Church's stance against gambling.

Matt Canham

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