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Congress approves gambling study

A bill creating a national gambling commission has won final congressional approval.

The bill, which passed the House by voice vote Monday, directs the commission to study the effects of gambling on the economy and society, including the relationship between gambling and crime.

President Clinton has indicated he will sign the measure, which was approved by the Senate last week.

The commission will have two years to complete its study once its nine members are appointed by Clinton and congressional leaders.

The panel would have authority to hold hearings and limited power to issue subpoenas for information.

"After two decades of explosive growth, it's time to look at the ledger to see what government-backed gambling is doing to our society," Sen. Paul Simon, D-Illinois, one of the authors of the bill, said in a statement.

But Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, said that he thought the bill was a waste of money and that decisions about the expansion of gambling should be left to the states.

Some type of legal gambling is available in every state but Hawaii and Utah, and casinos have opened in several states in recent years, many of them run by Indian tribes.

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