ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Family-centric groups in 13 states are calling on Congress to block states across the nation from legalizing Internet gambling, saying the societal costs will far outweigh the benefit to tax coffers.

They want Congress to strengthen the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act “to ensure its clear intent that the Internet not become a giant online casino.”

The groups are from Wisconsin, Kentucky, Louisiana, North and South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Hawaii, Georgia and Tennessee.

The U.S. Justice Department ruled in December that in-state online bets not involving sports teams do not violate federal law. That has touched off a race by cash-strapped state governments to try to legalize Internet gambling.

“The bottom line is we are The Family Foundation, and expansion of gambling through casinos or online is targeting one group only: moms and dads,” said Kent Ostrander, founder of The Family Foundation of Kentucky.