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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Billions of Revenue for US Government to Claim From Online Gambling

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As the United States faces its worst economic crisis in decades, one that continues to fall deeper into a recession and dangerously close to a depression, it seems that the U.S. government is denying billions of dollars in revenue by refusing to responsibly address the online gaming industry. Studies now show that the revenue being shunned is more than $50 billion that could accumulate over the next ten years, should favorable online gaming legislation pass in 2009.

The study was originally done in 2007 by PricewaterhouseCoopers and showed that more than $40 billion could be included in U.S. revenue over a ten-year period. However, since and despite the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was signed into law, even more Americans have logged on and connected to the online gaming community, prompting the need for a revised study to be released. The new study showed a 22 percent increase in the amount that could be raised, putting the number at $51.9 billion in federal revenue in the next decade.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers figures are based on pro-gaming legislation passing by October of 2009 that includes stipulations for the regulation and taxation of online gambling. This could be found in the previously-introduced H.R. 2046 from Rep. Barney Frank to allow for the legalization and regulation of online gaming, as well as its companion bill, H.R. 5523 from Rep. Jim McDermott to call for the taxation of the industry. While that total $51.9 billion revenue number assumes that no professional sports leagues or individual states will opt out of the legislation, even those exceptions will allow the U.S. government to tap into tens of billions of dollars in revenue over the next ten years. In a time of economic crisis, bail-outs, and trillion-dollar budgets, there is no legitimate reason for Congress to deny the opportunity to bring in such much-needed revenue.

The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, a lobbying organization pushing for the federal regulation of online gaming, was the first to comment on the study. Spokesman Jeffrey Sandman noted, “This analysis further illustrates that the U.S. is missing the opportunity to collect billions of dollars in federal reveues. We are optimistic that the Obama Administration and Congress will pay closer attention to this issue as they seek to find new revenues that can be generated without raising taxes for critical federal, state and local government programs. Regulation is also needed to ensure there are safeguards to protect against compulsive and underage gambling, money laundering, fraud and identity theft.”

With Rep. Frank having announced that he fully intends to reintroduce and push pro-gaming legislation this year, even going so far as to say that it will happen in March of 2009, there is a better chance to see online gaming legalized in the United States than ever before. New legislation would effectively render the UIGEA useless and allow the U.S. government to cash in on one of the fastest growing industries in the world.

Sandman added, “The current ban on internet gambling has proved to be a failure as millions of Americans continue to gamble online each day. It’s time for Congress to take action to regulate and tax internet gambling to protect consumers and ensure that the U.S. receives the billions in revenue it is due.”

For more information about the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, as well as easy online access to members of Congress who need to hear your views and support for this issue, visit www.SafeAndSecureIG.org.

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