ABC News: Legalized Online Gambling a “Crap Shoot”

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
online gambling


With a measure to legalize online gambling clearing the House Financial Services Committee this past Wednesday, the industry is optimistic that the activity will become fully legalized within the United States by year’s end, at least when it comes to Internet poker. 

But according to an ABC News report, the final passage of this measure is being viewed as a “crap shoot” by many on Capitol Hill.

"This is, by no means, a sure thing," said a senior staffer on the financial services committee. "In fact, I'd call it a long shot."

ABC News.com’s Richard Blake explains:

The window to get anything passed is quickly closing. Congress is set to take a seven-week recess, leaving a two-week window in late September before the session breaks again prior to mid-term elections. And then there is the looming possibility of a lame duck session which, which according to the Financial Services Committee staffer, does not bode well for passage of anything.

Gambling911.com would be remiss in pointing out that it was under these very same circumstances that Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl managed to get online gambling prohibition passed back in October 2006.  That occurred in the dead of night the very last day before a final recess.

Blake points out yet another obstacle standing in the way:

Additionally, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, the committee's chairman and chief sponsor of the measure, H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act of 2009, has stressed he wants that bill to go forward paired with a separate piece of legislation, H.R. 4976, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2010. Sponsored by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington, this bill would establish a framework for taxing Internet gambling, including industry profits and individual's winnings. Proponents say legalizing online gambling might raise $10 billion to $42 billion in new government revenue over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. The House Ways and Means Committee has yet to mark up McDermott's bill.

Getting McDermott's companion bill through Ways and Means, and then having both that bill and Rep. Frank's bill pass in the House, and then the Senate, all in that brief September window, while not impossible clearly looms as a tall order, conceded John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying organization. "We are not talking about an easy task," Pappas said

Online gambling continues to thrive in the U.S. though playing with such businesses became much more difficult following passage of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. 

The law doesn't specifically ban banks from transacting with online poker sites; rather, it merely requires that banks take proper steps to make sure that they do not facilitate any illegal gambling transactions.

The problem is that UIGEA itself allows for certain forms of online gambling such as horse racing and the banks have made it clear they are incapable of distinguishing between the so-called “good” (horse racing) and “bad” (online poker) forms of Internet gambling. 

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Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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