The House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would legalize online poker and other nonsports wagering, overturning a 2006 law that opponents argue merely drove Internet-based casinos offshore.
The bill would allow the Treasury Department to license and regulate online gambling operations. A companion bill would permit the Internal Revenue Service to tax these businesses and winnings by individuals who play online.
Backers of the bill say the taxes could amount to as much as $42 billion over 10 years.
The committee’s 41 to 22 vote in favor of the bill “suggests a willingness by Congress to look for unconventional ways of plugging holes in the budget and comes as struggling states have also been looking to extract revenue from the gambling industry,” The New York Times
reported in a front-page story Thursday.
Back in 2006, the Republican-controlled Congress passed a bill that banned the use of credit and debit cards to pay online gambling operations.
But gamblers have found various ways of getting around the law, and online gaming by Americans is currently estimated at more than $6 billion a year.
Jan Jones, senior vice president of government relations for gambling giant Harrah's, told The Wall Street Journal: "We've been supportive of this bill. It addresses the reality of what is happening on the Internet."
Read the entire story at The New York Times website.
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