Congress Ponders Online Gambling Legislation

Wednesday, 26 Oct 2011 09:52 AM

By Greg McDonald

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With bank fraud and money laundering charges pending against the Full-Tilt Poker gambling site, Congress is moving toward enacting tougher legislation to protect consumers — and possibly tax — online gambling in the United States.
 
At a hearing Tuesday before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, lawmakers heard from a number of gambling experts, researchers, and consumer advocacy groups about the need for tighter restrictions on Internet gambling.
 
In 2006, Congress passed a law designed to help control online gambling, but even lawmakers say it has failed to protect U.S. consumers because most online betting houses are offshore.
 
“People are playing poker on the Internet in the U.S. for money today,” said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. “It’s not regulated and so these sites are offshore, overseas and, consequently, outside the ability for us to tax the winnings and make sure it’s a fair game.”
 
Barton and several other lawmakers have introduced separate pieces of legislation aimed at regulating the online gambling industry and providing consumer safeguards. They say the measures would also help generate billions of new government revenue and create new jobs.
 
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has already recommended to the supercommittee on deficit reduction that it consider several provisions that would regulate and tax online gambling activities.

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