Congress might roll dice, legalize online gambling

A push to rewrite federal law to legalize internet gambling, banned since 2006, is gaining traction as politicians eye billions in additional tax revenue, CNET reports. At least some politicos are taking those arguments seriously. The U.S. House of Representatives committee charged with writing tax laws will hold a hearing on May 19 to consider a trio of legalization-and-taxation proposals. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is the author of H.R. 2267, which would allow internet casinos to obtain licenses from and be regulated by the federal government. A related bill, H.R. 2268, would impose a 2-percent federal “internet gambling fee” and, just in case, require that the IRS be notified of taxpayers’ winnings. The third, H.R. 4976, says state governments may collect a 6-percent gambling tax. The proposals would raise an extra $58 billion in tax revenue by 2015 and create about 32,000 jobs, estimates a report released last month by H2 Gambling Capital, a gaming consultancy. (H2 was assuming that all forms of internet gambling, including sports betting, would be permitted.) Opposing the plans are conservative groups including Focus on the Family Action, which has said of Frank’s efforts: “This is all about Big Government decriminalizing an addictive, predatory vice in order to exploit more citizens for more money. … When federal government tries to cannibalize its own citizens for more revenues, something is wrong.”

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