Several indications are slowly being revealed showing that the lawmakers are getting down to business on the issue of online gambling, and that a law legalizing Internet gambling would soon be passed, this time with clear and specific guidelines and provisions.
Well-known columnist of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bob Barr sees the legislation forthcoming. In his weekly column “The Barr Code”, Barr wrote his latest chapter entitled “Get Ready To Ante Up To Congress”. In this entry Barr implied that the bill called Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act (HR2267) authored and introduced in the House by Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) would soon be subject to a hearing in Congress this fall. Frank’s bill strives to overturn the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and apply a federalized system to tax and license online gaming sites. Barr mentioned that aside from Frank’s bill, there are at least two pieces of legislation intended to invalidate the UIGEA.
Frank also sponsored another bill besides the one mentioned above, entitled the Reasonable Prudence in Regulation Act (HR 226) which seeks to give financial institutions a one year delay from the December deadline to comply with the measures set by the UIGEA.
Barr continued to say that one of the reasons why the support for the regulation of online gambling has increased over the months is the economy. Barr wrote, “It is likely that testimony in support of the legislation will be based as much on economics as on the principle that individuals should be able to gamble online if they want to.” Barr went on to say, echoing the oft-repeated line of many online gambling supporters: “The economics of taxing Internet gambling are indeed impressive.”
Basing his computations on a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, Barr estimated that in the first ten years of operation of online casinos, the United States Government could earn $51 billion. This huge amount has led many in Washington to take a second look at the issue. Barr said that even the traditional brick-and mortar casinos that oppose online gambling are beginning to show their support and commitment. As what Poker Players Alliance (PPA) Executive Director John Pappas had said that in countries where online gambling is legal, many gamblers still go to nearby casinos to play.
Barr reminded the readers of his column that there are still those who continue to oppose online gambling such as institutions like the National Football League and those people with moral convictions, despite the growing number of supporters. Barr predicted that the fight will not be an easy one in the months to come, taking into account the dismal financial situation of the country owing to the weakened economy. He concluded, “Moralists and business that see online gambling as competition can be expected to continue to oppose efforts to resuscitate the Internet gambling industry. The poor economy and profligate government spending may have become their most serious adversaries.”