The House Ways and Means Committee meets today for a hearing looking at the potential revenue that could come from regulated Internet gambling. The committee will be discussing Rep. Jim McDermott’s (D-WA) proposed 'Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act' that concentrates upon the revenue that might be generated from online gambling taxes. It is thought that over a five year period a legalised online gambling industry could create some 32,000 jobs and $57.5 billion in tax revenue.
However, analysts at the Competitive Enterprise Institute are urging Congress to reform the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) before doing anything else. The CEI insists that following six month delay, banks and other credit processing companies will soon be required to be in compliance with what it calls a "vague and confusing law" and the end result could be a de facto ban on Internet gambling as from June 1st, 2010.
"The amount of money exchanged in online gambling activities is enormous, and does have the potential to generate substantial tax revenue, but that’s not why the existing law should be overturned" said CEI policy analyst Michelle Minton. "The fundamental issue is consumer choice – it is not the place of government to tell adult citizens what activities they can and cannot engage in from the privacy of their own homes. First and foremost regulators need to correct the egregious violation of individual rights that UIGEA represents. Without this correction, gambling online will simply move into the shadows where honest individual will have nowhere to turn in the event that they become victims of actual fraud".