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States look to sports betting for cash

May 8, 2009 at 9:43 PM

WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) -- A handful of U.S. states are considering moves to legalize sports pool betting in hopes of taxing a portion of the billions of dollars bet each year.

Stateline.org reported Friday that a pending lawsuit seeks to overturn a 1992 federal law that bans sports betting, except in Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon, which were grandfathered in because they already had gambling programs.

The news site noted that every state except Hawaii and Utah has some form of legalized gambling.

"States are chasing for every gambling dollar that they can," said the Rev. Richard McGowan, a Boston College professor and author of the 2008 book, "The Gambling Debate."

Despite the national recession, the gambling industry continues to pump money into local and state coffers around the United States, the report said. Although there is a 2.2 percent decline in taxes states and localities receive from commercial casinos, there has been a 16.6 percent increase in taxes from racetrack casinos.

Stateline said the commercial casinos in 12 states generated $32.5 billion in 2008, down 4.7 percent.

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