Online gambling ban may be reconsidered

July 29, 2010 at 8:14 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) -- Congress is reconsidering its ban on Internet gambling as a source of revenue in a stagnant economy.

The House Financial Services Committee Wednesday voted 41-22 to overturn a 2006 ban on non-sports betting and online poker, the New York Times reported. Critics of the law argue prohibition did nothing more than drive the betting, and potential revenue, offshore.

The bill would let the U.S. Treasury Department regulate online gambling and an attendant bill in a different committee gives the Internal Revenue Service taxing authority on the businesses and gambler earnings, the Times reported.

Backers of the plan estimate the government could take in up to $42 billion over 10 years. Some states have already moved to increase tax revenues through gambling. Colorado allowed roulette and craps and lengthened casino hours; Missouri removed a $500 cap on loss limits on its riverboat casinos. Delaware and Pennsylvania also relaxed gambling restrictions to increase revenue, the Times said.

Many Republicans oppose the changes, but seven Republicans joined with committee Democrats to advance the bill in the committee vote. Both measures are supported by banks and credit unions.

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