Last week, a new Congressional report estimated that the regulation of Internet gambling could bring in up to $41.8 billion in revenue in the next 10 years. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), one of the co-sponsors of Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-MA) legislation to explicitly legalize and regulate online gaming, announced the findings, which were conducted by the joint committee on taxation.“I suspect that many of my colleagues, especially those on the fence, will take more interest in this issue once they see $41 billion available that they can match up with any number of worthy programs," McDermott said. “I would suspect it’s only a matter of time before Congress appropriately moves to regulate the industry in order to protect consumers and reverse the flow of billions of dollars currently lost offshore as Americans gamble billions online despite attempts to prohibit the activity.”McDermott has introduced a companion bill to Frank’s legislation, which would raise money for the U.S. Treasury through taxes and licenses fees on Internet gambling companies.Michael Waxman, a spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, said that he expected the report would “encourage immediate interest in this issue on Capitol Hill, as they struggle to pay for health care and other government programs.”“This analysis further reinforces the fact that a regulated environment will generate billions in new revenue to offset the costs of health-care reform or other vital government programs,” Waxman said. “With the completed analysis, and support for Internet gambling regulation growing daily, it’s only a matter of time before Congress acts and begins allocating the billions in new revenue sitting on the table to one program or another.”Frank’s bills seek to reverse — or at the very least, delay for one year — the implementations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which forces banks to monitor and block all unlawful wagering transactions with debit and credit cards online. The UIGEA , however, does not identify which forms of wagering are unlawful.Banks will be held responsible for complying with the UIGEA starting Dec. 1.
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