February 26, 2009

Online Gambling Could Earn US Billions

The US could earn as much as $51.9 billion over the next decade if it were to regulate Internet gambling, according to a report released on Thursday.

Provided by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, the new analysis shows a 22 percent increase in new revenue from those of an analysis in 2007.

"There is a dramatic need to have a regulated system that protects American consumers. Right now, it's the Wild West," Jeffrey Sandman, a spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, told Reuters on Wednesday.

"This analysis further illustrates that the U.S. is missing the opportunity to collect billions of dollars in federal revenues," said Sandman.

"We are optimistic that the Obama Administration and Congress will pay closer attention to this issue as they seek to find new revenues that can be generated without raising taxes for critical federal, state and local government programs. Regulation is also needed to ensure there are safeguards to protect against compulsive and underage gambling, money laundering, fraud and identity theft."

Representatives Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) have re-introduced legislation that would regulate the industry and "ensure revenues that are currently lost to offshore gambling operators are collected and remain in the US."

Representative Frank previously introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007 that would establish a regulatory and enforcement framework for licensed gambling operators to accept bets and wagers from individuals in the U.S. In March 2008.

In addition to Frank's legislation, representative McDermott also introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2008, which would tax regulated Internet gambling activities.

"The current ban on Internet gambling has proved to be a failure as millions of Americans continue to gamble online each day," said Sandman. "It's time for Congress to take action to regulate and tax Internet gambling to protect consumers and ensure that the U.S. receives the billions in revenue it is due."

PricewaterhouseCoopers compiled the analysis for UC Group, an online payment service company that would benefit from U.S. action to legalize Internet gambling, according to Reuters.


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