April 28, 2009

Frank To Introduce New Online Gambling Bill

Barney Frank said on Tuesday he plans to introduce a new bill that would put an end to the ban on Internet gambling put in place during the Bush administration.

"We'll be introducing it next week and I plan to move on it," Frank said during the Reuters Global Financial Regulation Summit in Washington.

Frank said the ban has hurt trade ties with the European Union.

Last month, the European Commission said the US Justice Department's ban on European online gambling is in violation of agreements under the World Trade Organization.

Instead of file a WTO complaint, the EU said it would seek a negotiation with the US.

"There's still a lot of gambling going on, where there's no revenue coming in to the governments," Gavin Kelleher, an analyst at the research firm H2 Gambling Capital in Ireland, told the New York Times.

"They realize they could use the revenue."

When the US banned online gambling, EU firms lost billions of euros because banks and credit card companies were forbidden to make payments to online gambling sites.

One study from PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the US could earn more than $50 billion over a decade if it were to impose taxes on legalized online gambling.

Before the ban, North America was the largest contributor to the online gambling market. Since then, it has been passed by Europe and Asia, according to H2 Gambling Capital. However, H2 admits that online gambling accounted for revenues of $6 billion last year in North America.

Republicans had control of the White House and Congress when the ban was enacted. The Democrats now control both branches, but Reuters said it is "unclear how the Obama administration will handle the issue."

"I'd be amazed if it didn't happen over the next two or three years," Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of the Remote Gambling Association, a trade group based in London, told the NYT. "It's just a question of what exactly the regulations will say."