n updated analysis found that the US could receive as much as $51.9 billion in federal revenue over the next decade if Internet gambling is regulated as proposed in legislation introduced by Representatives Barney Frank and Jim McDermott.
"This analysis further illustrates that the U.S. is missing the opportunity to collect billions of dollars in federal revenues," said Jeffrey Sandman, spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative.
That group includes the London-based Remote Gambling Association, which represents European online companies that lost billions in market value after Congress passed the 2006 law and they withdrew from the US market.
"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," added Sandman.
The legislation attempted to squash online gambling in the United States by barring businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with unlawful Internet gambling, including payments made through credit cards, electronic fund transfers and checks.
But PricewaterhouseCoopers’ latest estimate of how much the United States could raise from regulating and taxing Internet gambling is about 22 % higher than it was in 2007 because U.S. online gambling has grown despite the ban, Sandman said. The accounting firm’s study was specifically done for UC Group, an online payment service company that would benefit from U.S. action to legalize Internet gambling.
House of Representatives Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank plans to reintroduce a bill this year to overturn the 2006 ban, which was approved when Republicans still controlled both houses of Congress and Republican George W. Bush was in the White House.
Gambling advocates hope the U.S. government’s need for new revenue in the aftermath of huge bailout and stimulus packages will boost chances for Congress to replace the ban with new measures to regulate and tax online gambling. The threat of a possible European Union trade challenge also could improve the bill’s prospects this year.
The Remote Gambling Association accuses the U.S. Justice Department of singling out European online gambling companies like PartyGaming and 888.com for prosecution while allowing U.S. companies to operate freely.
The European Commission, acting on industry petition, began a formal investigation into that issue last year and is expected to release a report next month saying it has grounds to take action at the World Trade Organization. Anurag Dikshit, a founder of PartyGaming, pleaded guilty in December to Internet gambling charges and agreed to pay us$ 300 million in fines. He still faces possible jail time under a deferred sentencing arrangement. EU industry officials said the pressure on Dikshit to make a deal showed the Justice Department had crossed a major line in its prosecution of cases.