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Lawmakers debate online gambling as bill introduced in the House

US Capitol north side
The north side of the US Capitol – Image credit: Flickr / David Baron

With a rough recession not seen since the first depression, lawmakers in Washington are debating HR 2267, introduced by Rep. Barney Frank, D – Mass., that will overturn a 2006 law that outlaw online gambling.

The “Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act” states that “Internet gambling in the United States should be controlled by a strict Federal licensing and regulatory framework to protect underage and otherwise vulnerable individuals, to ensure the games are fair, to address the concerns of law enforcement, and to enforce any limitations on the activity established by the States and Indian tribes.”

H.R. 2267 will allow the Treasury Department to issue federal licenses to gambling establishments that will allow users of legal age to place bets to online casinos in the United States, except for sporting events like the NFL and college sports.

It’s an issue that has been debated since online gambling generated an estimated $18 billion in 2005, according to a 60 minutes story.  Land-based casinos want in the lucrative online gambling as well.  “I think the issue is very simple: that you should license it, regulate it and tax it,” said Terri Lanni, CEO of MGM/Mirage told 60 minutes back in 2005.  The American Gambling Association did not respond for comments at press time.

President Obama has not weight on whether he will support legalizing online gambling and some senators have already stated that they will not support this legislation, mainly those that land-base casinos in their states.  And expect religious leaders to lobby against this bill as well.