According to a recent news report, the national debate concerning online gambling is about to heat up significantly. Sources reveal that U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham and House Representative Jason Chaffetz introduced anti-gambling legislation to their respective chambers of congress. The legislature, as it is written, would effectively ban almost all forms of online gambling in the US.
The current bill would work to remove online casino games such as slots, poker and a number of other table games out of the arsenal of the online casinos. There are multitudinous individuals that believe this bill is being funded primarily by the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Casino, Sheldon Adelson. Adelson is one of the few land-based casino owners who still openly opposes internet gambling. The casino mogul has literally thrown millions of dollars of his own money into a lobbying campaign that is intended to halt the growth of online gambling in America.
Adelson says that his primary concern is the impact that online gambling can have on children, suggesting that online gambling sites are too easily accessible by children. One thing is certain, and that is the fact that the bill definitely faces some strong opposition. As soon as the bill was introduced this past Wednesday, the Democratic Governors Association went on record condemning the bill. They released a statement saying that they disapproved of the any form of direct government prohibition of internet gambling.
Regulation and Taxation
At current, the online gambling industry is not regulated at all. The concern for the lack of regulation initially pushed the online gambling issue to the forefront, when a number of national lawmakers suggested the need for legislation that would provide regulatory standards for the way in which online gambling could be conducted. States, such as Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey all instituted regulations on internet gambling in their jurisdiction, the pressure has increased on the federal government to follow suit, at least to some degree. The vast majority of the pressure does not seem to be coming from moral opposition to online gambling as Adelson suggests, but the pressure associated with missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue generated by online gambling.
The potential tax revenue represented by the online gambling industry is another reason that the current bill proposing a ban on online gambling will be sure to meet stiff opposition. The money that is generated online through online gambling casinos has increased exponentially since its introduction and the numbers continue to increase annually. A ban on online gambling could mean that much needed tax revenue could be lost to offshore or overseas online gambling industries.
The Future of Online Casinos
Although a total ban on online gambling seems highly unlikely, the possibility of national regulations being implemented at some point in the relatively near future seems likely. As far as regulating the industry in concerned, things were set in motion as far back as 2011 when the Department of Justice reversed its longstanding opinion that all online gambling was an illegal act based on the 1961 Wire Act. The current stance of the Department of Justice is that only sports betting online is illegal under the 1961 Wire Act.
The legislature filed concerning online gambling is most certain to rekindle the debate on the legality of online gambling and the need, at the very least, to provide certain federal regulations, which include a federal tax on the revenue generated by online gambling in the U.S.
Due to the fact that the nation is entering another election cycle, most political analyst don’t believe that the bill will garner the necessary support that it will need to get through the house.