Taxing Online Gambling Could Bring The U.S. Billions

    February 26, 2009

Online gambling could generate $52 billion in revenue in the U.S. over the next ten years if the three-year-old-ban on Internet gambling was repealed and the government taxed the industry, according to a new study.

The study by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers could influence Congress to lift the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

"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.

Barney Frank
Barney Frank

European online gambling companies have lost billions after Congress passed the law in 2006 and they left the U.S. market. The European Union has put pressure on the U.S. to abandon the UIGEA. The EU says the U.S. has violated trade laws and has given it a grace period to resolve the matter before taking the issue to the World Trade Organization.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ latest study of how much the U.S. could generate in revenue by taxing and regulating online gambling has increased by 22 percent over 2007 estimates, as Americans continue to gamble online even with the ban in place.

House of Representatives Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank plans to reintroduce a bill next month to do away with the 2006 ban. Backers hope the need for revenue after the massive bailout and stimulus packages will increase the chances of the ban being lifted.