A House committee yesterday voted on legislation that would legalize and regulate online gambling in the United States.
The Internet Gambling Regulation and Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2267), legislation introduced by Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, passed by a 41-22 vote.
Michael Waxman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, told WebProNews "This historic vote clears the way for Chairman Frank’s online gambling regulatory bill to move forward."
"With Congress bitterly divided and only a handful of bi-partisan bills coming out of the Financial Services Committee, we’re pleased Committee members from both sides of the aisle were able to come together to advance this important legislation," said Waxman.
Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) offered, and the Committee approved, an amendment that would further strengthen the legislation’s already strict consumer protections, including a requirement for licensed operators to have each customer choose his or her loss limits before being able to play on-line. Rep. Campbell’s amendment also requires licensees to protect customers by ensuring the customer privacy and security and protecting against fraud and money laundering.
The legislation reinforces the rights of each state to determine whether or not to allow Internet gambling activity for people accessing the Internet within the state and to apply other restrictions on the activity as determined necessary.
According to a Joint Committee on Taxation tax revenue analysis, regulated Internet gambling is expected to generate as much as $42 billion in federal government revenue over its first 10 years. Additionally, a recent analysis by H2 Gambling Capital predicts that Internet gambling regulation would create as many as 32,000 jobs over its first five years.
"The momentum of today’s vote and growing bi-partisan support for online gambling regulation demonstrates to congressional leaders in the House and Senate that this issue is a priority and should be addressed," said Waxman.
"Leaving in place a failed prohibition should no longer be the government’s misguided policy approach, leaving millions of Americans vulnerable as they continue to find a way to gamble online in a thriving underground marketplace."
The legislation has the support of 69 bi-partisan co-sponsors. Support for the legislation was also announced last week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Financial Services Roundtable and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.