The House Financial Services Committee in late July voted 41-22 to support the Internet Gambling Regulation and Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (HR 2267) sponsored by the committee’s chairman, Representative Barney Frank.
The bill now proceeds to the full House where Speaker Nancy Pelosi must schedule a vote.
If enacted, the proposal will legalise online poker and other non-sports betting and create a multibillion-dollar U.S. market for Internet wagering. It is estimated that Internet gaming would generate up to $4bn in annual taxes and regulatory fees for the U.S. government.
The proposed new legislation would negate an earlier 2006 Congressional ban on U.S. banks using financial instruments such as credit cards to pay American Internet gaming operations. That law actually took effect this year, and has resulted in millions of Americans betting with offshore Internet casinos.
The Treasury Department would license and regulate Internet casinos. Licensed operators would be mandated to adopt safeguards against prevent under-age and problem gambling.
A companion bill, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2010 (HR 4976), would authorise the Internal Revenue Service to tax online casinos and collect taxes on winnings from individual players.