As expected, group of House lawmakers Thursday reintroduced legislation that would legalize online gambling and set up a regime for regulating the activity.
Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., introduced the measure along with House Financial Services ranking member Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Reps. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo. It would essentially overturn a 2006 law that prohibited most online gambling and barred banks, credit card companies and other payment processors from processing payments for online bets.
The legislation mirrors a bill, sponsored by Frank, that was approved by the Financial Services Committee last year.
Supporters of such legislation argue that the 2006 law has done little to deter those Americans who want to gamble from seeking out online gaming sites based outside the United States. They say the United States should legalize online gaming and set up a regime to tax and regulate it to ensure consumers are better protected. They say tax revenues from online gaming could raise billions of dollars over the next decade.
"Clearly, Americans want to gamble on the Internet, and policymakers need to provide both the freedom to do so, as well as ensure that appropriate consumer protections are in place," Campbell said in a statement. "Regulating online gaming and making certain that these sites are operating legally in America will also create economic growth through generated tax revenue and the possibility of attracting foreign players to U.S. sites."
The bill is expected to be referred to the House Financial Services Committee, where it will likely face stiff resistance from Chairman Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., who strongly opposed Frank's bill last year.