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Congress

Rockefeller Betting Online Gambling Will Help Reduce Deficit

July 6, 2011

Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has a long list of ideas for reducing the deficit and one of them calls for generating tax revenue by legalizing online gambling.

Last week, Rockefeller released 18 proposals that he said could generate $1.29 trillion over 10 years in deficit savings. The list includes a proposal for regulating and taxing online gambling, which he said could result in more than $41 billion in tax revenues over 10 years.

"Establishing online gambling regulations will protect consumers, state's rights and state sovereignty, and eliminate a huge illegal market that today benefits only countries and companies overseas," Rockefeller's office said in a statement.

Rockefeller is considering offering legislation to legalize online gambling, his spokesman said Wednesday. Either way, he said, Rockefeller believes the proposal should be on the table in deficit reduction talks.

While most online gambling websites are based outside of the United States, a 2006 U.S. law has tried to combat online gambling here by barring credit card companies, banks and others from processing payments from online gambling bets.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, introduced bipartisan legislation last month that would legalize online poker by authorizing online betting on poker and direct the Commerce Department to set up a licensing and consumer-protection regime.

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