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Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act Under the Microscope

25 July 2010 by Devon Chappell

microscopeAs the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2267, aka, IGREA) encounters testimony from a wide range of interests during a House markup hearing, it has become very clear that getting it passed is going to be no easy task. Even with opposition against the infamous bill that bans certain forms of online gambling (UIGEA), the bill that would effectively give State’s the right to regulate all forms of internet wagering, i.e., poker rooms, online casinos, bingo sites, sportsbooks etc., is still not entirely pleasing to all advocates of legalizing online gambling.

Land based casino owners and tribal gaming interests were especially critical of the IGREA bill, stating that it is essentially a “weak” bill. Director of Strategic¬† Planning at Commerce Casino, Tom Malkasian, said that while he is certainly in favor of legalizing online casino gambling, he has no option but to stand opposed to the IGREA due to a discrepancy in figures, as well as violations in tribal lands’ rights. Malkasian is urging lawmakers to revise the bill so that it will include opt-ins for tribal and state governments to engage public debates on regulatory matters.

There is also some contention that the IGREA is not accurately reflecting the potential tax revenue that will benefit State governments. The bill projects $42 billion in online gambling revenue; However, this is assuming that all of the internet betting sites would be American-based. And the IGREA does not require online casinos to be hosted in the States. Offshore operators will essentially be permitted to do business in America with a legitimate license, yet, all of the revenue will not necessarily stay in America.

In terms of taxes, there’s no discrepancy there. Yet, Malkasian does bring up a good point considering that many jobs could be created by requiring operators to set up shop in the U.S.

Those in favor of the bill included CEO of Discovery Federal Credit Union, Edwin Williams, who testified that the IGREA would help credit unions with compliance costs and instill confidence in processing the many different types of online gambling transactions – some which are legal and some which are not. The Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut, which runs the famous Mohegan Sun Casino, also came out in support of the bill, citing they are pleased the federal government has been working with tribal coalitions on the bill. However, Chairwoman of the tribe, Lynn Malerba, did express concern the bill could conflict with provisions in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and that a specific provision stating tribal governments would be permitted to operate online casinos under the bill should be included.

With all this on the table, the bill’s most outspoken supporters, Congressmen Barney Frank and Ron Paul, will be ushering the bill further along the laborious path of getting it passed into law.

2 Responses to “Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act Under the Microscope”

  1. […] a vote again. Of course, there is always the prospects of getting current legislation – the IGREA – moved along during the lame-duck […]

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