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Online Gambling Bills Expected to Gain Momentum: Taxes to Help Foster Children

25 March 2010 by Devon Chappell

With health care reform getting the green light in the United States, the online gambling industry is hoping legislators will be giving iGaming regulation a serious consideration as a resource to help fund the costly tab. And not that they haven’t already, for there are two bills currently doing the rounds in Congress and gaining momentum. If you want to get right to the point and do your part in helping online gambling become legal in the U.S., visit the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative (safeandsecureig.org).

Representative Barney Frank’s Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act aims to overturn the Conservative Christian and Republican-backed Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and lay groundwork to give individual State’s the opportunity to tax and regulate online gambling. In conjunction with Frank’s efforts, Washington State House Representative, Jim McDermott, has been pushing a regulatory licensing and taxation bill (basically, a replacement for the UIGEA) called the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act.

Now, McDermott is updating this companion bill, which was originally introduced in 2009, to include specific provisions calling for the funding of foster care. Perhaps in response to the passing of the healthcare reform bill (now Congress is not too tied up to give thought to less pressing issues), McDermott’s announcement of said changes are timely, to say the least. According to McDermott, who is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, the changes to the bill were made in response to State governments being forced to make budget cuts, resulting in cuts for social services like children’s health insurance and foster care.

Well, I personally can hardly think of a better cause than looking after children. And, McDermott’s bill does so twofold: By capturing tens of billions of dollars, thereby generating badly needed tax revenue for foster care programs (that would otherwise be lost revenue) AND by putting an end to underworld corruption in an unregulated market looking to exploit minors. Although anti-gambling proponents would have you to believe otherwise, online gambling regulation would, without a doubt, protect minors from the dangers of gambling addiction by mandating underage gambling preventive measures, not to mention identity and fraud prevention protocols. One need only look to the United Kingdom as a perfect example.

McDermott says he is currently talking with the House Ways and Means Committee to get his bill up for a hearing. When Congressman Frank’s bill is marked up by the House Financial Services Committee – a strong likelihood, although no telling when – McDermott says he will begin pushing his bill to attract more co-sponsors.

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