Posts Tagged ‘online gambling regulation’

Curacao eGaming Licensing Authority Issues Logo Validation Seals for Online Casinos

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

curacao_egamingFor anyone who pays attention to the credentials on online casino websites, you might have noticed the Curacao eGaming Licensing Authority logo popping up more often. That’s because Curacao is apparently getting its act together. A popular regulatory jurisdiction for U.S. facing Vegas Tecnology powered online casinos, Curacao hasn’t necessarily been at the forefront of online gambling regulation. Although they have been around for some time, they certainly were never in the same league as Gibraltar, Malta or the UK Gambling Commission.

And while they still are in the minor leagues, so to speak, it’s reasonable to say that Curacao eGaming does just as good a job as Antigua & Barbuda and Kahnawake Gaming Commission at regulating online casinos. They’ve simply been under the radar, mainly because nobody really knew anything about them. Those that did, knew simply that a licensing authority known as Cyberluck was responsible for handling operator applications.

Oh, and of course, many of us content writers and online casino reviewers would be quick to mention the Curacao Internet Gaming Association (CIGA), which is only just that – an association. No, they do not regulate online casinos, although – like in any trade organization – members of the association are obliged to meet best practice standards to remain in good standing within the association. One of these tenants is that online casinos “operate under an internet gaming license issued by the Netherlands Antilles”.

And said internet gaming license is issued in one place and one place only. Formerly known as Cyberluck, Curacao eGaming is the Master Licensing authority appointed by The Netherlands Antilles Department of Justice. In other words, if you want to start an online casino and have it regulated in sunny Curacao, you will need to go through Curacao eGaming (curacao-egaming.com).

Now that Curacao is finding itself more on the map, it’s pleasing to see they are making motions at becoming more transparent, and holding online casino operators to the same standards of transparency. This is precisely why you will see their logo showing up more often as I mentioned earlier. Curacao licensed online casinos, such as Go Casino and Crazy Slots, are now required to display the Curacao eGaming Licensing Authority logo on their homepage, which links to a certificate page citing whether the online casino’s license is valid or invalid.

A valid certificate means that the software platform being used is compliant with jurisdiction requirements, i.e., proper functioning of the RNG and fair odds. The only thing I am unclear about (and something which I intend to email Curacao eGaming about) is that there are no specifics about ongoing compliance regulation posted on the Curacao-eGaming website. The link to a valid certificate goes to a gaminglicenses.com site maintained by another Curacao-based company and CIGA member, Antillephone N.V. In other words, it is AntillePhone N.V. that provides the actual eGaming licensing supervision.

So then, the next step at becoming a transparent regulatory jurisdiction with best practice standards in place – if you ask me – is for AntillePhone to explain exactly what they are supervising and how they are going about doing it. In the meantime, I strongly believe (as do many happy players and professionals in the iGaming industry) that Curacao licensed online casinos are providing tight regulation and ensuring online casino operators are providing a safe and fair hand.

The Lack of Transparency of Technical Systems Testing (TST) Online Casino Fairness Certifications

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Handing out RNG Certifications Quick and Easy, but so what?

Handing out RNG Certifications Quick and Easy, but so what?

First off, let me just say that I’m in somewhat of a bad mood. Therefore, if I come across as a little caustic and biting in regards to what I’m about to pontificate on, you’ll know it’s not entirely without merit. Heck, I’m probably not giving myself enough credit, considering I’m generally a very nice guy. Living here in Brooklyn, NY, some people would even say “too nice”. In other words, I think many of you may very well agree that I have a goddamn right to be pissed off.

Let’s begin then, shall we? So, about a month ago, the team here at Online Casino Suite (small but powerful, let me tell ya) decided to start an in-depth blog series uncovering the finer points of online gambling regulation. In particular, we thought it would be most helpful to explore the range of independent fairness certifications being awarded to online casinos regulated in “iffy” jurisdictions or those not receiving any regulation whatsoever, i.e., Costa Rica. I’ve said this a million times over, but I guess one can’t say it enough – Costa Rica does not regulate online casinos. They simply hand out business licenses. Woo Hoo! Go Costa Rica! Right?

Anyhow, we decided to contact these online casino software “fairness certifiers” one by one, asking them if they would be so kind to explain just how far these certifications can guarantee a safe hand, and depending on the type of certification and the regulatory jurisdiction, whether or not some online casinos are potentially offering less fair odds than others.

The big software fairness certifiers – as you may already know – are Technical Systems Testing, Certified Fair Gaming, Gambling Associates, Price Waterhouse Coopers, BMM International and eCOGRA. And of course, many of the top government-run regulatory jurisdictions, such as the UK, Gibraltar and Malta, do certifying of their own.

Of all of these aforementioned companies, we decided to start with Technical Systems Testing, otherwise known as TST – the main reason being that we have come across more irregularities with online casinos boasting a certification with TST. For example, the most popular group of online casinos operating on the Top Game Software platform, Rome Partners, sports a TST fairness logo on the homepage of their sites. However, not only does this logo link to a press release from nearly a year ago (not an actual certification), the press release describes an accreditation of the Top Game software platform, not of each individual online casino.

Why does this matter? Well, for one, it is unclear which regulatory jurisdictions allow online casino operators to change the source code of their RNG. This is essentially what delivers a fair hand or more or less fair hand. So, for an online casino “licensed” in Costa Rica, where ongoing audits are not enforced, a TST certification of the software platform means absolutely nothing. The online casino operator could very well go in and change the source code at any time.

I dare anyone to challenge me on this and explain how this is NOT possible. Believe me, I’m not saying I know without a doubt. But where’s the information pointing to the contrary. Nobody is taking the time to explain anything. And to be honest, it should be freakin’ TST!!!! They’re supposedly handing out the certification, are they not? But guess what? All TST wants is for Online Casino Suite to do a positive write-up about them.

So ya, after contacting them with these questions, they replied and said these were “very good” questions, albeit the answers to said “very good questions” would be lengthy and require some time to prepare. They then proceeded to suggest a phone conversation as an alternative, but have since stopped replying to our emails to set up such a phone conversation.

So, where are you TST? Can you please explain the validity of your certifications? Can you please explain why online casinos like Rushmore Casino, Silver Oak, Aladdin’s Gold are not given a certificate to link to, but just simply say they are TST Certified. I’m not saying they are not – All of the aforementioned online casinos are great in my book. But where’s the transparency? It’s freakin’ ridiculous that a company as global as TST (tstglobal.com) does not have a policy in effect governing how casinos may or may not display a TST certified logo.

So, please get in touch with me, TST – devonchappell [at] onlinecasinosuite.com. In the meantime, I’m onto the next phase of this blog series and will be contacting Certified Fair Gambling (CFG), which also just so happens to accredit a large number of U.S. facing online casinos. Maybe they can provide some better answers. Or should I say, answers period?

Eastern European Governments Open to Prospect of Regulating Online Casinos

Monday, July 12th, 2010

These days, the benefits of regulating online gambling are looking, well, more beneficial. Especially in countries that are experiencing more hardship during these tough economic times, any way to generate more tax revenue to keep government programs afloat is more readily embraced, even by those who would normally be in opposition.

Such is the case in Eastern Europe, where the governments of both Romania and Moldova are seriously considering the prospects of legalizing and regulating many forms of internet betting, including online casino gambling. In Romania alone, it is estimated that $500 million Euro’s are spent wagering online.

Secretary of State for the Finance Ministry of Romania, Bogdan Dragoi, has openly stated that the Finance Minister is seeking to investigate the prospects of regulating online gambling. Doing so would assuredly help Romania’s ailing economy, which was hard hit by the global recession. Currently the law prohibits gaming operators from doing business with operators, but does not prohibit Romanians from partaking in online gambling activities, which many assuredly do.

Giving promise to the potentially positive effects of regulating online casinos in Romania is last year’s amendment to a law regulating brick ‘n mortar casinos. By simply raising the tax rate on casinos, the government was able to substantially increasing gaming revenue. Although applying to the land-based industry, the principle of taxation coupled with a demand for gambling by many Romanian’s cannot be denied.

In nearby Moldova, the Ministry of the Economy has initiated a project with funding from the European Union to amend current gambling regulations. Becoming compliant with EU trade laws is helping to facilitate the project, which currently is making slow progress. If and when a majority consensus is obtained regarding how to go about setting up effective regulatory framework, it is rumored that both Party Gaming (Party Casino) and Poker Stars will be amongst the first to apply and likely be issued online gaming licenses for doing business in Moldova.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Discusses Imposing Sanctions on US

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

The tiny Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda was one of the first jurisdictions to regulate online gambling in the world. Well, at least, it was one of the first online gambling jurisdictions to get on the map, so to speak, and become a haven for online casinos and all manner of internet betting sites.

That was in the early days of online gambling, and as such, it was also before the passing of the infamous U.S. online gambling bill (the UIGEA) seeking to make certain forms of internet wagering illegal, such as online casino gambling. While Antigua and Barbuda still operates a Directorate of Offshore Gaming to oversee the regulation of licensed betting companies, truth be told, their numbers are far down from times long ago.

Well, not that long ago. The UIGEA was passed only five years ago. But five years is a long time when we’re talking millions of dollars. Let’s see – about $105 million to be exact.

That’s the number based on $21 million/year for sanctions. And it’s a figure that Antigua and Barbuda is entitled to apply to levy on the United States as part of a World Trade Organization shortly following the passing of the UIGEA. Despite the U.S. government’s balking at a WTO ruling stating that the UIGEA put the American government in violation of a trading practices treaty, Antigua and Barbuda never received a penny in compensation.

Now, Antigua’s Prime Minister, Mr. Baldwin Spencer, says the debilitating effect on its economy is very clear. Compounded by the global economic crisis, the tiny Caribbean island has certainly suffered since 2005. PM Spencer has made numerous attempts to reach a negotiated settlement with the U.S. government, but there has been no budging whatsoever, and an apparent disinterest to even deal with the matter.

Critics of Spencer’s plan to impose sanctions on the U.S. government – which he recently announced at the CARICOM summit in Jamaica – say the imposing sanctions would only further hurt the economy of Antigua and Barbuda, while having practically no impact on the U.S. economy. That’s a strong a legitimate argument to consider for sure.

Unintended Effects of UIGEA Encroaching Online Revenue for Horseracing Industry

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

It looks like more than just online casino operators have some “ish” with the U.S. online gambling ban – Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act – infamously passed under the Bush administration back in 2005 as part of an attachment to a port security bill. Surprisingly enough, it’s the same folks who would seemingly have benefited from the UIGEA, who are now complaining about, well, it’s ineptness.

Here’s a little background: When the UIGEA was passed, it basically banned all forms of online gambling, except for parimutuel horserace wagering and fantasy sports betting. I know, go figure. How are those any different than other forms of gambling? Anyhow, the only problem was that – despite the carve-outs – there were no guidelines on exactly how financial institutions and online payment processors would successfully go about filtering all of the different types of internet wagering transactions, i.e., online casinos, poker rooms, sportsbooks, bingo, skill games etc.

As a result, credit card companies are now erring on the side of caution and blocking most, if not all transactions that come through online betting websites. There simply is no way to confidently identify which transactions are allowed and which are not. Whereas there was more wiggle room for credit card companies during the last four years, now that the UIGEA has gone into effect (as of this year basically), online betting websites are now experiencing a spike in blocked transactions, some of which are apparently “legal”.

And not that U.S. players are not finding ways to gamble at online casinos (because they are), it’s just simply a big fat mess on the regulatory front. Looking back, Congressman Barney Frank’s labeling of the UIGEA as the “stupidest law ever passed” rings even truer today. So, while Barney Frank and others are working to get the UIGEA overturned and new legislation passed to effectively regulate online gambling, other politicians with interests in parimutuel horserace wagering are looking to pass legislation that would clarify the vagueness of the UIGEA.

Introducing House Representatives Scott Murphy (New York Democrat) and Brett Guthrie (Kentucky Republican). Basically representing the two largest horseracing jurisdictions in America, the pair are teaming up to drum support for the “The Wire Clarification Act”, aka House of Representatives 5599. The legislation, if passed, will apparently provide clarification that the Wire Act (the original bill that apparently made internet gambling transactions illegal, despite the fact that the internet didn’t even exist at the time) is not applicable under regulated activities of the Interstate Horseracing Act.

Now, I don’t know about everyone else, but does it seem strange there is no mention of the UIGEA in this bill? I mean, wasn’t the UIGEA supposed to supersede or at least clarify The Wire Act? It’s as if nobody wants to even touch the UIGEA. Why that is, is well, anybody’s guess. Stepping on toes maybe? Or is this a concession to the overall view that the UIGEA is such a messy bill that will eventually become null and void, and so why bother with it? It definitely makes you wonder.

In the meantime, Congressman Murphy from New York says the $210 million brought in from the Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course last year, contributed $18.5 million to the New York Racing Association, and that the industry itself is now worth $39 billion, with online wagering making up a “substantial portion” of said revenue.

DiCaprio Flick About Online Gambling in Costa Rica Gets the Green Light

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Sans UB jersey, Leo's making an online gambling movie.

Sans UB jersey, Leo's making an online gambling movie.

I’ve blogged in the past about a film in the works with Leonardo DiCaprio about the underground world of online gambling in Costa Rica. Other than the fact that Paramount Studios was getting involved to help produce the film, that’s pretty much all that was known about the project.

Looking back, I wasn’t all that excited upon hearing the news myself, for being very familiar with the film making industry, let’s just say I didn’t have my hopes up that such a film would even get made. In the movie making business, many projects are announced, most of which never get made while some – which despite getting made – don’t find distribution and never see the light of day.

Now, however, things look very promising that the online gambling flick with DiCaprio starring in the lead role will indeed get made. Just the fact that a celebrity the caliber of DiCaprio is on board (as is his production company, Appian Way), is reason enough to give the project a green light. And with Paramount Studios set to distribute the flick, it’s a sure thing you will be able to catch this yet-to-be-named film in theatres next year.

In the meantime, the film is simply known as the “Untitled Brian Koppelman and David Levien Project” (the screenwriting duo known for penning the casino gambling-esque movies “Oceans 13” and “Rounders”, not to mention “Rounders 2” currently in the works). While the film is still in the writing stage, there is a good chance it will go into production this year and slated for release in 2011 (according to iMDB Pro).

So yes, I am definitely excited to see this. In fact, if written well, this film could help to educate U.S. online gamblers about the dangers of betting at online casinos based in Costa Riva. Contrary to what many of these establishments will have you think, there is no regulation in Costa Rica. So when an online casino says they are licensed in Costa Rica, all that simply means is that they have a business license and nothing else.

DiCaprio himself seems to know how the industry plays out in Costa Rica. When asked whether or not he likes to gamble online, he stated that he used to enjoy “a little” online gambling before it became illegal in the U.S., but that he nonetheless thinks the concept of playing at an online casino that may or may not pay out makes for an interesting film subject.

Indeed, the stakes are high in this business – befitting for some action-packed, crime-thriller movie fare. And although I don’t personally engage in the backend world of operating an online casino, I do know that organized crime and various underground mafia’s have a presence in the internet betting business. Maybe not so much in places like the UK (where online gambling is government regulated), but certainly in places like Israel and Costa Rica.

My only fears are that this film either becomes all about car chases and explosions and or is another flick about playing online poker. If there is any truth at all to this movie, it should be very revealing to online gamblers, and hopefully, will even get the attention of law makers and light a fire under their butt’s to pass regulatory legislation in the U.S. and put the crooks in Costa Rica out of business.

The Basic Things you Should Know About Fraud at Online Casinos

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Why you should never auto-save your online casino password; Graphic by Lethalman

Why you should never auto-save your login password; Credit:Lethalman

For those people who still don’t trust in the act of making financial transactions over the internet, I have to admit, I can’t entirely blame them. Of course, there are fail-proof ways of securely keeping your money safe on the Web.

Take online banking, for example. Do you really think that banks would dare allow account holders online access if there was even the slightest probability of being hacked? Now, what you do with your money outside of your bank is another matter altogether. And yes, that’s where the fraud that does take place online, well…takes place.

As for online casinos, yes, cases of fraud have occurred.  However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all online casinos pose the possibility of you becoming a victim of fraud. For the sake of this article, I won’t go into great detail about the technological implications in preventing fraud, albeit I will say that all of the online casinos approved and reviewed here at Online Casino Suite use the same technology that the leading financial institutions use to secure and protect the accounts of their customers. Furthermore, the best online casinos have a full-time fraud prevention and detection team, solely working to ensure all transactions are legitimate.

This is precisely why you must fill out a credit/withdrawal faxback authorization form before requesting your first withdrawal at an online casino. Management does not use this information to pull money out your account or sell you personal information, but simply uses it as a proven, effective system to ensure you are indeed the person you say that you are, and consequently, that the money you are requesting to withdrawal is indeed yours!

So, next time you find yourself incurring a slight delay on a withdrawal, don’t automatically assume the online casino is trying to jip you. Depending on your residential jurisdiction, the approval process can take longer than expected. Just know that if you stick to playing at reputable, accredited online casinos, you have nothing to worry.

Of course, you can’t just go around anywhere on the internet giving out your credit card number. As I said, online fraud does indeed take place. Just because an online casino says it is safe and secure and processed billions in transactions, does not mean it’s true. Always verify that the online casino in question is indeed regulated and undergoes audits on a regular basis. Even better, ensure the casino is licensing a reputable software platform that uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) firewalls to protect your personal information and processes transactions with a minimum of 128-bit encryption.

Online Casino Fairness 101: Turning to eCOGRA for Some Answers

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

fist

How about a fair fist! Demand transparency from online casinos!

I don’t know about everyone else out there, but I have to say that I am increasingly becoming frustrated with the uncertainty of getting a fair hand online gambling these days. With more and more online casinos boasting software fairness accreditation claims, yet no mention of monthly payout reports, I’m beginning to wonder what is really going on behind closed doors.

Maybe there’s other affiliate portal sites out there wondering the same. The only thing is that I don’t hear anybody asking the tough questions that need to be asked. Well then, no more I say! And who better to help the industry with these answers than the purveyor of the highest fairness and transparency standards out there today: eCOGRA.

That said, I, Devon Chappell (on behalf of Online Casino Suite), have decided to start a blog series that takes a close look at how online casinos are regulated in the various jurisdictions out there. By means of writing emails to the necessary parties that can aid in our enlightenment (such as eCOGRA), and then publishing consequent correspondences, our aim is to better educate players. I can’t say if we’ll get the answers we want, but you can’t knock the intent!

Without further ado, email #1:  Legitimacy of Software Fairness Certificates (such as TST & CFG) and the Absence of Payout Reports

Dear eCOGRA,

This is Devon Chappell with Online Casino Suite. We are an eCOGRA approved portal site and would first of all like to thank you for all of your hard work in raising the standards for the online gambling industry. Speaking of which, that is precisely why I am writing today. My question does not necessarily pertain to eCOGRA specifically, yet I could hardly think of a better organization suited to know the correct information. We truly take great pride in being advocates for players, which we believe should include educating them about how it is they actually receive a safe and fair wager online – not just telling them they will get a safe and fair bet.

I understand if you don’t have the time to address these questions. However, I would greatly appreciate any feedback.

I’m fully aware of how the RNG works to deliver fair and random betting results, as well as the basic principle behind source code. However, what I’m not sure about is how exactly this interplays with regulation – more specifically, ongoing regulation. I am also unclear about these online casinos claiming to be approved by Technical Systems Testing, CFG or the like. Many of these online casinos don’t even link to certificates, and of those that do, the certificates are generally from a few years back and only state the name of the software and not the online casino. And, you certainly can’t find certificates at the websites of the folks handing out the certificates themselves!

That being said, I was hoping you could help answer these questions:

Does a fairness accreditation of the software necessarily mean the casino is fair, especially if said casino is regulated in a jurisdiction where source code changes are permitted? Would the casino then need to have an accreditation specifically for its own licensed platform – and a monthly one at that?

How does one know if they are getting a fair wager if an online casino does not have any payout percentage reports to show for?

Lastly, does anyone at eCOGRA know anything about the regulatory protocols of Curacao (Netherlands, Antilles)? We have a few online casinos listed at Online Casino Suite that are licensed in Curacao; however, for the life of us, we can’t find any official website that goes into details about the regulatory protocols here. It’s been said that the Netherlands Department of Justice does an initial due-diligence investigation, and we’ve also come across a “master licensor” known as Cyberluck, yet nothing is said as to how ongoing regulation is maintained.

We’ve heard that, depending on the regulatory jurisdiction, online casino operators are permitted to change their source code. Of course, so long as all the numbers match up come audit time, there is nothing wrong with that.  Do you know which – if any – of the non-UK whitelisted regulatory jurisdictions out there allow online casino operators to change source code? Kahnawake? Antigua? Curacao?

Honestly, Online Casino Suite is not so much concerned about the UK gambling commission and its white-listed jurisdictions, such as Alderney and Gibraltar. However, we are particularly concerned about some of the other jurisdictions out there. Also, we do not know if eCOGRA works closely with TST, but we are beginning to have our doubts about the legitimacy of their logo accreditation. I have tried contacting them to discuss these issues to no avail. And yet, they allow online casinos to display the TST approved logo – but with no actual accreditation to show for. The Rome Partners network of online casinos, including Rome Casino herself (highly reputable, all things considered), still links to a press release from almost a year ago, stating they are approved by TST – but there’s no accreditation to show for!

Sorry to get off track and making this long-winded, however, I am getting very frustrated with the industry! Thank you so much again for everything you guys do, and I pray for the day when regulation will open in the U.S. and Online Casino Suite can promote the hell out of eCOGRA and eCOGRA approved online casinos to the U.S. gaming community!

Dear eCOGRA, Thanks for listening.

Best Regards,

Devon Chappell

U.S. Internet Gambling Regulation & Tax Enforcement Act: The Latest Revisions

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

God Bless You Jim McDermott...You're a Damn Good Man and Politician

God Bless You Jim McDermott...You're a Damn Good Man and Politician

On the heels of a US House Committee on Ways and Means hearing this morning regarding the feasibilities of taxing online gambling in the States, it seems only fitting to shed some light on the legislation that stands the greatest chance of being passed with this end in mind.

Called the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act, this bill currently sits as a companion bill to the more widely known IGREA bill (Internet Gambling Regulation and Consumer Protection Enforcement Act), penned and touted by House Financial Services Committee Chairman, Barney Frank of Massachusetts.

The taxation companion bill’s author, Democratic Representative, Jim McDermott of Washington State, has been steadily working hard on this piece of legislation, and announced just this year he would be reintroducing the bill with several revisions, the least of which includes tax measures to encourage online gambling operators to operate on a legal basis – “legal”, meaning according to standards imposed by reg-
ulatory laws yet to be voted on by the U.S. Congress.

Obviously, that is the least of concern for anyone who is in support of regulating online gambling. First and foremost, the IGREA must be passed in order to, in effect, overturn the vaguely worded Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act – the bill that goes into effect on June 1, 2010 and which seeks to ban most forms of online gambling, including online casinos.

McDermott’s most noteworthy revisions to his bill include a revenue incentive measure for gambling-friendly State government’s and Native American tribes. This would impart a 6% rev share on all deposits that flow through them, likely operating in similar effect to Kahnawake Gaming Commission (that is, of course, if the Kahnawake Gaming Commission actually answered to federal authorities). Another recently introduced provision includes to revenue set-asides, and would designate 25% of said revenue to directly help foster care children and 0.5% toward historic preservation of the arts.

When all is said and done, the one thing that online gambling regulation in the U.S. has going for it right now is a massive federal deficit and several State’s on the verge of bankruptcy. This is precisely where taxation policy can influence the prospects of regulating online gambling by means of generating an estimated $41 billion for the federal government in ten years time. The ball is now in the court of the House Committee on Ways and Means, where pro online gambling legislation could soon be ready for markup.

Hearing to be Held in House Committee Regarding Taxation of Online Gambling

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Is regulating online gambling in the U.S. worth the tax revenue?

Is regulating online gambling in the U.S. worth the tax revenue?

In just two days, the United States House Committee on Ways and Means will be reviewing tax proposals to tax online gambling according to regulatory legislation yet to be passed into law. In fact, current legislative proposals have quite a long way to go before even the possibility of being passed into law becomes….well…a possibility. With the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) enforcement deadline fast approaching (June 1st), which was already postponed by nearly six months in December 2009, a more serious effort is now being taken to consider the prospects of regulating online gambling – most particularly, online casinos and poker rooms.

There is no denying the fact that legalizing online gambling would generate hefty amounts of tax revenue. However, just how much revenue is the question. And the better question is just how much at the cost of what? Being that the House Committee on Ways and Means has jurisdiction over taxation matters, the former question will be more closely examined than the latter at the Hearing on Tax Proposals Related to Legislation to Legalize Internet Gambling on Wednesday at 9:30 am.

Specifically, the Committee says it will be discussing revenue and tax figures resulting in the legalization of online gambling in the United States. Tax legislation has already been drawn up, as has a co-bill that would essentially overturn the UIGEA and give individual State governments the right to regulate on their accord. Overreaching regulatory legislation will trickle down from a Federal level, as will tax revenue between the Federal and State governments. Taking all of this into account, including the counter effects of the UIGEA and electronic eCommerce research undertaken by the Department of Treasury, will be the task at hand for the Committee.

The UK government, which passed legislation to regulate most forms of online gambling back in 2005-2006, could serve as a model and gauge for predicting potential tax revenue, although it isn’t known if the Committee plans to take an extensive look at the UK Gambling Act, let alone discuss it during deliberations.

What is most promising is that several Committee members have expressed sincere interest and even adamant hope in overturning the UIGEA and passing strict legislation that would effectively regulate online poker and online casinos, including Nevada Representative, Shelley Berkley.

Anyone interested in supporting the cause further can do so by visiting www.waysandmeans.house.gov and participate in the discussions by means of submitting a written record. In order to do so, send an email to wmsubmissions@mail.house.gov and include your name, organization, address, phone number, contact email address, and title of the hearing (Hearing on Tax Proposals Related to Legislation to Legalize Internet Gambling) in the body of the email. Attach your submission as a Word document. If all required information is provided, the statement may be included in the Table of Contents and printed in the hearing record.