Step one passed with flying colors. House Committee on Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank’s bill H.R. 2267 the Internet Gambling Regulation and Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act took a step today in trying to regulate online gambling in the United States.
This bill would regulate internet gambling in the U.S. as well as require operators who have gotten a license to have safeguards in place to curb underage gambling and to help prevent problem gambling. It passed a mark up vote with bi-partisan approval today 41-22.
In a press release by Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative spokesperson, Michael Waxman expressed his pleasure over the vote,
“The Committee’s bi-partisan vote to approve Chairman Frank’s legislation is nothing short of historic. With Congress bitterly divided and only a handful of bi-partisan bills coming out of the Financial Services Committee, we’re pleased Committee members from both sides of the aisle were able to come together to advance this important legislation.”
Chairman Frank reiterated a view expressed by many who have called the current law, the UIGEA, prohibition on online gambling. He argued that his bill goes beyond the monetary help it could provide the U.S. and speaks directly to the cause of guaranteeing freedom.
Representative Spencer Bachus (R – AL) stayed solidly on the opposed side arguing that the decision regarding internet gambling should be decided by each individual state rather than the U.S. government. He further said,
“After all the flak last year about shutting down the casinos on Wall Street, why would we take steps today to open up casinos in every home, every bedroom, every dormitory room, every iPod, every iPad, every computer in America?”
Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) sided with Chairman Frank saying, “This bill, if it imposes anything, imposes freedom,” Telling Bachus that the citizens in this country would have a greater choice if this bill would become law not a lesser one.
Although freedom of choice is an important issue; the revenue that could possibly be generated has also been studied. The Joint Committee on Taxation analysis showed that regulated online gambling could produce as much as $42 billion in federal government revenue over its first 10 years. In another study by H2 Gambling Capital it showed that the online gambling industry could produce as many as 32,000 jobs over its first five years.
Before today’s vote, H.R. 2267 has gotten support from 69 co-sponsors from both parties as well as support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Financial Services Roundtable and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions. This moves the bill closer to being considered by the whole House of Representatives.