House Support for Gambling Legislation

By Maria McCoyGoogle


Legislation currently under way in congress could be the beginning of the long awaited legalization of online gambling in the U.S.  Two bills, HR 2366 and HR 2334, are gambling related bills with bipartisan support that could possibly herald a change of the guard concerning the U.S. government’s long-time opposition to online gambling. 


The first bill, the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2011 (HR 2366), otherwise known as the “poker only” bill, was introduced by Texas Republican Representative Joe Barton and cosponsored (at this point) by twenty five members of the house – both democrats and republicans.  The bill’s purpose is to legalize and regulate online poker.  The relevant congressional subcommittees are currently scrutinizing the bill.


The second bill, the Comprehensive Problem Gambling Bill of 2011 (HR 2334) by Democratic Representative Jim Moran of Virginia is cosponsored by Democrats Hastings, McDermott, Berkley, Cohen, and Ryan and Republicans Wolf and Barton.  The U.S. National Council on Problem Gambling has expressed strong support for the bill.  The bill is aimed at securing federal funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for dealing with problem gambling.


In addition to the recent developments on Capitol Hill, online gambling legalization has also received some good press.  In an op-ed piece that recently appeared in the New York Observer the author expresses support for legalized and regulated online gambling.  The main point of the article revolved around the potential tax revenue that the online gambling could provide.  It concluded that the legislative battle against online gambling was futile, and that the only sensible solution was a legal alternative that also had a significant tax benefit for the state.

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