In the past five years since the de facto ban on Internet gambling (congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006) the US could have created 32,000 jobs and raised $94 billion in gross expenditures as well as an additional $57.5 billion in tax revenue from wagering activities, related job creation and growth of supporting businesses. All of this would have been the result of legalizing and taxing Internet gambling according to a new study released last week by H2 Gambling Capital.
But that didn’t happen. While most of the opposition to online gambling came from the neoconservative right, most of those legislators seemed more than happy to let the activity exist in a federal regulatory gray area with no federal law applying to non-sports wagering on the Internet, leaving it to particular states to determine if and how to regulate.
Republicans eagerly courting the tea party vote use the rhetoric of less government, less spending, no more bailouts. If they want to continue to use that logic while claiming that they can improve the US economy, not banning an industry is a good first step. As for the regulations, one might say that gambling in the US would really thrive if it were not legal or illegal. If the activity was simply regulated and taxed as any other business in the US more casinos would be interested in housing operations (and thus creating jobs) in the states. However, there are several bills in both the House and Senate that would legalize certain online gambling activities and amend the tax code in order to draw revenue from those activities.
Picture via techniumcast.com