Online gambling making a comeback

Poker Chips

Back in 2006 Republicans – the folks who shed crocodile tears over Big Intrusive Government – banned online gambling by slipping a provision into a port security bill. The results were predictable. Online gambling continued as online casinos moved their operations off-shore, away from Uncle Sam’s regulations and tax collectors. Now that Washington is looking for ways to shore up the deficit those missing tax dollars are an enticing target, so online gambling may be coming back:

On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee approved a bill that would effectively legalize online poker and other nonsports betting, overturning a 2006 federal ban that critics say merely drove Web-based casinos offshore.

The bill would direct the Treasury Department to license and regulate Internet gambling operations, while a companion measure, pending before another committee, would allow the Internal Revenue Service to tax such businesses. Winnings by individuals would also be taxed, as regular gambling winnings are now. The taxes could yield as much as $42 billion for the government over 10 years, supporters said.

I’ll say what I said back when this ban still smelled like fresh ink, “government has no business banning gambling, online or otherwise. Government should only step in to punish gambling vendor fraud.” But since the ideological argument concerning freedom doesn’t seem to be working, I’m glad the economic one might. The same might work for marijuana.

Flickr photo by Jamie Adams.

2 Comments

  1. Ian

    Hmmm…. might you have a reason to want online poker made legal in the US again?

  2. Chris

    I like poker…