Legislation calling for a study of Internet gambling, including the impact of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The study would be performed by the National Academy of Sciences, a group of distinguished scholars who offer advice to government leaders.
The bill was introduced in early May by Democratic U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley of Nevada, the largest casino-gambling state in the country. Online casino gaming, however, isn’t permitted in the U.S.
The legislation says “federal statutes governing the interstate placement of wagers are outdated,” and that “observers and industry analysts believe that it is impossible to stop the sale of most products and services over the Internet.” Before the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed, some members of Congress suggested it would better to regulate and tax Internet gambling, not outlaw it by banning the use of credit to fund accounts.
The Berkley bill, which has numerous co-sponsors in the House, says the U.S. should consider “an analysis of the potential tax revenue that could be generated by a legal, licensed, regulated Internet gambling industry in the United States.” It also notes that an ongoing dispute between the U.S. and the World Trade Organization over Internet gambling “could have ramifications for all interested parties, from the European Union to Australia.”
Under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, only interstate account wagers on horse races are currently permitted, but not because the act expressly allows the bets. The act references the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978, which was amended in 2000 to allow for interstate account wagering, and recognizes the existing law.