Barney Frank’s Bill Has Company
May 18, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — It's been a few weeks now since U.S. lawmaker Barney Frank introduced into Congress new legislation designed to (at least partially) overturn America’s online gambling restrictions, as put in place by 2006’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
Since then, the online gambling industry has seen a flood of attention from the mainstream media, which is slightly unusual for this industry. But most of the coverage has been about Barney Frank’s bill. And that’s only half the story.
Just as Barney Frank's Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection & Enforcement Act was unveiled two weeks ago, Washington state Representative Jim McDermott also introduced a bill aimed at regulating online gambling. Launched on the same day, both bills were meant to complement each other, and will likely end up merging into a single piece of legislation as they make their way through Congress.
Jim McDermott is a Democrat who sits on the Ways and Means Committee. His bill, HR 2268, or the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2009, is designed to provide for the collection of tax revenue once online gambling is legalized and regulated.
Having two lawmakers sponsor different parts of the iGaming regulation and taxation process helps each to keep their motives and messages clear, giving them greater strength to short up support. Frank, for example, has always claimed that his desire to overturn the UIGEA comes from commitment to Americans’ personal freedoms, not because of the profit motive behind taxation. However, since that profit motive will probably be instrumental in getting the bill passed, it wouldn’t be wise to ignore it. Therefore, McDermott’s bill was created to make the package more appealing to tax-minded lawmakers and pundits.
And that potential tax revenue is significant. “McDermott’s chief of staff, Mike DeCesare, said that over 10 years, the revenue bill could put $43 billion in federal coffers and even more in states’,” writes Kathryn A. Wolfe in the Texas Insider. “It would establish a 2 percent tax on deposits made into Internet wagering accounts.”
In all the attention being given to Barney Frank recently, let’s not forget to keep an eye on McDermott’s bill, which will play a huge role in whether or not online gambling gets legalized in the U.S. any time soon.