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New Online Poker Bill Introduced into U.S. Congress

February 25, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – A new bill that would advance the legalization and regulation (and taxation) of online gambling in the United States on a national scale (thus likely overriding the UIGEA) has been introduced into the U.S. Congress by Senators Judd Gregg and Ron Wyden.

The bill, S3108, or the Bipartisan Tax Fairness and Simplification Act, is, on the surface, an ambitious effort to overhaul a great deal of tax laws and regulations in the United States.

Noteworthy because of its bipartisan nature — Gregg is a Republican; Wyden is a Democrat — the bill is being described by the media as a call to dramatically lower taxes on big corporations, which “would cut the corporate income tax rate to a flat 24 percent from 35 percent by eliminating some tax breaks,” according to the New York Times.

So where does Internet gambling fit into all this? Acknowledging the rewards that could be reaped from taxation of Internet casinos and poker, the bill also includes language that would legalize and regulate online gambling in the U.S. as part of the package.

“With so much media focus on the differences between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, this bipartisan initiative highlights the growing support on both ends of Capitol Hill for replacing the failed prohibition on Internet gambling with a system to regulate the industry, protect consumers and generate billions in new revenue” said Michael Waxman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative in a news statement.

So, what are the bill’s prospects? It’s ambitious, and its intent of lowering corporate tax codes will be controversial given the struggling economy. “The prospects of this legislation are unclear,” agrees John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA). But Pappas also summarizes what’s good about the bill, too — namely the fact that it will undoubtedly bring more public debate to the issue of online gambling legalization. “This is a sign of things to come, perhaps seeing internet gambling being added as pay-for in other bills.”