US Online Gambling Ban’s $42B Cost in Lost Revenue

US Online Gambling Ban's $42B Cost in Lost RevenueA report in this week’s Wall Street Journal highlighted the fact that measures taken to decriminalise many forms of online gambling would enable the US Treasury to raise almost $42 billion over the ensuing decade. This was according to a projection analysis that was conducted by members of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), who are essentially non-partisan congressional scorekeepers.

The Committee’s findings following their review of legislation designed to lift the current online ban on Internet gambling, concluded that a move made now, over the next 10 years would generate a staggering $41.8 billion. But that’s not all. The findings only considered lifting the ban on online poker, while continuing the ban on all other forms of online gambling, including sports betting.

It would be interesting to see what that figure would rise to if all forms of online gambling were included.

Barney Frank, who has been championing the idea is known to hold out hope that his committee (House Financial Services) will soon formerly consider this bill. He has, to date, the support of over 60 House lawmakers who have signed on in support of his bill. Similar legislation has also been introduced in the senate.

Many Democrat lawmakers believe the ban introduced by a Republican controlled Congress back in last year to be unjust and it has become something of a popular cause amongst them. There are also those that maintain a huge potential source of untapped revenue is being squandered by not removing the ban.

Rep. Jim McDermott, who is a supporter of Frank’s bill is reported as saying that he is always on the lookout for a source of money with which to deal with many of the problems that currently exist and the lifting of the ban and introducing regulation and taxation is a very good place to obtain that revenue.

While there has been no indication from the House Democratic leaders on whether it would be in support of the legislation or not, this latest savings estimate is certainly likely to get the attention of the party leaders.

The basis for the estimate made by the JCT is that a levy would be placed on all deposits make with the various online gambling companies by US residents. A group currently lobbying for a lifting of the ban, the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, estimate that approximately $100billion is spent by Americans on gambling each year.