Frank Re-Introduces Online Gambling Legislation

Recent news reports indicate that Barney Frank’s 2010 bill that would tax and regulate online gambling has been revived. Frank has joined with republican John Campbell to introduce the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act in the House of Representatives. The internet bingo industry is following developments related to this piece of legislation closely. Industry hopes are high that this time the bill will be passed. The bill could re open the US market for bingo sites.

Since 2006 when strict anti online gambling legislation was passed UK and European online bingo sites were prohibited from accepting deposits from American players. Most of the leading UK bingo sites have turned American players away limiting the options of American players. Despite US laws many bingo sites still accept US players complicating the current situation. Most bingo sites accepting US players are not licensed in the UK or Europe. American players must resort to some exotic funding options since most online payment processors have exited the US market. Several prominent payment services attracted the attention of the US Department of Justice and were heavily fined and some have had millions in assets seized by the US government.

Many in the gaming industry had high hopes after the election of Obama but were disappointed by the inaction of house and senate Democrats in overturning online gambling laws. Most analysts say that the US is missing out on billions in potential tax revenue by continuing the ineffective ban on online gambling. The tough economic climate in the US has prompted several states to investigate the possibility of setting up official online gaming sites to help mitigate massive deficits. Many feel that Frank’s bill has a good chance of passage and that the US may see online gambling sometime in the near future.  Nevada and New Jersey may be the first states to offer legal online gambling.

Of course internet bingo operators are pleased at the prospect of millions of new American players. Most bingo sites are already prepared for the expected influx of American players should Frank’s bill be successful. The technology and infrastructure are already in place so the transition to legal online gaming the US should go smoothly. In addition to the US several European countries are liberalizing their online gambling laws. The Netherlands just legalized online gambling and expects to make millions auctioning gaming licenses. For online bingo 2011 looks like a very good year!

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