Proposed U.S. Tax Legislation Includes Internet Gaming Regulation

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Two U.S. Senators have wrapped a plan to regulate and tax Internet gambling inside a piece of legislation aimed at simplifying the country's tax code and responding to a series of expiring tax cuts.

Should it become law, the Bipartisan Tax Fairness and Simplification Act of 2010, introduced to Congress by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden and Republican Senator Judd Gregg Tuesday, will regulate Internet gambling and charge Internet gaming operators a licensing fee of 2% on all deposits monthly.

"Internet gambling in the United States should be controlled by a strict Federal licensing and regulatory framework to protect underage and otherwise vulnerable individuals, to ensure the games are fair, to address the concerns of law enforcement and to enforce any limitations on the activity established by the States and Indian tribes," the proposed legislation reads.

Many of the provisions in the act regarding Internet gambling are similar to those included in legislation introduced last year by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank.

Senator Wyden also introduced an amendment in the Senate Finance Committee to use Internet gambling revenue to offset the costs of health care reform last year.

However, he later pulled the amendment to focus on the health care aspect of the bill.

Internet gaming lobbyists from the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative are applauding Wyden and Gregg's latest bill.

"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 spokesperson Michael Waxman.

A Joint Committee on Taxation analysis found that regulating Internet gambling would generate nearly $42 billion over 10 years.

The next step for this latest bill is to be debated in a Senate committee.

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