Washington rep introduces new gambling bill

Justice scales

On Tuesday, Rep. Jim McDermott introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that seeks to tax Internet gambling to provide money for foster care programs and for people affected by the declining economy.

McDermott, a Democrat representing Washington, introduced the bill on Tuesday with two cosponsors: Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.)

The bill, H.R. 6501, is designed to amend the Social Security Act to establish a trust fund with proceeds from the taxation of Internet gambling to provide opportunities to individuals who are, or were, in foster care and individuals in declining sectors of the economy.

The economic downturn is on the forefront of many American's minds, and McDermott has taken a personal interest in reforming the foster care system to better support the children who go through the system.

In June he introduced legislation to reform that legislation, and this bill will help provide the funding necessary to help the children in that system as well as to set up programs for people transitioning out of the system when they turn 18.

After its introduction on Tuesday, H.R. 6501 was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Education and Labor. The Speaker of the House will determine how long it will be in committee for consideration of provisions that fall within the jurisdiction of those committees.

McDermott told USA Today that he believes the hard economic times the United States is entering could sway opinion on legalizing and regulation online gambling.

"We have gambling on horses. All of a sudden we say you can't gamble online. What's that about?" McDermott is quoted as saying in a USA Today article. "If we can take revenue from horse racing we certainly can take revenue from online."

Perhaps that endorsement will help budge Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) bills. His Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act is still working its way through channels in Congress. The IGREA would set up a system to legalize, license and regulate online gambling in the United States, including online poker and casinos.

Frank also recently introduced H.R. 5767 to stop the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. It has hit a snag while in committee because members of Congress couldn't agree on defining illegal Internet gambling.

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