Internet Gambling Legalization Bid Seen as Long Shot

A bid to legalize Internet gambling, despite passing in House, is a long shot.

ByABC News
July 29, 2010, 4:09 PM

Aug. 2, 2010— -- A movement to legalize online poker and other forms of non-sports betting cleared a major hurdle when a key bill passed the House Financial Services Committee July 28.

But final passage of the measure is still being viewed on Capitol Hill as a crap shoot at best. "This is, by no means, a sure thing," said a senior staffer on the financial services committee. "In fact, I'd call it a long shot."

That's because the window to get anything passed is quickly closing. Congress is set to take a seven-week recess, leaving a two-week window in late September before the session breaks again prior to mid-term elections. And then there is the looming possibility of a lame duck session which, which according to the Financial Services Committee staffer, does not bode well for passage of anything.

Additionally, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, the committee's chairman and chief sponsor of the measure, H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act of 2009, has stressed he wants that bill to go forward paired with a separate piece of legislation, H.R. 4976, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2010. Sponsored by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington, this bill would establish a framework for taxing Internet gambling, including industry profits and individual's winnings. Proponents say legalizing online gambling might raise $10 billion to $42 billion in new government revenue over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. The House Ways and Means Committee has yet to mark up McDermott's bill.

Getting McDermott's companion bill through Ways and Means, and then having both that bill and Rep. Frank's bill pass in the House, and then the Senate, all in that brief September window, while not impossible clearly looms as a tall order, conceded John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying organization. "We are not talking about an easy task," Pappas said.