Americans gamble over $100 billion online

Two politicians have introduced bills to Congress in an attempt to regulate Internet gambling and collect taxes from Americans playing online.

The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative (SSIGI) said that Americans wager over $100 billion every year in a “thriving underground marketplace”.

Jeffrey Sandman, a rep for the Initiative, said: “It is time for Congress to acknowledge that prohibition has been a failure and a new approach is needed.”

Yesterday, Representative Barney Frank, chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, and Representative Jim McDermott introduced bills that will regulate Internet gambling. Frank also introduced another bill, seeking to delay for a year compliance with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.

The main bill introduced by Frank is intended to license and enforce gamling operators to accept wagers from individuals in the US. Consumer protection part of the bill includes safeguards for underage gamling, money laundering, fraud and identity theft.

McDermott’s bill aims to collect individual and corporate taxes – the amount to be collected could be as much as $62.7 billion over the next 10 years, the SSIGI claims.

So what is the SSIGI? According to the organization’s web site, “endorsers” include the UC Group, Baker Tilly, Secure Trading, the Remote Gambling Association and EGBA – the European Gaming and Betting Association.

The RGA, based in High Holborn, London, has a list of members which include BellFruit, Betfair, Sportingbet, Littlewoods, William Hill, Paddy Power, Totesport and a number of other vested interests. It’s obviously in their interests to tap into this lucrative marketplace.