One of the interesting by-blows from the widely publicised story this week on Representative Jim McDermott's proposal to raise revenues for training and foster home funding through the legalization and taxing of online gambling, was a poll conducted by the major U.S. newspaper USA Today.
The newspaper posed the question: Is it time to legalise online gambling?
Early responses indicated that 97 percent of those participating thought it was.
USA Today's coverage of Representative McDermott's HR6501 (see previous InfoPowa report) was thorough, and included quotes from the politician, who said that he believes the hard economic times the United States is entering could sway opinion on the legalization and regulation of online gambling in the United States.
"I don't think there could be a better time,” he says.
The newspaper also quotes golfing ace Lee Trevino, who recently commented on ESPN: "We gamble billions of dollars in this country, and the Internal Revenue Service doesn't get a dime. Instead, they spend millions of dollars trying to catch these [Internet gambling] people."
USA Today comments that the online gaming industry generally supports the concept of regulated gambling which it feels would attract more customers.
McDermott agrees: "What's going on now is around the edges of legality in various countries of the world, and (bettors) aren't sure where there money is going," he says, finding similarities in the current U.S. betting environment with the "criminal structure" that accompanied the abortive alcohol Prohibition laws in the ‘Twenties. He also finds attitudes toward gambling outdated.
"We have [Internet] gambling on horses," McDermott says. "All of a sudden we say you can't gamble online. What's that about? If we can take revenue from horse racing we certainly can take revenue from online."
McDermott's proposal 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.
After its introduction this week, H.R. 6501 was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Education and Labour.