Online Poker Bill Could Provide Health Care Revenue

Thursday, October 08, 2009 at 10:06 AM

What do online
and health care have in common? If an amendment offered by Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon,
makes its way into law the profitable business of online gambling could generate revenue to aid health care by funding subsidies provided through the America's Healthy Future Act of 2009. The dollars would be aimed at helping low-income Americans.

The amendment has been proposed to H.R. 2267, the Internet Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act. The pending act would allow collecting taxes on Internet gambling, a move that could net $62.7 billion over the next ten years for the U.S. government.

Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts, introduced this Act in May to establish regulations to permit licensed online sports gambling sites to take wagers from individuals in the U.S. The Act requires these gambling operations to follow several consumer protection rules including those to prevent compulsive gambling, fraud, underage gambling and identity theft.

About 1.8 million people use Internet poker sites each day with the lion's share of those people connecting from the United States, according to Newsweek, quoting an industry tracking firm

The Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act (H.R. 2268) -- introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott, a Democrat from Washington -- will mandate that applicable individual taxes, corporate taxes and license fees be collected from the Internet gambling sites.