Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Online Gambling Revenues 

Another tidbit that I missed from Reuters.

A shocking study.


U.S. could reap billions taxing Web gambling: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States could raise nearly $52 billion in revenue over the next decade by lifting a three-year-old ban on Internet gambling and taxing the activity instead, according to a study.

Gambling supporters hope the new analysis prepared by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers will help propel efforts in Congress this year to repeal the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

"There is a dramatic need to have a regulated system that protects American consumers. Right now, it's the Wild West," Jeffrey Sandman, a spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, told Reuters on Wednesday.

That group includes the London-based Remote Gambling Association, which represents European online companies that lost billions in market value after Congress passed the 2006 law and they withdrew from the U.S. market.

The legislation attempted to squash online gambling in the United States by barring businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with unlawful Internet gambling, including payments made through credit cards, electronic fund transfers and checks.

But PricewaterhouseCoopers' latest estimate of how much the United States could raise from regulating and taxing Internet gambling is about 22 percent higher than it was in 2007 because U.S. online gambling has grown despite the ban, Sandman said.

The accounting firm's study was specifically done for UC Group, an online payment service company that would benefit from U.S. action to legalize Internet gambling.

House of Representatives Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank plans to reintroduce a bill this year to overturn the 2006 ban, which was approved when Republicans still controlled both houses of Congress and Republican George W. Bush was in the White House.

Gambling advocates hope the U.S. government's need for new revenue in the aftermath of huge bailout and stimulus packages will boost chances for Congress to replace the ban with new measures to regulate and tax online gambling.

The threat of a possible European Union trade challenge also could improve the bill's prospects this year.

The Remote Gambling Association accuses the U.S. Justice Department of singling out European online gambling companies like PartyGaming and 888.com for prosecution while allowing U.S. companies to operate freely.

The European Commission, acting on industry petition, began a formal investigation into that issue last year and is expected to release a report next month saying it has grounds to take action at the World Trade Organization.

Anurag Dikshit, a founder of PartyGaming, pleaded guilty in December to Internet gambling charges and agreed to pay $300 million in fines. He still faces possible jail time under a deferred sentencing arrangement.

EU industry officials said the pressure on Dikshit to make a deal showed the Justice Department had crossed a major line in its prosecution of cases.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Back from an outstanding weekend. I'm sure others will write better and more about it soon. One highlight: Lee Jones dealing the home game.

Briefly checking the news and saw that Cincinnati may still yet get a casino.

This will be the fifth time that proponents attempt to get gambling legalized here. And this time it's looking good.

But the weird part to me is where they want to build this. Broadway Commons? Are you fucking kidding me?

On one side is the JAIL and on the other is the Greyhound Bus Station. Just to be fair, it will also be directly next to, shall we say, a HIGH CRIME AREA.

Doesn't make any sense.


Gambling Supporters Set Sights On Broadway Commons

A section of downtown Cincinnati that took center stage a decade ago is in the spotlight again – this time as a future site of a casino.

Broadway Commons, on the northeast edge of downtown, is the leading site in Hamilton County as gambling supporters prepare to go to the voters once again this year.

"This is such a tough economic time and to have the opportunity to have hundreds if not thousands of jobs created in Cincinnati is a great boost for families," said city council member Jeff Berding.

Ten years ago, the Broadway Commons site along Reading Road was the potential new home of the Reds.

That didn't get off the ground.

But now, these parking lots could become home to slots.

Penn National, the owners of Argosy in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and the leaders of last year's failed "My Ohio Now" campaign are working together on a statewide referendum.

It would allow four casinos in Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

The tax revenue for all four casinos would go to the home cities and counties as well as the state.

Berding says despite four failed attempts, now is the time to bring casino gambling to Ohio.

"It's never been more important to bring jobs and stabilize the tax base here in Ohio," said Berding.

Lily Mulberry lives and works on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine, while she's not apposed to a casino, she says the city should consider other options.

"I think here it will cause a lot of turmoil with the people already living here," said Mulberry, who is the director of the 1305 Gallery. "And it would cause a lot of confusion with the people who are considering the area good or bad "

Berding says the location is ideal because it's available now and balances downtown.

"The Banks is coming out of the ground, Fountain Square has never been more vibrant and then we would have a casino on the north end of downtown and you would really see a lot of economic development," said Berding.

Mulberry had a different take.

"For us, as residents, I think we would rather have something oriented toward our needs and that of downtown and Over-the-Rhine neighborhood rather than the states income or tax needs," she said.

A formal announcement about the site and on the petition drive to get it on the November ballot is expected early next week.

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