WASHINGTON - Last week U.S. Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) introduced legislation that seeks to regulate and tax Internet gambling. H.R. 1174 is identical to previous proposals sought by U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).
NACS opposes any attempt to allow purchases of lottery tickets online and is urging retailers to ask their representatives to vote against H.R. 1174. NACS is part of a coalition to prevent this legislation from being passed into law. In addition to Campbell and Frank, Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Perlmutter (D-CO) support the bill.
The supporters of H.R. 1174 say that current law, as outlined under the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), has done little to deter Americans who want to gamble from seeking out online gaming sites based outside the United States. Therefore, they support the legalization of online gaming in the U.S. as a means to increase tax revenues.
"Clearly, Americans want to gamble on the Internet, and policymakers need to provide both the freedom to do so, as well as ensure that appropriate consumer protections are in place," Campbell said in a statement. "Regulating online gaming and making certain that these sites are operating legally in America will also create economic growth through generated tax revenue and the possibility of attracting foreign players to U.S. sites."
The bill falls under the jurisdiction of the House Financial Services Committee, where it will likely face stiff resistance from Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL), who strongly opposed Frank's bill last year.
Retailers operate on very thin margins and depend on lottery ticket sales for a significant portion of their revenues and to generate substantial traffic. The frequent lottery customer purchases additional items when they purchase their lottery tickets. In fact, on 95 percent of their store visits, lottery customers purchased at least one other merchandise product in addition to lottery. Retail operators across the country €" and their employees €" would be adversely affected if this bill were to become law.