Rep. Frank Will Push to Lift Internet Gambling Ban

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said last Thursday he plans to push for a repeal of the current U.S. ban on Internet gambling.

According to estimates, such a repeal could bring the government $52 billion from taxes and regulation over the next 10 years.

The move could also shore-up tattered ties with Europe and other regions, whose Internet gambling companies suffered greatly when the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) shut out U.S. Web surfers from gaming hosted in foreign nations and financial institutions were prohibited from processing global gambling transactions.

The ban cost those companies billions in lost revenue, Reuters reports, while the island of Antigua filed a complaint over the American law with the World Trade Organization

The Remote Gambling Association in London charged the U.S. Justice Department of playing domestic favorites, allowing American companies to operate while targeting European and other global Internet gambling operations, according to ArsTechnica.

In late February, Frank's office had said a new bill to eliminate the three-year-old ban would soon be introduced. "I'm going to be pushing it," the Financial Services Committee Chairman told the media at last week's press conference. A House aide confirmed a draft of the legislation should be ready before the end of the month.

Ban supporters -- mostly Republicans -- argue billions of dollars leave the U.S. from the offshore Internet gambling site, which have also been accused of ruining families, laundering money and promoting other illicit activities.

Those against a ban -- mostly Democrats -- counter that taxation and regulatory fees would bring much more money into the U.S. and the other charges cannot be validated.

NewOnlineCasinos suggests President Obama's choice for U.S. trade representative, Ron Kirk, is a win for U.S. Internet gambling. The site said Kirk will seek to uphold existing trade agreements, which include those allowing Internet gaming from outside of American borders.

In late January, AVN Online reported on gambling concerns, looking to the recent COPA elimination by the Supreme Court as evidence in defense of Internet gambling.