Online gambling has become quite the formidable industry – both in size and profits – and online poker makes up the biggest slice of the pie. While it is true that it remains a mostly illegal industry, there is no turning away from the fact that it has become a very lucrative enterprise: forecasts reveal that it would only take less than 5 years for it to pass the $10 billion mark in terms of revenues.
Now try rolling out these figures to an economy that could only be described as “floundering”. There is a need for a trigger to bring it to an upswing, and the proposed federal bill entitled “The Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection Act” could be just the stimulus needed.
What are the advantages if the bill is passed by Congress?
The most obvious, of course, would be tax revenues. The bill proposes a 16% tax rate, distributed as follows: 2% to the federal government, 10% to the state where the player is from, and the remaining 4% to the state where the operator is based. Taking into account a 10% estimated revenue in 5 years, let us say for example that all the players hailed from California, and the operator is headquartered in Nevada. $1.6 billion will go to the federal government; the state of California will be entitled to roughly $1 billion, and the remaining $400 million will be added to the state of Nevada’s tax revenues.
Legalizing online poker and regulating it would also increase the number of jobs, particularly in the information technology industry. So, really, you could say that it is a win-win situation.
Keeping the regulation on the federal level is the better option, though, which makes the passing of this bill more preferable. Otherwise, each state would come up with their own set of online gambling legislations and regulations. Even now, at least 20 states are already in various stages in passing their own legislations on the state level to legalize online gambling. If the federal bill fails and all is left in the hands of state lawmakers, we will end up with a hodgepodge of weak regulation.
Let’s face it: online poker – or online gambling, as a whole – cannot be easily quashed. Proof is how it remains to rake in the profits and revenues despite anti-gambling laws being passed left and right.