April 28, 2009 (PAP Newswire) — It’s strange, but, despite its
impact on hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and also the
billions of dollars of revenue it brings in each year, online gambling
isn’t often brought up in the mainstream media.

Every now and then, though, the Washington Post or The New York Times will
weight in with a new analysis of the situation, usually in the form of
speculation on whether the U.S. Congress will legalize and/or regulate
the activity. On Sunday, The New York Times did just that, publishing an article examining the legal situation behind online gambling, and the possibility of the UIGEA being overturned.

As others have speculated, the severity of the current economic
downturn may change lawmakers’ minds as to whether they want to let all
these billions of dollars continue to change hands without being taxed.
Many European companies see the recent PartyGaming settlement
as an indication that the U.S. is starting to warm to the idea of legal
online gambling, and are anticipating a chance to enter the market
soon.

“There’s still a lot of gambling going on, where there’s no revenue coming in to the governments,” the article quotes Gavin Kelleher, an analyst at the research firm H2 Gambling Capital in Ireland. “They realize they could use the revenue.”

The article also cites Barney Frank’s forthcoming anti-UIGEA
bill (coming “perhaps within days,”) as being at the center of the new
push for legalization. With a Democrat in the White House — one who has
admitted to being a fan of playing poker, no less — the chances of
Frank’s bill succeeding are seen as much better than before.   

Plus, there’s the recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which
concluded that the U.S. government could raise “more than $50 billion
over 10 years from taxes on legalized online gambling.”

But there are also obstacles to contend with, the article is quick to
remind us, claiming that the biggest opponents of legalized online
gambling are the Christian Coalition of America and the National Football League (as we reported here at PAP yesterday).

The Christian Coalition is preparing for a “massive campaign of
letter-writing and lobbying to try to prevent any loosening of the
law,” the article adds, quoting a representative of that group as
saying: “But when it’s in your home, it’s too easy. It breaks up
families.”

The article goes into much more detail about the current online gambling situation. Click here to read Eric Pfanner’s “A New Chance for Online Gambling in the U.S.” at The New York Times.