How Rep. Bob Goodlatte Can Become Part of the Solution Instead of the Source of the Problem

by Lou on May 6, 2006

“Virtual betting parlors have attempted to avoid the application of United States law by locating themselves offshore and out of our jurisdictional reach,” says Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). “These offshore, fly-by-night Internet gambling operators are unlicensed, untaxed and unregulated and are sucking billions of dollars out of the United States.”

So who’s the problem and who’s the solution. To read much of Goodlatte’s statements these days, you’d think that the problem of money draining away from the USA’s economy is beyond his legislative reach.

But it’s not. All Rep Goodlatte has to do is recognize that he is now part of the problem instead of the solution. Rather than working to enact legislation that’s guaranteed to send online bettors to sites located outside the United States, all he has to do is follow the English model. They’ve recognized the legality of online gaming and are regulating it. This has attracted large firms and a substantial amount of capital to their shores while creating jobs and investment opportunities in the process.

If the United States were to give its blessings to online poker and gaming, most of the online gaming firms would locate here, where the majority of their customer base resides. These firms would probably trade on the NY Stock Exchange instead of London. That would retain capital in the United States, along with numerous jobs these firms would generate. Moreover, our laws would regulate online gaming and we would derive tax revenue from it.

Internet gambling is now a $12 billion industry, half of which comes from U.S. gamblers. It’s also a business that studies show to be growing rapidly. Even Rep. Goodlatte recognizes it. “Gambling on the Internet has become an extremely lucrative business,” he said.

It’s time he recognizes that his current legislative efforts will exacerbate the problem. They will not solve it. If he wants to get on the right side of this issue, he should be working on legislation that would make it easier for all of us to sidle up to an online table, and say those magic words: “Deal me in.”

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