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Congress wants in on internet gaming regulations

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Internet gaming is now legal in New Jersey, along with Delaware and Nevada. California is also considering getting in on the act. But somebody else wants in, too. Congress has just begun to look into what its role should be in the internet gaming field.

Feelings from people in the industry run hot and cold on the issue of Congressional involvement. At a recent hearing before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, the president of the American Gaming Association (AGA) welcomed Congressional oversight, praising Congress’s leadership. The AGA wants a federal regulatory structure for online gaming.

The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, however, praised Congress for something else, for “taking seriously the threat of internet gambling." The Coalition feels that these types of hearings will provide a way to look at what they feel are the true dangers of internet gaming. When you go to The Coalition’s web site, there are slogans like “Click a Mouse and Lose Your House.”

So far, three bills have been introduced in order to regulate internet gaming. Two bills would legalize internet gaming nationwide. Another bill covers internet gaming in a more limited way, giving the states permission to legalize online poker without federal intervention. States can opt out of the federal program if they wish and, again, this applies only to poker.

This is a bit of a turnaround for Congress as the federal government cracked down definitively on Internet gaming in 2011. But the same year, the U.S. Justice Department issued a ruling making online gaming legal so long as it's permitted at the state level. Congress then engineered an online gaming bill last year, but it was never passed. It was then that individual states began the quest for online gaming.

According to Morgan Stanley, the online gaming industry in the U.S. will produce about $9.3 billion, the same amount that Las Vegas and Atlantic City combined bring in, by the year 2020.

So what do you think? Are you for or against internet gaming? And if it’s allowed, who should control it? Should controls be at the state or federal level? Leave a comment with your opinion.




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