Inside Asian Gaming

June 2008 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING 35 U ndeterred by the indifference of a nation,JimMcDermotthasintroduced in the US House of Representatives his second bill in a year calling for federal taxation of Internet gambling. That’s code for legalization, in case you didn’t know. The congressman is satisfied that bringing this giant illegal business into the regulatory mainstream, onto the home computers and mobile phones of millions of American consumers, is a good idea because it would generate billions for the USTreasury, or so he believes. McDermott also is one of 46 co-sponsors of fellow Democrat Barney Frank’s Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act and humbly refers to his own measure as a “companion bill” to Frank’s more detailed plan for legalizing and regulating remote gambling—and taxing it—which, again, is the key selling point here. Frank makes no secret of what he thinks of the US government’s view that there is much that is problematic about unlicensed, unregulated gambling operated by various straw entities from file servers in offshore tax havens. It’s “one of the stupidest things I ever saw,”he has said. Now in his third decade on Capitol Hill one imagines the Massachusetts lawmaker has seen some pretty stupid things too. As an example, he has been trying for years with no success to redirect Congress away from its longstanding enmity toward remote gambling, which as an illegal activity is proscribed by a list of federal laws as long as Mr. Frank’s arm, not to mention the laws of several states. The latest is the US Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which was enacted in 2006 and forbids banks and financial services providers from processing Web gambling transactions. You know what the congressman thinks of UIGEA, don’t you? You guessed it. “One of the stupidest laws ever passed,” he has termed it. These days, since becoming chairman of This Tangled Web We Weave Barney Frank