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Nov
19th

Casino Owners Hope For Legalized Internet Gambling

According to a recent article in the New York Post many in the gambling industry are betting that the United States will legalize internet gambling in the near future. In recent weeks several major casino owners have tried to position themselves be ready when internet gaming becomes legal. Some owners with offshore online operations have gone to great lengths to avoid violating US online gambling laws so they can easily obtain US licenses once legislation is passed legalizing internet gambling.

Caesar’s Entertainment, the number one gaming operator in the US filed papers to go public with an IPO. Last year Caesar’s pulled a $531 million IPO because of poor market conditions. An unnamed source close to Caesar’s stated “A bill will be proposed by the end of the session. There is a 50 percent chance it will be approved by next year.” Some sources say that Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona may co sponsor the bill. Kyl is largely responsible for the passage of draconian anti internet gambling legislation in 2006. At the time Kyl compared internet gambling to crack cocaine. A spokesman for Kyl did not return calls from reporters.

There are rumors on Capitol Hill that the super committee to address the nation’s budget deficits is considering internet poker as a ‘revenue enhancer.’ The bipartisan committee hopes to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion. Unfortunately partisan bickering has stalled action by the committee. In addition to Caesar’s others are hoping to get in on the action. A few days ago the Senate Indian Affairs Committee held hearings on internet gaming. Traditionally the various Tribes have been against any expansion of internet gambling.

On October 31st MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming announced agreements with Bwin party digital gaming to develop internet poker sites. In late October real estate magnate Donald Trump teamed up with Avenue Capital to develop an internet poker site. Many experts say that timing is everything because congress is unlikely to pass any controversial legislation during a presidential election year. If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not reelected congress would lose a strong advocate for internet gambling.

According to figures from Morgan Stanley internet gambling would generate about $14 billion every year and federal and state governments would share $3.5 billion in new tax revenues. Currently state lotteries are against internet gambling because they believe it will lead to the establishment of a federal lottery. Even if congress does not act on the issue several states plan to offer legal internet gambling to residents.