Study: Online gaming would create new jobs

Pro-gaming lobbyists are highlighting a new study that shows legalizing online gambling could create tens of thousands of new jobs over five years.

H2 Gambling Capital, a Manchester, U.K.- based market analysis firm for the gambling industry, released a new report on Monday that says legalized online gambling would spark 32,000 new jobs and $57.5 billion in new tax revenue over five years. It could also lead to $94 billion in new economic activity, the firm estimates.

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“This study should provide further incentive for the Obama administration and Congress to act quickly to regulate Internet gambling,” Simon Holliday, a director at H2, said in a statement.

He also argued that by keeping online gambling illegal, U.S. lawmakers are losing billions for their economy and leaving tens of thousands of U.S. players without any onshore regulatory protection.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has sponsored legislation that would legalize online gambling and set up an infrastructure to regulate it. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, separately has authored legislation that would tax online gambling.

Frank’s bill has attracted the most support so far, with 68 co-sponsors, including some Republicans. A hearing to discuss the bill was postponed last week.

Gambling advocates said the study should encourage members to pass Frank’s and McDermott’s bills.

Online gambling in the United States was first banned in 2006. Republicans attached a rider to a ports security authorization bill to institute the ban.
Conservative Christian groups as well as professional sports leagues lobbied hard for the measure and have since opposed any attempt to legalize the industry.