US legislative moves that could make it illegal for American citizens to play online poker will deprive the government of over $3bn in federal and state revenues, it was claimed today.
A new study by the Poker Players Alliance, prepared by Judy Xanthopoulos, an economist with Quantria Strategies, noted that the US government would collect a "significant potential source of revenue" if it were to incorporate online poker into the national economy.
"This study validates that the benefits of regulating online poker in the US far exceed the value of prohibiting the activity," said Michael Bolcerek, president of the Poker Players Alliance.
"Internet poker is an incredibly popular pastime for millions of Americans. Keeping Americans away from this game is not only unfair but, as this study shows, would deny state and federal coffers an important source of revenue."
The Poker Players Alliance analysis, which only looks at the impact of regulation and taxation on internet poker, supports the bi-partisan effort in Congress to create a federal commission to examine all online gaming and determine how best it can be regulated within the US.
The group describes this course of action as a "rational alternative" to legislation being considered this week in the US House of Representatives which would ban Americans from playing poker on the internet.
"Our organisation enthusiastically supports regulation and taxation, rather than an outright ban," said Bolcerek.
"We remain hopeful that opponents of internet poker will realise that prohibition does not work and will embrace the idea of creating a regulated environment so that Americans can have an even higher level of comfort when playing poker online."
Internet gambling is now regulated in over 80 countries and jurisdictions. The UK passed legislation in 2005 to regulate and tax internet gambling.
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