Could Online Poker Help Avert the US Fiscal Cliff?

It’s a well-known fact that the US economy still needs help even though it has been showing improvement over the last year. As the months and years pass and the federal government still continues to take it’s time on even considering debating the online poker bill in congress and the house, the states like Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey are moving forward with legalizing and regulating online gaming in their own backyard. Just last year everyone was fearing the US fiscal Cliff and what would happen if negotiations between the White House and Congress failed and no agreement could be met. In the popular online commentary site a writer by the name of Travis Holum who states that in opening his case by saying about online poker, “Consider that there’s one easy revenue source that the federal government could add to any bill.” His reference was made to the online gaming clarification statement that the Department of Justice made in December 2011 that stated online state lotteries could potentially sell tickets online if they so desired and would not be violating the 2006 UIGEA law. Even after they said that, not too many states have moved forward with the decision to go online. Holum also acknowledges that huge land based casinos like MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Boyd Gaming and the Golden Nugget have all applied for and received online line gambling licenses in Nevada. They will all be applying in New Jersey as well, as that state is much bigger with 19 million people compared to Nevada’s 2.7 million. He even speculates that is won’t be long before California and Iowa get into the arena as well with intra-state laws. With more and more states starting offering to legalize and regulate online gaming it won’t be long before the Obama administration and Congress to start looking and taking this seriously. Everyone knows that a federal bill will pave the way for more companies to actually make it a profitable venture and put more money and resources in taking a serious effort at making this their main market. For US based companies this is a no brainer, but it’s a lot of the international companies that will only come play if there is a federal bill in place. Holum also states that even the UIGEA was slipped in as part of the Port Security bill, the new federal online poker bill can be slipped in as well to another bill that is going to the house: “Right now we have multiple bills (in fact, there is only one, Rep. Joe Barton’s bill in the House; the Reid/Kyl bill in the Senate has yet to be introduced) that would regulate online poker floating around the halls of Congress,” he writes, “and it is not inconceivable that one of these could be slipped into a more comprehensive budget plan relating to the fiscal cliff.” This means that they could potentially give the federal online poker bill a home as a way of avoiding the fiscal cliff and being one of the ways to avoid it if passed in time. The immediate revenue generated would give that states and federal government the cash injections it needs as Holum further argues, “few billion dollars of revenue over ten years from online gaming may not make a deal possible,” meaning it could be something that Congressmen tap into for future negotiations on raising revenues instead of raising taxes on the population.

One would only have to look at all the billions of dollars being wagered in online gaming to figure out the tax dollars to be made. Even the American Gaming Association estimates that revenue could be north of $10 billion annually and right there you could avoid the fiscal cliff or just the severity of it. This is far better that increasing taxes to the middle class and avoid taking the country back into another recession.

The only real way to make this work will be to take the top two percent or the wealthiest of the US population. The federal government could use the revenue from online poker and take the stress off taxing the middle class who pays most of taxes in the country. Another way to generate more tax revenue would be to allow international players to play in US based online gaming sites.

For example, by law you do not have to be a resident of California to purchase Powerball tickets or even a citizen of the US. Now add that same loophole to online poker and you’ve got the world playing in the US with the biggest companies being taxed on international revenue. Offer safe and secure regulated online poker to residents and citizens of other regulated jurisdictions such as Europe, Asia or Australia and you’ve got the potential for making a serious attempt at reducing the federal deficit, let alone avoiding a fiscal cliff.