Iowa Lottery Chief Calls for Decision on Online Gambling

1st October 2009 7:59 am GMT

The chief executive of Iowa's lottery, Terry Rich, this week pressed lottery board members to take a position one way or another on the issue of online gambling, before the federal government makes the decision for them.

Rich told lottery board members on Tuesday that federal legislation is likely to eventually be passed to legalise online gambling and said that lawmakers should act now to maintain control of gambling regulation and taxes within the state.

The state lottery CEO was referring to Rep. Barney Frank's proposed Internet Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2009, which has gathered 58 co-sponsors since its introduction in May of this year.

Rich argues that should the bill be enacted, the federal government could step in to regulate and tax online gambling, to the detriment of the state. Instead, Rich believes state lawmakers should act now to either reject or approve online gambling and tax it accordingly, adding that he has already briefed the Governor and the state's Legislative Oversight Committee on the issue.

Under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, individual states have the right to allow intrastate online gambling if they choose to do so.

In fiscal year 2009, the Iowa Lottery achieved sales of $244 million, contributing over $60 million to the state.

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