Congress is currently considering two bills: one to legalize online gambling and one to tax it. The first bill, "overturning a 2006 federal ban that critics say merely drove Web-based casinos offshore" as Sewell Chan writes in The New York Times, was approved by the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday. Republicans generally aren't pleased, but Chan points out that legalizing and then taxing Internet gambling might be attractive from a fiscal perspective: "pressure [is] mounting on the federal government to find new revenues." Here's the rundown on where things stand now.

  • One of a Few Measures: States Strapped for Cash These bills are actually, observes Lawrence Latif for The Inquirer, "part of a number of incentives Congress is looking at to generate cash for states that are struggling not to end up bankrupt like California."
  • Unavoidable 'When Tax Increases Become Politically Toxic' "We've already mentioned," writes the MSNBC First Read team, "that some states are looking at legalizing sports gambling as a way to collect more revenues. And what's probably next? Legalized marijuana." Such measures are "the unintended consequence" of making tax hikes taboo, they argue.
  • Wondering About Reaction "The US Government is expected to earn as much as $42 billion from the opening up of internet gambling in the next ten years," remarks the administrator of GoRumors, but "[i]t will be interesting to see how the lobbyists who had apparently spent 'tens of millions' to effect the ban in 2006 will react to this change in government policy."
  • The Next Step for the Bills "Attention will likely turn to the Ways and Means Committee," explains Juliana Gruenwald at Congress Daily, "which has held a hearing on [the bill to tax legal online gambling] but not held a markup session."