Senator Ron Wyden’s earlier proposal to the US Senate Finance Committee of an amendment to legislation that would have sought the legalization and taxation of online gambling to go towards the funding of healthcare in a massive reform of the system has since been withdrawn.
Wyden’s withdrawal of the amendment has come following criticisms it received from Nevada Senator Harry Reid. It comes as no great surprise as Reid has been actively protecting the casino gambling industry’s interests in Nevada by staunchly opposing any alterations in US laws that currently pertain to Internet gambling.
Senator Wyden’s communications director Jennifer Hoelzer said that the last thing that the Senator wants is to make it any more difficult for the expansion of subsidies to working families by the introduction to the debate of any contentious new issue. When the time comes to offer the amendment, it will be done with alternative funding mechanisms.
While senior Democrats had also offered their support for the logical concept of the taxation of Internet gambling paying for healthcare, it is unlikely that the issue will move forward. The debate over healthcare is already heated to the point where Democratic leaders have signalled to the Senate they are reluctant to introduce more controversy to the already volatile mix.
However, many Democrats who support Internet gambling have said that similar measures would be considered by them. Representative Jim McDermott has said he would consider this type of tax. He has already submitted his own companion tax bill that will complement Democrat Barney Frank’s proposals for online gambling legalisation.
Representative Frank said that it is a great idea and why should all that money be left untaxed? He added that as soon as his panel is finished with reforming the regulations that govern financial services, he intends bringing his contentious bill on online gambling before the panel.
There is growing speculation that Jim McDermott along with other House Democrats may still move to attempt to add Wyden’s provision in conference, while work is continued on finding a compromise between those Democrats who are backing the provision of generously subsidised insurance and those who are seeking to contain the costs regarding the healthcare bill.
Conservative Christian groups have not unexpectedly come out to oppose the idea put forward by Wyden. Their stance on the legalisation of online gambling has not wavered in their belief that is will cause the degradation of family life.