Representative Jim A. McDermott, Democrat of Washington, on Tuesday introduced legislation to direct $40 billion of Internet gambling revenue over the next 10 years to job training for those in declining economic sectors and educational assistance for youth in foster care.
The Investing in our Human Resources Act, or HR 6501, would fund the programs through new revenue generated by legal and regulated Internet gambling in the United States.
In a prepared statement, Mr. McDermott said regulated Internet gambling presents an untapped resource for social assistance.
"We have an ideal opportunity to invest billions of dollars in American workers and our struggling economy without increasing the federal deficit," it said.
"IHRA would utilize a funding stream that would become available should Congress decide to legalize and regulate internet gambling," the statement went on, "which would protect consumers and collect tax revenue that is currently offshore."
Representatives George Miller, Democrat of California, and John B. Larson, Democrat of Connecticut, are co-sponsors of the legislation. Mr. Miller is the chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor.
Mr. McDermott is basing the $40 billion figure on revenue estimates from a recent study by the nation's largest accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, that has become a benchmark for supporters of regulation.
It will be a tough sell, especially considering that $40 billion is at the high end of the study's spectrum. Opponents will certainly counter with research of their own; the lobby for regulating I-gaming, therefore, could benefit greatly from more supporting research.
It would be particularly helpful to illustrate that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act has not been as effective in quashing I-gaming as its supporters suggest.
-Mark Balestra, Publisher, IGamingNews
is the senior staff writer at IGamingNews. She lives in St. Louis, Mo.