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Legalized Gambling Going Online?

Google Casino? Facebook Blackjack? Yahoo Slots? For better or worse, these would-be Web destinations could become realities as Congress considers legalizing Internet gambling. On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee approved a bill that would, as The New York Times reports, "effectively legalize online poker and other nonsports betting, overturning a 2006 federal ban that critics say merely drove Web-based casinos offshore."

The Times attributes the development to pressure on the federal government to find new revenue. The bill would direct the Treasury Department to license and regulate Internet gambling operations, while a "companion measure," pending before another committee, would allow the Internal Revenue Service to tax such businesses. Winnings by individuals would also be taxed, as regular gambling winnings are now. The bill's backers tell The times that the result taxes could amount to as much as $42 billion for the government over 10 years.

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