The below quote is from a Gonegambling.com newsletter written by John Abbott, sounds like a really good idea but polititions are so full of themselves I doubt they will even consider it.
"I believe in free trade and that governments should keep their noses out of what people want to do in the privacy of their own homes. Governments should also keep their greedy interfering little paws off the Internet. Having made my stance clear, I also have to say that I'm a realist and what I have just said I would like to see happen, ain't gotta chance. So, being a realist, I have to make the most of what I have to work with. This brings me to my second suggestion. Incidentally, my second suggestion was much less controversial and generally accepted by most members in chat as being a good idea.
As I see it, the real problem the government has with Internet gambling is that they can't get their hands in the cookie jar. They want their share of the money but can't work out how to get it. For years I have been saying that governments of all nations should be licensing, regulating and taxing Internet casinos. Far from forcing the casino business underground, governments should be embracing it and profiting from it. As a business person, I see it as being completely irresponsible and immoral of governments to not profit from something that a large percentage of the population wants to do. How bizarre is this, instead of profiting from Internet casinos and using that money to combat problem gambling or fund schools or hospitals, the government in the U.S. is going to use tax payer money trying to enforce a stupid and pointless law. Anyway, with the thought in mind that the government is stuck on how to get money out of Internet gambling, and probably don't know where to start in licensing or regulating the Internet casino industry, I made the following suggestion to our members...
I suggested that the government should license people who want to gamble at Internet casinos. Let's see, how about a yearly license fee of $50 per person? 30,000,000 potential (U.S.) online gamblers x $50 each is a fair chunk of change. Gamblers could buy their yearly license online and be issued with a receipt number. That receipt number would be required by reputable Internet casinos before the player was permitted to play with them. I'm sure that many reputable Internet casinos would do what was needed to comply with government policy just to get back a share of the U.S market.
Face it guys, the government already has the ability to trace what you have been doing online, so dodging the license fee is not really an option, especially if it is kept at a reasonable amount like only $50. And if you needed your receipt number to deposit with casinos anyway, you wouldn't get far by not paying the license fee. As an added incentive to have online gamblers pay for a license, the government could make any winnings from your gambling exempt from tax. OK. Now I have moved into the realms of fantasy. -snicker-
So what have we come up with?
#1. The government gets its hands into the cookie jar of Internet gambling and gains a massive influx of cash. With casinos requiring a receipt number, and gamblers paying the license fee online, it would require one man and a dog to oversee the licensing business. You couldn't run a business any cheaper. If the government is sincere about helping problem gamblers, they can use all the money received to do so. -snicker- As if that would happen. Of course this license fee idea is not restricted to the U.S. It could apply to any country on earth who doesn't want the problems and hassles of regulating their own own Internet casinos, but does want to profit from their citizens who do want to gamble at Internet casinos.
#2. Internet gamblers are able to gamble at any approved casino from the comfort of their own home. They can gamble knowing that they are playing within the law because they are licensed to do so. In fact, and this thought just came to me, if a Social Security number was required when paying for your license, wouldn't that be proof of identity and rule out any under age gamblers? Huh! What about that? And because you had to provide a Social Security number when buying your license, it stands to reason that your payment receipt number would be clear proof of identity for the Internet casinos and rule out much of the fraud they have to deal with. Casinos would of course be able to automatically confirm license numbers by linking back to the government run license payment site in each country.
#3. Internet casinos would be able to run their chosen businesses as they saw fit and most of all they would be able to plan for the future. They would have stability and no fear of changes to laws under cover of darkness. Internet casinos would also have to treat players properly or risk being taken off the approved government list if enough complaints were issued by players. Once removed from the government approved list, the casino would not be able to check receipt numbers which would open them up to the risk of fraud again. It would also result in an instant decline in players from that country.
So there's my thoughts on what governments of all countries could and probably should be doing when it comes to Internet casinos. Take it for what it's worth, but don't email me complaining that you are from the U.S and already pay enough taxes and would object to paying a license fee. If that's your attitude, then you don't want this problem solved. For a yearly payment of just $50 I have laid out a plan that can make all your troubles go away. You could even get back to the good old days when you could use a credit card to make your deposits and didn't have to find a company like Neteller as a go-between."