Ohio Town Places Tax On Online Gambling Winnings

Published on: February 10, 2009 

The small town of Lisbon, Ohio, has taken the whole online gambling tax issue into their own hands, and it may actually be a step towards overall legalization in the United States.  The law surrounding online gaming – namely online casinos and poker rooms – is very gray in its interpretation and the Village Council of Lisbon, while updating their local tax code to fit into today’s modern technological lifestyle, decided to place a 1.5% tax on any online gambling winnings.  This tax is equivalent to what is currently being assessed in the town on a person’s regular income.

The Village Council in Lisbon decided that they needed to update their city ordinances to reflect the current world in which we live, unlike the federal government which is still trying to control online gambling using laws that were written prior to the conception of the Internet and the ability to receive and send online transactions.  In doing so, they felt that it was only proper to tax the online gambling winnings of its residents, acknowledging the need for the new laws.  Says Lisbon Solicitor Virginia Babcock, "The last time our tax code was updated online gambling really wasn't a factor."

For some reason, some state and federal authorities are refusing to address the Internet gambling issue and treat it like the new concept it really is.  They prefer to use old, outdated, and arcane state and federal statutes that don’t apply or are undefined, and introduce bills such as the UIGEA that bans banks from accepting or receiving online gambling money but doesn’t explain the hows or whys of doing it.  Even the Wire Act, which was enacted to prevent bookies from handling bets via the telephone has been picked about and twisted by the Department of Justice in an effort to attack the online gambling industry.

The state of Kentucky has tried a similar twisting of the law when they attempted to seize 141 online casino and poker room URLs by claiming that they were ‘gambling devices’.  That was thrown out of numerous courts already.  It is, however, encouraging to see a small Ohio town recognizing that their existing laws no longer fit the current world and that it needed to be adapted to fit the new circumstances of the new age.

This taxing of winning from Internet casinos and poker rooms by the Lisbon Village Council is showing that the idea of online gambling being illegal under some twisted law is ludicrous, and they are proving to the rest of the industry that regulation is possible.

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