According to a story from NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth, federal authorities have uncovered an illegal sports gambling ring located in North Texas that took in over $1 billion in revenue from September 2009 to September 2010.
No indictments have been unsealed. Expect that to change, however. In forfeiture papers filed in court, approximately 22 individuals were involved in the operation, which used offshore sites and a toll-free phone line. The line apparently received 20,000 calls per month.
The IRS seized cash, automobiles, jewelry, and sports memorabilia, among other things. Claims have been filed by those seeking return of the items.
Stories such as these add substance to those seeking an expansion of legalized sports betting in the United States. Earlier today, for example, New Jersey released its draft of sports betting regulations.
A showdown in court over the federal ban on sports betting seems imminent.
Last Wednesday I wrote a brief “State of the Amazon.” Between then and now, the piece became incomplete. It’s already time for an update.
In March 2011, the Main Street Fairness Act was passed. The law expanded the definition of “physical presence.” A seller is required to collect and remit sales tax only if it is deemed to have a physical presence within the state. The new law implicated affiliate companies, many of which earn commissions for directing web surfers to an online store.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting the Main Street Fairness Act was declared unconstitutional by Cook County Circuit Judge Robert Lopez Cepero last week. The interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution limits who a state can tax, and the judge took the position the State of Illinois overstepped its authority.
I suspect the defendant, the Illinois Department of Revenue, will file an appeal if it hasn’t already.
The Houston Chronicle is reporting the Lone Star State reached an agreement with Amazon on Friday for the online retail giant to begin collecting sales tax in the state on July 1. In addition, Amazon agreed “to create at least 2,500 new jobs in Texas over the next four years and make at least $200 million in capital investments in the state.”
All parties seem to be in support of some federal solution, but that doesn’t mean anything will get done. We’ll see.