Rather than support Representative Joe Barton’s (R-TX) Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2011, American Gaming Association President and CEO Frank Fahrenkopf said the association will introduce its own version of a federal online poker bill later this year.
The AGA is on record as supporting licensing and regulation of online poker in the US, although they do not support Barton’s bill. The AGA stated that it “has not endorsed any specific legislation on this issue, [but is] pleased that Rep. Barton wants to protect American consumers and understands the need for regulating online poker in our country.”
Fahrenkopf’s AGA favors federal legislation written to allow states to decide the issue for themselves, saying, “You have to make sure each state has the right to say yay or nay.”
AGA, which lobbies at the federal level only, is neutral regarding individual state bills that seek to provide online poker. “I have a hard time understanding, other than California and Florida, where you are going to have enough liquidity and players that would really make an intrastate poker site worth it. States are free to do what they want, but it’s hard to see how state-by-state legislation is the way to go. We don’t get involved at the state level at all. My job is at the federal level here in Washington. I don’t go in and lobby for or against anything in the states.”