One-Year Study of Internet Gambling Proposed

by Lou on April 29, 2006

The Las Vegas Gaming Wire reports the following:

The board of directors for the casino industry’s top lobbying group agreed unanimously this week to call for a one-year study of Internet gambling by a federal commission.

The action Wednesday by the American Gaming Association in Las Vegas is likely to hinder efforts in Congress to ban Internet gambling.

Association President Frank Fahrenkopf said his organization remains neutral on legislation to prohibit online wagering.

But without the support of casinos, measures by Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; Jim Leach, R-Iowa; and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.; to outlaw Internet gambling face an uphill struggle.

Fahrenkopf estimated there will be between $12 billion and $15 billion bet on the Internet this year, and 60 percent will come from U.S. citizens.

So what’s this really all about? A study proposal is always a way for Congress to back away from legislation they believe is doomed to fail without looking sheepish, or seeming as though they are abandoning their supporters when it seems the wind isn’t blowing in their direction.

But for the casinos, perhaps future legislation that would allow for regulated online wagering offers a way for brick and mortar casinos to extend their presence into cyberspace. After all, they would have a significant marketing advantage if they were allowed to offer online gaming. After all, they would represent regulated, USA-based, publically held companies, with long track records of success in a highly regulated environment.

Politics always makes for strange bedfellows, and stranger things have happened. Maybe in a few years we’ll have online poker rooms and cyber casinos going public on the New York Stock Exchange, building capital, creating jobs, offering investment opportunities, and providing gaming for those of us in the USA in a regulated environment — just like they do in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. And isn’t that what we all want, anyway?

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