American Gaming Association Modifies its Position; Gambling’s Largest Trade Association Now Favors Online Gaming

by Lou on March 27, 2010

In a recent interview American Gaming Association head Frank Fahrenkopf (pictured right) indicated the trade association modified its previously neutral stance on online gaming. “We are open to the concept of legalized Internet gambling, so long as there is a regulatory regime that is put in place that protects the consumer and protects the integrity of the game.”

He added, “We’re at this point in time open to the question of whether it’s a federal or state regulatory regime, although I must tell you I think a majority of the board would favor the states. But until we have something that we’re really going to look at, we can’t get to that question.

When asked why the AGA’s regulatory preference would be for state rather than federal involvement, Fahrenkopf said, “Anyone who has been in the gaming industry for the last 30 years, we have an old saying, ‘We don’t want the camel’s nose under the tent,’ in terms of the federal government and their regulatory regimes and taxes.

“There’s the fear that the federal government, if it starts regulating and taxing internet gambling, they’re going to say let’s just make it a federal system and tax everything.”

This change in stance by the influential AGA may cause me to modify my opinion on whether I think UIGEA will be overturned this year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has long been opposed to online gambling. But he’s very far down in the polls in his own state and his chances of re-election are looking slim right now. Since he’ll need plenty of campaign funds to mount a winning campaign, he’s very likely to modify his own stance regarding online gaming to bring it in line with the state’s deepest pockets: the big Las Vegas land-based casinos that make up AGA’s membership.

That helps the chances of passage, but doesn’t guarantee it, especially since Nancy Pelosi is adamantly opposed to online gaming and has no compelling reason to modify her views. Things, however, are looking up. But they’re still not as bright as they could be. Stay tuned. And expect a lot more twists and turns down this rocky road to regulated online gaming.

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