Slow-Moving Wheels

by Lou on September 2, 2010

The American Gaming Association (AGA), the trade association that represents major, US brick-and-mortar casinos, is involved in discussions with those in Congress who support a regulated and legalized US online gambling industry.

In the current edition of eGaming Review, AGA president Frank Fahrenkopf’s (pictured left) comments criticized the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act’s (UIGEA) lack of clarity, and in a quote that should win the hearts of online poker players everywhere, said that regarding amended legislation, “on balance, if we could only get poker, the [AGA] board would be very satisfied.”

But AGA’s posture won’t make friends everywhere, especially with online sites that continued to cater to US-based customers since the enactment of UIGEA in 2006.  According to Fahrenkopf, discussions to prevent those sites from profiting when new legislation is implemented are underway with those lawmakers supporting a repeal of UIGEA, and that “no existing licensee would be able to sell their player database, buy their brand, or license their software.”

Fahrenkopf also told eGaming Review, “I have talked to legislators who say, ‘So, you deny someone a license because they have been operating in violation of US law, that’s a penalty for what they did. But if you let them turn around and sell their assets, and make millions of dollars, they have benefitted from violating the law, they shouldn’t allow that.’

“I have not seen things that are specifically drafted, but I should tell you that discussions of that nature are taking place inside and outside Congress.”

My own take on all of this is positive. It appears that all the forces are continuing to line up in support of repealing UIGEA and replacing it with a law that would eventually license and regulate online poker in the US.  While I’m convinced it will happen, I’m not sure when these changes will become reality.  It will probably not happen in 2010, and will undoubtedly take longer to become a reality than I’d like, but nevertheless, all the leverage seems to be moving in the right direction these days.  It’s just that we’re looking at the turning of slow moving wheels—but at least they’re beginning to move, and in the right direction too.

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