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AGA Advocates US Online Gambling

By: Fabian Rictor, Saturday May 14th 2011
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Since the seizure of the online poker rooms in April another organization seems to be taking the lead in the advocacy of online gambling in the United States. Surprisingly it is the American Gaming Association (AGA), which is the association of the land gambling trade.

It began with an article written by Frank Fahrenkopf, chief executive of AGA, in The Hill last week. The Hill is a political publication in Washington DC. The sum and substance of the article was, "Americans like to gamble online. Millions of Americans bet billions of dollars a year at offshore foreign websites and have demonstrated that they will do so even if their government tells them it is illegal." Fahrenkopf supported the indictment of the three poker room for illegal financial activities, but added that mere law enforcement cannot be the solution. He pointed out that the players wagering at the three indicted online gambling sites are now finding other online gambling avenues, and it is quite possible that these sites are less safe from the players' perspective.

Therefore Fahrenkopf advocated the creation of a safe, regulated online gaming experience. This can be done by suitably amending the UIGEA and ironing out the perceived vagueness. At the same time Congress can create thousands of new jobs almost immediately and raise at least $20 billion in new tax revenues over the next decade. U.S.-licensed gaming companies will provide safe, honest and responsible sites.

On the day following the release of the above article Fahrenkopf, joined three other land gambling chiefs in a press conference in Washington DC. The galaxy of gambling heads gave a joint call for online gambling legalization. They noted that the instruments and technology to meet all precautionary requirements was now available. And because there was a significant demand among the American population for online gambling, federal government legalization was the only realistic course to follow. In order to pursue this course a series of meetings have been planned in the near future with senior political figures. Another initiative planned by AGA is drafting its own bill for the legalization of online gambling. This will allow for independent state regulation with federal oversight.

AGA has also released a new white paper titled Online Gambling Five Years After UIGEA. The paper has been authored by legal counsel David O. Stewart. It provides an in-depth look at the global and USA online gambling markets, current regulatory models and legalization proposals in the United States. One of the points of emphasis is that online gambling is legalized and regulated in 85 countries. Therefore the Congress can consider a wide range of alternatives before taking a decision.

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