American Gaming Association Comes Out in Support of Legalizing Online Poker

I was surprised to see on Friday that the casino industry’s top trade group, The American Gaming Association, has come out in support of online poker. This is the same effort being made by U.S.Senator Harry Reid.

An AGA spokesman said the Reid bill includes oversight and consumer protections.

Make no mistake though. This is Reid payback for the support he got from Nevada casinos during his recent senatorial run.

No matter to me. Just give me online gambling. I don’t give a damn why the law might pass.

[It’s always about money, right?]

“Current online gambling laws do not provide these safeguards, leaving players and the system open to fraud, cheating and other illegal acts,” Frank Fahrenkopf, the group’s chief executive, said in a written statement.

The AGA, based in Washington, D.C., represents the interests of the nation’s more than 440 commercial casinos, which account for more than half the gambling revenue generated in the United States.

But the bill already faces opposition from some Republican leaders.

One pundit has said the measure would have to pass before the current Congress ends its session next week and Republicans take control.

Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement Thursday that his bill would, for the first two years, allow Internet poker to be offered only by existing casino companies — either commercial casinos already approved by various states or licensees approved by American Indian tribes.

Smaller casinos have expressed concerns that allowing Internet poker would cut into their business.

Online gambling became illegal in 2006 with a new federal law prohibiting banks and credit card companies from making payments to gambling websites.

The law included exceptions for fantasy sports, horse racing and state lotteries.

The bill would require licensees to accept only American players for the first three years and offer stronger oversight of the multibillion-dollar industry.

Dunno if it will pass, but I hope so.


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