American Gaming Association Will Not Support Joe Barton Online Poker Bill

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
American Gaming Association Joe Barton Internet Poker Bill

The powerful American Gaming Association will not be supporting a bill to legalize Internet poker drafted by Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton, according to eGaming Review Magazine.   

The AGA represents most of the major US-based casinos.

In a keynote address at the Gaming Executive Summit in Madrid today he said: “Ten days ago Joe Barton of Texas introduced a bill that was modelled on the draft that was worked on by Senator Reid and Senator Kyl in the lame duck session. We are not supporting it. We are not opposing it, but we are not supporting it."

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) helped draft the bill.  Ironically, the AGA is reportedly a major contributor to the Poker Players Alliance. 

Essentially, the AGA would like the tax structure to be changed.  Their own bill was expected to be introduced in the fall. 

It is possible a compromise could be met prior to attempts at passing a debt ceiling bill by summer’s end.  Some industry observers are suggesting that a bill to legalize Internet poker could be attached to other priority legislation. 

A number of casinos have apparently objected to offshore Web card rooms gaining a foothold in a new legalized market. 

From eGaming Review:

Fahrenkopf said the AGA was “hopeful that after the summer break, a bill will be introduced” which would provide the following: “Number one, it would give oversight to the Congress department of the United States but they would delegate the licensing and regulatory authority to those states that have the longest history in gaming regulation, that have the law enforcement on staff and the financial wherewithal to do tough regulation. Probably, that only means Nevada and New Jersey.”

Second, added Fahrenkopf, in contrast to earlier bills such as that introduced last year by Barney Frank – re-introduced in March this year by Congressman John Campbell– states would have to opt in to any regulatory regime emerging from the AGA-backed poker-only bill. “States would not automatically be included as states where you can gamble online with online poker. State legislators and governors would have to take affirmative action to say, we want our people to game.”

Third, said Fahrenkopf, “[T]here would be delineation between those companies that got out of the market with UIGEA’s passage, and those that did not. I don’t know exactly what that would be, but assume there would be a ‘penalty box’”. Fahrenkopf said his understanding was that if a company had stayed in the US post-UIGEA, they would be barred from any federal licensing process for a minimum of two years.

- Chris Costigan, Publisher

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