12/12/2012 : AGA CHIEF CONTINUES MEDIA CAMPAIGN IN SUPPORT OF REID-KYL BILL
Fahrenkopf op-ed article warns against major expansion of legal gambling unless Congress supports federal internet poker bill
American Gaming Association chief Frank Fahrenkopf widened the Association's media campaign Monday with an op-ed article in the Washington DC publication Politico, warning that unless the Kyl-Reid bill is supported, the USA will see the largest expansion of legal gambling in history – presumably a reference to individual states passing their own online gambling legalization.
Fahrenkopf followed the general approach of the AGA on the issue, which over the past weeks has been to push for federal support for the Reid-Kyl bill, which whilst making online poker legal, specifically bans other forms of online gambling.
The AGA chief wrote that expanded gambling outside the federal solution he supports "…will happen in a fashion almost guaranteed to result in inadequate oversight – resulting in a future tangle of problems for law enforcement and U.S. consumers."
He discussed the reversal of Department of Justice policy on the Wire Act last December, in which the Department conceded that the Act only applies to sports betting, opening up state-by-state legalization possibilities.
Fahrenkopf voices other fears that are unlikely to resonate well with law-makers and regulators in individual US states:
"The challenge here is that if states move in this direction online – as many already are at a rapid rate – it will lead to a state-by-state patchwork of regulations across the borderless Internet that puts gaming patrons, problem gamblers and minors at unnecessary risk," he claims.
"As states one-by-one begin licensing companies, they also could do so with some of the very foreign online gambling companies that have flouted U.S. laws for years. And if we end up with 50 different sets of rules and regulations for 50 states, it could result in a race to the bottom, where states attempt to have the least amount of oversight in order to attract business."
The Reid-Kyl bill "….accomplishes what the AGA has long supported, which entails establishing federal minimum standards that address consumer protection, prevent underage gambling, promote responsible gaming and provide help for those with gambling problems," Fahrenkopf declares.
"It also provides a regulatory structure allowing for Native American casino operators to be involved. Furthermore, it clarifies and restores federal law so that law enforcement communities have the tools necessary to prosecute illegal online gambling operators and keep them out of the U.S. market once and for all."
However, the AGA clearly wishes to placate individual states in respect of their rights to pass intrastate laws, with Fahrenkopf emphasising that each state can decide whether it wants to legalise online poker or not.
"States should have that right, but the bill also recognizes that there is too much risk in leaving licensing to inexperienced regulators, which is why it places licensing and regulatory authority in the hands of regulators in states with the proven history of effective gaming regulation, he writes.
With just two weeks left to the festive season, the AGA's push to save the Reid-Kyl bill in Congress' lame duck session smacks of desperation.