The news agency Associated Press reported this week that the American Gaming Association – a trade group comprised of the major US land casino owners – spent $400 000 over the third quarter of 2008 to lobby for legalization that included work regarding regulated online gambling in the USA.
It is mandatory for Washington lobbyists to submit regular returns on their clients and how much was spent in political lobbying, and for what causes. The latest return for the AGA reported liaison with the White House and the Departments of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service and the Interior, together with Congressional lobbying July through September.
Filed on October 16 with the United States House of Representatives’ Office of the Clerk, the AGA's quarterly reportage flagged activities involving tax legalization including Hurricane Katrina tax bills and employee tip tax compliance. In addition, the association contacted the federal government regarding bills that would create a non-profit corporation to promote travel to the United States.
Internet gambling work is believed to have concerned an independent study of the Internet gambling industry and its implications for the United States if regulated. The AGA has taken a neutral stance on Internet gambling but favours the approach of Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkely who has called for an in-depth research project on the industry before further legislative decisions on it are taken.
In its annual report, the AGA had this to say about such a study:
"The AGA board strongly supports H.R. 2140, the Internet Gambling Study Act, which authorizes a federally funded study to evaluate the impacts of online gambling. A thorough study, conducted by a respected government entity such as the National Academy of Sciences, would provide much-needed guidance on the issue.
"The AGA board thinks a comprehensive study should take into account policy issues ranging from how best to protect children and problem gamblers to whether Internet gambling can be effectively legalized and regulated in the United States. The study also should include consideration of recent WTO rulings indicating the United States’ position on Internet gaming may be in violation of international trade obligations."
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