The poker information site Pocketfives.com scored a coup this week with a podcast interview with Frank Fahrenkopf, chief of the influential US land gambling trade body the American Gaming Association.
This first week of August marks the AGA's eleventh annual Responsible Gaming Education Week, reminding its members and the public alike of the importance of disciplined, responsible gambling behaviour.
Pocketfives gives a brief history of the Association, explaining that it was formed in the mid-1990’s in response to a threat in Washington, D.C. to casino gambling revenue.
Fahrenkopf explains: “The idea for the AGA came about as a result of a move by the Clinton administration in 1994. There was a proposal to put a 4 percent tax on all gambling revenue in the United States to fund Mrs. Clinton’s health care reform program as well as President Clinton’s welfare reform program.
"Over 30 state Governors wrote a letter to the President saying that they depended on gambling revenue in their states. If the Federal Government took 4 percent off the top to fund its own programs, it would put each state in dire straits.
"These events sent a message to the casino industry that it should be represented in Washington.”
* Public opinion polls have shown that 80-85 percent of the American public has no problem with gambling. However, there’s a hardcore 15 percent of the population who are opposed to all forms of gambling on moral grounds, led by the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches.
* The AGA supports an independent and comprehensive study of online gambling before any discussion on legalization and regulating takes place. It also strongly supports the right of individual states to legislate state gambling law regarding the Internet.
* Around 1 percent of the US gambling population are potential or actual problem gamblers, and the AGA has ‘a corporate responsibility to our customers and to those who can’t gamble responsibly to do everything we can to increase awareness of problem gambling among our industry’s employees and customers.'