Tuesday July 19,2011 : Apparent contradiction to chief exec's statement in Madrid
In an apparent contradiction of a statement made by the American Gaming Association's chief executive, Frank Fahrenkopf, at a recent conference in Madrid, a spokesman for the trade body said this week that it had no plans to introduce its own online poker legalization bill later this year.
Fahrenkopf's widely reported comment at the Madrid conference that the AGA would be introducing its own federal online poker legalization measure in the northern hemisphere autumn caused considerable comment, coming on the heels of the launch in the House of Representative Joe Barton's measure with the same objective.
This week AGA communications chief Holly Wetzel said reports on the issue needed to be corrected.
"First the AGA is not actively opposing the Barton bill," Wetzel told the publication Gaming Today.
"We have been neutral on all introduced legalization related to online poker, and the same is true of the Barton bill. We believe it’s a step in the right direction.
"More importantly, the AGA does not have its own bill and does not have plans to introduce its own bill. If a bill is introduced that meets our board’s approval, certainly we will consider supporting it. But we are not drafting our own bill."
On June 24 the AGA issued a statement on the Barton bill, saying:
"The American Gaming Association supports the licensing and regulation of online poker in the U.S.
"Although the AGA has not endorsed any specific legalization on this issue, we are pleased that Rep. Barton wants to protect American consumers and understands the need for regulating online poker in our country.
"The millions of Americans who are playing poker online deserve to know they are playing safely with law-abiding operators, but strong enforcement of illegal operators and unambiguous U.S. laws governing online gambling are equally vital. We look forward to continuing to work toward a solution that will meet these two goals and keep the jobs and revenues associated with this billion-dollar industry in the United States."
InfoPowa has obtained confirmation from Wetzel that she made this satementand that it accurately reflects the position of the AGA.
Ms. Wetzel said that the association believes Fahrenkopf’s comments were misinterpreted.