Tuesday September 20, 2011 : "Wild West" video makes case for licensing and regulating online poker in the U.S.
 
The head of U.S. commercial casino trade body, the American Gaming Association, has added more momentum to the legalization debate, issuing a statement that declares: "There are no longer any good reasons to put U.S. citizens at risk by continuing to outlaw online poker in the U.S," and calling on Congress to pass laws toughening enforcement against illegal online gambling operators.
 
Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., president and CEO of the AGA, made the statement as his group introduced an online poker Code of Conduct, outlining the measures it thinks are necessary to institute an effective regulatory system that will protect American consumers, keep minors from gambling, provide tools to help problem gamblers, and create provisions to help law enforcement identify and prosecute illegal operators.
 
While the U.S. Justice Department has taken steps to shut down illegal off-shore online gambling sites, millions of Americans continue to play online poker every day, the statement notes.
 
"The AGA thinks online poker operators must adhere to the same stringent regulations that have proven effective in governing brick-and-mortar casinos," Fahrenkopf said.
 
"If online poker is legalized in the U.S., implementation of the principles of the Code of Conduct will ensure that American consumers are playing online poker in a fair and secure environment provided by a responsible operator."
 
In addition to the Code of Conduct, the AGA introduced a YouTube video that makes the case for establishing federal guidelines that would allow states to license and regulate online poker, ensure American consumers are protected and that the jobs and revenues associated with the industry are realised in the U.S.
 
The vid can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/americangamingassoc.
 
The Wild-West-themed production traces the game of poker's earliest and most lawless periods to today's online situation, complaining that players are less protected at offshore sites, and that billions of dollars…and jobs….are going overseas.
 
It describes Justice Department attempts to kill off the online pastime, but admits that  large numbers of Americans remain determined to play on the internet, and therefore calls on the US Congress to pass the necessary legalization to protect them, and stop illegal operators.
 
The AGA's Code of Conduct proposes the following six principles online poker companies should follow in order to obtain a license. Companies should:
 
◦Conduct extensive background checks that will keep criminals out of the business;
 
◦ Install proper identification of every U.S. online poker player to assist law enforcement and keep minors, consumers from unlawful jurisdictions and cheaters from playing;
 
◦ Undergo regular testing and auditing of online poker software to ensure that games are fair and honest;
 
◦ Implement rigorous player exclusion processes to prevent minors, players from illegal U.S. jurisdictions and cheaters from accessing online poker sites;
 
◦ Institute effective responsible gaming protections on operator sites to educate patrons and provide problem gamblers easy access to tools to help control their behavior; and,
 
◦ Maintain stringent anti-money-laundering procedures that will assist the government in its law enforcement efforts.
 
"Only a few years ago, the technology and operating processes did not exist to implement and enforce the principles of the Code," Fahrenkopf said. "But online gambling is legal in some 85 jurisdictions today, and the technology that eliminates the risks that once concerned the AGA and others has now been proven through actual use."