03/08/2012 : A.G.A. HEAD ADDRESSES iGAMING NORTH AMERICA
"…every form of legal gaming must be treated the same and fairly," says Fahrenkopf
Frank Fahrenkopf, head honcho of the land casino trade body American Gaming Association, told delegates to the iGaming North America conference in San Francisco Wednesday that his organisation is not seeking "first in" positioning in legalised online gambling, but rather wants to see all interested parties – including state lotteries and tribal operators – get a fair shake in the emerging industry sector.
"I try to tell our lottery friends this all the time … that every form of legal gaming must be treated the same and fairly," Fahrenkopf said. "No one gets a leg up on anybody else. That's been our position all the way through."
In an interview with Associated Press following his address, Fahrenkopf said that the land gambling groups in his organisation would have no problems in competing in a state-by-state legislative scenario, but that he preference was federal legalization.
Such an approach would help shut down the illegal online operators still accessing the American market, would offer a more cohesive approach, and would be more acceptable to certain parties.
"Tribes are never going to agree that they've got to go to a state government to get approval to run something, so you have to have the federal government involved to be the agency to work with tribes on licensing and regulation," he said. "So you need a federal presence."
Fahrenkopf said that to have ambitions wider than the legalization of online poker, such as casino games, could be a mistake at present, causing a loss of political support for legalization initiatives.
The AGA chief emphasised his support for a federal solution, but acknowledged that with the presidential elections influencing events in Washington until November, it could be a tough call to get federal legalization through the national legislators.
Nevertheless, he said that the AGA will continue to work closely with regulators to advance regulatory reform, and revealed that the association's multi-faceted plan, includes the launch of a new section of the AGA’s website devoted entirely to regulatory reform and keeping interested parties fully informed with up to the minute information from a variety of sources.
Both federal and state initiatives will be covered, he assured delegates, adding that the association is also considering the creation of a national forum where regulators and members of the industry can exchange views and concepts.
Introducing the new service on the AGA website, the association's chairman, Richard Haddrill, writes:
“This new section of the AGA website is designed to foster conversation among regulators, gaming professionals and other key stakeholders. It is my sincere hope that we can work together to make real progress that will benefit the entire industry while maintaining the commitment to compliance and integrity that are the hallmark of our business.”