Thursday February 21,2013 : AGA CHIEF HINTS AT NEW FEDERAL LEGALISATION ATTEMPT
Texan Joe Barton may re-launch federal online poker bill soon
The outgoing AGA chief, Frank Fahrenkopf, hinted twice this week that a new federal attempt to legalise online poker may be in the works and introduced in the near future.
Speaking on the Ralston Reports television show Tuesday, Fahrenkopf stayed with the now well-known AGA hymn sheet that a federal solution was better than state-by-state legalization, and was careful to remain with the theme that such a bill would embrace only online poker.
InfoPowa readers will recall that last year's Reid-Kyl non-starter specifically declared online gambling in general unlawful, allowing only for online poker and existing carve-outs in federal legalization such as fantasy sports and horse racing.
On the Ralston Reports show, Fahrenkopf said a new attempt would probably be launched in the near future through the House of Representatives, possibly with the aid of Texas Republican Joe Barton, who was unsuccessful in a similar bid last year.
"I've talked to the congressman and he's doing a little spadework with the members. We'll just have to wait and see," the AGA exec said.
Fahrenkopf referenced the growing momentum in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada for state-by-state solutions, commenting:
"I think the activity of a number of states – particularly Delaware where they authorized all forms of casino games – could (result in) the largest expansion of legal gaming in this country's history if states start to emulate what Delaware did."
The AGA exec said that he had been active in promoting a federal online poker solution over the past two weeks, noting: “We might see [a bill] introduced quite soon in the House. There is still an effort in the House. I think there are some members in Congress who normally are very anti-gaming who view a poker bill as the lesser of two evils.”
Fahrenkopf's interview with Ralston can be viewed here:
Fahrenkopf reinforced his hints of another federal attempt Wednesday when he addressed the 2013 iGaming North America conference, which featured internet gambling opportunities in the USA.
He again emphasised his organisation's preference for federal legalization exclusively aimed at online poker, and commented that states who legalised online gambling and then attempted to widen player liquidity by negotiating interstate deals with like-minded states – a possibility which Nevada clearly has in mind – could alarm some members of congress and create opposition.
He then appeared to argue against himself by conceding that in other sectors federal interference had not taken place, although he claimed that real-money gambling online could be an exception to general experience. His point was that with a federal solution such a hypothetical situation would not arise.