AGA to Push Its Own Federal Online Poker Bill

by , May 11, 2011 | 8:17 am

Frank Fahrenkopf AGA online gambling poker

Fahrenkopf: We’re ready to bring American casinos online (starting with poker)! Who’s with me?

The political arm of America’s brick-and-mortar casino industry is working on its own federal online poker bill, Frank Fahrenkopf, CEO of the American Gaming Association, revealed yesterday at a press conference in Washington DC. The AGA bill will likely be a hybrid between inter- and intra-state, providing federal oversight of independent state regulations.

Joining Fahrenkopf at the press conference were Keith Smith, president of Boyd Gaming; Gordon Kanofsky, CEO of Ameristar Casinos; and Virginia McDowell, president of Isle of Capri Casinos. The lobbying push the AGA kicked off yesterday talked about online poker most immediately, but language used didn’t seem to exclude the possibility of online slots and other casino games becoming part of these efforts.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is holding a lunch today with top Democratic leaders and casino executives to discuss, they say, a broad range of online gambling matters.

Gary Loveman, CEO of Caesars Entertainment (parent company to the WSOP), made note of the importance of online poker yesterday in an SEC filing yesterdayreporting Caesars Q1 2011 financial results. In the positive spin put on losing $147 million in the first three months of this year, he told Uncle Sam:

“Finally, we believe strongly that the recent federal indictments of illegal online poker operators should convince Congress to allow American citizens to play online poker and to allow American companies to compete in a multi-billion-dollar industry,” Loveman said. “By acting now to legalize a game enjoyed by millions of adult citizens, Congress can clarify ambiguous federal laws, generate tax revenues for federal and state governments and bring thousands of jobs to this country.”

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