The American Gaming Association (AGA) gave a thumbs up to yesterday’s Senate subcommittee hearing on online gambling and took the opportunity to reiterate the need for online poker legislation at the federal level that would include strengthening laws against online casino games.
The hearing before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance showcased the problems that online gambling expansion would bring, with the expert witnesses providing some solutions that would protect American citizens. The AGA believes that some of those problems would be solved by limiting the regulations to Internet poker-only.
“To address current illegal activity and the threat posed by a state-by-state gambling expansion, the [AGA] encourages a federal ban on online casino-style ‘games of chance’ and effective regulatory oversight of Internet poker,” an AGA press release stated.
The AGA would like federal lawmakers to establish regulatory standards for online poker and allow individual states to opt in if they so choose. Those states would each set up their own procedures that would build upon the foundation created by the federal regulations. Such an endeavor runs counter to the state-by-state approach currently underway that was made possible by the DoJ’s December 2011 opinion with regards to the 1961 Wire Act.
“Internet poker is a reality that is here to stay,” said Geoff Freeman, AGA president and CEO. Freeman took over the reins of the AGA beginning this month after Frank Fahrenkopf stepped down after 18 years at the helm. “The question is whether Congress will ensure minimum regulatory standards of online poker, protect consumers, exclude bad actors from the American market and provide Native American tribes with an appropriate regulatory framework.”
The Senate hearing raised a number of valid concerns such as the need to combat money laundering through updated federal statutes and using modern technology to verify player identities. Failing to employ these tactics, the AGA warns, would result in an online gambling “free-for-all” on the state level that would be highly detrimental to the entire country.