Casino Industry Executives to Lobby Congress for Online Poker

Casino Industry Executives to Lobby Congress for Online Poker

5/21/2011

With millions of people playing online poker for money, the casino industry is asking Congress to intervene and regulate the betting.

American Gaming Association members said Tuesday that around 1,000 offshore websites are aiming for the U.S. market. They said that the players would be better served if the companies operating the websites will be monitored closely to make sure that the games are fair and pay off just as promised.

The Gaming Association members also said that keeping the proceeds of the betting in the United States would generate jobs and provide additional income to various states and the federal government.

As offshore companies benefit from the boom in Internet poker wagering, commercial casinos have also become more supportive of moves to legalize online poker.

Virginia McDowell, the president and CEO of the Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc, said, “It’s time we take a look at this.”

A couple of years ago, legislation designed to slow down online wagering was passed by Congress. The measure prohibits banks, as well as credit card issuers, from processing online gambling payments.

However, according to Frank Fahrenkopf, the president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, people kept on betting, but doing so with less responsible offshore companies.

In a news conference at the National Press Club, Fahrenkopf, said, “The millions of American who are playing poker online deserve to know they are playing safely with law-abiding operators.”

While it is true that regulating online poker is supported by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, the group faces an uphill climb in the GOP-led House. Casino executives revealed to reporters that they will make their pitch to legislators and White House officials in the coming days.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com