AGA Retreats From Support of iGaming

AGA Retreats From Support of iGamingThe American Gaming Association (AGA) has shifted gears and is no longer backing online poker and gambling legislation in the U.S.

That announcement came from AGA chief executive officer Geoff Freeman, who reluctantly bowed to organization members who are not entirely sold on the idea of online gambling. There remains a divide among the casinos that the AGA represents, causing a conflict that forced the AGA to step aside.

Chief among the AGA membership opposed to regulating Internet wagering is the Las Vegas Sands and its CEO, Sheldon Adelson. The 80-year-old billionaire casino owner has made the fight against online gambling regulation his pet peeve and is sparing no expense to further his goal.

That goal of eradicating online poker and gambling legislation in the U.S. is being fought through Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. Adelson established the coalition in December and has been busy using his influence to sway lawmakers to see things his way ever since.

That influence has now spread to the AGA, who had previously been shilling for igaming regulation. Freeman even testified before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade in December during an Internet gambling hearing in which he said that online gaming is here to stay.

Five months following that hearing, online gambling is still here to stay, but the AGA will no longer be lobbying for its expansion. The cause will carry on, however, with the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) and the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection (C4COP) likely to increase their roles following the AGA’s departure.

For those in the U.S. hoping to play regulated online poker in the near future, the AGA’s exit is quite a disappointment. Although the spread of regulation has stalled a bit since the igaming launches of three states last year, things were beginning to look up despite the efforts of Adelson and his anti-online gambling coalition.

[geolink href=””]California[/geolink] is inching closer to enacting online poker regulations, with some reports indicating that a bill may pass during this legislative session. That would be a major coup for the pro-igaming crowd, as California is the most populous state in the nation.

Also making headway recently has been Pennsylvania, as an online gambling study commissioned by state officals was recently released. Research found that [geolink href=””]online gambling does not cannibalize revenue enjoyed at land-based casinos[/geolink], which has long been a major concern of lawmakers in a number of states.

The fight to regulate online poker and gambling throughout the U.S. will continue with the AGA watching from the rail. U.S. online poker players are hoping to get off the rail and into the game, following in the footsteps of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett