"The board will consider whether or not to support legislation
in the new Congress calling for an independent study of Internet
gambling to see if it can be properly regulated, controlled,
taxed and licensed here in the United States," said AGA
President Frank Fahrenkopf.
"My guess is that they (the board) are going to say
let's go ahead and do it."
Representing the U.S. commercial casino industry, the AGA
strongly opposed Internet gambling throughout the late 90's,
but its position grew unclear after the turn of the century.
"Our policy changed back in April when we took a position
that we thought the best way to go was to have an independent
commission look at it," said Fahrenkopf.
AGA board members who will meet in Las Vegas on December
6 to discuss the matter include MGM Mirage CEO Terri Lanni,
Boyd Gaming CEO William Boyd, Harrah's Entertainment CEO Gary
Loveman and Wynn Resorts CEO Stephen Wynn, among others.
In May of 2006, Nevada Representatives Jon Porter and Shelly
Berkley introduced a bill calling for the creation of a Congressional
Internet Gaming Study Commission as an alternative to legislation
aimed at prohibiting online gambling in the U.S., but the
bill made little headway. Both Porter and Berkley won re-election
Fahrenkopf said the last time the AGA revisited the issue
it preferred to have the study conducted by the National Academy
of Sciences rather than by a Congressional Commission so that
the researchers are devoid of lobbying influence.
"If it came back saying that it can be regulated and
controlled then we would then take the next step I assume,
and see if we couldn't get some support for legalization by
states" he added.
"But that's a long way down the road."