Just over a month after releasing a code of conduct for companies operating in any federal online poker market – the American Gaming Association (AGA) has issued a statement to coincide with a special hearing held by the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, which was entitled ‘Internet Gaming: Is there a Safe Bet?’
In the press release, the President and Chief Executive Officer of AGA, Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jnr, claims that Tuesday’s hearing made it clear that a ‘safe bet’ would be to allow states, following federal guidelines to license and regulate online poker in the United States.
Reiterating his “but what about the children” meme, he said: “Such action would protect U.S. consumers, keep children from gambling on the Internet, and provide the tools law enforcement needs to shut down illegal Internet gambling operators. It would also create new jobs and tax revenue at a time when our country sorely needs both.”
Adding: “Testimony heard today and other testimony presented in writing, such as ours, demonstrates that new technology and processes used in ecommerce have been successfully adapted in jurisdictions where Internet gambling is legal, such as Great Britain, France, Italy and provinces in Canada, to keep minors from betting online and prevent illegal activities.”
Fahrenkopf, who supports state licensing and regulation following federal guidelines on internet poker as it is “substantially different than other forms of gaming” is hoping to get the federal bill passed by early 2013. He continued in the statement to explain that poker is a game that a vast number of Americans have historically played and still do so. “Second, unlike other forms of Internet gambling, poker is primarily a game of skill. And, poker is played between or among individuals, whereas in other forms of Internet gambling the customer is playing against the ‘house’,” he said.
But as Calvin Ayre has said in the past; isn’t online gaming a complementary of land based gaming, and vice versa? The biggest trend between the two at the moment is convergence: that of them moving towards one another. Few operators still fear that readily available online poker could turn their casinos into ghost towns, even though industry notables like to state otherwise.