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Techdirt Criticizes AGA's Stance on Internet Gambling


by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor
December 1, 2008

                Online casino gambling has become a subject of great interest in the U.S. following the recent reintroduction of the UIGEA. This week a popular US publication Techdirt responded to the topic of online gambling, calling the American Gaming Association’s support for a study of its regulation “about as wishy-washy as could be”

                Entitles ‘Gaming Giants Can’t Make Up their Minds,’ the editorial discussed the varying opinions on internet gambling among members of the AGA. The piece showed said that while some are in support of internet gambling, some wish to leave it’s regulation to individual states and Tribes, and others don’t want it at all.

                The latest action that the AGA has support in way of online casinos is to review the various legislative proposals in its favor. Techdirt has commented that its stand to conduct a study on the regulation of internet gambling “…sounds about as wishy-washy as could be.”

                The editorial notes that the issues surrounding the legality of internet gambling in the US quite specific. Efforts on the end of the US government to reduce internet gambling may have shown some efficacy, but that they have driven US punters and casino users into the arms of unregulated overseas gambling firms, forcing them to utilize unsavory services to fund such recreation.

                “The result is that gamblers keep up the same activity they were doing before, but are now exposed to more danger and risk, while US authorities are missing out on the chance to collect some taxes. This still seems pretty irresponsible, since gaming regulators in mature markets would argue that driving consumers into unregulated territory where they're not protected by laws and rules governing casinos isn't a great idea,” the article reads

                "Meanwhile, the AGA's waffling isn't a surprise, since many of its members hate to see new competition in any form. But existing casino operators are, arguably, better placed than anyone to compete in new, highly regulated markets that don't require huge capital outlays on the scale of expensive new properties. Also, it's hard to understand how more competition for gambling dollars could hurt consumers, when competition might actually deliver them a number of significant benefits, particularly over gray-market services of questionable legality."

                The AGA conducts an annual survey of casino activity, running for 10 consecutive years, dubbed State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment. Included in these reports are details of the national and state-by-state economic impact of commercial casinos, along with data examining the continued growth of the industry.

                The survey provides details as to the amount of casino visitation, a profile of the American casino gambler, and polled data showing the acceptance of casinos – which remains high. The 2008 State of the States survey featured a special section that reported the levels of capital investment in overseas casinos.