Many voices are sounding in on the current spate of legislation running through the halls of Congress in the United States. The Poker Players Alliance is actively lobbying against these activities and the voices of poker players across the nation have spoken up to their respective members of the legislative bodies of the Senate and House of Representatives. Now another nationally respected organization has come up with a counteroffer to Washington, DC, putting even more to think about on the tables in the continuing debate.
The American Gaming Association, representing the interests of casino operations throughout the United States, has come forward with a novel approach to the question of the regulation of online poker and gaming by the federal government. The organization have called for a year-long study into the continued popularity of Internet gaming and will table their criticisms of Washington's efforts while the study is going on. The subject demands such a look, according to American Gaming Association president Frank Fahrenkopf.
"A commission could evaluate whether legislation, regulation and taxation of the Internet gaming industry would be a more advisable course than a complete ban on online gambling," he stated when the organization announced their proposal. "Millions of Americans currently gamble online, and they will continue to do so. And many nations, including Great Britain, are in the process of legalizing, regulating and taxing online gambling," he added. There are additional sides to the question, such as how to protect children and problem gamblers, that the AGA's proposal would look at as well as the overall question of Internet gaming and poker.
This proposal is potentially one that the federal government may want to take a look at. The gathering of an impartial committee to research the situation fully would not only take a substantive look at a complex issue, it would also offer the representatives in Washington, DC a "back door" out of the sticky situation that this legislation has become. It would also offer the government a chance to look at the Internet gaming issue from a financial aspect, as there would be a definitive advantage to taxation and regulation of the rapidly expanding business of online poker and gaming. The potential windfall of taxation of the industry, which by most accounts made $11.9 billion in 2005, could be a point that many in the government haven't considered when looking at the rising deficit levels for the United States government.
A point of concern in the proposal has to be that it came from the American Gaming Association. The group's main objective is in the interests of the casinos spread across the United States. With the regulation of the online industry and its potential licensing for operations in this country, it could lead to the casinos starting their own competing operations against the offshore based sites. While their proposal is one that needs to be considered, it is also possible that the motives of the AGA are less than altruistic. Even with this thought, however, the AGA's proposal is one that should be acted upon.
Before the federal government takes action that would be unenforceable in this country or drive the prying eyes of some watchdog further into the lives of their citizens, the best course of action would be a comprehensive look at the situation by an impartial committee. As of yet, the powers that be in Washington, DC haven't responded to the proposal but perhaps we can have all sides satisfied with action on the thoughts of the American Gaming Association.