AGA to change stance on anti-gambling bill again?
By Linda
The AGA is likely to withdraw its support for the Goodlatte anti-gambling bill, because last-minute changes deleted an exemption which would have allowed Nevada casinos to operate their own Internet gambling websites under certain conditions.

The exemption, strongly supported by the gaming lobby led by the American Gaming Association, would have essentially helped preserve a state's right to regulate gambling within its borders. Several Nevada gaming companies, such as MGM MIRAGE, Park Place Entertainment Corp. and Station Casinos Inc., are interested in launching Internet-based casinos.

Now the AGA is likely to withdraw its support for the Goodlatte Bill because of the deletion of the exemption.

The AGA (American Gaming Association,) opposed the bill when it was first introduced. They changed tack and began to support it earlier this year, to the dismay of some in the industry. Now it looks likely they may change stance again.

Committee member Jim Gibbons, R-Nev. is also likely to withdraw support. The bill as approved Tuesday 'raised serious concerns' for Gibbons, spokeswoman Amy Spanbauer said.

Gibbons and AGA President Frank Fahrenkopf were scheduled to meet privately to discuss the bill.

Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. Is also expected to withdraw support.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., has been the primary force behind the push in the House to ban Internet gambling, working for several years to build support. As he sought to craft legislation, he made a number of compromises to win the support of various lawmakers, and the gaming industry including the AGA.

In the end, however, Goodlatte's compromises were stripped out of the bill when the committee approved an amendment from Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, that made the legislation more of an outright ban on all forms of Internet gambling. Cannon's amendment removed exemptions for casinos and state lotteries, for example.

Still, Goodlatte voted for the bill, sending it to an uncertain fate on the House floor.

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