|According to records released last week by the Senate’s public records office, lobby group Covington and Burling LLP took almost $1.1 million from the National Football League (NFL) last year to sway the US Federal Government’s opinion.|
American legislation requires political lobbying groups to declare budgets and this news follows last week’s revelation that the American Gaming Association, a trade group for the casino industry in the United States, spent $1.7 million in 2007 lobbying against online gambling legislation.
Covington and Burling lobbied on various pieces of legislation including those dealing with steroids use, Internet gambling and disability and retirement benefits with $655,000 of the total spent in the second half of the year.
Not far behind the NFL was the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), a pressure group based in Washington and dedicated to the legalisation of online poker, which spent $900,000 over the year lobby the Federal Government.
The group stated that it represents 800,000 poker enthusiasts from around the United States and lobbied for a bill that would exempt poker from current restrictive online gambling legislation. The PPA spent $780,000 in the corridors of power during the second half of 2007 and also wants legislation passed that would regulate the online gaming industry over an outright ban.
Although it is currently legal to play poker in the United States, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 makes it illegal for American banks and credit card companies to process payments to online gambling businesses. The act bars financial institutions from handling gambling transactions with discriminatory exceptions for online lotteries, horse racing and fantasy sports.