|According to a report from the Cape Cod Media group, some surprising companies spent big bucks over the first half of last year lobbying American politicians in support of online gambling.|
Groups in the US are required to disclose the amounts and causes for which they are lobbying and the report follows previous disclosures from the American Gaming Association, which spent $1.7 million in pushing for a study of online gambling, and the Washington-based Poker Players' Alliance pressure group, which spent $900,000 advocating the legalisation of online poker.
One of the new names, Visa USA declared spending $480,000 in support Barney Frank’s proposed Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (IGREA) in the first half of 2007 while online gambling group Party Gaming spent $440,000 over the same period.
The Interactive Gaming Council, a trade association for online gambling companies, laid out $320,000 while Rhode Island-based gaming technology firm GTech Corporation spent $120,000. American racecourse owner Magna Entertainment declared $60,000 in lobbying funds while giant land casino group Harrah's spent $100,000.
According to the Centre for Responsive Politics, the casinos and gambling industry spent a total of $22.21 million in 2007 with most of this coming from tribal gambling enterprises. However, it stated that this is just a drop in the bucket compared to the over $357.38 million contributed to US politicians by the big spending US Chamber of Commerce last year.
The group also reported that the Antigua Gaming Association spent $320,000 for the full year alongside International Game Technology’s $280,000, Sportingbet’s $140,000 and the World Poker Tour’s $20,000.
In total, the casino and gambling sector reportedly spent $2.06 billion in 2007, which lags behind previous years. In 2005, expenditure of this nature amounted to $2.45 billion while 2006 saw the industry spend $2.66 billion.