Unexpected Names Lobby Congress
By Staff
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.

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