Congress vs online gambling: the debate rages on
By Paul
In a turnaround that would have seemed remarkable a year ago, it now seems that the mainstream casino industry will oppose a bill that would prohibit online wagering, according to The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Frank Fahrenkopf, the casino industry’s chief lobbyist in Washington and chief of the American Gaming Association, said last week that an Internet gambling ban proposed by Congressman Bob Goodlatte would be hit casinos harder than other gambling sectors.

'The majority view in our industry is clearly opposed to Internet gambling,' said Fahrenkopf, chief of the American Gaming Association. 'But as I told Congressman Goodlatte, my concern is that his bill seems to side with the horse racing industry.'

Goodlatte's bill, says Fahrenkopf, would not prevent a person from placing a pari-mutuel bet over the Internet to Las Vegas, but that same person would not be allowed to use the Internet to play a Megabucks slot machine connected to a centralized computer in Nevada.

Fahrenkopf said that the American Gaming Association has yet to take a stance on Goodlatte's bill, but a decision should be forthcoming within 10 days.

Fahrenkopf wrote to Goodlatte on November 26 last year, pointing out the difference between the bills that Goodlatte proposed in 2000, which didn’t pass, despite the support at the time of the Casino industry.

Fahrenkopf admits that the majority of the land-based casinos are still opposed to Internet gambling per se, but that the bill is weighted in favour of horse racing.

The news highlights the division in the ranks of the land-based casino companies – MGM Mirage chairman Terry Lanni is a known advocate of Internet gambling, while Park Place Entertainment chief Tom Gallagher and Harrah’s chairman Phil Satre are known to be more cautious.

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