Frank Fahrenkopf, the president and chief officer of the American Gaming Association, spoke with Covers.com about the efforts to overturn the UIGEA and regulate the Internet gambling industry in the United States.

“I would say it’s at least six, seven, eight years away,” Fahrenkopf said during a phone interview from his office in Washington D.C. “There’s just so much opposition in Congress to it. It’s sort of a two-step forward, one-step back process to get it on.”

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“We’ve been neutral with it all the way through,” he said. “We haven’t filed anything. We don’t have a dog in that fight, but we are following it closely.”
So how is it that the nation’s top gaming lobbyist group has taken a stance of neutrality on online wagering?

“My own personal belief is that the capability is there,” Fahrenkopf said. “But we have to have some group that is independent look at it. … We always believe that when you have a controversial subject such as this - and gaming is controversial whether it’s Internet or not - that the more independent research and independent voices that can speak on behalf of where you want to go, the better off you are.”

The AGA and Fahrenkopf support the Internet Gambling Study Act introduced by Reps Shelley Berkley and Jon Porter of Nevada. This bill calls for an 18-month study conducted by The National Research Council of The National Academy of Sciences. They would look to see if the software and technology are in place that would keep underage bettors from gambling, prevent betting in illegal jurisdictions, track gamblers with addiction problems and ensure those who get licenses are legitimate with the necessary finances to operate.
The Study bill currently has 68 co-sponsor signatures compared to 48 Congressional co-sponsors of Frank’s bill.

“Of all the gaming bills, the only one that has a chance is the Berkley/Porter bill because it’s only a study bill,” Fahrenkopf said. “It’s not something specific that’s being authorized. If anything gets through, this has the best chance.”
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