AGA poker bill

The American Gaming Association has announced it will not support the new internet poker bill introduced to Congress recently. It says it will instead push for its own legislation that would favor both New Jersey and Nevada as head regulatory and licensing agencies.

The bill introduced to Congress is sponsored primarily by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) and has the support of a number of legislators from both sides of the aisle. That bill would create an interstate licensing program for internet poker sites, but would also allow states to opt out if they choose.

The AGA’s bill would differ from Barton’s bill in defining how the taxes that result from online poker play would be split between the federal government and state coffers.

Frank Fahrenkopf, the chief of the AGA, said in a keynote address at the Gaming Executive Summit in Madrid this week that the AGA is not opposed to the Barton bill.

“We are not supporting (the bill),” he said. “We are not opposing it, but we are not supporting it.”

Fahrenkopf said he was hopeful that the AGA’s bill would be introduced after the summer. It includes, he said, an option for states. Barton’s bill would automatically include states and states could choose to opt out if they chose, but Fahrenkopf said the AGA’s bill would require that states “would have to take affirmative action to say, ‘we want our people to game’.”