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Part 3: AGA Prez Talks About Online Gambling Ban

Card Player's Legal Counsler Has a Conversation With Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr.


This is the third part to a three-part series on how the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was born. Allyn Jaffrey Shulman, Card Player Magazine's legal counsel, spoke with American Gaming Association President Frank Fahrenkopf, about it. Click here for part one, and here for part two.

Combine the Bills!

"Both bills passed out of committee, but the House leadership said the bills had to be combined," Fahrenkopf said. "Most of the harsh Goodlatte language was taken out of the bill that passed the House. Senator Kyl then picked it up, but there wasn't a lot of time left.

"Kyl tried to hot-line the bill, which means sending it out in an e-mail to a number of senators, saying he wanted to take it to floor without debate. Six senators objected, but since the record is private, the public doesn't get to know who objected."

Some Really Good Gossip

Now things start getting interesting. Fahrenkopf has many contacts, and explained: "Senator Frist goes to Iowa, where he meets up with Leach. Frist wants to run for the presidency. There is talk that a secret deal was made, whereby Leach would help Frist run for president and Frist would get the bill passed, because, of course, the Iowa caucus is very important and he needs that state.

"Frist came back to Congress with an agenda: get the bill passed one way or another, and he did just that."

So Much for Backdoor Deals

However, as Card Player readers know, Leach was not reelected in Iowa, and in the exit polls, a majority of Frist's constituents said they would not support him for the presidency, so eventually he announced that he was going back to the practice of medicine. So much for backdoor deals.

Fahrenkopf thinks that the new bill doesn't really do anything because credit cards already are not primarily used. He also believes that the bill doesn't make any form of gaming legal or illegal, but merely addresses ways to get money to an online site.

His best guess is that the federal government will prepare a letter that tells financial institutions not to deal with such companies as NETELLER. E-wallets will be harmed. But he thinks that if one company goes out of business, a new business will pop up and replace it.

Congress Miserably Failed to Achieve its Goal!

"If you listen to the rhetoric of those supporting a ban on online gaming, they say that they have to protect the people from the bad guys. But, the publicly held companies were the good guys. They pulled out and now we're left with offshore websites that are not publicly held, with less assurance that they will treat the customer fairly. So, the new law will have the opposite effect."

When I asked what the AGA was going to do about it, he told me: "We want an independent study done by the National Academy of Science, to examine software and answer the question of whether online gaming can be properly regulated. If it can be regulated, under the 10th Amendment, states should be given that right.

Everyone Wants an Independent Study

When I asked how the AGA could help facilitate a study, Fahrenkopf reminded me: "Congressman John Porter and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley of Nevada asked for such a study. There were about 50 bipartisan supporters, but it was too late in the session. My gut tells me there is a lot of support for it."

Fahrenkopf concluded by telling me that when Congress authors such a bill, the AGA will make sure it is worded properly and then will support it. There's still hope for the online gambler!

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