The American Gaming Association will not be offering its support to gambling legislation proposals advocated by Joe Barton, it emerged this week. The AGA, which represents one of the industry’s most powerful lobbying groups, has withdrawn support for the bill and has announced its intention to push forward its own agenda. Many have expressed uncertainty regarding the organisation’s stance on the Barton legislation – particularly as the association originally endorsed Barton’s efforts to introduce a new regulatory system into the sector.
The Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection and Strengthening UIGEA Act (aka The Barton Bill) arrived just some months ago in response to the scandal surrounding the events of Black Friday. The indictment of leading poker rooms including PokerStars and Full Tilt poker prompted lawmakers to draft legislation to permit the establishment of online poker sites regulated by the federal government. Individuals who succeed in making a profit from online poker will now be taxed on their earnings. The AGA bill, which appears to uphold many of Barton’s suggestions, also stipulates the introduction of user fees to be collected by the federal government. States may choose to opt out of the legislation if they deem it appropriate.
A time scale for the introduction of the AGA bill has yet to be confirmed. Barton’s legislation will now be scrutinised by a series of committees and will be subject to a vote in front of the House of Representatives. It seems unlikely that such complex issues will be resolved any time soon. The gaming community will no doubt be watching and waiting with great anticipation in the months ahead.