Expensive lobbying

Quarter 4, 2008 expenditure on political lobbying by the American Gaming Association totalled $368 000 and was again mainly devoted to matters involving online gambling, Associated Press reports.

The Association, a trade body for major US land gambling corporate groups, released details of its quarterly lobbying investment as part of a mandatory disclosure requirement for lobbying companies.

The latest report shows that expenditure was again primarily on Internet gambling issues, including several pieces of legislation that would legalise and regulate Internet gambling in the U.S. by clarifying rules concerning financial crimes - undoubtedly a reference to the controversial and notoriously imprecise Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which is targeted for repeal by Congressman Barney Frank this year.

The association also lobbied on a bill "...to provide for a study by the National Academy of Sciences to identify the proper response of the United States to the growth of Internet gambling." This is another confirmation of the AGA's current position on Internet gambling, which is that a thorough study of the pros and cons of regulation is desirable before anything further in a legislative sense is undertaken.

The Association's members are reportedly split on the right approach to Internet gambling, with some fearing the consequences of regulation and acceptance, and others strongly in favour of the move as an alternative revenue stream - especially in the current tough economic conditions.

Prominent Nevada politicians have been pressing for such a study for the last two years.

In the October-December period, the AGA lobbied the White House, the Department of Interior and the US Congress, according to a disclosure report filed January 14 2009 with the House clerk's office.

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