The American Gaming Association (AGA) is going to pull out of the debate on online gambling, reportedly due to divisions among their members on the issue. It is worth noting that the recent pullout doesn’t mean that the AGA has changed its position and is now opposed to online gambling. Rather, the organization will simply not take part in the debate anymore.
It is believed that the recent move by the AGA could be related to the position of Sheldon Adelson from the Las Vegas Sands Corp. which is strongly opposed to online gambling. This puts them at odds with other players in the industry, such as MGM and Caesars, both of who have a more favorable position towards Internet gambling.
All of this happened after the AGA’s new CEO, Geoff Freeman, took over the seat from former AGA chief Frank Fahrenkopf in April of last year. Freeman has changed the AGA’s position from one where the group simply “didn’t oppose” online gambling to actively campaigning for it to be legalized.
The fact that the AGA has now pulled out of the online gambling debate isn’t a big surprise for many. Earlier this year, the Chairman of MGM Resorts, Jim Murren, has called on the group to distance itself from fights related to online gaming and instead shift their attention to other issues which aren’t as divisive for members. Murren has repeatedly made comments that show he doesn’t want the AGA to find itself bogged down by infighting among it members and that Internet gambling is an issue that is simply too controversial at the moment.
In a statement made to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Murren has said that the fight should instead take place between the Coalition for Consumer Online Protections (C4COP), a lobbying group backed by the AGA and the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG), which is backed by Sheldon Adelson from the Las Vegas Sands.
Another group that would continue to lobby in favor of online gambling would be the Poker Players Alliance. In a social media message sent to their member, the PPA said that they would continue to fight for the expansion of legal online gaming together with the C4COP. Even though the AGA has decided to withdraw from the fight, its members are still sticking to their positions. This means that companies like Caesars, MGM, plus groups such as the PPA and C4COP are still going to fight for online gambling.
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