AGA calls for responsible internet sweepstakes policy

Jan 14, 2013 6:58 PM

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has urged all states to effect “responsible public policy” that will “prohibit Internet sweepstakes cafés, as numerous states have done.”

Taking a position on the proliferation of so-called Internet sweepstakes cafés, the AGA described the gaming activity as generating some $10 billion per year with games that closely mimic the experience of traditional slot and video poker machines but without the consumer protections required of commercial gaming operators.

In a recent formal policy advisory, the AGA noted:

“States have longstanding policies that gambling businesses must be specifically authorized, strictly regulated to protect consumers, kept free of crime and fairly taxed to contribute resources for the public good.

“Although they often claim otherwise, Internet sweepstakes cafés sell games that involve prize, consideration and, thus, are engaged in the business of gambling. In the vast majority of communities where they operate, cafés lack regulation of (1) the integrity of the owners and operators, (2) the fairness of the games, (3) the exclusion of customers too young to gamble, and (4) their location, including the proximity to schools or churches.”

In issuing the policy statements, AGA President and CEO Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., said, “Sweepstakes café proprietors claim that these under-the-radar businesses don’t constitute gambling and would like to continue to operate without the accountability of normal gaming establishments, but if they aren’t controlled, states, existing gaming businesses and consumers all stand to lose.”

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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