Casino industry opposes illegal Internet gambling

Feb 19, 2002 3:57 AM

Check your VISA and Master Cards at the door.

The casino industry, whose AGA opposes illegal Internet gaming, is backing a bill to ban credit card use for online bets.

The industry has thrown its support to a bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, to ban credit card payment for illegal Internet wagers. But the AGA is against blanket prohibition of online gaming.

A bill by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., calling for the complete ban on Internet gaming, is being opposed by the casino industry. At least, for now.

Frank Fahrenkopf, president of AGA (American Gaming Association), would not comment publicly on the board’s position regarding either bill, saying he needed more time to consult the board. Fahrenkopf is the casinos’ top Washington lobbyist.

Fahrenkopf did brief the Nevada congressional delegation last week in Washington about the bills and expressed his desire to support the Leach proposal on a credit card ban.

Any support from Fahrenkopf could have a positive impact on the Leach bill, which has just two co-sponsors. The Goodlattte bill has 155, including Mike Ensign, Mandalay Resort Group Chairman and father of Nevada Sen. John Ensign.

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid said he opposes Internet gambling because he didn’t believe it could be controlled. Reid is a former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Nevada Rep. Shelley Berkley has not yet expressed support for either measure.