AGA to push for online gambling study?

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AGA TO PUSH FOR ONLINE GAMBLING STUDY PROJECT?

Directors will decide next month on whether to lobby US government for an independent study of the industry

The American Gaming Association's board of directors will meet next month to consider whether to lobby the next [Democrat-controlled] US Congress to establish an independent research study of Internet gambling policy.

"The board will consider whether or not to support legislation in the new Congress calling for an independent study of Internet gambling to see if it can be properly regulated, controlled, taxed and licensed here in the United States," said AGA President Frank Fahrenkopf. "My guess is that they (the board) are going to say let's go ahead and do it."

Representing the U.S. commercial casino industry, the AGA strongly opposed Internet gambling throughout the late 90's, but its position grew unclear after the turn of the century.

"Our policy changed back in April when we took a position that we thought the best way to go was to have an independent commission look at it," said Fahrenkopf.

AGA board members who will meet in Las Vegas on December 6 to discuss the matter include MGM Mirage CEO Terri Lanni, Boyd Gaming CEO William Boyd, Harrah's Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman and Wynn Resorts CEO Stephen Wynn, among others.

In May of 2006, Nevada Representatives Jon Porter and Shelly Berkley introduced a bill calling for the creation of a Congressional Internet Gaming Study Commission as an alternative to legislation aimed at prohibiting online gambling in the U.S., but the bill made little headway. Both Porter and Berkley won re-election last week.

Fahrenkopf said the last time the AGA revisited the issue it preferred to have the study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences rather than by a Congressional Commission so that the researchers are devoid of lobbying influence.

"If it came back saying that it can be regulated and controlled then we would then take the next step I assume, and see if we couldn't get some support for legalization by states" he added.

"But that's a long way down the road."

Legislation aimed at prohibiting Internet gambling financial transactions in the U.S. was signed into law last month amid heavy criticism.
 

jetset

RIP Brian
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UIGEA impacted Internet usage in USA last month

UIGEA PUTS A DENT IN INDUSTRY PENETRATION STATS

US interest in online gambling sites dropped 27 percent in October after double digit gains in September


The Internet usage monitor comScore Media Metrix has released October statistics showing a significant drop in US online gambling penetration, and that Americans were drawn in particular to e-card, party, kids, toy, family and women's Web sites on the run-up to the festive season starting with Halloween.

The company notes what it describes as the "precipitous drop in traffic to online gambling sites" where a decline of 27 percent was recorded following anti-gambling legislation announced in early October.

In preparation for the November elections, Americans flocked to political Web sites, with traffic increasing 10 percent to 8.6 million visitors. The advent of basketball season brought on a flood of traffic to the NBA Internet Network (up 46 percent to 3.8 million visitors).

Wikipedia and YouTube again showed significant growth in October, up 11 percent to 38.9 million visitors and 13 percent to 23.5 million visitors, respectively.

"In addition to the normal Halloween seasonality that we've become accustomed to in October, politics impacted Web traffic this October as the fight for control of Congress was clearly top-of-mind with many Americans," said Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore Media Metrix. "Along these lines, the legislation passed by Congress to restrict online gambling made a marked dent in traffic to these sites - after seeing double-digit gains for these sites in September."

The top 50 properties overall were headed during October by the Yahoo! Sites, which retained ranking as the number one property, reaching nearly 130 million unique visitors in the U.S. Yahoo! was seen by 74 percent of the more than 173 million Internet users in October.

Wikipedia Sites moved up one position to the number 10 spot, attracting 11 percent more visitors than in September, while Wal-Mart moved up four positions to number 17. YouTube.com jumped three spots to number 26, gaining 13 percent to 23.5 million visitors. iVillage.com: The Women's Network enjoyed a significant increase in visitors, drawing almost 18 million visitors and jumping eleven spots to number 34 in the ranking.

Advertising.com topped the Ad Focus section for the month, again reaching 84 percent of the U.S. online population to retain the top ranking. Burst Media cracked the top ten this month, reaching almost 94 million unique visitors. YouTube.com and Real.com each gained in the ranking, reaching 14 percent and 9 percent of the population, respectively.
 
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