Card Player interview with Fahrenkopf a good read


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

CardPlayer's interview with AGA's Fahrenkopf gives great insights into the politics behind online gambling banning attempts

The political manouevres that US legislators have resorted to over the years always makes fascinating, and occasionally infuriating reading and this week the respected Card site is carrying a two part interview with the American Gaming Association's CEO Frank Fahrenkopf.

The first part of the conversation is up now, and gives a biog on Fahrenkopf followed by an interesting exploration of the history of US banning attempts.

Fahrenkopf explains that, In the Republican Party, the religious right think its a sin to gamble, and they feel an obligation to stop everyone from sinning. Some very liberal Democrats dont think people are smart enough to protect themselves, so the government has to parent its citizens. Its an odd marriage.

Fahrenkopf thinks that in order to understand the landscape of online gambling, one must start with the 1961 Wire Act, whereby Congress enacted a law that had to do with using the telephone to place sports bets.

Although the Bush and Clinton administrations have both taken the unique position that the Wire Act is broad enough to cover all forms of online betting, the courts disagree. The 5th Circuit ruled that the Wire Act deals only with sports betting.

Fahrenkopf thinks that the case was never taken to the Supreme Court because it is clear that the high court would rule the same.

The influential executive goes on to give behind-the-door political insight into the debates and events leading to the current situation, illustrating that the would-be nemesis of online gambling, Senator Jon Kyl has been a central figure for over 11 years. Here's just one example:

They concluded that they couldnt do anything about it. So, they gave the issue to Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who wrote a bill 11 years ago that made it a felony to place bets online! The Senate Judiciary said no way. Were not going to make it a crime when a guy comes home from work, puts his feet up on his couch, and bets 20 bucks on a game."

Tomorrow, Card Player will publish the second part of the interview to explore how the UIGE Act came to be. Both parts make fascinating reading, and you can access them at
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