he grassroots Poker Players Alliance (PPA) was the largest spender, budgeting us$ 1.2 million to federal lobbying efforts throughout the period. Representing the interests of 935,000 members, the PPA supports efforts to regulate Internet poker and to have it exempt as a game of skill from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.
The organization reported us$ 780,000 of in-house expenses for lobbying conducted by Executive Director John Pappas in addition to another us$ 420,000 paid to four DC-based firms.
The second largest spender is the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC), an industry association that has been lobbying for legislative reform since 1999. The group is composed of some of the global industry's most successful companies, including 888 Holdings, Full Tilt Poker and Playtech. The IGC spent a combined us$ 490,000 with four DC-based lobbying firms in the second half of 2007. Operator PartyGaming spent us$ 220,000 independently and rival Sportingbet spent us$ 80,000 independently.
Another group trying to influence policy at the federal level is the American Gaming Association (AGA). Composed of land-based casino operators and suppliers, the AGA is a proponent of legislation that would commission the National Academy of Sciences to study Internet gambling in order to determine the appropriate government response. The bill's sponsor is Nevada's Representative Shelley Berkley.
The AGA's report says the group is interested in a bill that would regulate and tax Internet gambling, as well as the the bill that would exempt skill games fro the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, but the group is not obliged to report what position it takes on issues. The AGA was neutral on the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006.
The AGA reported us$ 800,000 of in-house lobbying expenses during the last half of 2007. The sum went toward lobbying on two other issues besides Internet gambling: taxes and tourism. Additionally, the AGA paid us$ 125,000 to DC-based Duberstein Group for lobbying on Internet gambling and tourism. Duberstein Group directed its efforts to the House of Representatives and the Department of the Interior.
AGA members Harrah's Entertainment, MGM Mirage and Station Casinos each hired their own lobbyists to for independent representation on the issue. Both the Family Research Council and the Christian Coalition of America devoted a portion of their in-house lobbying spending tow Internet gambling opposition.
Internet gambling is one of 16 broad issues on which the Family Research Council spent us$ 40,000 trying to influence lawmakers. For the Christian Coalition Internet gambling was one of 15 issues on which it spent us$ 300,000.
America's sports leagues hired lobbyists to ensure betting on their events remains illegal. Lobbyists reported contracts with the National Football League (NFL), the NFL Players Association, the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association.
Horseracing industry bodies the American Horse Council and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association also lobbied on the issue, as did horserace betting operator Magna Entertainment. Federal legislation currently exempts remote wagering on horseraces in states where the activity is legal. In all, federal lobbyists reported working for at least 25 different organizations over the period.