n an exclusive interview in the forthcoming edition of eGaming Review, Fahrenkopf said that the group, despite still refusing to take a public position on legalisation, was closely involved with the ”folks involved" with drafting the Frank Bill.
Despite still holding fast to an official line that it is merely monitoring the situation, Fahrenkopf’s comments suggest the AGA is adhering closely to a dramatic shift in stance made earlier this year. A change described by the AGA president as the moment when the body became “open to the concept of legalised online gambling”.
In the interview Fahrenkopf also criticised the lack of clarity of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which was rushed through Congress and said that in terms of amending the legislation, “on balance, if we could only get poker, the [AGA] board would be very satisfied.”
However, the AGA’s main priority remains not the successful legalising of online gaming in the US, but protecting the offline interests of its membership, after a torrid time during the downturn. “That continues to be our number one priority,” said Fahrenkopf, “as well as to try and make sure the federal government doesn’t intentionally or unintentionally do something that harms the industry.”
With regard to sites which have continued to take US bets since UIGEA, Fahrenkopf revealed that discussions are in place to prevent them monetising the opportunity once new legislation is implemented, meaning that “no existing licensee would be able to sell their player database, buy their brand or license their software”.
Fahrenkopf added: “I have talked to legislators who say, “So, you deny someone a licence because they have been operating in violation of US law, that’s a penalty for what they did. But if you let them turn around and sell their assets, and make millions of dollars, they have benefitted from violating the law, they shouldn’t allow that.”
He concluded: “I have not seen things that are specifically drafted, but I should tell you that discussions of that nature are taking place inside and outside Congress.”