Issues related to the loss of tax dollars from Internet wagering will come into focus when state legislators from across the country meet in Las Vegas to focus on public policy questions related to Internet, casino, and other forms of gaming. The occasion will be the 2004 Winter Meeting of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) at Harrah's Las Vegas on the January 9-11 weekend.
In announcing the conference, Florida State Senator and NCLGS president Steven A. Geller said: "Lost revenues from Internet gambling could be a budget-buster issue in many states. As state legislators continue to face severe revenue shortfalls going into 2004, the dollars illegally siphoned by offshore gaming platforms demand that public policy makers seriously address Internet wagering issues in their own states, and that they begin to interface and work in concert with Congress on the issue.
"And, it is not simply a question of lost revenue. It is a question of social costs because important state programs can go unfunded. It is also, in balance, a question related to the social and individual costs of Internet as well as other types of gaming.
"The NCLGS Las Vegas meeting will afford legislators responsible for gaming policy a forum to discuss and take concerted action on Internet wagering and other gaming issues."
Founded in 1995, NCLGS is an organization of state legislators who chair or are active members of the committees responsible for gaming policy in their legislative houses in states across the country. NCLGS neither supports or opposes state-authorized gaming, but works for appropriate regulation of gaming, the education of public policy makers on gaming issues, the continued primacy of the states in deciding public policy on gaming.
In addition to Internet gaming, the legislators who participate in the meeting will address issues related to
* problem and compulsive gaming and what states can do about it
* slots and video lottery terminals (VLTs) at pari-mutuel establishments
* states' shares of Indian gaming revenues
* expanded Indian gaming
* the economic and social impact of casinos
* the impact of casino expansion on state lottery revenues
* the economic viability of pari-mutuels
* animal medication and drug testing of animals at pari-mutuel venues
* the bottom-line impact of lottery mergers and multi-state lotteries
* new lottery products and sales
* the impact of non-smoking legislation on casinos, and on bingo and other charitable gaming