AGA Endorses Gambling-Reform Bill; Markup Continues

The American Gaming Association has endorsed the "Combating Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act" because its sponsor, Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, made changes at the organization's request.

The House Judiciary Committee was scheduled to continue markup of the legislation May 16.

The AGA, a powerful lobbying group that represents casino and gaming interests, held its board of directors meeting May 14 in Las Vegas, Nev. Its president, Frank Fahrenkopf, said the AGA now supports the legislation, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"Fundamentally, he has met all our concerns," Fahrenkopf said.

The AGA has had concerns over the bill's potential impact on state regulation of gambling, as well as protection of pari-mutuel wagering at Nevada sports and race books.

Fahrenkopf said that without the revisions, casinos would be at a competitive disadvantage to the horse racing industry. The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 was modified to protect existing practices in the pari-mutuel business.

"Candidly, we prepared the language (in Goodlatte's revised bill) on common-pool wagering," Fahrenkopf said, according to the Review-Journal. "On the states' rights issue, we think each state should have the right to determine what goes on within its borders. (Goodlatte) saw we were right on the law and came around."

Officials with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the American Horse Council, two organizations involved in negotiations on the gambling-reform measure, couldn't be reached immediately for comment.