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    G2E 2012: Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. gives an update on the state of online poker in America

    Posted by Marco Valerio October 2, 2012

    Issues addressed include status of federal efforts and weight of opposition by Sheldon Adelson and the Republican Party.

    President and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA) Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. spoke before an audience on the morning of Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E). Over the course of 40 minutes, Fahrenkopf addressed a variety of topics ranging from live casino interests to the present and future of online gaming in America.

    (WATCH: Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. Speaks to QuadJacks and the Online Poker Community)

    Fahrenkopf warmed up the audience with some stats on online gaming worldwide. Today, 85 countries have legalized online gaming in some fashion. 33 million players all over the world are engaged in real money online gaming, generating an estimated 34.9 billion dollars in revenue.

    With the notable absence of America from the regulated online gaming environment, Europe leads as the most powerful market, although Fahrenkopf interestingly noted that the growth of developing gaming industries in the Middle East and Asia are coinciding with their growth in online gaming.

    “The future of online gaming has changed substantially since I stood before you one year ago here at G2E.” Fahrenkopf made reference to the reinterpretation of the Wire Act in December 2011 in standard AGA fashion – something to be perhaps more cautious about than enthusiastic. “The entire industry is anxious to see more clarity in online gaming,” says Fahrenkopf, and such clarity is best attained by some federal involvement. “As most of you know, the American Gaming Association supports states having the right to license and regulate online poker… but we will continue to reiterate the need for Congress to enact federal legislation that lays out a clear regulatory framework for Internet poker.”

    In bringing up federal online poker legislation, Fahrenkopf could not go without making reference to the recently revealed Reid/Kyl online poker bill, which remains unintroduced in the Senate. Fahrenkopf does not think the current version of the bill is “final,” and while acknowledging some recent “aversion” to an online poker bill, he said he thinks that, with a little bit of gambler’s luck, there is still hope for an online poker bill in this year’s lame-duck. While noting that mere introduction of a bill does not guarantee passage, Fahrenkopf is rooting for something to happen this year, before a new Congress is sworn in in January 2012. “Things could get much more difficult if we don’t get something done now. States are already moving forward, and some of the key allies on the Hill who supported online poker for years are leaving.”

    I asked Fahrenkopf what he thought about the idea of international player pools, and the fact that they would be prohibited under the current incarnation of the Reid/Kyl bill. Fahrenkopf acknowledged this was one of the defining characteristics of the bill, and stated “the feeling is that it’s probably a wiser way to go,” until at least the country can gain more regulatory experience.

    In his speech, Fahrenkopf mentioned the current U.S. Senate race in Nevada between Dean Heller and Shelley Berkley only minimally. During the question and answer period that followed the speech, I asked him if he could comment further, particularly on Heller’s potential role as a bipartisan intermediary for online poker in the Senate. Fahrenkopf declined to make any statement that could be construed as a preference, explaining that he did not think it would be appropriate. “I don’t get involved in local politics… I know Shelley Berkley. I know Dean Heller. They are both really hard-working, good people, and whichever one wins, the state of Nevada will be in good hands.”

    On the subject of the presidential election, Fahrenkopf was similarly ambivalent, this time expressing his belief that the outcome would not have much impact on gaming, since according to Fahrenkopf, both candidates can be expected to support states’ rights. (During his campaign, Mitt Romney has come out against online gaming quite explicitly.)

    Fahrenkopf was asked about the Republican Party’s recent inclusion of an explicitly anti-online gaming provision in its official platform this year. (Fahrenkopf himself was the Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1983 to 1989.) In his answer, Fahrenkopf dismissed this development as having any significant importance, and added that conservative fear of the negative effects of gaming is something the AGA can lobby to in pushing for a law enforcement bill.

    Fahrenkopf also downplayed the threat that Sheldon Adelson’s opposition to online poker poses to the efforts. “Sheldon has been as transparent and straightforward with me as with other members of the industry that this is his own personal view. It is not the decision of Las Vegas Sands. Most of his executives are in agreement that online gaming will be good for the industry. Sheldon is entitled to his view, and I’ve seen no evidence that he’s out there working against us or anything of that nature, other than stating his personal opinion.”

    You can learn more about the American Gaming Association by visiting its website.

    Watch QuadJacks’s extended interview with Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. from March 21, 2012.

    QuadJacks - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    About Marco Valerio

    View all post by Marco Valerio

    There are 3 Comments

    1. Zekday0
      - October 2, 2012
        -   Reply

      Crazy online gaming brings in almost 35 Billion dollars!!

    2. Pingback QuadJacks | Online poker finally comes up during Dean Heller and Shelley Berkley debate (TRANSCRIPT)

      - October 16, 2012
        -   Reply

      Former Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. has endorsed Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, saying it would be a mistake for Nevadans to elect Republican Sharron Angle and lose Reid’s clout to protect the state’s lifeblood gambling industry.

      Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, suggested Angle should distance herself from the anti-gambling Campaign for Working Families, which has endorsed her and begun running television advertisements attacking Reid.

      Fahrenkopj is a Idiot!
      He also serves as co chairman of the Presidential Debate Commission and that is why the debates are so screwed up!
      Nothing but Democrat Liberal Commentators! All the debates are controlled by the Democrats and Liberals! Fox Network New is not even considered part of the News media! All this bozo Fahrenkopj has to do is demand changes or the GOP is pulling out of the debates but he is a Old Wuss and wont do anything!
      Sorry excuse for a Republican!

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