A View from the Chair

15 January 1999

With the US National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) gearing up to begin deliberations on their recommendations, Chairman Kay Cole James spoke at the American Gaming Summit.

The commission was created by Congress in 1996 to study the social and economic impact legalized gambling has on local communities, families, businesses, and Indian tribes. The nine-member commission consists of advocates and opponents of the gambling industry.

She had lots of interesting things to say on a variety of topics. A theme running through the discussion was the issue of states continuing to control gambling activities. Those like James Dobson of the Christian Right are hoping that the evils of gambling will be squashed by federal interventions.

The American Gaming Association's Frank Fahrenkopf told the media that doesn't expect gambling to be banned or any major federal taxes imposed on gambling, he still thinks opponents will look for negatives in the report and "attempt to use that as a hook for federal legislation."

Of real note in Kay Cole James speech was her discussion of internet gaming. She said that "no adequate solution for dealing with internet gaming has been suggested." She noted that there were a variety of risks associated with internet gaming that need to be dealt with. She cited the protection of players who have "no legal recourse against foreign illegal operations" as well as concerns about children playing these games." Interestingly enough she also felt that protections of "legal gambling businesses in the US" were also an important consideration.

The NGISC will hold one more hearing on internet gaming before they begin writing their reports this spring.

The upcoming NGISC schedule can be found here.