NCLGS Set to Discuss I-Gaming

11 January 2007

The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) will gather this weekend in Duck Key, Florida, to discuss and debate the impact of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), which effectively bans I-gaming in the United States.

"State legislators involved in gaming public policy need to know how the legislation potentially could affect their states' consumers, gaming industries and economies," said NCLGS President and Florida Sen. Steven Geller (D-Hallandale). "At the January meeting, NCLGS will look at what states should know and what they can do in the wake of this highly critical and controversial legislation."

NCLGS, the only organization of U.S. state lawmakers convening on a regular basis to discuss gaming issues, will examine how UIGEA will affect pari-mutuels; gambling on tribal lands; whether the prohibition will adversely affect accounts at legal state card rooms operating in the States; what regulations the bill will potentially prescribe; what safe harbors the regulations will subsequently allow; and how the I-gaming landscape will change as a result of the regulations.

The agenda includes a panel discussion on Jan. 13--"Internet & Off-Shore Wagering Ban: A Good Bet for Horsemen?"--that will focus on how the pari-mutuel industry will react regarding its carve-out from the legislation.

The panel will feature a range of authorities from the pari-mutuel and I-gaming industries, including Ed Martin, President, Association of Racing Commissioners; Dan Wry, Executive Director of Legislative Affairs, New York City Off-Track Betting; Greg Scoggins, National Director of Regulatory Affairs, Magna Entertainment; Lonny Powell, Vice President of Public Affairs,; and Dr. Guy Clark, Chairman, National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling.

While the UIGEA, enacted Oct. 13, 2006, prohibits U.S.-based banks, credit card companies and other Internet payment systems from making payments to online gambling companies, it does not address other forms of gambling and has carved out horse racing from its prohibition.

NCLGS maintains that it is neither pro- nor anti-gambling, saying moreover that it proactively participates in the development of public policy related to state authorized gaming and works to preserve the rights of the states to regulate and tax gaming within their borders.

Committee meetings commence Friday morning, with Saturday's general meetings and Sunday's legislators' roundtable to follow.

Chris Krafcik is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.