The American Gaming Association (AGA) issued a press release on Monday, announcing that it will launch a campaign to exert pressure on the US Congress to legalize and regulate the US online poker industry at the earliest possible.

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The AGA has expressed its support for the general provisions in the draft online poker bill recently agreed upon by Senators Jon Kyl and Harry Reid. If the bill is made law, online poker will be legalized in the US while all other forms of online gambling will be rendered illegal. However, the bill’s chances of being passed through the lame duck session are very slim.

The release states, “Without Congressional action, the U.S. is poised to see widespread legalization of all types of online gambling and a state-by-state patchwork of regulations that puts gaming patrons, problem gamblers and minors at unnecessary risk. The AGA effort encourages Congress to introduce and pass a bill and includes the release of an informational video, an outreach campaign to educate lawmakers and other stakeholders, and a combination of earned and social media to increase awareness of the issue.”

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) had, in December, announced that the Federal Wire Act of 1961 has been re-interpreted to mean that only sports betting is considered illegal, not other forms of online gambling such as casino, bingo, and poker. Individual US states grabbed this opportunity to regulate online poker and casino gaming in their respective territories.

The AGA opines that US states ought to be given the freedom to decide if they should legalize and regulate online poker. Simultaneously, it points that a federal regulatory framework is also essential to check various gambling-related problems. The AGA feels that the passage of this bill will lead to the creation of a federal regulatory framework for online poker, which can be referred to by individual states.

AGA CEO and President Frank J. Fahrenkopf said, “Without swift congressional action, the U.S. will soon see the largest expansion of legal gambling in its history. And without any federal guidelines in place, the result will almost certainly be inadequate oversight that creates a world of unnecessary risk and problems for law enforcement and U.S. consumers.”

For the rest of the Congress’ current session, the AGA will urge legislators to support the cause of legalizing and regulating US online poker. The association will also use conventional news outlets and social media to enhance public awareness.

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