Kyl growing pessimistic about banning Internet gambling

In a sharp reversal, several of Las Vegas’ most powerful casino operators no longer want to ban Internet gambling, and some are starting websites and exploring technology that could eventually offer wagering in homes, offices or anywhere there is a computer wired into cyberspace. The policy change is reverberating through Nevada and Washington, where some casino companies are gearing up to oppose legislation they once embraced that would explicitly ban Internet gambling and force Internet companies to block access to illegal sites. The $40 billion casino industry is not unanimous on the issue. But those who oppose a ban on Internet gambling say they now believe such a ban is not technologically feasible and therefore they should be allowed to compete with the 1,400 sites, operated from overseas, that already offer gambling. Some politicians and industry analysts have a more skeptical view of the casinos’ motives, asserting that the casinos are seeking to control a lucrative field that they have realized they cannot legislate out of existence. These critics expect the casinos eventually to seek regulation that could give them the only legitimate licenses, enabling them to co-opt, if not monopolize, the industry. In the last Congress, legislation intended to

Internet gambling revisions supported by casinos

WASHINGTON — The gambling industry’s top lobbyist agreed to support an Internet gambling bill Tuesday after the House lawmaker who is pushing the legislation apparently agreed to key changes allowing such gambling in Nevada. The American Gaming Association had opposed a bill being pushed by Rep. Robert Goodlatte, R-Va. But AGA President Frank Fahrenkopf said the lobby group’s board of directors, meeting in Las Vegas, agreed Tuesday to support the legislation — if two key changes are made. Goodlatte has agreed to make the two changes, Fahrenkopf said. Goodlatte was not available for comment today. The Judiciary Committee could discuss the changes at a hearing Thursday. Goodlatte’s bill is aimed at outlawing the unregulated world of Internet gambling, a difficult task that lawmakers have grappled with for six years as cyber casinos have grown into a $1.6 billion industry. Goodlatte has sought support for his legislation from a variety of groups, including the influential AGA. But Fahrenkopf objected to two specific details in Goodlatte’s latest bill. One centered on a state’s right to regulate Internet gambling. No state has legalized Internet gambling — yet — although it thrives nationwide, in part because of off-shore website operators. Several Nevada companies, including