Gambling Lobbies Spend Millions Annually

30 March 2007

By Diana Marrero, Gannett News Service
WASHINGTON — Casinos, Indian tribes and other groups spent millions lobbying Congress last year as lawmakers considered bills to ban wagering online and off Indian reservations…

The $25 million the gaming industry spent on lobbying in 2006 was a slight increase over the previous year’s total, but down from the $28.5 million spent four years ago…

The spending came amid controversy over public corruption scandals involving convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who admitted to bilking wealthy American Indian gaming tribes…

…Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., president of the American Gaming Association, which spent $900,000 last year lobbying on behalf of commercial casinos….Still, the gambling industry fared pretty well in Washington, he said. And he expects casinos will do even better this year because of a new cast of leaders in Congress who understand the industry.

They include Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat who has been a strong casino advocate; Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the House Judiciary Committee chairman…

…Republican allies in powerful posts, including Sen. John Ensign, a Nevada Republican, who now heads the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Much of the gambling industry’s 2006 lobbying centered on legislation to ban online betting. The measure became law after former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., inserted it into an unrelated bill passed late last year.

Internet gaming supporters want lawmakers to reverse the ban before some of the regulations go into effect this summer.


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