LAS VEGAS -- Frank Fahrenkopf, president and chief executive
officer of the American Gaming Association (AGA), told delegates at
the Nevada Governor's Conference on Tourism here that the results
of the National Gambling Impact study were not as negative as the
AGA and members of the gaming community had feared.
The study, which took a nine-member panel nearly two-and-a-half
years to conduct, examined the proliferation of gaming in the U.S.
and its effects on society.
Indeed, Fahrenkopf told delegates at the conference that the
report did not call for federal taxation of the gaming industry --
as many had feared -- and stated that individual states, and not
the federal government, should regulate gaming.
In addition, he said, "What this commission did was say for the
first time that gaming is not monolithic."
The study, he said, actually differentiated between various
types of gaming, such as commercial, or casino, gaming; Native
American gaming; government-run lotteries; wagering on such sports
as dog racing and jai alai; charity gaming, such as bingo; Internet
gaming, and illegal gaming.
The report also indicated that destination resorts with casinos
"have tremendous positives," he said.
"They promote capital investment [in their communities], they
provide quality jobs and they promote economic development."
Several public opinion surveys also have supported what
Fahrenkopf said was his firm belief "that the American people had
no problem with the [gaming] industry."
As for challenges facing the gaming industry in the immediate
future, Fahrenkopf cited several pieces of legislation pending in
Washington, including a bill to prohibit gambling on the
National Collegiate Athletic Association officials also have
been lobbying for legislation that would repeal an exemption that
permits Nevada to offer legal wagering on college sports.
According to Fahrenkopf, the problem with betting on college
sports does not lay with the Silver State's sports books, where the
wagering "is regulated, taxed and controlled."
Rather, he said, the problem is illegal betting on college
campuses, a phenomenon that is occurring nationwide.
As to whether such legislation will be introduced next year,
Fahrenkopf said, "watch your sports pages. It ought to be very
Another issue Fahrenkopf addressed was what has been dubbed
"slots for tots," in which gaming opponents say children are being
lured into gambling by the use of the images of cartoon and popular
children's television characters.
Although Fahrenkopf said he believes this is a matter for state
gaming control boards, he reported that the AGA was working with
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to investigate.
The images "are not aimed at youngsters but at baby boomers," he
said. "Give me a break -- kids today don't even know 'I Dream of