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Millions spent on gaming lobbying in U.S. in 2006
Reports for 2006 show the gaming industry spent $25 million on lobbying as Congress considered measures that affected the industry. One bill dealt with online gambling while another was about gambling off Indian reservations.
The sum is a slight increase over the money spent in 2005, but is a decrease from the $28.5 million spent four years ago.
The number is still way below what the pharmaceutical industry spent on lobbying, topping the list at $166.5 million of the $2.5 billion total spent by groups on lobbying in Washington last year.
The gaming industry is expected to spend millions more this year as well as some of the online gambling debates are heating up again.
Last year Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA), after it was attached to the Safe Port Act, essentially making it illegal for financial institutions to allow transactions with online gambling sites.
Groups such as the Poker Players Alliance are continuing to work to get the ban repealed or at least get an exemption for poker.
The PPA recruited former senator Alfonse D'Amato to lead the charge this year. Part of his strategy is to point out that the U.S. government is missing out on about $3 billion in tax dollars by banning online gambling rather than regulating it.
While it is probably easier to get a bill passed than it is to get it repealed, the gaming industry is already seeing some allies in Congress. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is planning to sponsor a repeal of the UIGEA.
Representatives Shelley Berkley and John Porter from Nevada have also said they plan to re-submit legislation to conduct a study of online gambling.
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