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A trio of the world’s largest internet betting companies has joined the commercial casino lobby in the United States.
According to the American Gaming Association, leading online gambling firms GVC Holdings PLC, Paddy Power Betfair and The Stars Group have joined the AGA Board of Directors. The AGA is the top lobbying group on Capitol Hill for the $40 billion-a-year commercial casino gambling market.
“More than ever before, AGA’s diverse membership reflects the broad interests of the casino gaming industry,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of AGA.
All three are international online casino firms. GVC is licensed to operate in the New Jersey online market through its subsidiary bwin.party, owner of PartyPoker. Also joining the AGA is The Stars Group, owner of PokerStars, the world’s largest real-money poker platform. PokerStars is also licensed in New Jersey for online betting. Paddy Power Betfair, another firm approved for New Jersey’s rapidly growing online betting industry, joined the trade group as well.
The AGA was once in public support of regulated internet betting, before eventually backing off that lobbying effort to focus on sports betting. New Jersey is leading the sports betting charge, which would include both brick-and-mortar and mobile sports wagers.
The addition of GVC, Stars and Paddy Power Betfair comes on the heels of Pennsylvania legalizing online gambling last fall. Several other states, including Michigan, New York, West Virginia, Connecticut and Louisiana are all seriously considering online casinos this year.
The dam may have finally broke for online poker in America.
PokerStars joining the AGA is especially noteworthy considering that the lobbying group once fiercely opposed PokerStars’ entry into the New Jersey gaming market. PokerStars at the time was trying to acquire an Atlantic City casino.
The AGA said back in 2013 that it opposed PokerStars coming into the brick-and-mortar business “because the integrity of the gaming industry would be gravely compromised by any regulatory approval of PokerStars, a business built on deceit, chicanery, and systematic flouting of U.S. law.”
A little over a year later, PokerStars was sold to Amaya Gaming for $4.9 billion. The firm eventually received approval to offer games in New Jersey.
Source: European Gaming Media and Events