AGA President Geoff FreemanDuring testimony before the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, American Gaming Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman once again called for federal oversight of U.S.-based Internet wagering.

“Make no mistake: online gaming is here to stay,” said Freeman to legislators gathered at a hearing on the current state of online gaming in the U.S. “Americans spent nearly $3 billion with illegal offshore gambling operators in 2012. It is time for Congress to adopt sensible online gaming regulations that open the Internet to the millions who wish to play responsibly—while protecting children, assisting those with gambling disorders and empowering law enforcement.

“Efforts to prohibit online gaming will further strengthen the black market, expose millions of Americans to a risky gaming environment that lacks integrity and, ironically, harm brick-and-mortar casinos where our customers expect us to be on innovation’s leading edge. As we saw with Blockbuster and its peers, industries must adapt to consumers or be left in innovation’s wake.”

 “We encourage Congress to provide a uniform set of protections for consumers while respecting states’ rights to choose what is in their best interests,” Freeman added. “A regulated online gaming environment is estimated to create more than 22,000 American jobs and generate more than $26 billion in tax revenue. The American Gaming Association supports a strong regulatory regime insisting on player identification, age verification, geo-location, responsible gaming standards, help for those with gambling disorders and punishment for companies that flouted American law.”