In an interview with the Las Vegas Review, American Gaming Association Chairman Jim Murren said that he wants to tone down the group's advocacy of legalizing internet gambling in order to avoid fracturing the current membership of the group.
Murren, who is also the CEO of MGM International said that the AGA still wants to see federal legalization of internet poker, but will lower the amount of advocacy actions taken by the group to avoid agitating members like Las Vegas Sands, which is owned by anti-online gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson.
“I don’t want the AGA to find itself mired in a tremendous amount of controversy and infighting. I feel like the Internet has become too divisive a topic when there are so many other topics we want to put forward where we can all agree," Murren said.
Murren told the publication that he had not discussed online gambling with Adelson, who has said that he will do whatever it takes to see online gambling banned in the United States.
Adelson's Coalition To Stop Internet Gambling has been spending money on advertising campaigns demonizing online gambling, often spreading half-truths or outright lies, while commissioning studies that show skewed data.
The stance puts Murren at odds with AGA CEO Geoff Freeman, who has publicly come out as saying that online gambling as a whole should be legalized and regulated in the USA. With that exception, Murren praised Freeman, saying that the CEO and his team: "... are young and energetic, and I have hopes for this team.”
Speaking on what his goals for his own two year term are, Murren said that he wants the AGA: "...to become more involved in promoting women in the work force; improving healthcare for gaming employees; and establishing new standards for probity and regulatory compliance."