IT IS QUITE apparent from your May 27 editorial, "Gambling on U.S. gambling panel," that your newspaper views the new National Gambling Impact Study Commission as a waste of time and consisting of inappropriate members. That is your prerogative. But if, in fact, you had reviewed the legislation on the commission appointments, you would know that the legislative objectives have been met with regard to those chosen to serve on the commission.
The legislation actually called for varying views to be represented in the nine members of the commission -- those in favor, those opposed and those neutral to gaming. It was never intended to be organized like a jury of nine members who had no knowledge of the topic to be studied.
The American Gaming Association has always been in favor of a commission to conduct a balanced study of the industry. What )) we did oppose was Rep. Frank Wolf's original bill that sought to study only the negative impacts of gaming.
Fortunately, the final bill that passed in both the Senate and the House and was signed into law by President Clinton in August 1996 provides for a fair, balanced and unbiased review of the impacts of gaming throughout the United States.
The commission's findings will be utilized to educate states and localities that are considering whether or not to bring gaming to a community or to expand existing facilities.
Gaming may not be right for every community -- it is not a magic economic silver bullet; however, if made part of a carefully-crafted economic development plan, gaming can help revitalize communities and allow them to prosper.
'Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr.
The writer heads the American Gaming Association.
Pub Date: 6/14/97