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AGA Partners with District Attorneys; Visits St. Louis

The American Gaming Association last month built on two important initiatives designed to reduce illegal gambling and encourage the legalization of sports wagering.

The AGA and National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) announced a partnership to expose illegal gambling that included training for law enforcement officials at last month’s Global Gaming Expo.

 The joint presentation and training featured prosecutors and representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Texas Lottery Commission and the Nevada Gaming Control Board, as well as experts on tribal sovereignty and other casino industry representatives. Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and representatives from the Arizona and Mississippi attorney general offices were also expected to participate.

 “This partnership offers the latest evidence that illegal gambling, including the massive illegal sports betting market, is a priority for law enforcement at every level across the country,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. “Global Gaming Expo offers the perfect opportunity to convene district attorneys and others in law enforcement with gaming industry professionals to learn best practices for exposing shady operators that are tied to organized crime and who siphon revenues from governments and the legal, regulated gaming industry.”

More information can be found at StopIllegalGambling.org.

And in Missouri in August, the AGA met in St. Louis to discuss the upcoming election.

With the state playing an important role in the 2016 presidential election, the state’s casinos delivered a clear message to Republicans and Democrats alike: look no further than the gaming industry for examples of consistent job creation and robust economic development. The AGA convened a roundtable forum at Pinnacle’s River City Casino with Missouri gaming executives, St. Louis-area business and community leaders, and state and local elected officials to note the $8 billion in tax and admission revenue generated by the industry since the first casino’s doors opened in the state in 1994.

 “Thanks to unmatched career opportunities, tax revenues and charitable contributions, casino gaming is a valued community partner in St. Louis and across Missouri,” said Freeman. “However, the policies that worked yesterday will not work tomorrow. We encourage elected officials to take a progressive view of gaming policy that encourages greater reinvestment, flexibility to adapt to rapidly changing consumer demands and common-sense regulations that help the industry generate even greater tax revenue.”

 “Missouri’s casinos are proud to be good neighbors and good corporate citizens,” said Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association. “Today’s panel provided a portrait of the many ways in which we boost St. Louis and communities throughout our state.”

 Participants also focused on the industry’s impact on the state and local communities, workforce development and diversity. Women make up nearly half of the Missouri gaming workforce, while more than 40 percent of employees are people of color. Further, Missouri casinos routinely purchase from minority-owned, women-owned and small disadvantaged businesses.

 “The gaming industry consistently provides unmatched career opportunities for employees from diverse backgrounds and a range of experiences,” said Virginia McDowell, president and chairwoman of Global Gaming Women, a 501(c) 3 with a mission to support women in the gaming industry.

 Freeman also spoke of the enormous opportunity legalized sports betting presents for Missouri if the 24-year federal government ban is lifted. Americans bet at least $150 billion on sports illegally last year alone, and AGA is aggressively building a broad coalition that will urge Congress to adopt a new approach. Legal, regulated sports betting could generate significant tax revenue for state and local governments in Missouri.

St. Louis is the latest stop on AGA’s “Gaming Votes” tour, which aims to highlight the industry’s role as a strong community partner for candidates. Polls show Missouri poised to be a battleground state this fall, and presidential candidates will debate in St. Louis just weeks before Election Day. AGA has hosted similar events in in Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Mississippi. Casino gaming supports more than 1.7 million jobs in 40 states.

UNLV Institute Studying eSports

Although it isn’t legal in Nevada yet, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas announced it is studying eSports and its potential regulation in the state.

The International Gaming Institute at UNLV works closely with state gaming regulators to study current trends and create new knowledge that helps to shape gaming regulations.

With many casino operators looking to include eSports among gaming offerings to lure more millennial-age visitors to Las Vegas, the gaming institute has created an eSports lab to generate new knowledge about the growing phenomenon.

UNLV Hospitality Lab and eSports Lab Director Robert Rippee says eSports is a hot topic among casino executives, and generally is viewed as one of the greatest tools for luring millennials to Las Vegas.

At the university’s eSports Lab, Rippee says students will learn about eSports games, player and fan behavior, and help to determine how best to effectively reach millennials via marketing.

Ultimately, the university is looking to help shape future regulation of eSports, which many casino operators view as a strong lure for millennials.

Millennials already are the single most populous age group in the United States, expected to reach a total population of 81 million by 2036, according to the Pew Center.

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