AGEM Board of Directors Actions for November 2020
- AGEM members received an update on the U.S. elections that delivered a series of expansion opportunities for the industry, with almost all gaming measures on the ballot nationwide approved. Local voters in four Virginia cities approved a series of referendums to authorize casinos in Norfolk, Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth, as well as three ballot initiatives to authorize casino gaming at Nebraska racetracks that were also passed by voters during the November 3 elections. It was also a positive Election Day for the rapidly expanding sports betting industry. Voters in Maryland, South Dakota and most of Louisiana all approved ballot initiatives to legalize wagering on games, mandating lawmakers in all three states to pass more specific legislation to regulate sports betting during their 2021 sessions.
- The winners of the Executive Development Program (EDP) Gender Diversity Scholarship sponsored by European Casino Association, partnering with AGEM, Clarion Events and the EDP, were recently announced. This year’s competition was intense, and resulted in Kristina Kratz from Westspiel, Germany, and Jaana Ruokamo from Casino Helsinki, Finland, being awarded equal top points. Usually, this situation would see a draw to choose a winner, but the ECA decided to increase its contribution to ensure both candidates could attend. The scholarship was set up for women in the industry with two- to three-years’ experience in the land-based casino sector to attend the EDP, which this year was held as a virtual event November 15-21. Congratulations go to both winners.
- AGEM members were informed the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston may have to rehear the U.S. Department of Justice’s appeal to extend the scope of the Wire Act to all forms of gaming after one of three judges assigned to hear the case passed away on October 27. A ruling by the three-judge panel had been considered imminent. This important update has the potential to impact all sectors of the industry, including sports betting, online gaming and lotteries.
- The Nevada Gaming Control Board announced in early November that Chairwoman Sandra Douglass Morgan would be leaving her post to take on a new role in the private sector. She was appointed to this role by Governor Steve Sisolak for a four-year term from January 28, 2019 to January 28, 2023. Subsequently, Sisolak announced attorney J. Brin Gibson will replace Morgan as chair. Board Members Terry Johnson and Phil Katsaros continue in their positions.
- AGEM members approved a contribution of $10,000 to renew its membership to the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling. The NCPG is a nonprofit information and referral agency whose efforts are focused on addressing the impact of problem gambling on its citizens, businesses and communities in the state of Nevada. Incorporated in September 1984, the council serves as an advocate, an information resource, and a provider of programs and services to meet the needs of individuals and families who are affected by problem gambling.
- The AGEM Memorial Awards in honor of Jens Halle and Peter Mead took place as a video presentation during the virtual G2E Event on October 28. The late Robert (Bob) McMonigle was selected as the recipient of the 2020 Jens Halle Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Commercial Gaming Professionalism, and David Orrick of Merkur Gaming was selected as the recipient of the 2020 Peter Mead Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Gaming Media & Communications. Although AGEM was disappointed to not hold the award ceremony as an in-person event on the show floor, the video presentation gave the opportunity for a much wider audience to view it and as a result future awards, whether virtual or at G2E, will be videoed and available to view on the AGEM website.
The AGEM Index dropped by 36.05 points in October 2020 to 494.82 points, a 6.8 percent loss from September 2020. Overall, most AGEM Index companies reported decreases in stock price during the month, with five trending positively and eight moving negatively. The stock price of Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ALL.AX) experienced a 4.5 percent decrease, contributing 15.96 points to the AGEM Index’s October decline. Additionally, the stock price for Konami Corp. (TYO.9766) dropped by 10.4 percent, accounting for a 9.8-point decrease in the AGEM Index. The major stock indices decreased in October, as well. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined by 3.5 percent, and the NASDAQ fell by 2.7 percent. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 dropped by 1.9 percent.