- A second special session of the Nevada legislature was held recently covering a wide variety of urgent pandemic-related matters, and in particular Senate Bill 4 that includes limited liability bill provisions for AGEM, its Nevada-based members and other business that will be protected from COVID-related claims. SB4, which also covers concerns from the Culinary Union, was signed by Governor Steve Sisolak on August 11 and provides limited liability coverage for companies as long as they are in compliance with mandatory guidelines and controlling health requirements that have been set out by the governor’s office or CDC.
- AGEM members were informed at the August meeting that Las Vegas-based attorney Ogonna Brown has been appointed to the Nevada Gaming Commission by Governor Steve Sisolak following the recent resignation of Tony Alamo. Brown brings close to 20 years of legal experience to her role, primarily in the areas of complex business litigation and bankruptcy focusing on creditors’ rights. Also, longtime Nevada Gaming Commissioner John Moran Jr. has been named chairman of the commission. He has been serving as acting chairman since the resignation of Alamo in April.
- AGEM’s Mexico Committee has been working closely with regulatory agency SEGOB and other industry partners to defeat a proposed “NOM,” or federal rule, that would force an additional level of certifications for gaming machines coming into the country. However, despite these efforts, the Ministry of the Economy that is overseeing the proposed changes announced plans at a recent working group meeting to push ahead. A new draft document was presented, proposing, among other things, that every game should be recertified annually that would be highly costly and open to potential issues in collecting fees. The existing certification process has worked well for many years and so AGEM is now asking the independent testing labs to join in speaking out against unnecessary new regulations.
- The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) recently began the rule-making process for online and sports betting in Michigan. The AGEM Compliance Committee has provided comments that were included in published draft rules and these have now been posted in a Regulatory Impact Statement that had to be submitted by August 15. AGEM plans to take part in the next stage of hearings that are due to commence in September.
- Nevada Industry Excellence (NIE) continues to provide its much-needed resource in supporting gaming employees who have been laid off to find new employment in other industries through its website www.NevadaWorksTogether.com. The NIE has been working hard to obtain federal funding for vital retraining programs and this initiative has been achieved and will go live on August 31. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), of which AGEM is a member, has also launched an important resource that runs at a national level at www.TheManufacturingInstitute.org.
- AGEM welcomed KPMG LLP as a new Associate member at the August meeting. The company provides audit, tax and advisory services occupying a meaningful space in the gaming industry, representing a large number of operators and many major gaming suppliers. This brings the total number of AGEM members globally to 183 companies.
- Nominations for the AGEM Memorial Awards honoring Jens Halle and Peter Mead concluded on August 15. The winners are usually announced at G2E, but due to the event being canceled this year the winners will be revealed in October at a time to be announced.
The AGEM Index increased by 13.55 points in July 2020 to 420.86 points, a 3.3 percent gain from June 2020. Six of the 13 AGEM Index companies reported stock price increases amid the ongoing global economic impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The stock price for Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL) increased by 2.7 percent, accounting for a 12.43-point improvement in the AGEM Index, while Scientific Games Corporation (SGMS) experienced a 13.7 percent stock price jump that led to an index contribution of 3.79 points. All three major U.S. stock indices increased as the Dow Jones Industrial Average grew by 2.4 percent and the S&P 500 grew by 5.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the NASDAQ grew by 6.8 percent compared to June 2020.