- AGEM has been working for some time on proposed updates that address language in both Regulations 1 and 14 in Nevada. With support from the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB), the Nevada Gaming Commission convened at the end of June to review the proposed amendments and subsequently approved all the changes supported by AGEM. These updates include the GCB’s Technology Division accepting different forms of technology related to source code media and improvements to the New Innovation Beta (NIB) program designed to fast-track products to the gaming floor and allow suppliers to accelerate new games and concepts. The commission also approved updated cashless gaming language that may possibly be the most impactful for the industry, especially at this time when the idea of handling cash is less attractive. AGEM submitted a letter of support for all of these changes and Commission Acting Chairman John Moran cited AGEM’s support during the hearing.
- In July 2019, AGEM initially contacted the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) flagging that certain game types allowed in most gaming jurisdictions were not allowed in Pennsylvania due to its regulatory language. AGEM subsequently reviewed the wording and submitted recommendations for changes last December. Since that time and as the industry has been navigating the pandemic, AGEM Executive Director Marcus Prater has been pushing for updates in support of the suppliers overall. PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole responded prior to the AGEM monthly meeting in July and outlined his case that most games are getting approved for the land-based, online and VGT markets in Pennsylvania, but that he remains open to continuing the dialogue with AGEM and its members.
- Nevada Industry Excellence (NIE) has recently launched a website aimed at marrying up Nevada gaming employees who have been furloughed or laid off with vacancies in other industries. In addition, NIE is working to obtain federal funding for vital retraining programs. The NevadaWorksTogether.com website is providing much-needed resources in these difficult times. At the national level, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), of which AGEM is a member, has launched TheManufacturingInstitute.org as a new resource as well.
- AGEM Director of Responsible Gaming Connie Jones highlighted at the July meeting the possibility of proposed cuts to funding for problem gaming in Nevada. Due to the current situation, there is an estimated $1.2 billion shortfall for the fiscal year 2021, which represents a quarter of the general-fund appropriations. The Department of Health and Human Services makes up approximately one-third of the state budget that provides funding for problem gaming. However, due to the shortfall, the department is proposing up to a 75 percent cut to funding for problem gambling. No final decisions have been made as of mid-July, but there is a real concern this vital funding will be cut and will create the perception that the world’s gaming capital is not providing enough for this most fundamental support. AGEM, meanwhile, approved its annual $50,000 contribution to the Dr. Robert Hunter International Problem Gambling Center in Las Vegas.
- The G2E Las Vegas physical event was officially cancelled recently. However, organizer Reed Exhibitions is working on a virtual event offering and will be announcing details soon as to when this will be and what the program will look like.
- Nominations for the AGEM Memorial Awards honoring Jens Halle and Peter Mead have been opened with a deadline for submissions of August 15. The winners will be announced in October. Visit AGEM.org for more information.
The AGEM Index increased by 4.53 points in June 2020 to 407.41 points, a 1.1 percent gain from May 2020. Six of the 13 AGEM Index companies reported stock price increases amid ongoing uncertainty about the global economy and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The stock price for Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ALL) decreased 0.9 percent due to the Australian dollar strengthening against the U.S. dollar. In turn, this accounted for a 5.06-point rise in the AGEM Index. Crane Co. (CR) experienced a 6.7 percent stock price jump, leading to an index contribution of 3.93 points. All three major U.S. stock indices increased as the Dow Jones Industrial Average grew by 1.8 percent and the S&P 500 grew by 1.7 percent. Additionally, the NASDAQ grew by 6 percent on the month.