Difficult But Productive

Last year set the stage for potential greatness in 2018

Difficult But Productive

A new year provides a great opportunity to look forward, and also to reflect on the year we’ve just completed. The gaming industry made tremendous strides in 2017, while also experiencing a tragedy that shook our industry, the Las Vegas community and the world. I have often said that we’re stronger as an industry when we stand together, and never was that more evident than in the days, weeks and months since October 1.

We are grateful to our industry and all of our partners who rose to new heights at one of our lowest moments, and proud of what we’ve accomplished together. I feel passionately that our industry is strongest when it works together. We witnessed signs of that in 2017, and are on the cusp of accomplishing great things in 2018.

The success our industry achieved last year is a direct result of increased engagement, greater unity and stronger collaboration with our membership. Leveraging these emerging strengths and effective research, lobbying and communications campaigns, the AGA advanced key priorities for the gaming industry.

Setting the Stage for a Legal, Regulated, Nationwide Sports Betting Market

The gaming industry has played a critical role in generating an entirely new national conversation about legalizing sports betting. Our strategy, built in partnership with our members and grounded in research, has defined the issue, cultivated innovative partnerships with law enforcement, elected officials and other influencers in the American Sports Betting Coalition, and proactively educated sports leagues and broadcasters about the opportunities associated with a legal, regulated market.

As we await the Supreme Court ruling this spring, we are not waiting to act. Instead, we continue to actively work with our partners to educate key influencers on Capitol Hill and in state capitals, engage sports stakeholders including leagues and broadcasters, and actively inform the public debate about the merits of eliminating the black market perpetuated by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. We’ve said for some time that PASPA’s days are numbered, and this could well be the year it is finally eliminated.

Ensuring the Gaming Industry Benefits from the Most Significant Tax Overhaul in a Quarter Century

Recognizing the opportunities and challenges presented by major changes to the federal tax code, AGA engaged members of Congress and partnered with business community allies to protect core interests and pass legislation that was a net positive for the gaming industry.

We will continue to engage Congress to protect and promote the industry as “fixes” are considered in 2018 and beyond, with a focus on lifting the slot tax reporting threshold, promulgating regulations that work for the industry, and assessing and addressing the impact of certain changes.

Advancing NextGen Regulation

The gaming industry is hamstrung by outdated regulations based on antiquated, discredited stereotypes. AGA’s NextGen initiative educates lawmakers and regulators about the need for reforms that will enable our industry to innovate and improve the customer experience.

In 2018, we will continue to work with regulators to streamline burdensome shipping regulations and look for opportunities to remove antiquated regulatory hurdles that impede industry progress.

A Plan for the Future

Our accomplishments in 2017 were a direct result of an aligned industry, working together to tackle major challenges and create opportunities for success. In 2018, we’ll do even more to shape federal policy, promote the social and economic value of gaming, create a favorable business environment in the states, and more. These are the pillars of AGA’s Strategic Plan 2020, which will guide our efforts to support a growing, thriving casino gaming industry now and in the years to come.

Geoff Freeman
Geoff Freeman is President & CEO of the American Gaming Association. Follow Geoff Freeman on Twitter: @GeoffFreemanAGA.

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