Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of American Gaming Association (AGA), kicked off day two at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) by discussing the negative impact illegal wagering continues to have on the public’s understanding of the commercial gaming industry, and the steps the AGA is taking to help resolve this public relations issue.

Despite the fact 90 percent of Americans embrace and accept the commercial gaming industry, the negative image fostered by illegal wagering operations continues to color the perceptions policy makers have toward the industry as a whole, according to Freeman.

“It comes down to the tale of two industries,” Freeman said. “One industry that is heavily regulated, heavily taxed, focused on integrity, focused on communities, focused on customers… But there is another industry that operates in the shadows; an industry that funds criminal activity, an industry that is not concerned about integrity, an industry that is two to three times larger than the legal regulated gaming industry today.”

To better protect the credibility of the gaming industry and to avoid confusion caused by the illegal gambling market, the AGA has created initiatives such as the “Stop Illegal Gambling — Play It Safe,” an effort to partner with law enforcement and public officials to protect consumers, communities and the vital public services that depend on tax revenue. The AGA has also developed an anti-money laundering best practices document for casino operators and a Gaming Vote initiative to remind public officials of the positive employment and tax record of the gaming industry.

G2E is currently taking place this week at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.