Right around Labor Day, the American Gaming Association (AGA) released its version of an annual progress report—a press release reiterating its priorities and activities for the remainder of this year and going forward. What follows is a few of the bullet points in that release, along with my observations as a paying member of the peanut gallery:
From the press release: Gearing up for Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Las Vegas—G2E, “the show” in the casino-entertainment industry, is fast approaching. With several high-profile speakers already announced and world-class education sessions planned, the show is shaping up to be one of the best yet.
My take: Well, it’s hard to say anything negative about the yearly G2E experience, which once again promises to be great. I am happy to see a rededication to the conference and speaker program, I know some have felt this segment of G2E has been somewhat on the backburner for the past few years.
From the press release: Building on sports betting momentum—The Supreme Court’s decision to hear New Jersey’s appeal to allow sports betting has created momentum that we continue to leverage. Through the American Sports Betting Coalition and our advocacy efforts, we will continue to educate members of Congress and sports betting stakeholders—including law enforcement, leagues, gaming industry and broadcasters—on the benefits of a legal, regulated sports betting market.
My Take: Like most in the gaming industry, I would really like to see widespread legalization of sports wagering, if for no other reason than to drive the corrupt elements from the business. However, I do not see this happening anytime soon without better buy-in from football—both professional and college—since they are by far the most popular sporting events to wager on. Hopefully the Oakland Raiders move to Las Vegas will help grease the skids toward overall NFL acceptance, but that is still three long years away.
From the press release: Advancing the gaming industry’s interests in tax reform—The White House and Congress have promised a fall focus on tax reform. AGA will ensure that issues of importance to gaming, such as maintaining interest deductibility and increasing the slot tax threshold, are protected and promoted.
My Take: Ummm… everything I have read and experienced about the current administration in the White House and the legislators currently occupying Capitol Hill leads me to believe tax reform is going to be a loud, messy and disjointed affair. I admire the AGA stepping in to protect gaming interests, but I just get a feeling a lot of what the industry is looking for will get lost in the backwash when all the so-called political “adults” in the room start to throw tantrums.
From the press release: Telling gaming’s positive story—We’ll continue to travel across the country—including events in New York, Oklahoma and Detroit—to tell gaming’s positive economic story and cultivate champions on Capitol Hill.
My take: I totally agree that the gaming industry should do more to promote all the good deeds that it does—everything from hiring minorities, supporting schools,, investing in local communities, helping out when natural disasters occurs… the list is truly endless. I have covered a lot of industries in my time as a trade journalist—retail, real estate, banking, finance—and none hold a candle to gaming when it comes to charitable deeds and supporting good causes. The industry will always suffer a public relation’s hit due to the percentage of the population that will forever be against gaming for moral and religious reasons. Better promotion of all the good the industry does has always been the best way to combat this perception.
The good deeds PR battle is one place Casino Journal can help the cause. Look for us to provide more coverage on this topic going forward.