LAS VEGAS — Each year at G2E, the annual conference and trade show that brings the gaming industry together, a handful of themes emerge.
Last year, discussions focused on the explosion of the online sports betting industry and the resulting concerns about the TV advertising blitz and free promotional spending by online sports betting operators.
At this year’s Global Gaming Expo at the Venetian Expo Center, attendance was boosted by the return of international travel. Sports betting is legal in over 30 states, and the top online casino sites generate strong tax revenues in the six states where they are legal and regulated.
Among the messages highlighted by Bill Miller, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association, the industry’s umbrella trade group, was the ongoing threat posed by illegal gambling operations, both in the United States and abroad. the stranger. Miller also spoke of a continued adoption of digital technology, particularly cashless commerce, and a pressing responsible gambling effort.
These efforts not only cover sports betting, but also iGaming, which offers online roulette, blackjack, slots, and poker among other popular options.
Miller: Illegal operators are a direct threat
Among these topics, threats from illegal operators were associated with the most interesting figures.
“Illegal and unregulated websites and machines pose a direct threat to our industry’s hard-won social and regulatory license,” Miller said in his keynote address Tuesday. “They prey on customers, especially vulnerable people and minors. They provide no consumer protection and don’t invest a penny in responsible gambling.
The websites Miller is referring to are offshore bookmakers who continue to capture a large chunk of the sports betting market. Machines are so-called skill-based machines often found in neighborhood taverns, restaurants, and convenience stores.
Miller said the AGA search produced the following results:
- Americans bet more than $300 billion a year with illegal and unregulated websites and machines.
- This translates to a loss of $15 billion in gaming revenue.
- Illegal gambling also results in an estimated loss of $4 billion in taxes per year.
AGA appealed to the Ministry of Justice
For the past year or so, the AGA has appealed to the Department of Justice to help curb the illegal betting industry. Members of Congress who represent gambling jurisdictions have also tried to bring the issue to the DOJ’s attention.
Miller called for more aggressive local machinery enforcement and for tech and media companies to stop helping offshore operations and giving them oxygen to operate.
“We stand up and call illegal operators by name,” Miller said. “They reacted by harassing us and trying to intimidate us. Our answer ? Bring it on!
“They can’t stand the scrutiny of the court of public opinion…and they won’t stand the scrutiny of a court.”