Wednesday March 9,2016 : AMERICAN GAMING ASSOCIATION'S SHORT-TERM VIEW ON INTERNET GAMBLING QUESTIONED
It is remarkable that the AGA has positive views on daily fantasy sports but remains opposed to online gambling regulation.
Notable gaming journalist Steve Ruddock flagged some interesting inconsistencies – and perhaps even hypocrisy – in the American Gaming Association's comments on daily fantasy sports at the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee meeting Monday
In an article titled "American Gaming Association Is On Wrong Side Of History Regarding Online Gambling," Ruddock notes that AGA chief executive Geoff Freeman prefaced his submission to the committee with an op-ed article in the Las Vegas Review Journal in which he called on regulators across the USA to follow Nevada in providing clarity and a plan for the continued success of daily fantasy sports.
Ruddock quotes from the op-ed article, where Freeman asserts: “DFS is a compelling upstart business caught in a legal gray area between state and federal laws.” He went on to say, “With billions of dollars changing hands and thousands of participants, DFS is also an industry in need of consumer protections and other regulations that ensure the integrity of its product.”
Freeman also asked how land casino operators are to stay ahead of the curve of consumer demand by sitting on the side-lines.
Ruddock finds all of these points valid, but raises the very relevant fact that these assertions apply equally well to online gambling, which Freeman did not even mention in his article.
Within hours of his article appearing, Freeman was espousing his views to the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee, where he did mention online gambling, albeit in a negative context. He called for action against unlicensed operators excluded from the market by US laws and apparently suggested, among other things, that it may be a good idea to criminalise players for playing on unlicensed websites.
Ruddock explores the historical shifts in AGA policy on online gambling from hostile to neutral to positive and then back to semi-hostile neutrality as the organisation tries to maintain unity among its members, one of whom in particular is strongly opposed to internet gambling – Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands.
The writer underlines what a positive boost for properly regulated online gambling the support of the AGA could provide, to the advantage of both the consumer and its members.
Ruddock notes that he has respect for the AGA as a positive force in the industry, but goes on to observe that the Association's current lack of a cogent posture on internet gambling could leave it on the wrong side of history at some future point when it comes to recording who was trying to create a safe and regulated environment, and who was acting as a roadblock.
"If the AGA continues its current position – based on placating some of its members who hold contrarian and unproven views – it will only serve to harm the trade group’s reputation when we look back at the role it played during this period," Ruddock concludes.