Sunday October 18,2015 : IS IT TIME FOR AN ONLINE GAMBLING TRADE ASSOCIATION?
 
The AGA isn't supporting us, so perhaps we should do our own thing.
 
In an article over the weekend respected online gambling journalist Steve Ruddock follows up on a suggestion by Bill Pascrell at this year's Global Gaming Expo that it's time for an online gambling trade association, and that one may be in the wings.
 
Ruddock notes that the idea has been flighted before, but never seems to develop past the discussion stage. He suggests that in an ideal [US] world such a dedicated trade group would not be necessary because the American Gaming Association would represent online gambling's interests, but since the AGA has turned its back on the industry this is not an option at present.
 
The situation has created a vacuum in this area which anti-online gambling entities have been quick to exploit with their more coordinated campaigns and narrative, Ruddock opines.
 
"Anti-online gambling interests have created one narrative, while pro-online gambling advocates try to refute this negative messaging and at the same time push several different strains of a pro-iGaming message tailored to their own self-interests," he comments.
 
"Because of this push/pull environment, where one side is going in several different directions, there is a clear messaging void and a lack of factual debate when it comes to online gambling."
 
He uses the "online gambling will cannibalise land casino revenues" argument as an example, commenting: "Despite several years of operating virtually incident free (with a much better track record than the brick and mortar gaming industry) people still fear geolocation and player verification technology will fail – even though this is the same technology [that] banks and other financial institutions rely on.
 
The fallacious and unsubstantiated argument that online gambling increases problem gambling rates is another example, Ruddock writes.
 
The lack of a cohesive and organised approach to skewed perceptions of online gambling among lawmakers, financial institutions, problem gambling organisations, the land industry and consumers has resulted in the present obstacles to online gambling making progress in the United States, he suggests.
 
A trade association could better concentrate and refine the industry's message for lobbying and communications with its many audiences, which would be to everyone's advantage in presenting an agreed and positive narrative, and in quickly and effectively rebutting negative claims by anti-online gambling interests.