NCLGS: Gaming Opportunities, Challenges are Universal

NCLGS: Gaming Opportunities, Challenges are Universal

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 Posted by Joanna Mapes
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Michael Pollock on the need for policy-makers to work across borders
Michael Pollock

Michael Pollock, Managing Director at Spectrum Gaming and Executive Director and the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States on the need for policy-makers to work across borders

The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) recently held its winter meeting in Miami, Florida, one of America’s most cosmopolitan locations, where multiple languages are spoken, and diverse cultures exist side by side with one common goal: Economic growth.

Holding the event in Miami is a metaphor for the gaming industry itself. As US operators look for opportunities in Asia and Europe, and European and Asian operators and providers seek opportunities in the United States, while everyone has an eye on emerging markets in Africa and Latin America, the industry is far more diverse than it ever has been, and that diversity spreads across the spectrum of stakeholders.

That theme of universal experience was certainly emblematic in the topics that were discussed at NCLGS, which ranged from the potential for sports betting and online gaming expansion to the expansion of integrated resorts, and from the taxation of free play to the need for lotteries and casinos to reach new, younger demographics.

Spectrum Gaming Group, as Executive Director of NCLGS, is working with legislators from across the United States to reach out to their counterparts across the proverbial “pond” to find common ground and identify solutions to vexing problems that demand global solutions.

To facilitate this kind of transatlantic exchange, we commend initiatives such as Clarion Gaming’s International Legislators’ Agenda held on February 6-8 in London at ICE Totally Gaming, the world’s largest gaming show. Such initiatives fit well into Spectrum’s and NCLGS’ mission to further foster improved communications that rest on some bedrock principles:

  • Gaming licensure is a privilege, not a right, and applicants for that privilege bear the burden of demonstrating their good character, honesty and integrity
  • All stakeholders in the industry – including legislators and regulators – must stay atop of changing technologies and demographic shifts to ensure that their rules reflect such changes, but yet do not adversely impact the integrity of gaming
  • Legal gaming is in a constant battle against illegal gaming, and that never-ending war must be waged on common-sense principles, including the clear argument that legal gaming can be trusted
  • Gaming should be authorized only in markets that seek it, and should be developed in a manner that maximizes the public benefit

Indeed, “integrity” is a common theme that runs throughout those core principles, and binds the industry together irrespective of national or continental boundaries.

While there are core principles that transcend boundaries, there are key differences as well, and those differences can neither be ignored nor glossed over. For example, the North American gaming industry must grapple between laws, cultures and geographic distances that create complexities for and industry that includes various components:

  • Commercial, land-based gaming
  • Indian or First Nation gaming
  • State and Provincial Lotteries

At the same time, the differences between gaming in the United States and Canada, and gaming throughout Europe are profound. In North America, the brick-and-mortar gaming industry – which generates approximately US$80 billion in annual revenue – developed far differently than the gaming industry in Europe, where online gaming is far more advanced and ubiquitous.

That means that European models are not necessarily the most appropriate in the United States, and vice versa.

But, as online gaming and sports betting expand in the United States, and as integrated resorts are developed in Europe, the need for a global dialogue grows.

NCLGS is neither pro-gaming nor anti-gaming, but is committed to promoting best practices in gaming. Those are Spectrum Gaming Group’s principles as well. We will work with Clarion’s International Legislators’ Agenda iniatives to find new ways to promote conversations between legislators and other stakeholders around the world. Quite candidly, that is the best way to ensure that the gaming industry does not waver from its bedrock principles, and that the industry continues to serve the public interest.

Michael Pollock is managing director of Spectrum Gaming Group, which provides multiple services to pubic- and private-sector clients around the world. Spectrum also serves as Executive Director of NCLGS, and serves as Global Advisory Partner to Clarion Events.

For information on the International Legislators’ Agenda, please click here.

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