ICC: AGA chief puts timeline on US sports betting regulatory change

ICC: AGA chief puts timeline on US sports betting regulatory change

Monday, February 1, 2016 Totally Gaming
Geoff Freeman said he expects major changes within the next five years

Geoff Freeman, the president and chief executive of the American Gaming Association (AGA), has spoken of his confidence that a major shift in sports betting regulation in the US is less than half a decade away.

Speaking at the International Casino Conference at the Hippodrome Casino in London today (Monday), Freeman outlined the drastic changes that have occurred within the casino industry over the past quarter of a century, and insisted that policy-makers are beginning to appreciate the dangers of blocking regulated sports betting.

“This weekend, $4.2bn (€3.85bn) will be wagered on the Super Bowl in the US, and $4.1bn of that total will be wagered illegally, because of the law,” he said.

“It’s time for a more progressive policy. How do we work with each other to align interests in sports betting? At the AGA, this is our No.1 priority at the moment.

“I am optimistic that within three to five years, US law on sports betting will have changed and the US will have caught up with Europe.”

Freeman explained that the gaming industry supports 1.7m jobs and more than $38bn in tax revenues in the US, having grown from casinos in just two states in 1990 up to nearly 1,000 “in every corner” of the country.

“Public support for gaming is at an all-time high,” he added.

Freeman said that the gaming industry was at a “fork in the road”, and illustrated the concept by comparing the “taxi cab versus Uber” mentalities.

“We’ve got choices to make. We don’t want to be an industry that fights change at every turn, like the taxi cabs,” he said. We have to ask ourselves, where do we want to be? We need to find ways of making things work for us.

“The regulators also need to change too. That time for embracing trial and error and encouraging innovation is upon us. Progressive thinkers see competition as the innovation that we need, and flexible regulation can permit the industry to get more creative.

“It’s about collaboration and finding issues of common cause. The industry is starting to develop a bit of muscle around collaboration.”


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