G2E Notebook: AGA’s Miller Calls for Responsible Promotion of Sports Betting

Posted on: October 5, 2021, 07:12h. 

Last updated on: October 6, 2021, 08:58h.

LAS VEGAS – American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller welcomed attendees to Global Gaming Expo (G2E) 2021 Tuesday. He praised the industry for its resilience over the past 18 months as it dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic. But as Miller handed out laurels, he also issued a (sort of) dart as well.

G2E Bill Miller
American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller gives his state of the gaming industry speech Tuesday at G2E in Las Vegas. (Image: G2E)

Miller called on sports betting operators to uphold their commitments to responsible gaming practices. It’s especially important, as state regulators and media outlets pay close attention to the volume of television commercials and other marketing campaigns – such as “aggressive” promotions – produced by sportsbooks.

The criticism in the US appears to be growing. Last month, Colorado state Speaker of the House Alec Garnett, who was a major proponent of the measure that legalized sports betting in the state, told Westword that nearly 18 months after the first bet was placed, the ads would begin to slow down.

At a G2E breakout session Monday, Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians Chairman Mark Macarro referenced the proliferation of sports betting ads during NFL games he’s watched.

We have to get this right because we’ve seen what happens when it goes wrong,” Miller said during his G2E kickoff address at The Venetian Expo.

He noted that Italy has banned ads for sports betting outright, and that two-thirds of all British adults would like to see a similar measure in the UK. Other countries, like Spain, have implemented other restrictions, such as prohibiting team sponsorships.

While the operators need to do their part, Miller said they can’t be the only actors involved.

“Every stakeholder, especially our partners who are new to the gaming business – sports leagues, teams, media companies – they need to understand their role and they need to do their part, too,” he said.

AGA Partners with FBI on Illegal Gaming Education

Another part of the responsible gaming effort in the US is the fight against illegal gambling activity. There have been some high-profile cases coming before the courts, including the “Uncle Mick” case in Chicago. That led to charges against 10 individuals who were part of an operation that had its own website tied to an offshore operator.

Miller said the FBI has launched a public service campaign to educate the public about illegal gaming. The announcements contain the AGA’s Have a Game Plan initiative.

“We’re working with states attorneys general, sheriffs, (and) local law enforcement to stop the spread of illegal slot machines, and to take on companies trying to skirt the strict regulations that we all have to follow,” he added.

Wheel Turns 25

IGT is celebrating the silver anniversary of its most popular slot machine brand this year. On Tuesday, it added some star power to the celebration.

Vanna White from Wheel of Fortune made an appearance at the gaming company’s booth on the G2E show floor. She hosted a $15,000 charity slot tournament, with Vegas celebrities playing the slot machine designed after the famous TV game show.

Wheel of Fortune was the first licensed slot machine theme, according to an IGT release. Since its debut 25 years ago, the machines have paid out more than $3.3 billion in prizes. That includes more than 1,100 jackpots valued at $1 million or more.

There was no word on how many players have won ceramic dalmatians.

Dorsey to Take New Role at AGEM

The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) announced on Monday that industry executive Daron Dorsey would become the trade group’s next executive director.

The former senior vice president, general counsel, and group compliance officer for Ainsworth Game Technology will officially assume the new role on March 1. For the past five years, he’s served as an officer and general counsel for AGEM.

In a statement, AGEM President David Lucchese pointed out that Dorsey’s ties to the gaming manufacturing industry made him an ideal choice to succeed Marcus Prater.

Dorsey thanked Prater for his more than a decade of service to the industry. During that tenure, Prater helped oversee  substantial growth in the association’s membership ranks.

“My hope is AGEM can further build on what it has already accomplished and continue to foster a business environment where its members prosper,” Dorsey said.