Following the release last October of its report urging reform of state gaming regulations—Improving Gaming Regulation: 10 Recommendations for Streamlining Processes While Maintaining Integrity—the AGA and its members have begun several efforts to identify opportunities for improving regulatory processes. Proposed reforms range from simple changes in regulatory policy which regulators can adopt on their own, to formal amendment of established regulations, to required statutory amendments. The steps taken so far include:
- Conducting programs at Global Gaming Expo in October that explored the recommendations of the AGA’s report.
- Developing state-by-state matrices detailing existing statutes and regulations and how they measure up against AGA reform recommendations.
- Joining with state gaming associations to support reform efforts they already have under way and to encourage new initiatives. The regulatory reform project also will be a key topic at the AGA’s annual government affairs meeting in early February.
- Devoting a portion of the AGA website to regulatory reform, with the planned section to include background and explanatory materials on priority regulatory reforms, reports on the status of current reform efforts in each state, along with tools that reflect the reform opportunities in each state, the initial AGA report and a number of other related resources. The website is expected to go live in February.
Several state regulators already have responded positively to the AGA report and the industry’s focus on reform opportunities. Although the industrywide effort is only just beginning, several jurisdictions have seen promising first steps:
- Indiana—The Casino Association of Indiana (CAI) has a pre-existing Compliance Subcommittee that meets quarterly and follows up on its priorities with the Indiana Gaming Commission. CAI is incorporating the recommendations of the AGA report into this periodic effort.
- Iowa—The Iowa Gaming Association is considering forming a committee to pursue regulatory reform priorities with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission and has conducted initial conversations with regulatory officials on these subjects. One subject under discussion is extending the term for gaming licenses.
- Michigan—Gaming businesses and suppliers in Michigan are forming a group to pursue reforms with the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
- Missouri—At its December meeting, the Missouri Gaming Commission reviewed the 10 recommendations in the AGA report and began discussion of a process for examining each of them. MGC officials are now working with industry representatives to review problematic “minimum internal control standards” (MICS), which generally require pre-approval by Missouri regulators; the AGA report highlighted the MICS policies of Missouri and Illinois as a reform priority.
- Nevada—The Nevada Gaming Control Board has prepared an analysis of the AGA report, identifying those recommendations that apply to Nevada’s regulatory structure. Board Chair Mark Lipparelli has ordered staff to examine recommended reforms and report on their feasibility.
The following events will feature significant discussion of gaming regulatory reform:
- AGA Annual Government Affairs Meeting, Feb, 1-2, 2012, Washington, DC
- North American Gaming Regulators Association (NAGRA) Annual Conference, June 25-29, AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin, TX