Casino Industry to Tackle Massive Illegal Sports Gambling Market

AGA to build broad coalition, recommend solutions that protect consumers, integrity of sports

Press Release | 11.11.2015

Las Vegas, NV – Following months of study and deliberation, the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Board of Directors today issued a set of recommendations that mark a major shift in the industry’s approach to sports betting, which is currently illegal in all but four states.

AGA will build a broad coalition that will determine whether a rational alternative to current sports betting law exists. Such an alternative could include strict regulation, rigorous consumer protections and robust tools for law enforcement to eliminate illegal sports betting and strengthen the integrity of games.   

The 2016 effort will include robust research, aggressive communications and partnerships with a variety of voices with interest in sports betting. Those voices will include, but not be limited to, gaming leaders, law enforcement officials, regulators, legislators and professional sports leagues.

“The culmination of a thorough process within our industry positions us to work with a wide variety of stakeholders who agree that rampant, unregulated and illegal sports betting is a threat to consumers and the sports we enjoy,” said Jim Murren, AGA chairman and MGM Resorts International chairman and CEO. “As the head of the largest private sector employer in Nevada, I’m confident that the entertainment experience we provide in Las Vegas – which is unmatched anywhere else in the world – can continue to excel even as our country takes a fresh look at our approach to sports betting.”

“The casino gaming industry is aligned that the status quo is unsustainable,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA. “We look forward to working with law enforcement, sports leagues and other interested parties to consider effective approaches to protecting consumers and the integrity of sports.”  

While Delaware, Oregon and Montana permit some form of legal sports betting, the vast majority of traditional sports wagering occurs in Nevada. But legal sports betting pales in comparison to the amount spent illegally on sports wagering. AGA estimates that Americans will spend $138.9 billion on illegal sports betting this year alone. Illegal sports betting funds criminal activities, takes advantage of consumers and fails to protect the integrity of America’s favorite pastimes.

The recommendations reflect broad industry consensus and were developed by leadership from the industry’s casino operators, suppliers and sports book operators in Nevada and across 40 states through a Sports Betting Task Force, which unanimously agrees that current law is not achieving its intended result.  

On the topic of daily fantasy sports, the AGA Board of Directors also made clear that the industry seeks legal clarity and adequate consumer protections. Further, if daily fantasy sports is a legal activity, the casino gaming industry should have the opportunity to participate and partner with daily fantasy sports providers.

About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states.  AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry.  It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a path for growth, innovation and reinvestment.