advocacy

Illegal Gambling

The AGA is committed to stopping illegal gambling by partnering with law enforcement to develop national, state and local opportunities for action and engagement. The AGA will commission authoritative research on all forms of illegal gambling and strengthen partnerships with elected officials, law enforcement, and regulators to combat this national problem that’s siphoning tax revenues from state and localities, and tarnishing our highly regulated industry’s reputation.

American Gaming Association Urges Department of Justice to Crack Down on Illegal Gambling

In a letter to the U.S. Attorney General, the AGA outlines the pervasive nature of illegal gambling and the threat these unregulated operators pose to consumers, state economies, and the legal gaming industry as part of the association’s ongoing initiative to stamp out the illegal market.

Press Release
Federal Communications
Apr 2022 Letter to DOJ re: Illegal Gaming
View Letter

Illegal Gambling Machines Endanger Consumers, Funnel Tax Revenue Away from State Economies

The robust licensing and operational standards for all gaming companies are essential to the casino gaming industry’s success. These standards promote confidence among consumers, ensuring that when they visit our properties they will be treated fairly. Unfortunately, unregulated and illegal gaming machines continue to proliferate across the country and threaten the economic benefits and consumer protections provided by the regulated industry. These illegal machines do not undergo any meaningful testing, the companies that create and operate them are not subject to licensing or other regulatory standards, and they do not provide states with essential tax revenue. These machines also fail to ensure that game integrity and responsible gaming are upheld, putting consumers at risk. Further, these machines are often tied to criminal activity, including money laundering, drug trafficking, violent crime, and more.

AGA's report provides an overview of the regulatory environment for the casino gaming industry, specifically gaming machines found on the casino floor, and analyzes how those standards ensure consumer safety while generating significant tax revenue for states. Specifically, AGA recommends:

  • Law enforcement and policymakers must prioritize robust enforcement of laws to root out illegal and unregulated gaming machines. This includes enforcing laws already in force but also clarifying the law to make the illegality of these machines clear where any ambiguity exists.

  • States and communities must resist the temptation to simply authorize these machines. While many jurisdictions are looking for novel revenue sources, especially in response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing these machines to continue will only reward bad behavior, erode investment made by regulated entities, and expose consumers to unnecessary risks.

  • Other industries need to ensure they understand their responsibility to eliminate illegal gaming machines at their businesses. Businesses cannot rely on illegal and unregulated games that put their customers at risk and should actively work to remove them from their communities.

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