AGA Boss Says Next Five Years in More Complex Than Last 30
American Gaming Association (AGA) President Bill Miller says the next five years could be more important – and perhaps more exciting – for the gaming industry than the last three decades combined.
It’s a big statement, and one he made while sitting down recently with the Las Vegas Sun. Gaming reporter Bryan Horwath asked the president of the most important casino lobbying group in DC to comment about his recent trip to Las Vegas.
“Someone recently told me that the next five years in the gaming industry will be more exciting and more complex than the last 30. I think that’s especially true in Las Vegas,” Miller answered.
Miller went on to explain that Las Vegas has been undergoing a renaissance of sorts in recent years, as casinos have diversified to include entertainment and attractions that appeal to the entire family.
The AGA boss added that Las Vegas being able to land two “big four” professional sports teams – the NHL Golden Knights and beginning next year the NFL Raiders – has allowed the city to become a major sports mecca.
Miller is just the third president in AGA history. He replaced Geoff Freeman earlier this year after he departed the casino lobbying group for the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
The US commercial gaming industry is alive and well, with casinos recording a record $41.7 billion gross revenue win in 2018. That was a roughly $1.4 billion gain on 2017. The AGA analyzed 465 commercial casinos in its annual review, which doesn’t factor in revenues from tribal properties.
However, a host of issues surround the gaming industry. It begins with the continued expansion of legal sports betting.
Eight states have joined Nevada since the SCOTUS repeal in taking legal sports bets – Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Arkansas. Seven others have passed legislation to govern the gambling activity, and so has DC.
As of now, states are free to set their own sports betting laws. That could change should Congress again intervene.
Sara Slane, the outgoing senior VP of public affairs for the AGA, told a House Judiciary subcommittee last fall that an additional federal regulatory layer would only allow offshore sportsbooks to prosper. To date, Congress has refrained from passing such a measure.
Competition Benefitting Las Vegas
Miller says sports betting revenue has experience year-over-year growth in each month this year. That might come as a bit of a surprise considering gamblers wishing to make a legal bet no longer need to travel to Nevada.
MGM Resorts Jim Murren predicted that the Supreme Court decision would only help Las Vegas oddsmakers.
“The parallel would be if you think back on casino expansion throughout the United States, that has actually benefited MGM in Las Vegas because people want to go to the market leader, which Las Vegas is the undisputed leader,” Murren told the AP in 2018. “I think the same will happen with sports betting.”