Productive Week for Gaming By Geoff Freeman, President and CEO, American Gaming Association June 19, 2015 at 5:04 pm It was a productive week for the casino gaming industry on a wide range of issues, including: Coalescing the industry to determine a unified perspective on the national sports betting and fantasy sports debate; Bolstering our partnership with law enforcement on the effort to combat illegal gambling; Combatting misguided efforts by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); and Strengthening our relationship with Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Elevating Industry’s Voice as Sports Debate Continues AGA’s Sports Betting Task Force, comprised of Board-level member companies held its first meeting to help determine the best course of action for the industry on this emerging issue. The goal is for this diverse representation of the gaming industry to provide a recommendation to AGA’s Board on the issue of sports betting and fantasy sports. As sports betting and fantasy sports raise national interest, AGA defended the industry’s reputation. Exemplified in a recent New York Times article, we will ensure that the gaming industry’s voice is heard during this ongoing debate. Partnering with Law Enforcement on “Stop Illegal Gambling” Initiative The AGA’s “Stop Illegal Gambling, Play it Safe” initiative, which seeks to distinguish our highly regulated, $240 billion legal gaming industry from the criminal networks that rely on illegal gambling to fund violent crimes and drug and human trafficking, announced the formation of an Advisory Board this week. The Board spans federal, state and local law enforcement and has tremendous collective experience; participants include: Ed Davis – former Boston Police commissioner; James Dinkins – former executive associate director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, general manager and vice president Thomson Reuters Special Services; B. Van Hollen – former Wisconsin State attorney general, U.S. attorney, and district attorney; Tim Murphy – former deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and vice president corporate compliance, MacAndrews & Forbes; and Bill Young – former sheriff Las Vegas Metro Police Department, senior vice president compliance and security, Station Casinos. The Boston Globe quoted Davis saying, “there is a stark difference between legitimate industry” such as the casinos represented by the AGA “who are good community partners, and the bad actors who aren’t regulated and have no respect for the law.” Looking ahead, AGA will address several major law enforcement conferences, continue to form partnerships that differentiate our legitimate industry from illegal operators, and empower law enforcement to better identify and address illegal gambling. Addressing Industry’s Concerns with IRS’ Proposal AGA testified before U.S. Department of Treasury and IRS officials during a public hearing on the proposed mandatory regulations impacting tax reporting information for casino slot machine play. As Gambling Compliance reported, our remarks in summary detail: Spirit of collaboration and partnership to help develop a feasible solution for taxpayers, industry and the IRS; Complicated, onerous and unproductive consequences of mandating proposed casino tax reporting’s reliance on electronic player tracking; and Strong opposition to cutting the slot jackpot reporting threshold in half from the current $1,200 level to $600. As the IRS continues to review more than 14,000 comments received in response to the proposal, we will continue to work with the agency and keep the industry informed of new developments. Engaging Gaming Compliance Professionals High-ranking federal officials Stephanie Brooker, director, enforcement division of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an agency under the Department of Treasury, and M. Kendall Day, chief, asset forfeiture and money laundering section of the U.S. Department of Justice addressed the AGA co-sponsored Bank Secrecy Act Conference. The event convened more than 400 legal, compliance and regulatory gaming professionals for a daylong seminar on anti-money laundering compliance. Participation by these important officials is yet another indicator that engagement and cooperation between the public and private sectors strengthens the gaming industry’s commitment to compliance and drives better regulation. With objectives to enhance the industry’s image, to facilitate industry growth by removing impediments and to unify the gaming industry in its totality, the AGA will continue to build on this momentum in the months ahead.