Wilmott opens G2E 2018 with reflection, focus on community Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · October 9, 2018 at 7:15 pm Penn National Gaming CEO Tim Wilmott opened the Global Gaming Expo Tuesday morning with a discussion centered on responsibility. Wilmott, the current chairman of the American Gaming Association, said the gaming industry – where commercial and tribal casinos combined for nearly $73 billion in revenue in 2017 – has a responsibility to communities, its employees and customers, and to the changing gaming world. He cited the growing interest in sports betting, a key educational and discussion topic at this year’s show. The AGA, which produces G2E with Reed Exhibitions, updated its responsible code of conduct in August to include sports betting. “These actions reflect just one component of an industry-wide commitment to our customers,” Wilmott said. “I’ve been proud of all our industry has done to ensure we are creating a gaming environment that is fun, exciting and responsible.” Wilmott began his state of the industry address with some remarks about the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas, which took place at the outset of last year’s G2E. A lone gunman, firing from a 32nd floor suite at the Mandalay Bay, killed 58 people attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival at Las Vegas Village, an open-air lot directly across the Las Vegas Strip from the Mandalay. More than 800 were wounded, and thousands continue to suffer emotional trauma. Wilmott noted that the Las Vegas community and the gaming industry came together to help in the recovery. “The gaming industry was integral to this effort not just because of our outsized presence in Las Vegas,” he said, “but because our employees and guests were victims, witnesses, and, in many cases, heroes, both during the shooting and (throughout) its aftermath.” Wilmott told the audience that 2017 was “a banner year for gaming.” Twenty of the 24 commercial casino states experienced revenue increases, and 11 states exceeded previous revenue records. Commercial gaming revenue broke the $40 billion mark for the first time, and tribal gaming revenue was up 4 percent to a record $32.4 billion. The AGA’s recent economic study showed gaming contributing $261 billion to the U.S. economy, supporting 1.8 million jobs, and delivering $41 billion in tax revenue to state and local governments. He said tax revenue generates funds for public services and gaming employees commit time and money to help in community services. “When you dig a little deeper, you can truly see how gaming is changing communities by spreading opportunity across America,” Wilmott said. The industry is currently responsible for an estimated $17 billion annually in wages, benefits and tips. “If you broaden the definition to include Americans whose jobs are indirectly supported by gaming, that figure more than doubles,” Wilmott said. Wilmott said the industry’s responsibility to its customer base includes devising functional methods of combating problem gambling. Last year, the AGA embarked on a leadership effort to attack the issue. “We know problem gambling is real. We know it’s a serious challenge for those who suffer from gambling addiction,” Wilmott said. “And we invest $300 million every year on programs, training and compliance measures to promote responsible gaming, prevent problem gambling, and help ensure that the people who need help get it.” Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.