IMGL Spring Conference Panel

by , May 26, 2011 | 4:16 pm

This past Monday, a panel at the IMGL Spring Conference addressed reform of gaming industry regulation. The session was moderated by Bob Faiss, Chairman of the Gaming Law Practice Group at Lionel Sawyer & Collins in Las Vegas and a leading gaming lawyer in the US. I found it fascinating and useful, with a view to effective bricks and mortar regulation and oversight of new and emerging technologies. The recommendations will be fleshed out in a forthcoming article co-authored by the panel and I’m not here to steal their thunder. However, the session was a public forum and the panel distributed hard copies of their 10 key recommendations. Here is what was issued by the panel at the conference:


May 23, 2011

10 Recommendations for reform of government control of the U.S. commercial gaming industry

Ten recommendations for reforming state regulation of the U.S. commercial gaming industry were announced today at the IMGL Spring Conference in Napa Valley, California, by members of a panel on “Reforming Regulation of the Gaming Industry – Mission Impossible?” The recommendations were selected from a number generated by the panel’s survey of experts in the fields of gaming control, gaming operation and gaming law.

The panelists are Randolph Townsend, a member of the Nevada Gaming Commission and a former Nevada state senator; Lee Amaitis, President and CEO of Cantor Gaming; Mark Lerner, Senior Vice President for Law & Government and General Counsel, Bally Technologies; Thomas Auriemma, Vice President/Chief Compliance Officer, Penn National Gaming; and Bob Faiss, Chair of the Gaming Law Practice Group, Lionel Sawyer & Collins.

Jurisdictions that have taken the lead in improving gaming control systems were applauded by the panel.

The 10 recommendations (not in any order of importance) are:

– Appoint regulators who have some experience in or knowledge of the gaming industry. Treat the gaming industry as a legitimate business to be regulated, not an evil to be suppressed.

– Review gaming regulatory policy in the context of modern circumstances and redefine regulatory control as justified by that review. For every regulatory requirement, rule, regulation and policy, assess its regulatory benefit in comparison to the burden imposed on the licensee. If there are ways to lessen the regulatory burden without compromising the regulatory benefit, those should be considered. For every regulatory requirement, rule, regulation and policy, consider whether the gaming control process would be harmed by its repeal.

– Recognize the force and future of online wagering and make plans to deal with it.

– Make it a priority to have approval of gaming technology keep pace with technology development. With regard to gaming devices and systems: (a) Focus resources on streamlining the approval of them and (b) develop uniform standards for them.

– Eliminate unnecessary redundancy among gaming regulatory systems that require license applicants to begin at ground zero in each jurisdiction they seek to enter, no matter how many times they have been licensed elsewhere.

– Allow an applicant/licensee to set up an electronic data room, wherein the company places all the appropriate information (articles of incorporation, bylaws, minutes, litigation matters, etc.) and then grants access to regulators as appropriate to view such materials. This would relieve a company from having to make submission of the same materials to the different regulators.

– Work to maintain stability of regulation. The gaming industry deserves some degree of predictability as it makes decisions on ventures, mergers and acquisitions.

– Develop reciprocity agreements among jurisdictions for the licensing/approvals of individuals and entities and for approved gaming devices and systems that have been approved in another jurisdiction and meet the uniform standards.

– License natural persons, including officers and directors, as individuals for a fixed period of time (3 or 5 years) rather than by position. These licensees could be required to notify the licensing agency within a certain time of any change in their employment or positions held. Such changes would not trigger new applications or licensing.

– Reduce mandatory filings of documents to only those actually utilized by the agency.

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