iGaming Conference Discussed US RegulationPublished March 30, 2014 by OCR Editor
The regulating US iGaming market stirred up some hot panels at the iGaming North America 2014 Conference.
The iGaming North America 2014 (IGNA) took place last week at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. It was the first to take place while online gambling sites were in operation in the USA. Naturally, the discussion mostly revolved around the regulation of the US market.
iGaming's Regulation Impact on Brick & Mortar Casinos
One highly anticipated panel dubbed "Is I-gaming the Problem or the Solution" featured a debate between Mitch Garber, CEO of Caesars Acquisition Company and Andy Abboud, VP of Government Relations at Las Vegas Sands Corp. Abboud who is also the spokesperson for Sheldon Adelson's Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) voiced concerns of hazards that iGaming might bring to the US including putting minors at risk, warning of class-action lawsuits which would turn iGaming operators into "a lawyer's dream in class-actions lawsuits, a dream for litigators." Abboud also warned that iGaming regulation will injure brick & mortar casinos.
In his response, Garber said Abboud's fears are overplayed, stating that in his many years in the industry problems of minors gambling have not come to pass, as well as concerns about money-laundering, terrorism and more. On the subject of the impact of iGaming regulation on brick & mortar casinos, Garber argued that there will be no such impact as online and land-based casinos cater to two different types of clientele, and that in the past land-based casino revenues soared when internet gaming was at its highest in the US and UK. To support Garber's claim, Chris Sheffield, managing director of Betfred, said that there is no cannibalization in the company's offline and online services in the UK, something which applies for other companies as well.
New Jersey iGaming Market Criticized
It was New Jersey state senator Raymond Lesniak whose harsh criticism caught the spotlight in another panel. Speaking on online gambling sites in his state, Lesniak expressed his disappointment from the marketing campaigns employed by these so far, going as far as naming them "amateurish". According to Lesniak, operators were lashing out budgets on TV-based campaigns which were better off spent into online advertising.