One of the gaming industry’s largest and most established conferences will place a particular focus on sports betting later this month. That comes just weeks before its organizing body plans to spearhead the development of a lobbying coalition that will advocate for federal sports betting legislation.
Global Gaming Expo 2016, which runs from Sept. 26-29 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, is put on annually by the American Gaming Association and expects to host as many 25,000 attendees.
G2E will feature four panels addressing various aspects of sports betting, including integrity monitoring and potential regulatory frameworks.
The event will close with a conversation between AGA president Geoff Freeman and former NBA commissioner David Stern, who will offer insights on the benefits of broader sports betting legalization.
Panels, discussions address topics in sports betting
Four panels, including three on Wednesday, Sept. 28, will tackle evolving issues across the sports betting industry.
On Sept. 26, at 4:15 p.m., a panel of industry leaders will discuss the market for mobile sports betting, including the ways in which the convenience of an in-hand sportsbook on your smartphone has driven growth. Nevada sports betting has increasingly started to move to mobile technology.
On Sept. 28, at 10:30 a.m., industry experts will focus on opportunities for legalizing sports betting outside of Nevada, and how it could positively benefit broadcasters, advertisers and the sports leagues themselves.
Later that day, at 1:30 p.m., some of the world’s foremost sports data experts will illuminate the ways big data technology is used protect the integrity of sports betting markets and how it can shape regulation.
At the conclusion of that panel, at 3 p.m., a collection of sportsbook directors will discuss precisely how legal sports betting in Nevada works in a regulated environment, and speak to their cooperation with law enforcement and the sports leagues to ensure game integrity.
Freeman himself will lead two other sports-focused sessions
On Sept. 27 at 10:30 a.m., Freeman will hold the organization’s annual press conference on the state of gaming, and unveil new research focusing on the effect of legalized, regulated sports betting on the integrity of sports.
On Sept. 29, at 10 a.m., Freeman will conclude the conference with a conversation with Stern and will discuss with the commissioner emeritus why he, like his successor Adam Silver, favors a legal, regulated sports betting framework.
Those interested in registering to attend the conference can find out more information here.
Conference a precursor to broader regulatory effort
Earlier this year, the AGA announced it would form a coalition of stakeholders to formally lobby Congress following the conclusion of the presidential election. The goal of the coalition is to bring about a legal, regulated sports betting framework in America.
Many believe such a solution would necessitate the alteration or repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
The 1992 federal law made it illegal for any person or governmental entity that wasn’t already legally doing so to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize most forms of sports wagering, including the forms of single-game betting popularized by Nevada sportsbooks.
Of the four professional sports leagues, the NBA appears to be by far the most open and willing to discuss the benefits of legal sports betting.
The league has come out in favor of a legalized sports betting framework, and Freeman even met personally with Silver in New York earlier this year to discuss sports betting.
The NBA is also reportedly in the final stages of closing a $250 million deal with Sportradar that would, among other things, facilitate the sale of league data to betting houses.
Meanwhile, the sports betting dialogue from leagues such as the NFL and NHL, who have each either located a team in Las Vegas or are strongly considering doing so, has been more equivocal.
NBA support stops short of direct legislative advocacy
The league said earlier this year, however, that it has never said it will directly advocate at the legislative level for a sports betting framework, and that that position has not changed.
The NBA was also a listed plaintiff along with the other professional sports leagues in this summer’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals case involving defendant New Jersey’s attempt to repeal some of its sports betting prohibitions. The court ruled 9-3 in the leagues’ favor in the NJ sports betting case.
Still, former NBA commissioner Stern’s presence at the event speaks to the league’s recent willingness to at least discuss sports betting. Fewer than 10 years ago, Stern was “against legalized gambling on pro sports,” Think Progress reported.
But in early 2015 he told CNBC, “Once daily fantasy became an acceptable exception to the law against gambling, I think that’s gambling, so now I think the best approach would be, as Adam Silver has advocated, is for there to be federal regulation.”
Stern has previously advocated for a federal (as opposed to state-based) approach to gaming legislation, most recently regarding DFS.
(Disclosure: The author of this article will be moderating one of the following sports betting panels.)