BUSINESS

Two US gaming industry trade associations look to seize momentum

TAGs: Melanie Brenner, PKR, Sportingbet, US Online Gaming Association

Melanie Brenner, the former executive director of the Poker Voters of America intrastate lobby group will be heading the newly formed US Online Gaming Association (USOGA), as reported by eGaming Review Magazine in an article by Stephen Carter.

The article in eGaming Review noted PKR and Sportingbet as among the founding members the new trade association for egaming companies “to advocate for the legalisation and regulation of online gaming in the States”.

Brenner told eGaming Review, “With the failure of a federal solution to this issue, the opening of the lucrative US market will be through state capitols such as Tallahassee, Sacramento and Trenton. The work we have done through Poker Voters has uniquely positioned us to be the most effective voice in moving this issue.”

Brenner confirmed that Sportingbet and Secured American Games were the first three companies to commit “financial and technical support” and told eGaming Review that she would announce “three to four major founder members in the next week” who had also devoted financial support and had become members of the executive committee of the new trade association.

Just a few years ago a trade association like this may not have carried much weight. But as Malcolm Graham, Chief executive of PKR has indicated, the timing is perfect given the move towards state regulation in the US. Graham was quoted in the eGaming Review article saying, “I think it is important the industry, which will be supporting local operators from this side of the pond, to have a collective voice and a consistent message. Bringing everyone under the umbrella of the US Online Gaming Association is a sensible way forward, in the way the Remote Gaming Association and European Gaming and Betting Association have been great models on the European front, presenting a common front to local legislators and local operators and helping make them more comfortable with managing the process. If the industry has an inconsistent message I think that will be so much harder.”

London’s ICE Totally Gaming Exhibition saw several representatives from Europe’s leading operators and service providers present at the official launch.

Naturally, one good trade association deserves another. The lobbying forces that helped get the NJ egaming bill to the governor’s desk also announced at ICE that they too had founded a gaming industry trade association with a mandate to “educate and advocate for igaming in America”. Lead lobbyist for Lesniak’s egamig bill, Bill Pascrell III has been named to serve as the executive director of the American Institute for iGaming (AIIG).

Pascrell told eGaming Review: “We are getting a board together for the AIIG, consisting of gaming companies, payment processors and casino operators. The organisation will be open to the globe, but people on the board cannot have US legacy issues. It will have a robust board of governors who are clean, energetic, enthusiastic about the opportunities for American egaming.”

Pascrell added, “We are not just focusing on state level in the US, we are hoping to get federal legislation, but know there is a long way to go. We are focusing on the domino effect, New Jersey first, then other states.”

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