AGA adds new board members; New Jersey signups leap; Colorado seeks legal advice

TAGs: American Gaming Association, churchill downs incorporated, colorado, New Jersey Online Gambling, Station Casinos, Steve Wynn, Wynn Resorts

new-jersey-colorado-american-gaming-associationThe American Gaming Association (AGA) is adding three new board members, at least two of whom are strong proponents of online gambling. On Tuesday, the AGA announced its board of directors would be welcoming members from Station Casinos, Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) and Wynn Resorts. The key personnel taking their seats on the AGA board are expected to include Station chairman Frank Fertitta III and Wynn chairman Steve Wynn.

The additions will further isolate Las Vegas Sandsvehemently anti-online gambling chairman Sheldon Adelson, who already found himself in a minority position in attempting to keep online gambling off the AGA’s wish list. Station Casinos’ subsidiary Fertitta Interactive is currently operational in both the Nevada and New Jersey online markets via Ultimate Gaming, while CDI operates advance deposit wagering sites for horseracing as well as online bingo site Luckity and recently earmarked $4m for further online expansion. Steve Wynn has been publicly on the fence regarding online gambling’s merits, but Wynn Interactive has taken pragmatic steps to position itself for a New Jersey online launch down the road.

Monday saw the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) provide an update on the state’s online market. Since the state officially launched real-money online gambling on Nov. 26, the 14 operational sites – counting the Golden Nugget, whose site only joined the party on Saturday (14) – have created 91,531 new accounts as of Sunday (15), adding 20k sites in the past week alone. The DGE hasn’t yet broken out how many players have opened accounts at multiple sites, leaving the number of active players a mystery for the moment.

New Jersey’s successful launch has already prompted fears of being left behind in states like Pennsylvania and Colorado. On Monday, Colorado Rep. Kevin Priola suggested his state should position itself “as close to the starting line as we can possibly be because as soon as the gates open, I think there are only going to be a few states that are going to have enough scale to make it work.”

Then came news that back in July, Colorado Division of Gaming director Laura Manning had sought clarity from the state’s legal eagles on what procedural steps would be required to pass online gambling legislation – despite the fact that the state’s only legislative effort on this subject never made it past the drafting stage. The Denver Post reported that attorney John Suthers told Manning that the state’s constitution would require amending in order for online gambling to go ahead, but assuming voters approved the amendment, no further input from state residents would be required to tax online gambling companies.

As for the always entertaining debate on which is more important to determine where a bet takes place – the location of the gambler placing the bet or the location of the gambling company’s servers – Suthers hedged his own bet. “Under Colorado law, a bet is placed where the person placing the bet is located. However, the location of the server or other hardware or software that determines the outcome of the bet would also be relevant to the permissibility of any online gambling under Colorado law.” Hair-splitting aside, 2014 is shaping up to be an interesting year on the legislative front.


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