The excitement surrounding the opportunities in the regulated Sports Betting market continued today in New York City at Sports Betting USA. The selection of sessions and networking discussions mainly revolved around how affiliates and payment providers, lotteries, tribal gaming and others can work together to push the industry forward.
The American lotteries are primed to play a significant role in the country’s regulated sports betting market, as we’ve already seen in Oregon, New Hampshire, Tennessee and many other states. Exactly what role the lotteries will play was debated this morning during a panel that featured Gordon Medenica, Director of Maryland Lottery & Gaming.
“Lotteries worldwide do about 70% of all the sports betting in the world and so in terms of the umbrella organizations that will manage and make decisions about who the vendors are and where the actually betting will take place, I think it’s a natural fit that that will fall under lotteries in the United States”, Medenica shared with CalvinAyre.com.
Lotteries such as Maryland’s are keen to learn from other states who already have sports betting in place and in fact, Maryland regards their current position as an advantage.
“There’s an old joke in the lottery business that everybody wants to be third. If you’re first, you get your head handed to you, if you’re second, you still don’t get it right. So we might be third, but we hopefully will get it really right and we are absolutely watching everything that is going on in the industry”, said Medenica.
“Interestingly in the lottery business the lottery directors are a close group and we share information all the time because we don’t compete with each other”, he said.
“So its very easy for us to learn what other people are doing, what their experiences have been, the vendors that they like and that they don’t like and all of that shared experience I think will help everybody design the best structure for their individual jurisdiction”, Medenica added.
Tribal gaming has been an incredibly important piece of the gambling industry’s history in America, with a number of innovations originally coming from tribal operations. With the spread of regulated sports betting across the country, tribal casinos must adapt to the changes in order to maintain their position as industry leaders. These points and more were discussed during today’s Tribal Gaming panel.
“The way we’re dealing with all of this is you’re seeing more and more of our Tribal nations getting involved on the commercial side. We have Seminal Hard Rock that is certainly a leader in that aspect when they bought the Hard Rock company. We have Mohegan Sun in Connecticut who are purchasing casinos in other countries, other states they have one in Pennsylvania”, NIGA’s Executive Director Jason Giles explained.
“We’re starting to see a little bit of those barriers breaking down as tribes branch out because they are restricted by geography, most of them. There are innovative ways they are looking at of expanding their gaming operations yet still trying to keep the tribal flare and tribal nature of everything and helping out the U.S. economy, that’s really what it comes down to, we’re all in this together”, he said.
“Indian gaming is the 14th largest employer in the country right now and we want to keep it that way”, Giles added.
With so much excitement surrounding the new business opportunities that accompany sports betting in America, the industry must not forget the importance of responsible gambling practices. Today’s closing panel emphasized these points and panelist Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling shared his thoughts on the subject with CalvinAyre.com.
“We expect that as gambling expands there is usually an increase [in problem gambling]. In some jurisdictions around the world we’ve seen with a lot of problem gambling funding you can minimize or even keep that increase flat. But here in the United States we’re looking at an increase simply because we just haven’t put the money into it”, Whyte shared.
“And so that’s a problem and that backlash is going to rebound on the industry. The government is not going to blame themselves, they are going to blame the operators and the vendors. And so getting ahead of it and working with us to get ahead of stuff is both ethical and economical”, he explained.
After a productive two days in New York City, its clear Sports Betting USA was successful in providing a platform for collaborating with stakeholders during a critical point in our industry’s time. Clarion Gaming’s Rory Credland confirmed the feedback he and his team have received on the event so far has been nothing short of excellent.
“[Attendees] are all very appreciative of [the event] happening at quite a crucial time in the U.S. We’ve managed to get all the leagues in one place at one time which we’ve not managed to do before, so we’re very, very happy with the level of content that are here and the level of speakers that are here as well. So, yea- couldn’t ask for more”, he said.