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Stateside


Sharon Harris asks a lot of those making the rules…Which is fair.


T 10 NOVEMBER 2019


he big show is over after months of intense planning and preparation under new AGA CEO/President Bill Miller and his team. Exhibitors and speakers had three days to display their products/services or offer great information to their audiences.


Like every expo since my first in 1992, I learned a lot. One thing is for sure…this is not the same industry. What was once a small room or two of hopeful exhibitors has grown into a full-blown international industry spanning the four corners of the globe. Those early conventioneers recognized gaming’s potential


explosion. By 1992, riverboats were “the thing” to excite everyone and tribal gaming was a slow, but growing dream for success. In 27 years, changing conditions have influenced industry priorities. Riverboat gaming expansion stopped at six states in the 1990s. Safety and operational concerns forced the boats to transition from sailing to permanently-anchored vessels. Amazingly, an obscure 1987 California bingo battle


reaching the US Supreme Court set the stage for tribal gaming, which has exceeded anyone’s possible expectations. The latest AGA statistics reveal that tribal gaming revenues in 28 states could reach more than $41 billion by late fall 2019. Every show has had its own “buzz”, highlighting the industry’s


topic “du jour.” During the last two years, huge excitement has revolved around sports betting. Before last year’s G2E, the US Supreme Court had just ruled in favor of the sports wagering lawsuit. In these 12 months, numerous programs have emerged, with many more states making preparations.


Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first G2E


keynote speaker, led a six-year legal battle. Before a standing- room-only audience of several hundred, Christie described New Jersey’s sports betting battle. He gave a straightforward tutorial on developing and managing a successful program. Look for a complete summary of his comments in my show report in this issue. In under 18 months, New Jersey has taken a lead. Its


first-year revenues topped $3 billion, double the projected $1.5 billion. The timing of the 2019 National Football League’s season opening games in September resulted in New Jersey generating a record $445 million in sports wagers. Analysts predict New Jersey will exceed Nevada this year. Credit this highly-regulated and respected sports betting industry to Christie and Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) Director David Rebuck. Hired in 2011, Rebuck also oversaw New Jersey’s successful online gaming launch and operation. Considered among the best regulators in the US, the no-nonsense Rebuck supports gaming while also demanding integrity. He effectively sidesteps bureaucratic blather and legislation. I lived through those six years as a Jersey taxpayer and


voter. I am proud that due process finally won out. Our state leadership never quit.


The same should be demanded from all corporate


executives and politicians. Without the public’s faith, a company or government body is worthless. Prior to the show, Atlantic City was rocked by yet another


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