With 2022 coming to an end arrives the moment to look back at the past 12 months. In conversation with Yogonet, Bill Miller, President & CEO of the American Gaming Association, shared insights into the progress and achievements made during the year, stating that the US gaming industry will close the year “marking a new annual revenue record.”
As the industry leaves the pandemic behind and rebounds from Covid, what is your assessment of how the gaming sector developed in 2022? What role did the American Gaming Association play within this context?
The U.S. gaming industry reached new heights in 2022 with sustained consumer demand and remarkable resilience in the face of widespread macroeconomic concerns. We’ll close the year marking a new annual revenue record as combined commercial and tribal revenue is on pace to surpass $100 billion for the year.
Our mission is to foster a policy and business environment where legal gaming can thrive. And in 2022, we did just that by advancing core priorities around the illegal market and responsibility while continuing our ongoing work to build gaming champions, inform stakeholders through research, and convene the global gaming community.
This year also marked a general return of in-person industry events all over the world. What are your main takeaways from the events schedule in 2022, including G2E’s return to pre-pandemic attendance levels?
At every event I attended this year, it was clear everyone was eager to be together in person again and we saw that on full display at G2E. Our return to a pre-pandemic atmosphere with nearly 25,000 gaming professionals reinforced that the industry is back in full swing.
This year’s event highlighted gaming’s strength and dynamic future and the palpable buzz on the show floor made it evident that business is booming across sectors. The exchange of ideas and discussion of industry trends during the education sessions was inspiring, and all four of our dynamic keynote conversations brought a unique perspective to the center stage. We are looking forward to seeing everyone back in Las Vegas for G2E 2023 from October 9-12.
This year, AGA debuted the Responsible Gaming Month. What was the overall response the association saw from the industry on this matter? What are the main challenges AGA sees in the responsible gaming road ahead?
Expanded from a week to a month, September marked the inaugural Responsible Gaming Education Month (RGEM) and the engagement from across the industry was resounding.
Throughout September, we saw the U.S. gaming industry come together to highlight this foundational priority. Operators, suppliers, regulators, policymakers, and other stakeholders used the month to promote consumer and employee education, announce new investments in responsible gaming, and hold critical discussions on what the future of responsible gaming looks like.
As we move forward, the AGA is continuing to look for ways to raise the bar on responsibility. We’ve made good progress as an industry, but there’s always more we can do. Over the next year, the AGA will continue to meet with a wide range of stakeholders to craft a plan around modernizing responsible gaming for today’s market, using technology to empower and protect customers, and deepening stakeholder collaboration to advance a sustainable marketplace. What is on the agenda for the American Gaming Association in the coming year? The association warned about the dangers of the illegal market this year, including the inaugural speech at G2E. How will AGA tackle this issue in 2023?
Illegal and unregulated gambling is the biggest threat to our industry and combating it will continue to be a top priority for the AGA in 2023. When the legal gaming industry does well, our communities thrive and state and tribal budgets grow, unlike illegal operators that only pad their own pockets.
Research we published in November shows that more than half a trillion dollars are bet with the illegal market annually in the U.S. This costs the regulated industry more than $44 billion in annual gaming revenue, which is nearly half the amount generated by legal operators.
It is unheard of in any other industry for nearly half of a market to be captured by illegal or unregulated operators which is why our attention is focused on driving action from policymakers, law enforcement, businesses, and media.
During the upcoming year, the AGA will continue to educate federal and state law enforcement on the scope of the problem and demand more aggressive enforcement of the law. We will engage with policymakers on the need to strengthen laws and close loopholes that put consumers at risk. We will continue this fight because we’re in it for the long haul. It certainly is not one we can win overnight, but it is a crucial issue for the future of our industry and a place where the AGA will continue to lead the charge.
Beyond combating the illegal market, during the next year, the AGA will continue to cultivate champions on Capitol Hill and in state governments, especially as we welcome 74 new members of Congress from gaming states. We will drive effective and efficient regulation in the ever-expanding sports betting market and work to accelerate growth for legal iGaming. The AGA will also work to bolster gaming’s commitment to responsible leadership by modernizing responsible gaming and convening the industry to elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion.