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Howard Stutz

AGA develops 10 recommendations for regulations

5 October 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The casino industry's leading trade organization has developed 10 recommendations for streamlining the gaming regulatory process without minimizing the integrity of the system.

In a media briefing Tuesday on the opening day of the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, American Gaming Association President Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. said regulatory reform is ongoing in several states, including Nevada.

Representatives from the association's member companies began looking at some suggested regulatory changes last year.

The ideas, spelled out in the organization's "Improving Gaming Regulation" white paper, would remove outdated regulatory practices while simplifying the overall process. The recommendations allow gaming regulation to evolve with technology.

The suggestions, such as extending license terms, using a uniform license application, and eliminating unnecessary regulatory filings, will be shared with lawmakers, gaming regulators and the broader gaming industry.

"This is an industry that welcomes regulation and we recognize regulatory integrity is vital to our industry's existence," Fahrenkopf said. "These 10 recommendations don't minimize the integrity of the process."

Other recommendations include allowing institutional investors to waive licensing if they hold less than 25 percent ownership in a company; requiring registration only of outside directors; and updating licensing procedures. Also, three suggestions were made that could get new slot machines and other gaming equipment onto casino floors faster.

The paper didn't address implementing the recommendations, which would be done state by state.

"Our next step is education," Fahrenkopf said. "These improvements would simplify and improve the licensing process. The gaming industry is evolving and regulations should, too."

Fahrenkopf also released preliminary findings from an economic impact study of the nation's commercial casino industry by the Washington D.C.-based The Brattle Group.

The study shows U.S. commercial casinos supported roughly $125 billion in spending and 875,000 jobs in 2010, including 240,000 in counties without commercial casinos. The American Gaming Association plans an interactive online map showing casino industry support by county.

Fahrenkopf said the report provides background needed to discuss gaming's positive impact on a community with members of Congress, including representatives without casinos in their districts.

"I can walk into an office with a level of detail that we have never had before," Fahrenkopf said. "I can show them how commercial casinos support people in their district."