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‘Gambling 101’ For State Legislators

Image: Nick Sortal

The voters have spoken — once again – so now there is a lengthy list of decisions for legislators to make. And that includes decisions about gambling.

But while most voters were focused on who is going to lead our country from Washington, D.C., there also is a new crop of state legislators coming in, many of whom are more familiar with issues such as school funding, health care and state pensions than they are with gambling.

With that thought in mind, the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States will present a “Gaming 101” as part of its meeting in January.

“Let’s face it, the shape of an industry in any state ultimately depends on how the state legislatures craft that industry,” said Michael Pollock, managing director of Spectrum Gaming Group. “They are the ultimate arbiters.”

Pollock said the session will help a range of legislators, from freshmen to those who are joining gaming committees to those who are getting casinos added to their districts.

“It’s also important for legislators who simply want to make sure they are staying abreast of the trends in gaming,” he said.

NCLGS was created about ago 10 years and Spectrum Gaming assumed management responsibilities last year. Pollock emphasizes that, like Spectrum Gaming,  NCLGS is neither for nor against gaming.

“What NCLGS hopes to do and has done in the past is identify the issues,” he said. “Then they can go home to their respective district and potentially shape policies that get them the best benefits.”

Pollock identified sports betting, online gambling and the convergence of lotteries with casinos as new topics that legislators might need information on.

State legislatures also have a higher turnover, so that increases the need for education, he added.

“When you talk about state legislatures every year is an election year,” he added.

And gambling also has a greater impact than many might think in state government, because the revenues feed the state budgets.

“There are also a lot of misperceptions from what to tax and at what rate, as well as how do you deal with tribal gaming, in which states aren’t entitled to taxes,” he said.

Legislators, casino executives, regulators, attorneys, and others with an interest in gambling will convene for Jan. 6-8 in Scottsdale, Ariz., for NCGLS. The conference is open to the public via nclgs.org.

Arizona attorney general Mark Brnovich will give the keynote address. Other topics at the meeting include gaming expansion, pari-mutuels, technology impacts and tribal gaming.

Nick Sortal, SouthFloridaGambling.com, posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, Nov. 29, 2016

Nick Sortal is semi-retired after 35 years as a newspaper writer and editor, with 30 of those years dedicated to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He spent the majority of his career as a community news writer and editor, delving into the issues and topics most newsworthy to local residents. He has a reputation for being fair – weighing every sides of an issue – and checked and re-checked information almost to the point of being annoying