Unlike most gaming conferences, where new products are a focal point, and most of the speakers are industry insiders, the NCLGS meet-up takes a look at the industry from a different perspective, with most of the conversation centering on gaming from the state’s point of view.
The three-day conference will feature a total of nine panel discussions, as well as a keynote address by the president and CEO of Penn National Gaming, Timothy J. Wilmott.
The conference has also organized a site visit to Plainridge Park Casino on the evening of July 29, allowing attendees to get a behind-the-scenes look at the only Racino up and running in the state.
As is the case with all conferences, a firm emphasis will be placed on education and a free exchange of ideas. Here’s a look at some of the panels of interest for online gaming supporters at NCLGS’s summer meeting.
The opening discussion of the conference will be one of the most interesting, as responsible gaming protocols are at the forefront of the online gaming debate.
From self-exclusion and deposit limits, to detection methods and funding for problem gambling programs, this is one of the most important topics for advocates of online gaming to be educated on, as it’s one of the most common attack lines by opponents of online gaming legalization.
The lottery may not seem like it has much to do with online gaming, but in several states it’s the lottery commission that is taking sales online and pushing for legalization.
Continued proliferation of online lottery sales may help normalize online gaming in the minds of the general public, opening the door for online poker and casino games. The session summary even touches on this specific component of state lotteries: “Online products – coming soon or not?”
The final session of the first day will focus specifically on online gambling, and features representatives from two companies already involved in legal online gaming in the United States: GAN and Amaya Gaming.
The session could lead to some fireworks, as Les Bernal is on the panel. Bernal is a firebrand who is decidedly anti-gambling and often comes armed with questionable research and data when he’s asked to speak in these settings. It’s unlikely Melissa Blau or Dermot Smurfit will sit silently if Bernal tries that here.
The second day will begin with a hometown discussion of Massachusetts’ timid leap into gaming. Representatives from two Massachusetts gaming license holders, MGM and Wynn, will join Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby and others to discuss what the state has done right and wrong.
I fully expect the conversation to turn to online and DFS at some point during the panel, as the MGC has always been sympathetic to legalization, and MGM is one of the key proponents of online gaming legalization across the country.
What would a gaming conference in 2016 be without a discussion on DFS? That being said, NCLGS’s DFS panel could have a much different flavor than gaming conference attendees are used to.
DFS companies are not represented among the speakers. Instead we will hear about the current state-by-state approach taking place from lawyers and advisors.