Representatives From Amaya And Penn National To Be Featured At NCLGS Summer Conference.

NCLGS Summer Conference In Massachusetts To Examine Online Gaming From State Perspective

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The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) will host its annual summer meeting in Boston this year. The conference begins July 29 and runs through July 31, and will be held at the Newton Marriot in Newton, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston proper.

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.

Sessions on Friday, July 29

NCLGS Committee on Responsible Gaming – What is Right Approach in New Era?

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.


  • Member of the Committee


  • Mark Vander Linden, Director of Research and Responsible Gaming, Massachusetts Gaming Commission
  • Jay Snowden, Executive Vice President and COO, Penn National Gaming
  • Matthew Tom, Research Data Analyst, Harvard Medical School
  • Marlene Warner, Executive Director, Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling
  • Keith Whyte, Executive Director, National Council on Problem Gambling

Committee on Lotteries – Seeking Growth Opportunities, Converging with Casinos

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?”


  • Member of the Committee


  • Michelle Cohen, Ifrah Law
  • Bill Egan, Senior Lottery Associate, Spectrum Gaming Group
  • Kurt Freedlund, President, LottoInteractive
  • Tim Lowry, DLA Piper
  • Jon Porter, President and CEO, The Porter Groups

State-Federal Relations Committee – Internet Gaming: What is its Future?

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 StatesGAN 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.


  • Member of the Committee


  • Les Bernal, National Director, Stop Predatory Gambling
  • Melissa Blau, Director, iGaming Capital
  • Nicholas Menas, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Government Relations, Amaya Gaming
  • Stephen D. Schrier, Partner, Blank Rome LLP
  • Dermot Smurfit, CEO, GAN

Session on Saturday, July 30

Massachusetts Case Study: Lessons Learned from Gaming’s Newest Entrant

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.


  • Representative Brian Dempsey, Massachusetts


  • Stephen Crosby, Chair, Massachusetts Gaming Commission
  • Paul DeBole, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Lasell College
  • Robert DeSalvio, Senior Vice President of Development, Wynn Resorts
  • Jonathan Silverstein, Kopelman and Paige, P.C.
  • Seth Stratton, General Counsel, MGM Springfield
  • Abim Thomas, Counsel, Goodwin Procter LLP

Daily Fantasy Sports and Sports Betting: Issues States Must Consider

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.



  • Mark Hichar, Partner, Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP
  • Paul Gaynor, G&R Public Law and Strategies
  • William J. Pascrell III, Strategic Advisor, Princeton Public Affairs Group
  • Adam Steinberg, Senior Vice President, Spectrum Gaming Capital
  • Dan Wallach, Shareholder, Becker & Poliakoff
- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.
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