A meeting of state lawmakers and gambling stakeholders always holds tremendous importance for both parties. Legalized sports betting is about to make an upcoming gathering the most significant one yet.
Top gaming providers, elected officials and other gambling industry leaders are arriving in Cleveland for the annual summer meeting of the National Council Of Legislators From Gambling States. Typically a highlight of the industry’s calendar, this year’s meeting is taking greater significance in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to strike down the federal ban on sports betting.
For the first time in the NCLGS’ history, Nevada won’t be the only state with legalized sports betting when the conference convenes for its latest meeting July 13. Legalized sports gambling will be a focus of this year’s conference, as will the expansion and regulation of online gaming.
In a press release, Indiana state senator and NCLGS officer Jon Ford said those topics are a major priority of this year’s event in his state and nationwide.
"Our outstanding program includes a strong focus on sports betting and online gaming, which are of paramount concern to legislatures and gaming commissions throughout the country. We look forward to hearing from numerous experts on both subjects and to having robust discussions on these and other gaming topics,"
These two topics have helped fuel the highest turnout ever for the conference. According to the NCLGS, more than 200 attendees, including 37 legislators from 20 states, as well as 40 state gaming regulators, had registered for the event as of July 10. This is the largest roster of pre-registered attendees in the organization’s history.
Since last summer’s meeting, more than 20 states have introduced legislation to legalize sports betting, online casino-style gaming or both. With the federal sports betting ban rescinded, Delaware and New Jersey have joined Nevada in taking bets on single-game sporting events. Rhode Island, West Virginia and Mississippi are set to do the same later this year.
Meanwhile Pennsylvania is offering online gaming for money through its iLottery program and a handful of other states are set to follow. These early adopters for both online gaming and sports betting have set the pace for other states considering the same actions and are sure to be major collaborators at this year’s conference.
The NCLGS’ stated purpose is to organize state lawmakers to better understand and legislate gambling matters. Meetings like the Summer Conference bring together these legislators with many of the industry’s most influential stakeholders. This year’s event is no exception.
Casey Schwab, vice president of business and legal affairs for the NFL players association, will be the keynote speaker at the luncheon July 12. Schwab is scheduled to speak on the impact legalized sports betting will have on the league’s players as well as American athletes as a whole.
In a release, Schwab said this meeting presents an opportunity for athletes to discuss sports gambling regulations alongside team owner and lawmakers.
"There is no community more vested – and with more at stake – in sports gambling than the athletes in the sports being wagered on. Athletes should not only have a seat at the table, they should be leading the dialogue. With that, on behalf of NFL players and all athletes, I am thrilled for the opportunity to engage directly with lawmakers at the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States Summer Meeting."
The event will also feature panels with lawmakers including state Sen. Bill Coley of Ohio, state Rep. Helene Keeley of Delaware, state Sen. Perry Thurston of Florida and Rep. Kevin Ryan of Connecticut.
Major gambling industry speakers include CEO of William Hill US Joe Asher, Nevada Gaming Control Board Chair Becky Harris and SBTech CEO Richard Carter.
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