American Gaming Association and SportIM Co-Host Congressional Event on “Safeguarding Sports Integrity”

The American Gaming Association is hosting a sports betting initiative on Capital Hill this week. The name of the event, which takes place at 8:30 am on Wednesday, is said to be “The World of Sports Betting and Safeguarding Sports Integrity”.

The AGA is co-producing the benefit alongside Sport Integrity Monitor (SportIM), a UK firm which develops real-time betting data monitoring.

The AGA represents most forms of land-based gaming in the United States, including what little there is of the legal American sports betting industry. This includes racebooks like the one at Churchill Downs, but also a number of Las Vegas’s top sportsbooks, including William Hill USA, the Cosmopolitan, and the MGM Grand Sportsbook.

Live In-Play Betting

The new efforts appear to be an attempt to push new technology which protects licensed (Las Vegas) sportsbooks and legal sports betters from potential fraud. In the past few years, live betting odds have made sports betting faster and more intense. Where a gambler once placed a bet on the winner and the over/under, but little else, a gambler now can make dozens of bets during one sporting event.

That created the need for fast-tracking data services like SportIM. It also created risk for bookmakers and gamblers, because the rapidfire betting can be tampered with, if the cheats are fast enough. In tennis, high rollers have been known to send spotters called “courtsiders”, who text results of points to high rollers via smartphone. If these gamblers get their information quicker than the sportsbook, the high roller can bet on a sure thing.

SportIM Profile

SportIM is a subsidiary of the Genius Sports Group, which supports the real-time bet data monitoring of the English Premier League. GSG also supports similar efforts in other top European leagues, such as La Liga in Spain, Serie A in Italy, and Bundeliga in Germany.

The Wednesday morning gathering is likely to be a primer for members of Congress who’ll be present at the upcoming May 11 House subcommittee hearings on sports betting, online gambling, and daily fantasy sports.

Stop Illegal Gambling Initiative

The American Gaming Association has other irons in the fire. The Wednesday morning breakfast appears to have nothing to do with the AGA’s year-old “Stop Illegal Gambling” initiative, but the AGA is also rolling out its news website, Stopillegalgambling.org.

The website is meant to raise awareness in the public (and among members of the US Congress) about the amount of unregulated gambling which Americans do. “Unregulated” means all the offshore websites which collect so much money from American gamblers. The AGA’s “stop illegal gambling” campaign is meant to eliminate potential competition.

Sensational Claims on SIG Website

The StopIllegalGambling website is not subtle about its message. It implies in sensational terms how illegal sports betting websites allow gamblers to wager on animal bloodsport and caters to underage gamblers.

The site makes claims like unregulated online gaming websites might allow its members to “trade narcotics, weapons, and conduct other violent crimes”.

Even worse, according to the AGA’s new site, these operators are said to prey not only on adults, but on children. The rhetoric continues by saying “often times, children are also put at risk and exposed to these horrific and cruel events”

AGA’s Board of Directors

The American Gaming Association’s official website no longer has exact information on the groups board of directors anymore, simply saying it consists of 20-40 “executives from across the casino gaming industry. This includes tribal and commercial casino operators, gaming suppliers, providers of non-gaming amenities and stakeholders who share our interest in the casino gaming industry’s success”.

The group says people wanting to know more should contact Jonathan Michaels, the AGA’s Director of Member Services.

When this website researched the AGA’s Board of Directors in April 2015, the official website reports the AGA Board having the following members: Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Las Vegas, MGM Resorts, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Churchill Downs, William Hill US, Scientific Games, IGT/GTECH, Station Casinos, Boyd Gaming, Penn National Gaming, Isle of Capri Casinos, Novomatic, Aristocrat Leisure, Pinnacle Entertainment, The Cordish Companies, Konami Gaming, Global Cash Access, CG Technology, and Greenwood Racing.

One can assume such an influential group of gaming companies likely would not lose power over the AGA in a year’s time, so the membership is not likely to have changed much. The AGA therefore represents American gaming, but it focuses heavily on the non-tribal brick-and-mortar gaming. A few major online gambling companies are represented, but those companies have much larger operations in the land-based industry.

Major Law Enforcement Summit

This week’s announcement of the Stop Illegal Gambling website launch is a precursor to a much more ambitious gathering in June, when the AGA hosts what it calls a “major law enforcement summit”. Given the focus of the upcoming May 11 hearings (sports betting, DFS, iGaming) and the AGA’s co-sponsorship of a congressional event this week alongside a major sports betting interest, it appears that the land-based gaming establishment in America is preparing for a major new initiative.

Given the hiring of lobbying firms and a “major law enforcement summit” which is being hosted by the AGA a month after the hearings, it would appear that Las Vegas Sands Corp and its allies are preparing to lobby federal officials to make a dent in illegal offshore online gambling.

Ironically, SportIM supports both regulated and unregulated sports betting operators, so it appears to be raising awareness about an industry it may itself have a hand in.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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