As it marks the one-year anniversary of its fight against illegal gambling, the American Gaming Association (AGA) has announced that it will host a major law enforcement summit in June to further strengthen the partnership between the gaming industry and all elements of the law enforcement community.
The effort is a component of AGA’s “Stop Illegal Gambling – Play it Safe” initiative which is uniting gaming and law enforcement to expose the massive illegal gambling market that preys on consumers, siphons tax revenues and funds violent crime. AGA also launched a new website – StopIllegalGambling.org – to serve as an information hub.
“Illegal gambling preys on consumers, funds large criminal enterprises involved in racketeering, money laundering, extortion and fraud, and threatens the integrity of the sports we love,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA. “The AGA’s initiative has been instrumental in building a strong partnership with law enforcement and drawing a stark contrast between the legal, regulated gaming industry and shady, illegal operators.”
In the large and growing illegal sports betting market, consumer protections are non-existent and law enforcement lack tools to protect the integrity of games. Research released in February found that 65 percent of Super Bowl viewers believe transparent, regulated wagering will either strengthen the integrity of games or have no impact on game outcomes.
After launching the illegal gambling initiative last April in Biloxi before a gathering of state attorneys general from across the country, AGA formed the Illegal Gambling Advisory Board composed of former top officials with diverse law enforcement backgrounds. This week’s anniversary comes during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which is focused this year on “Serving Victims, Building Trust, Restoring Hope.”
“Our advisory board continues working closely with the AGA to identify and form partnerships with law enforcement in practical and appropriate ways,” said Tim Murphy, former deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and chair of the Board. “Addressing the issue of illegal gambling requires collaborative engagement with key stakeholders to raise awareness, enhance training, review existing laws and prioritize available resources to help combat illegal gambling in whatever form it exists.”
StopIllegalGambling.org will house the latest AGA news, articles, videos, research and training related to the initiative. Also included on the website are AGA’s partners and members of the Illegal GamblingAdvisory Board, which was formed last year to provide invaluable insight and expertise to guide efforts.
Among the accomplishments of the initiative over the last 12 months:
• Launched a partnership with the FBI to receive illegal gambling tips;
• Supported in the formation of the first-ever Gaming Committee as part of the influential National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG);
• Formed the Illegal Gambling Advisory Board;
• Released a PSA with the Humane Society of America and the National Sheriffs’ Association;
• Partnered with the Clubs Australia;
• Partnered with the European Casino Association;
• Joined with the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers to highlight a massive illegal gambling market in Texas;
• Released authoritative research tying illegal gambling to organized crime activities; and
• Highlighted the massive underground sports betting market, including the billions of dollars bet illegally on college and professional footballand March Madness.
In June, AGA will host a law enforcement summit in Washington, D.C. to examine the consequences of illegal gambling and to discuss other pressing issues.