Biloxi, Mississippi – At a gathering of the nation’s top law enforcement officers today, American Gaming Associations (AGA) President and CEO Geoff Freeman invited attorneys general, police chiefs and other top law enforcement officials to partner with the AGA in its “Stop Illegal Gambling – Play it Safe” initiative to crack down on illegal gambling operations across the country that harm consumers, steal jobs and deprive state and local governments of revenues that pay for vital public services. Freeman spoke at Beau Rivage in Biloxi during the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Presidential Initiative Summit.
“Legal and regulated casino gaming in America is based on a foundation of integrity – something that is sorely lacking in the multi-billion dollar illegal gambling sector,” said Freeman. “Our industry is committed to working with law enforcement to expose illegal gambling, protect consumers and restore the revenue and jobs lost to shady, predatory operators.”
“I appreciate the American Gaming Association’s proactive partnership with law enforcement,” said Attorney General Jim Hood, State of Mississippi and NAAG president. “There is clearly a stark difference between the legal regulated gaming market and illegal bad actors that prey on consumers. I am exploring the idea of establishing a committee to address illegal gambling.”
The “Stop Illegal Gambling – Play it Safe” initiative seeks to distinguish the highly regulated, $240 billion legal gaming industry—which supports 1.7 million jobs and generates $38 billion in taxes across 40 states—from the criminal networks that rely on illegal gambling to fund violent crimes and drug and human trafficking. The initiative will focus on four key areas of illegal gambling: illegal sports betting; black market machines; Internet sweepstakes cafes; and illegal online betting.
In January, as the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee began nomination hearings for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, AGA sent a letter to Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman, and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), ranking member, to ensure the next attorney general will crack down on illegal gambling activities that are prevalent across the United States. In response to a question about how she would tackle this important issue, Lynch touted her previous work to crack down on illegal gambling and said, “I would welcome the opportunity to work with Congress to address this issue.”
About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states. AGAmembers include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry. It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a pathway for growth, innovation and reinvestment.
Support for the AGA’s “Stop Illegal Gambling – Play it Safe” Initiative
“The National District Attorneys Association represents over 6,000 of America’s prosecutors,” said Michael Moore, president of the National District Attorneys Association and State’s Attorney from Huron, South Dakota. “Illegal gambling transcends all levels of law enforcement and our prosecutors often carry the torch to confront these operations. We’re excited about the initial dialogue with the AGA to pool our expertise to train and equip our nation’s prosecutors with the tools to attack these illegal bad actors head on.”
“The Attorneys General take illegal gambling, anti-money laundering, and transnational crime very seriously,” said Karen White, executive director of the Conference of Western Attorneys General. “The Conference of Western Attorneys General and the Alliance Partnership are pleased to partner with the AGA to educate, train, and empower law enforcement in the U.S. and abroad both in July at our Annual Meeting and in October with our counterparts in Mexico. We believe fostering good public and private sector collaboration enhances public safety.”
“As the former Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, I have personally prosecuted the largest gambling- related crimes in my state’s history,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “I’ll be working closely with the American Gaming Association and leading efforts with my peers to attack this growing problem head on.”