The Michigan Gaming News Letter

NCLGS Examines the State of the Industry and Future for Land-Based Expansion

On May 6, 2021, the National Council of Legislators of Gaming States held a webinar program entitled: “Land Based Gaming: Still Expanding.”  The program was moderated by Keith Pickard, NCLGS President and Nevada Senator.   The program looked at the expansion of land-based gaming and examined where is the expansion taking place, and how is this trend evolving.

Howard Glaser, Scientific Games, Global Head of Government Affairs and Special Initiatives presented information that looked at 1) post-pandemic resilience; 2) state government arguments for additional expansion and 3) the outline for historic expansion and reinvestment by the industry.

With respect to data looking at what the forecast is for the industry in a post-pandemic environment, Mr. Glaser highlighted early results in several states.  For example, he noted that in Pennsylvania monthly gross gaming revenues are up 25% over pre-pandemic numbers, and in Indiana four of five casinos beat pre-pandemic performance for the month of March.

Mr. Glaser noted that the industry is set for a historic period of expansion with the following areas of specific significance:

Illinois will be adding six new casinos and slots at racetracks via the 2019 gaming bills;

Florida has entered a new compact that will see the Seminole Tribe build three more casinos;

Virginia is moving forward with the identification of up to five new projects across the state; and Nebraska; Alabama; Indiana; New York; North Carolina have expansion plans in the works and it appears that Texas may able be entering the mix in the near future.

Mr. Glaser noted that Texas is a great example of a jurisdiction that has seen an in interest legalizing mobile sports wagering and how that has helped state officials see the benefits of embracing the integration of the digital experience with the traditional bricks and mortar industry.   Mr. Glaser noted that the economic data does not support the premise that as the industry expands into online/mobile gaming the traditional land based industry is adversely impacted and capital investment is being lost.

Outside of new market growth, Mr. Glaser noted that the industry is also reinvesting in the traditional land-based inventory at a record pace.   Caesars is investing $400 million in Atlantic City; Bally’s/Twin River is investing $100s of millions in Las Vegas and across its regional properties.

Importantly, Mr. Glaser noted that the legislative and regulatory partners that support the legal and regulated gaming industry need to help in stamping out illegal and gray market gaming as these offerings directly impact businesses that invest capital to support land-based casino jobs, as well as the tax revenues that are returned to communities across the United States.

Persons interesting in learning more about this webinar or future programs are encouraged to visit:


Yesterday, the Ohio Senate has introduced legislation that would legalize sports wagering in the state.  Sen. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton, who led a select committee that studied sports gambling in the early months of 2021, told the Ohio Capital Journal that lawmakers see the issue less as a matter of state revenue generation and more about regulating an activity that many Ohioans are already involved with.  Senate Schuring stated in a Thursday news conference that:   “Gaming is here today in Ohio and all we want to do is put guardrails around it to make sure it’s done correctly.”   Below please find a link to the Bill as well as to a news report published by the Ohio based Statehouse News Bureau.


The Pokagon Band Tribal Council is very pleased that Governor Eric J. Holcomb visited South Bend to complete a ceremonial signing of the bill that ratifies the Class III Gaming Compact, a first in Indiana’s history and also a first for Native Americans as the Pokagon Band is the only federally recognized Tribe in the State of Indiana.  It is also the first piece of Pokagon Band legislation passed in Indiana.  This concludes the State of Indiana’s approval process and the Compact will now be sent to the U.S. Department of the Interior for review.

Having a Class III Gaming Compact with Indiana will enable us to operate our South Bend casino, Four Wind South Bend, in a similar manner as our three other Four Winds Casinos in Michigan and the commercial casinos in Indiana.  Additional revenue generated from Four Winds South Bend will support essential programs and services for not only our nearly 6,000 Tribal Citizens and other Native Americans living in the region, but also Indiana residents.

We appreciate the willingness of Governor Eric J. Holcomb and Sara Gonso Tait, Executive Director of the Indiana Gaming Commission, to negotiate the Compact in a timely and cooperative manner, and the efforts of Senator Ryan Mishler, Senator David Niezgodski, Senator Linda Rodgers, Senator Jon Ford, and Representative Dr. Tim Brown.  We would also like to thank the Indiana General Assembly for their approval.  This process has demonstrated the value of the ongoing government-to-government relationship between the State of Indiana and Pokagon Band.

We look forward to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s review of the Compact, and hopefully approval in the near future.


Earlier this week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced several appointments to the Horse Racing Advisory Commission (“Commission”).   The Commission  was created within the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to establish procedures governing the operation and promotion of horse racing in this state and make recommendations to the Legislature that would improve the regulatory structure of horse racing with a goal of maintaining its long-term viability in Michigan. All of the appointments took immediate effect as they were not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate process.  The appointments to the Commission included the following individuals:

  • Thomas J. Barrett, of Novi, is the president of the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association. He is also the vice president for The State Bank. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from John Carroll University. Mr. Barrett is reappointed to represent statewide horse racing associations for a term commencing Apr. 30 and expiring Oct. 31, 2024.
  • Michael Carlo, of Northville, is the operations manager for Northville Downs. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Cincinnati. Mr. Carlo is reappointed to represent owners or operators of horse racetracks in this state for a term commencing Apr. 30 and expiring Oct. 31, 2024.
  • William G. Frank, DVM, of Warren, is a retired department analyst for horseracing programs for the Michigan Gaming Control Board and the former official veterinarian for the Office of Racing Commissioner. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Sciences and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University. Dr. Frank is appointed to represent veterinarians for a term commencing Apr. 30 and expiring Oct. 31, 2024. He succeeds Frank Nickels whose term expired Oct. 31, 2020.
  • Brian D. Nielsen, Ph.D., of Mason, is a professor of equine exercise physiology at Michigan State University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in Animal Science, Equine Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Texas A&M University. Dr. Nielsen is appointed to represent an individual who has knowledge about and expertise in horse racing in this state for a term commencing Apr. 30 and expiring at the pleasure of the Governor. He succeeds Don Ryker whose term expired Oct. 31, 2020. Additionally, Dr. Nielsen will serve as Chair of the Commission.
  • Joseph L. Rivet, of Bay City, is the deputy director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Master of Business Administration from Michigan State University. Mr. Rivet is appointed to represent the designee of the Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for a term commencing Apr. 30 and expiring at the pleasure of the Governor. He succeeds James Kober whose term expired Oct. 31, 2020.


On Monday of this week, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) opened registration for the 2021 National Conference on Gambling Addiction and Responsible Gambling. The theme is ‘Embracing Change Together.’ Due to the pandemic, all activities are online. The Main Conference with unlimited available seating will be held on four afternoons in July and recordings will be available for a limited time afterward to registered attendees. Intensive Seminars with limited seating will be held over the course of four afternoons in June. To register, and to view the program schedule and session abstracts, visit

“While the pandemic forced this year’s National Conference on Gambling Addiction and Responsible Gambling to be online again, the quality of the programming is as comprehensive and thought-provoking as ever,” said Keith Whyte, executive director of NCPG. “We picked the theme of ‘Embracing Change Together’ because the unprecedented wave of gambling expansion requires collaboration between all the stakeholders to properly address problem gambling. Registering for NCPG’s National Conference is a good step in the journey to achieve that important objective.”

Now in its 35th iteration, the conference is the oldest and largest annual National Conference that brings together people from all facets of healthcare, research, government and the gambling industry.