The Michigan Gaming News Letter

Ohio Legislators Move Closer to Sports Betting Legalization

The long-debated legalization of sports betting in Ohio has reached a new stage, as a new plan to enable the activity is under consideration by the House Speaker and Senate President this week. The progress comes as a result of an agreement crafted by Representative Bill Seitz of Cincinnati and other legislators.

Representative Seitz aims to pass a bill later this month that enables the launch of legalized sports betting by January 1, 2023, and accommodates the many interests involved. The final bill is intended to “encourage greater competition among the actual sports books,” Seitz noted, according to an article in The State House News.

While legislators have disagreed as to the proper regulatory body to oversee sports gambling in the state, the plan vests the Ohio Casino Control Commission, rather than the Ohio Lottery Commission, with oversight duties.

In addition to assigning regulatory duties, the proposed sports betting plan will ensure that “everyone starts at the same starting point.” According to Seitz, “We’re not going to have some people get to market quicker than other people,” as reported by The State House News.

If the new plan is approved by the legislative leaders, the bill could reach conference committee within a month.

Michigan Becomes First Market for GAN’s Launch of Exclusive Ainsworth Online Gaming Through SuperRGS

On December 1, GAN announced the first integration of Ainsworth Game Technology’s online gaming content, through GAN’s SuperRGS platform, into TwinSpire’s online gaming platform in Michigan.

“We are excited to launch our first major client of Super RGS with the leading portfolio of Ainsworth proven online titles,” reflected Dermot Smurfit, CEO of GAN, in a press release. “Super RGS will allow GAN to increase its take on Gross Operator Revenue and open a new broad based customer base.”

The flagship deployment of SuperRGS comes as a result of the May 2021 agreement between GAN and Ainsworth, which vested GAN with the exclusive online rights to all current and future Ainsworth online games.

Commenting on the new partnership, Jason Lim, General Manager of Ainsworth Online, said “we’re delighted to release the first highly regarded Ainsworth online slot titles to GAN clients in Michigan, with all other iGaming States on the roadmap for 2022.”

AGA Urges Justice Department to Crack Down on Illegal Gambling Operations

In a letter dated November 29, 2021, the American Gaming Association (“AGA”) urged the Justice Department (“DOJ”) to require registration of all gambling machines with the DOJ pursuant to the requirements of the Johnson Act, 15 U.S.C. Sections 1171-78. The Johnson Act requires regulated gambling device manufacturers to register annually with the DOJ. The AGA is urging the DOJ to require companies operating in the skill-based market, commonly called the “gray market,” to register under the Johnson Act as regulated manufacturers currently do. The Johnson Act makes it illegal to transport a gambling device across state lines unless the destination state or tribal jurisdiction for the machine has authorized the gambling activity. Johnson Act violations involve fines and criminal penalties. The DOJ has developed an efficient, minimally burdensome process for the annual registration, offering a two-page form that is submitted electronically.

The AGA has been monitoring the growing number of companies that sell, manufacture or operate machines that are substantially similar to regulated machines, but do not comply with state, tribal and federal laws relating to gambling machines. In April of 2016, the AGA released a white paper highlighting the dangers of unregulated, illegal gambling machines.

In the letter, AGA President & CEO William Miller noted: “These illegal and unregulated machines put consumers at risk. While regulated gaming machines undergo rigorous testing to ensure game integrity and fairness, there is no such oversight for these illegal or unregulated games. Nor do the machines comply with anti-money laundering or cybersecurity standards established by relevant governing bodies. Further, while the regulated gaming industry invests hundreds of millions of dollars annually to support responsible gambling and works every day to ensure that regulated gaming is enjoyed responsibly, illegal and unregulated machines can prey on the most vulnerable consumers – including minors.”

In its letter, the AGA noted that the DOJ would be in a unique position to gather information about illegal gambling machine companies by requiring registration under the Johnson Act: “We urge the Department of Justice to utilize the information gathered via the Johnson Act to support investigation and prosecution of illegal gaming machine manufacturers. As state and local law enforcement strive to eliminate these bad actors, support and resources from the Department of Justice and federal law enforcement agencies are critical to eliminating illegal gambling devices from our communities.”

AGEM and AGA 22nd Annual Golf Classic Raises $104,000 for International Center for Responsible Gaming

On November 29, 2021, players from across the gaming industry gathered in Las Vegas for the 22nd annual American Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) and American Gaming Association (AGA) Golf Classic. The event, presented by JCM Global, raised $104,000 to benefit the research efforts of the International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG).

The ICRG is a charitable organization that funds scientific research on gambling disorder and youth gambling. The organization also supports science-based education for the public and professionals in the gaming industry.

Reflecting on the event, ICRG President Arthur Paikowsky, according to a press release, said that “The ICRG is so grateful to JCM Global, AGA, AGEM, and the participating companies for continuing this important source of funding for research on gambling disorder.”

With the funds collected this year, the annual event has raised more than $2.3 million for the ICRG. To continue supporting the ICRG’s research, planning has already begun for next year’s Golf Classic.

“Funding for gambling research brings us one step closer to developing effective prevention and treatment for the millions of Americans who suffer from gambling addiction,” Paikowsky added.