Page 4 - Mississippi/Louisiana Gaming News - October, 2017
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Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association
Law changes for VLTs would be detrimental for gaming
Official Newsmagazine of the Mississippi & Louisiana Gaming Industries
OCTOBER 2017 Volume XV Issue 2
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Copyright, 2017
Mississippi/Louisiana Gaming News (MSLAGN) is owned and published by M2 Media Corp., 12268 Intraplex Parkway, Gulfport, MS 39503. MSLAGN is produced in cooperation with the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association and the Louisiana Casino Association. The contents of MSLAGN are copyright- ed. All rights are reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permis- sion of the publisher is strictly prohibited.
By Larry Gregory
On Sept. 5, 2017, I attended a hearing by the Mississippi House of Representatives Lottery Working group. This was the second of three meetings for this group.
• Annual gaming revenue down by 13.7 percent.
• Admissions down 24 percent.
• Annual state and local taxes down by $96.3 million.
• Staffing at the 10 casinos down 10.8 percent.
These numbers are staggering, their impact is staggering, and we must ensure the legislature is well aware of the harm this can do to our industry.
The other essential component to
the analysis of all of this is the impact on compulsive gaming education and training. Our gaming industry has
a robust and respected compulsive gambling training program in place for all employees and casinos in our state. Sadly, allowing VLT’s without any form of help to people with problem gambling will have adverse economic and societal impacts that may be irreversible. We do not want this to happen. Hopefully, the lottery working group will not allow gaming machines in restaurants, bars, laundry mats, convenience stores, or truck stops throughout our state.
Our industry has invested a tremendous amount of capital, employs thousands of people, and has provided billions in tax revenue over the past 25 years. We have been good corporate and community citizens and have played by the rules that were established in 1992. To change the law at this point would be detrimental.
I will speak at the next lottery hearing in November and give our position to the committee and to the public. I am hopeful they will make exclusions in any lottery legislation against VLTs.
In conclusion, we would encourage the lottery study committee to stick to its initial goals to study a lottery and not to include any other issues. As I stated earlier, other issues may have unintended consequences.
Larry Gregory is the executive director of the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association. He can be reached at lgregory@msgaming.org.
The
committee
outlined its work
over the last
few months
and discussed
their visit to
some of the
states that had
a lottery. The
states included
Arkansas,
Louisiana,
Nebraska,
Texas, and Wyoming. They discussed other lottery states’ experiences, creation of their lottery laws, governance, oversight, games, infrastructure, economic issues, social issues, and staffing.
Our association had previously
sent our position to the governor and explained that MGHA believes a lottery should be addressed in the course of a full legislative session. We know from the experience of other states that have passed lottery bills that unintended consequences can occur. Also, we insisted there should be a thorough economic impact study associated with the lottery.
In this light, we want the committee to fully understand the consequences of introducing a lottery that allows Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) to be played
in our state. You would have to look no further than Illinois to realize its impact on gaming. Video gambling’s legalization has led to playing in bars, convenience stores, and restaurants. In short, since video gaming began in Illinois in August 2012 there are now more than 27,000 terminals at 6,172 locations — the equivalent of 22 new casinos. The impact on casinos is reflected in the following numbers:
Larry Gregory
4MISSISSIPPI/LOUISIANA GAMING NEWS
OCTOBER 2017


































































































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