Key Gaming Summit Could Hold Answers
By staff
The seventh annual American Gaming Summit begins today in the Rio Hotel and industry leaders will discuss the distinct possibilities, among others, that if the law and bureaucracy get any further grip on the industry, race track casinos might come in to transform the way gambling is conducted. Or, tribal casinos might come to dominate business. And the Internet might be used to regulate the industry rather than the regulators who have run it in their traditional way

But the first issue to be discussed will be state regulations, viewed as hampering the industry’s growth. Deutsche Bank Securities analyst Marc Falcone will speak on that and the need to reform such regulations. Falcone cited the success of the industry in Atlantic City, once regulatory reforms were made there.

Wall Street’s view of the gaming industry for 2003 will also be discussed. It is expected that slot machine manufacturers and operators (who will have their own conference at the same time in Las Vegas) will more effectively lobby the stock exchanges to clear up “misconceptions” they feel Wall Street has about the slots industry.

Frank Fahrenkopf, President of the American Gaming Association, will make the keynote speech at the American Gaming Summit. “I will focus on where the gaming industry is today and where it's going, and not just casino gaming,” he said. He will present both national and federal perspectives on expanding tribal gambling, and “racinos,” “the hottest phenomenon in the industry,” Fahrenkopf said. The panel the president will introduce will also discuss the politics of gaming and will hear from the staff of U.S. Senator Harry Reid (Democrat, Nevada) and U.S. Senator John Ensign (Republican, Nevada), and from Alan Feldman, a spokesman from MGM, on that subject.

The panel will discuss the effects on the industry from new forms of gambling, chief among them -- Internet gambling, and the prospects as well for new gaming jurisdictions. Other matters for discussion are the changes in the political climate since the 2002 elections and “the fiscal crises facing state and local governments across the country.”

Another panel will discuss ways to create an ethical image for gambling corporations in an era that is recognized as “scandal-ridden.” It will be chaired by Dick Morgan, the Dean of William S. Boyd Law School. The panel’s focus will be on the responsibilities of executives in corporations after such scandals as Enron and WorldCom.

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