AGA Partners With AGEM To Curtail Spread Of Illegal Gambling Across The US

Written By Derek Helling on February 20, 2020 - Last Updated on July 27, 2023
coin gambling machine console regulated by Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers

One of the most important aspects of policing gambling is knowledge. A new American Gambling Association partnership aims to increase that for jurisdictions across the United States.

The AGA has joined forces with the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers. Together, the two organizations hope to reduce the number of illegal gambling consoles in use across the nation.

Details of the new AGA partnership with AGEM

According to a news release, the intent of the partnership is combating misinformation about gray market machines. The organizations plan to accomplish that by making media on the subject available to law enforcement, policymakers and regulators.

An example of that is a fact sheet created for distribution in conjunction with the release about the partnership. The sheet highlights the differences between regulated and unregulated machines, along with explaining why illegal operations are harmful.

Among those costs to society are draining law enforcement resources, putting minors and those with compulsive gambling issues at risk and a lack of channels to resolve grievances for consumers. Those are all concerns that the legal gambling operations address.

While several states face these issues, California is among them. The state has made arrests within the past few months on illegal gambling charges.

One of the plans to address the issue taken by some is to bring illegal operations into compliance by way of expanding the legal markets to include them. The AGA and AGEM both recommend against doing that, however.

Why the AGA and AGEM advise against expansion

Any conversation about this issue wouldn’t be complete without addressing the interest that the AGA and AGEM have. It’s in their best interest for states to crack down on illegal gambling operations because such facilities compete with the businesses they represent.

While it’s important to note that the AGA and AGEM aren’t really objective bystanders in this regard, the fact that they represent legal operators gives them a leg to stand on. From their perspective, expanding legal gambling to include the “gray market” gambling machines isn’t a good solution.

The AGA argues that doing so would effectively reward bad behavior. It provides no requirement for those who operate these machines to bring them into compliance with rules intended to protect consumers.

The only real solution, the AGEM argues, is to enforce the laws on the books right now. Instead of taxing them, the answer is to remove them.

They aren’t ignorant of the task that represents for states, however. Because of that, they recommend some steps on a local level to assist.

How municipalities can help with the crackdowns

City and county authorities may actually be more effective at curtailing illegal machines than state bodies. That’s because they are more familiar with the landscapes.

By enacting local ordinances that mandate registration for amusement-type games, establishing task forces dedicated to the cause and conducting regular inspections, local agencies can help share the load of enforcing gambling laws in California.

It’s often difficult for consumers to distinguish illegal from legal operations when they come across them. If the programs put on by the new AGA and AGEM partnership prove effective, the risk of facing such confusion should become less significant.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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