Games, wagers and lotteries: just follow the LAW

English Edition I 25.10.21

Por: Magno José

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Jogos, apostas e loterias: é só seguir a LEI
Marcus Fortunato*

Constantly, I am asked about the American gaming market and my answer is always the same: “which one”? I answer that way because the North American market is not just Las Vegas and casinos.

With gambling legalized in 96% of its territory, the U.S. market is probably the most diversified commercial business in the United States. Not only are laws and regulations different from state to state, but consumer demand and acceptance changes depending on the region of the country.

In Nevada, I can play “slot machines” at a gas station, supermarket, pub or casino. Just a few hours away to the west, east, south or north, this activity is limited to casinos.

The state of Minnesota allows video scratch cards or electronic pull-tabs to be played on tablets, but not on casino-style slot machine cabinets. A few miles away in North Dakota, the same games can be played in casino slots-style enclosures.

The state of Virginia allows video scratch cards, but no animation or graphics that simulate spinning reels, while its neighbor, the state of Maryland, allows the same game to be presented as a slot machine as long as a printed ticket is issued.

The state of Georgia, on the other hand, allows slots at gas stations, provided that an element of “skill” is present in the game. The state of Nebraska allows the same game, but its interpretation of an element of “skill” is different.

These variations present challenges for developers and game operators who want to conduct business in multiple states. In addition, they require multi-company investments and training on part of their staff.

Regardless of the variants and economic potential of each market, all jurisdictions have one thing in common: clear rules and regulations governing the activity, allowing private companies to invest and develop markets and the State to receive their share in a guaranteed manner.

I recently changed my answer to the question “how is the gaming market in the United States?” to “just follow the rules and regulations”, i.e. “just follow the law”.

With the emerging market of State and Municipal Lotteries in Brazil, the same applies in the country.

The Supreme Court has established the legality and the basic foundation, now states must establish clear regulations in order to attract investors and operators.

The biggest mistake that can be made is the “one size fits all” approach. What is unacceptable to an investor or operator is acceptable to another 20.

States should not shape their needs based on available products, but establish their economic objectives and regulations in a clear and understandable manner in order to attract not one, but multiple investors and operators able to develop the desired market. Those who may disagree at first will agree if another choice is not available.

The games will survive beyond the lives of their regulators, governors and legislators, so the establishment of laws and regulations based on a free market will always be in the best interest of the state.

(*) Marcus Fortunato is CEO of Tictabs Las Vegas and exclusive representative of AGS in Brazil.

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