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NFL owner to speak on sports betting at G2E

Updated September 29, 2021 - 1:28 pm

Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill will be the final keynote speaker at next week’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, the sponsoring American Gaming Association announced todayMonday.

In an onstage chat format with AGA President and CEO Bill Miller, Bidwill is expected to discuss the convergence of legalized sports wagering with professional sports.

Bidwill’s appearance is scheduled for Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. on G2E’s main stage at The Venetian Expo.

The Cardinals are new to the sports-betting business with Arizona having opened legalized wagering Sept. 9.

“Cardinals fans are very passionate, and the launch of legal sports betting in Arizona provides a new and innovative way to interact with them,” Bidwill said in a release.

The National Football League team has announced sports-betting partnerships with the tribal Gila River Hotels & Casino and BetMGM, the sportsbook operations subsidiary of Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International.

Since 2019, when G2E was last held in Las Vegas — the AGA scrapped the in-person 2020 show because of the COVID-19 outbreak — the number of operational sports wagering markets has doubled, and 13 additional states have legalized it. Sports betting is now legal in 26 states and Washington D.C.

Recent AGA research found that due to expanded sports betting legalization and high fan enthusiasm for the season, a record 45.2 million Americans, 18 percent, will wager on this year’s NFL season, a 36 percent increase from the 2020 NFL season.

“I just thought he would be a really interesting figure to have to talk about how the NFL’s positions have evolved, how individual teams have approached this in different markets and to have a conversation about that,” Miller said in an interview.

“We (the gaming industry) should talk about what we need to do to keep sports betting on the right side of success and not fail,” he said.

Miller will kick off the first of five keynote presentations on Oct. 5 with a state of the industry address, followed immediately by remarks on battling the coronavirus pandemic from Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., whose legislative district includes the Strip.

That afternoon at 1, a panel on how casino companies can prioritize diversity is scheduled with three speakers: MGM Resorts International Chief People, Inclusion and Sustainability Officer Jyoti Chopra; U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne Clark; and Marriott International Senior Vice President, Multicultural Affairs, Social Impact and Business Councils Apoorva Gandhi. MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer will moderate the discussion.

Brewer also will oversee the Oct. 6 morning session with CEOs from three companies weighing in on several industry topics with MGM Resorts International’s Bill Hornbuckle and Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s Matt Maddox on the panel. Representing the tribal perspective will be Hard Rock International’s Jim Allen, whose company is operated by Florida’s Seminole Indian Tribe.

“It’s a great lineup of speakers and I think it is because there’s a lot going on in the industry and clearly we’ve gone through a pretty tough 18 months,” Miller said.

“But the industry has shown incredible resilience across the board and in the sports-betting space we’ve continued to see remarkable growth in many of these states, including Arizona,” he said.

Miller said many new business partners, arena, teams and tribes have signed on in Arizona, and he is enthused that the AGA’s responsible gaming program was referenced in the Arizona legislation establishing sports wagering.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Dr. Miriam Adelson, the majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates The Venetian.

This story has been updated to better reflect the responsible gaming plan mentioned in Arizona betting legislation.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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