Southern Gaming Summit Lineup Features Key Decision Makers

mississippi sealFrom May 6th through the 8th the Mississippi Coast Coliseum will be the hub of the gaming world as the 21st annual Southern Gaming Summit brings the brightest minds and biggest names in the world of land-based and Internet gaming to Biloxi, Mississippi for one of the most important meetings of the year.

The 2014 Southern Gaming Summit will feature 16 separate sessions as well as two keynote addresses.

The first will be given on May 7th (Day 2 of the SGS) by Tilman Fertitta, CEO and Sole Owner, Landry‚Äôs, Inc. Landry’s inc owns the Golden Nugget casinos (with locations in Atlantic City, Nevada, Biloxi, Laughlin and Lake Charles) so if Fertitta expounds on online gambling during his speech it shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

The second keynote address will be given by Geoff Freeman, President and CEO, American Gaming Association whose address will wrap up the SGS on May 8th. Whether Freeman will touch on online gambling is anyone’s guess, as the AGA was very vocal on the matter earlier this year, but has stepped back from the issue recently to avoid causing a major rift between its members; most notably Sheldon Adelson.

“This year’s Southern Gaming Summit program offers attendees a snapshot of where the industry is and a vision of where it needs to move going forward,” said Larry Gregory, Executive Director, Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association, which co-produces the event with BNP Media Gaming Group. “We have again assembled a first-rate group of speakers, led by many gaming operators, regulators and legislators whose responsibilities and knowledge are at the very highest level.”

iGaming Panel at SGS

One panel of particular interest in the iGaming world will occur on Day 2 when Richard Norris of Wells, Marblehead and Hurst hosts a panel discussion titles iGaming: A real-world update.

The discussion will focus on two of the three states with legalized online gambling (Nevada and New Jersey) including what can be learned from the two states and the potential for further expansion elsewhere in the US.

The panel will feature:

  • Jennifer Day, Research Analyst, The Innovation Group
  • Kelly Duncan, Jones Walker
  • John M. McManus, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, MGM Resorts International
  • Rep. Bobby Moak, Democratic Minority Leader, Mississippi House of Representatives
  • Jeff L. Voyles, CEO, ITOGA, Inter-Tribal Online Gaming Alliance

First meeting of Mississippi iGaming Task Force

The SGS will also play host to the first meeting of the eight-member iGaming task force setup by Mississippi State Representative Richard Bennett.

The task force is headed by the Chairman of the Mississippi Gaming Commission Allen Godfrey, who will be joined by the following people:

  • Larry Gregory, director of the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association and former director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission
  • Dorothy Loggins, board member with the Mississippi Council on Problem & Compulsive Gambling
  • Craig Orgeron, chief information officer and director of the state Department of Information Technology Services
  • Catherine Price, professor in the Casino, Hospitality, Tourism Management Department at the University of Southern Mississippi
  • Jan Craig, associate commissioner of the state Department of Revenue
  • Jason Pugh, vice president of Instruction & Community Campus, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
  • Michael Bruffey, Coast attorney

The task force is expected to meet several times and will report back to the legislature by the end of the year, but will not offer any policy opinions; the group is merely tasked with performing a fact-finding mission to report on the current markets in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, as well as the fiscal and logistical aspects of iGaming.

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