Bill Miller at G2E Asia: Comeback in Asia 'very exciting' if anything like US

May 30, 2023
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Miller discusses the gaming industry's recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, fight against illegal gambling and need for responsible leadership.

Bill Miller, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA) since 2019, has given a keynote address at Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia), for which Gaming America was in attendance. Miller worked in Washington DC for over three decades before this role.

Miller spoke about trying to find “an analogous dynamic” for what the gaming industry went through during Covid, and compared the years working with the Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.

He said, “We had to save the banks in the US. I think that gave me some degree of confidence to try and work our way through what was a challenging period of time in the US as well as certainly in this market.

"It was funny that I did take this job 2019. The first year was, ‘Alright, let's learn what's happening in the world.’ Year two was, ‘okay, the entire industry has been shut down – what are you going to do to help open it back up again?’ I don't know that I was prepared for that. I don't know that anybody else was prepared for that.”

However, Miller remains optimistic about the gaming industry’s global future. He commented, “If the comeback in Asia looks anything like what the comeback in the US has been, we are all in for a very exciting period of time.”

Miller mentioned the Philippines’ numbers closing in on pre-pandemic levels, as well as Singapore’s gross gaming revenue surpassing 2018’s all-time high. Macau has also delivered a “strong start for 2023,” and Miller looked to Japan for the importance of building integrated resorts.

He noted that MGM’s approval to build a casino in Osaka is, “a difficult but really important addition to the economy in Japan.” Another challenging market on Miller’s horizon would be the possibility of integrated resorts in the Middle East.

Miller said, “Game is mainstream entertainment that more and more people want. The question really is: how do we secure these opportunities, and how do we create an environment that enables strong industry performance? In an era where media has a global reach, the performance and reputation of gaming in one country, absolutely impacts and influences the perceptions of our industry in every other country.”

Miller named unregulated gambling as the greatest threat to the industry. He added, “We know that legal, regulated gambling is better for communities, safer for consumers and advantageous to the industry. Illegal, unregulated gambling preys on vulnerable populations, doesn't provide player protections and siphons revenues away from vital public services. This costs our industry $44bn in revenue and costs state governments over $13bn.”

Efforts to increase social responsibility within the industry, such as working against human trafficking, creating diverse working environments where employees can thrive, educating players, conducting research on how to treat problem gambling and partnering with law enforcement are also at the forefront of the AGA’s agenda.

“One of the most important things is to convince the governments that you matter, that the operators in these jurisdictions matter, and that law enforcement and governmental leaders have a role and responsibility to make sure these investments are protected in the same way that any other business will allow.”

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