In her recent address to the Brazilian Gaming Congress, Becky Harris, chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, shared some of the philosophy that has shaped the gaming industry in Nevada and explained how it could apply to Brazil as it tries for forge ahead with a regulated business of its own.
She told delegates: “I know that you’re looking for ways to improve tourism, create jobs and do those things that are important for your citizens. There’s an important place for gaming if it’s done correctly. The continued success and growth of gaming is dependent on public confidence and trust that the licensing of gaming and the manufacturing and distribution of gaming devices is done honestly and competitively and that the establishments that hold those licences are investigated.
“We make sure there’s not an undue impact on the quality of life for our citizens and that the rights of creditors and licensees are preserved and protected so that everybody in that chain of gaming is recognised and protected. And we feel very strongly in Nevada that it’s only through public trust and confidence that people can come to see that the games are fair and want to come and be a part of our economy and want to visit Las Vegas and know that if they engage in gaming – even if they lose – that at least they were treated fairly in that establishment and that there are processes if there’s a dispute.”
Harris believes that some of those lessons that Nevada has learned may be helpful and useful for Brazil in its pursuit of a regulated gaming sector. “From my perspective as a legislator as well as a regulator I would recommend that you really take your time,” she said. “Have the conversations that you need to have with potential licensees, with manufacturers of the games, with those in government, with those community leaders that will be important to helping facilitate the type of gaming that’s going to be offered in Brazil, should it be something that Brazil elects to make available to the population.”
Harris also warned that rushing through legislation could prove challenging. “I think that doing it in a quick time frame can be really challenging,” she cautioned. “As a legislator I understand those deadlines and how difficult it is to make sure you’ve got confidence in the legislation to the extent that you know gaming is potentially something that is going to happen in Brazil.
“So take the time to look at how you want to regulate it. What are your regulatory structures going to look like? Are you going to have integrated resort models? Are you going to have regional casinos or community type casinos? What are you going to do with the gambling that already exists here? Are you going to regulate your black market are you going to regulate your grey market? What kind of enforcement techniques are you going to have? Are there going to be criminal penalties if somebody violates gaming? How are you going to handle patron disputes?
Harris advised delegates that Brazil will need more than just a bare bones framework in order to be successful as it aims to implement legal gaming. “You want to have the best quality regulatory structure from the beginning that you can possibly have and then you’ll tweak it and make it what works for Brazil,” she noted. “But I’d take your time to make sure that – if your congress is going to pass legislation – it is right for Brazil and is incredibly well thought out in a variety of different areas. To that end, should Nevada’s experience be valuable to Brazil we’d be more than happy to be a resource.”