Yesterday, December 13, 2012, the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (“MACPA”) hosted its annual Gaming Industry Forum at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.  The conference focused on legal, regulatory and financial issues facing the Michigan gaming industry, and included a number of presentations on topics ranging from casino operation audits to an update on Indian gaming law issues.

The event was moderated by Bruce Dall, the Senior Vice President of Finance & Administration/CFO at MotorCity Casino Hotel, who also presented a primer on reviewing casino financial statements and further reflected on some of the lessons that he has learned during the maturation of the Michigan gaming market.  Donald McGehee, Division Chief of the Alcohol & Gaming Enforcement Division of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, noted that the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has sought to take a number of positive steps to improve the regulatory environment as the industry has evolved in Michigan.  He indicated that steps have been taken by the MGCB Board on a proactive basis to raise thresholds for nongaming suppliers and to work on the constant improvement of the system of regulation. During a separate presentation, Erik Pedersen, the Deputy Director of the Gaming and Horse Racing Regulation Division of the MGCB, noted that the MGCB continues to strive for improvements and has been monitoring the recent recommendations made by the AGA Whitepaper on Regulatory Reform in evaluating its approach to licensing and regulation.   

The event’s keynote presentation featured Roger Gros, the publisher of Global Gaming Business Magazine, who discussed the current state of the national gaming industry and explained the important role that the Michigan market has in the industry.  Mr. Gros noted that the Detroit casino operators have done a wonderful job of developing first-rate properties in an increasingly competitive market place. 

David Waddell of Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. focused his presentation on the unique financing issues facing commercial and Native American casino properties.  In his discussion, Mr. Waddell pointed out that, as casinos are mainstream businesses, they should be entitled to the same predictable system of taxation as any other industry, and that, even though the gaming industry is highly regulated, an open dialogue between the casino operators and gaming regulators can nonetheless allow a casino to efficiently access the capital markets. He also pointed out that the gaming industry is unique with respect to the number of jobs it creates, the level of capital investment it brings to the community, and the significant extra tax burden that casinos are subjected to when compared to other forms of entertainment venues and businesses. 

Additional details regarding the MACPA’s Gaming Industry Forum can be found at the following link:  http://www.michcpa.org/Aptify/Meetings/Meeting.aspx?ID=19211

 

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