Gambling Regulation Model by Michael Belletire

At the Commission’s request, a guide to model regulation was developed by Michael Belletire, the former Chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board. His major points include:

In crafting gambling statutes, a clear articulation of public purpose or legislative intent is essential. A statement of intent serves to clarify the standards by which the long-term acceptability of authorizing gambling activity may be measured. This type of statement may also serve to reconcile the adoption of statutory provisions that face potential constitutional challenges. Even more importantly, clarity of purpose provides the grounding against which to test regulatory and administrative decisions at the time of initial decisionmaking, as well as upon review or appeal. Integral with a statement of public purpose should be an explicitly stated commitment to the overarching principle of integrity.

Constitutional Considerations
Each state’s elected officials must carefully weigh constitutional history and language and contemporary public sentiment before enacting gambling legislation.

Organization of Regulation
The principle of integrity demands that administrative decisionmaking be placed in the hands of an appointed independent body, rather than a single individual subject to political influence. The decisionmaking body itself should exercise operating and administrative authority and must be further subject to appeal or oversight of its decisions.

Extent of Gambling Authorized
According to Belletire, “Perhaps the single most significant factor in shaping the dynamics of the regulatory process is the scope of legislatively authorized casino gambling.” However, by restricting the market and putting decisions in the hands of regulators and others, a statute intended to “limit the spread” of casino gambling could increase the potential for inappropriate influence in the awarding of licenses. Therefore, statutory safeguards should include consideration of the following:
· Independence in licensure decisionmaking.
· Placing the burden to prove suitability for licensure upon the applicant.
· An explicit requirement for competitive proposals for limited availability licenses.
· Carefully articulated policy standards for deciding among competing applications.
· Comprehensive disclosure of financial and political relationships.
· Explicit powers to review, investigate, and approve contractual relationships entered into by applicants and licensed operators.
· Requirements that ensure confidentiality in the treatment of sensitive personal and financial information balanced by appropriate public meeting requirements.
· In-depth and independent investigative practices and personnel.