LAS VEGAS (AP) - The world's largest gambling conference is getting underway in Las Vegas with a burst of flashing slot machines, chain smoking businessmen, and performers dressed as characters from "Avatar" and the "Walking Dead." Geoff Freeman, who was named head of the American Gaming Association in the spring, welcomed the 25,000 attendees Tuesday, then ushered in a comedy troop to lampoon them. The room stayed mostly quiet.
Freeman told The Associated Press one of his top priorities for the coming year will be persuading state regulators to impose less stringent restrictions on the industry, and to make them more uniform. The casino lobby supports creating federal gambling laws, but they have languished in Congress. In addition to new themed slot machines, this year's Global Gaming Expo features a special exhibition just for entertainment.