The American Gaming Association delivered against its 2014 strategic priorities to facilitate growth, prevent harm and connect and inform, including:
• Launching an aggressive perception campaign Get to Know Gaming, which promotes the value of gaming and our industry’s positive impact on communities across the country;
• Vigorously protecting our industry interests by advocating for regulatory reform and leading a transparent discussion with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which resulted in the industry’s first-ever Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Best Practices guide;
• Assertively developing relationships and cultivating congressional champions with key members of Congress in Washington, D.C.; and,
• Uniting the industry—whether at G2E, gaming’s largest trade show, or through working groups and committees of industry experts to address critical gaming issues.
The AGA will look to continue to build on these priorities in 2015 and beyond. The AGA’s guiding principles of being more inclusive and transparent in 2014 will carry into 2015. We will also seek opportunities to:
• Create unity—There is more that unites us than divides us. AGA aims to grow its membership in 2015 to better reflect the totality of the gaming industry. Working together, we are best equipped to achieve clout and influence on critical gaming issues.
• Support industry growth—AGA will play a strong role in supporting its members’ growth strategies by reducing barriers to innovation and reinvestment.
• Shape new policy environment—The fiercely competitive domestic market demands a new regulatory and policy environment that reflects the attitudes of American voters. We will encourage policymakers to act in accordance with their constituents, who have embraced gaming as mainstream entertainment and will increasingly support fair business policies.
Delivered an Aggressive Perception Campaign
Get to Know Gaming is our multi-year initiative focused on the value gaming brings not only to local communities, but to the national economy as well. Through this year’s data-driven campaign, we conducted a voter perception survey demonstrating that consumers view casino gaming more favorably than ever before and affirm our industry is a significant economic driver.
In the fall, Oxford Economics released the most comprehensive study of gaming’s economic impact nationally, which revealed that our industry contributes $240 billion annually in total economic impact, supports more than 1.7 million American jobs and generates more than $38 billion in taxes. Finally, by building the case that gaming is a critical component of a larger economic development strategy, we called on policymakers to partner with gaming leaders to ensure sustainability for these economic benefits.
In the year ahead, Get to Know Gaming will expand messaging beyond the economic impact to the social and community benefits that casino gaming contributes to communities nationwide.
Vigorously Protected Industry Interests
Calling for partnership with policymakers is the first of many steps the AGA plans to take in an effort to protect our industry’s interests from ineffective and outdated regulatory policies. Additionally, in the ongoing effort to maintain the integrity of our industry and our nation’s financial system, we established a collaborative working relationship with FinCEN on key gaming regulatory issues. Given the unique nature of the casino gaming industry in contrast to other financial industries, we completed and disseminated a comprehensive set of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Best Practices.
Building Congressional Gaming Champions
Transformation of gaming policies takes commitment and collaboration from industry stakeholders, as well as policymakers who can help alter our industry’s treatment. This year has been focused on educating policymakers on the size, scope and significance of our industry. Working together with member properties, we have aggressively touted our industry’s value in targeted congressional members’ states and begun to develop members of Congress as key gaming champions. By welcoming members of Congress to visit regional gaming facilities visits, sharing research from our Get To Know Gaming campaign to reveal gaming’s economic footprint and value to communities, we’re beginning to alter policymakers’ perception about our industry—from a necessary evil to an important economic contributor.
Coalesced Industry on Priority Issues
In addition to touting the positive impacts of gaming and aggressively advocating for industry support, the AGA focused its attention on how we can better serve our members and coalesce the industry around issues of common cause. Global Gaming Expo is an existing forum that brings more than 25,000 industry stakeholders under one roof over four days. In 2015, we will look to incorporate opportunities to address gaming issues during G2E.
Additionally, the AGA convenes member issue experts year-round to tackle issues of common cause. The Bank Secrecy Act working group that coalesced to develop the AML Best Practices is a good example of groups that the AGA will look to convene more frequently to develop industry-wide resources.
A Look Ahead
Our industry has extraordinary potential, and AGA will help the industry to achieve its goals. AGA will continue to promote the positive impact of gaming under the Get to Know Gaming campaign, to develop an agenda and call to action on regulatory and policy reforms, to grow our bench of congressional gaming champions and to bring the industry together to address key issues.
Working together, we can bolster the casino gaming industry’s image to garner a more favorable policy environment, build greater industry clout on issues of common cause and remove barriers to innovation, thereby empowering the industry to offer desirable and innovative entertainment experiences to our millions of customers.