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AGA Philadelphia Roundtable Touts Gaming Benefits

AGA Philadelphia Roundtable Touts Gaming Benefits

The American Gaming Association’s “Get to Know Gaming” tour landed in Philadelphia last month, where state and local officials joined community groups and local casino officials for a roundtable discussion that focused on the benefits the casino industry has brought communities in the region.

The panel, moderated by Econsult Solutions President Stephen Mullin, included Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA; U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, whose district includes Philadelphia; Wendy Hamilton, general manager of SugarHouse Casino; Marc Oppenheimer, chief marketing officer of Parx Casino in nearby Bensalem; Richard F. Levins, vice president and deputy general counsel, PA Markets, Independence Blue Cross; Julie Coker Graham, president and CEO, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau; and state Senator Larry Farnese of Philadelphia.

The roundtable discussion focused on the benefits the Philadelphia region has derived from the casino industry—the common theme of similar events in Pittsburgh, Ohio, Colorado and elsewhere under the Get To Know Gaming campaign, which spreads the word on the benefits of gaming to communities in the 40 states where commercial casinos are legal, and the estimated $75 billion the industry contributes to local communities.

Freeman noted that Pennsylvania is now the second largest commercial gaming market in the U.S., noting that the industry generates more than $6 billion in economic activity in the state, with 34,000 jobs supported—including 18,000 direct jobs in the industry. “This industry has delivered for Pennsylvania, and it’s delivered to local communities.” He added that the state’s casinos are now working with the local casinos to work out a solution to the host-community funding issue.