So far, 2015 has been momentous for the American Gaming Association. The addition of new members, promoting the positive benefits of gaming and highlighting inefficient policies and regulations with key stakeholders help achieve the year’s strategic priorities to create unity, support industry growth and shape a new policy environment.
At the core of this year’s focus are principles to increase inclusivity and transparency. We believe that the gaming industry will be stronger working together than it’s ever been before.
Representing the Totality of the Industry
The first week in the new year, we were pleased to welcome nine new members: Ainsworth Game Technology, CG Technology, Electronic Transaction Systems, FinScan, Greenwood Racing, Konami Gaming, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Seminole Hard Rock Gaming and William Hill. These new members joined as part of AGA’s new membership structure, which allows us to better represent the totality of the gaming industry. The new structure has two distinct categories of membership:
• Core Members: Licensed and regulated casino gaming operators—both commercial and tribal—and suppliers that comply with the AGA’s Code of Conduct and meet requisite dues requirements; and,
• Ally Members: Industry allies, such as financial service institutions, providers of non-gaming amenities and destination marketing organizations.
This new structure gives a voice and a “seat at the table” for a more accurate reflection of the industry. Issues that impact core casino gaming companies also impact ally companies that are dependent upon casino gaming. It’s time we work together to advance our collective interests on these issues of common cause.
Delivering a Positive Economic Impact
Combating casino gaming critics and pushing back against tired stereotypes is a prime area where we are better equipped to make progress by working together.
The launch of AGA’s “Get to Know Gaming” campaign in 2014 focused on the economic impact of casino gaming in the U.S. Moving forward, we aim to unite the people of the industry, both jobs of the AGA’s core membership—casino gaming, supplier and manufacturer jobs—and ally members—financial and professional service providers, businesses that supply goods and services to casino gaming companies and more.
We look forward to working together to promote the value of gaming and our industry’s positive impact on communities across the country, and to encourage stakeholders to think about the jobs and people that make up the gaming industry in an entirely new light.
Influencing Forward-Thinking Policy
Touting these positive stories and the authoritative research supporting them is a key driver for making the case that gaming should be viewed as a critical component of a larger economic development strategy. With this mindset, the AGA is encouraging policymakers to work with our industry as partners and to consider modernized regulation and policy reforms that allow the gaming industry to innovate, reinvest and continue to support good-pay jobs to more than a million Americans.
Within the first 30 days of the year, we have directly addressed:
• National Conference of State Legislatures
• National Council of Legislators from Gaming States
• Democratic Attorneys General Association
• U.S. Conference of Mayors
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu validated the gaming industry in his comments to peers, emphasizing gaming as a strong community partner and casino gaming as a “net positive to his city.”
AGA is committed to engaging those who influence the gaming industry the most. To this end, we have also shared our perspective and insight on key policies related to responsible gaming and the resource GamingByTheBook.org with legislators in Indiana as they revisit gaming policies, and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission as they develop responsible gaming policies for the state.
Gaming is no longer niche and novel. Our industry is responding to new realities of market competition and shifting demographics, and demands of our customer base. We must constantly tout our industry’s success stories and tirelessly encourage public policy to evolve for the gaming industry to thrive, create jobs and continue to strengthen local communities.
By working together to support industry growth, I am confident that we will shape a new regulatory and policy environment for gaming.