As those who follow politics are well aware, 2007 brings with it a virtual sea change here in Washington. Democrats will take control of both chambers of the U.S. Congress for the first time in 12 years, and for the first time in the history of the AGA’s existence. Looking ahead, the reshaping of Congress in the recent election could prove favorable for the gaming industry.
With several leadership roles in Congress being filled by individuals hailing from gaming states or having extensive experience with our industry, it is likely they will be more educated and open to industry concerns. While this certainly will not garner the industry any special favors, having lawmakers in leadership who understand our issues and the contributions we make to the communities where we operate cannot help but be a good thing.
As always, the AGA’s first priority is representing the gaming entertainment industry and protecting its interests here in Washington, and we look forward to working with the new Congress on issues like immigration reform, as well as renewing our call for an independent study to explore Internet gambling. These are two of the issues near the top of our legislative agenda for 2007.
Beyond Washington, 2007 also will usher in big changes for our G2E family events, demonstrating the AGA’s ongoing commitment to promoting business innovation and opportunity. G2E Institute, our unique workshop-style conference event that debuted last year in Las Vegas, will move to New Orleans in 2007, bringing G2E’s world-class educational content, dynamic networking events and “by the industry, for the industry” approach to the Gulf Coast. The event is set for April 10-12, 2007 at the Wyndham New Orleans at Canal Place.
Then, in June, we’ll travel to the Eastern hemisphere for the inaugural G2E Asia event, taking place June 13-14 at the Macau Tower. Over the past few years, Macau has grown into one of the premier gaming destinations in the world, and we’re looking forward to debuting an event that takes the same “by the industry, for the industry” approach that has become the hallmark of our flagship event in Las Vegas every year. Speaking of G2E, we’re already making plans for improvements to our 2007 event in November that will bring even more value to the more than 28,000 gaming industry professionals who attend our show and conference each year.
2007 also will be a big year in responsible gaming. In fact, the year will begin with a brand new look for the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG), the AGA’s affiliated charity. The new look reflects the NCRG’s proactive goals and broader focus on collaboration and on enhancing the positive impact of research in casino communities nationwide. As a function of that collaboration, the NCRG will be partnering with the AGA to promote and enhance many of the organization’s responsible gaming initiatives, most notably with the celebration this August of the AGA’s 10th anniversary of Responsible Gaming Education Week. 2007 also will see the broad launch of EMERGE, a new tool for training employees about responsible gaming developed by researchers at Harvard Medical School.
The AGA also will continue to build on its commitment to diversity issues in 2007, starting with the implementation of the AGA’s new Tier II Diversity Reporting program for suppliers, which requires suppliers of participating gaming companies to submit quarterly reports detailing the amount of business they contract with minority-, women- and disadvantaged-owned businesses.
2007 also will see the AGA’s continued commitment to providing valuable research and information on the gaming entertainment. We will continue to release new white papers as part of our ongoing 10th Anniversary Research Series, and May will see the publication of the ninth annual State of the States report.
Throughout these and other planned activities, the AGA will continue to safeguard the interests of our industry and its employees – creating opportunities and developing programs to move our industry forward while ensuring the next generation of global gaming is secure.