The AGA turned 5 in June to little fanfare. For some, it’s hard to believe it’s been five years; for others, it’s difficult to remember what it was like before the AGA existed. But one thing is clear: the AGA is now on the map in Washington.
The following is a chronology of the AGA from its start in 1995 to today:
The AGA is formed and Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. is named president and CEO. The AGA immediately goes to work fighting to ensure that a proposed federal commission on gambling is a fair, impartial and unbiased study of the industry.
At age 1, the AGA founds the National Center for Responsible Gaming in Kansas City, Mo., the first national organization devoted exclusively to funding independent, peer-reviewed research on pathological and youth gambling. To date, the casino industry has committed more than $7 million to the NCRG, and the NCRG has awarded grants totaling $3.7 million. These grants have resulted in the development of groundbreaking research in this field.
Later in the year, the AGA releases a study by Arthur Andersen, documenting the national economic impact of the casino industry and its employees.
With considerable input from the AGA, Congress enacts legislation that calls for a balanced examination of legalized gambling through the newly created National Gambling Impact Study Commission.
At age 2, the AGA lobbies for and is successful in securing appointments to the federal commission of those knowledgeable about the industry, including MGM Grand Inc. Chairman and CEO J. Terrence Lanni; Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Bill Bible, and Hotel and Restaurant Employees International Union President John Wilhelm.
The AGA continues to document the industry’s economic contributions, with the release a second Arthur Andersen study looking at the impact of the casino industry at the local level in three new gaming jurisdictions, as well as a national survey of casino employees demonstrating how their jobs in the industry have impacted their lives and their communities.
The AGA turns 3, and faces the biggest challenge of its young life: the National Gambling Impact Study Commission. Throughout the year, the AGA works with local communities on the commission’s agenda, including Atlantic City, N.J.; Chicago, Ill.; Biloxi, Miss.; New Orleans, La.; and Las Vegas, to tell the casino industry’s story.
Congress enacts legislation supported by the AGA that would prevent the IRS from taxing employee meals, saving millions of dollars for our companies and our employees.
The AGA forms a partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The National Center conducts technical assistance seminars for employees in Las Vegas and Biloxi, Miss., addressing the issue of unattended minors, to help ensure the safety of children who visit hotel-casinos with their parents.
The AGA continues an ambitious effort to raise awareness of problem gambling - the Responsible Gaming National Education Campaign. At age 3, the AGA unveils the second edition of its Responsible Gaming Resource Guide and holds the first annual Responsible Gaming Education Week.
The AGA files an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting an end to a decades-old ban on gambling shown in casino broadcast advertising - a ban the court strikes down in 1999.
As the AGA turns 4, it concludes work with the commission that has been so much a part of the organization’s existence since it was founded. The end came with a final report that confirmed the important economic and social contributions from the commercial casino industry and put to rest the erroneous anti-gaming rhetoric, myths and superstitions regarding regulation, crime and social problems.
The AGA releases “State of the States,” its first annual survey of casino entertainment.
At 5, the AGA gears up for a yearlong battle in Congress to preserve Nevada’s right to offer legal sports betting on college athletics, testifying before both Senate and House committees and coordinating an aggressive media and grass roots campaign.
At a reception on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., local United Way organizations pay tribute to the gaming industry for its generous philanthropy - the first such industrywide recognition event.
Later in the year, the AGA spearheads its third annual Responsible Gaming Education Week. A live satellite and Internet broadcast receives unprecedented participation from third-party groups who share an interest in promoting responsible gaming.
During the past five years, we have waged an ongoing campaign to inform lawmakers and the media about our industry. Whether it’s meant educating congressmen and senators about our position on a bill, preparing letters to the editor, testifying before Congress or monitoring the work of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, we have worked diligently to represent the interests of our members.
And after five years of hard work, we can honestly say that we’ve made great progress in ensuring that the voices of our employees, our companies, our customers and our shareholders are heard in Washington - a testament to the entire industry, for stepping to the plate and taking on a more active role in the political process.
Happy Birthday, AGA.