Statement of Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., President & CEO, American Gaming Association
“Being part of the largest, most respected and widely represented trade show and conference for the gaming industry is a genuine privilege for the AGA.”
In September 1996, IGWB presented the American Gaming Association (AGA) with a tremendous opportunity to co-host the World Gaming Congress & Expo ‘97. Literally within days of formalizing plans for our own gaming exposition, this opportunity prompted the AGA to rethink its plan, and we decided that combining our resources would be the best way to serve the gaming entertainment industry. In October, we officially announced our joint venture with IGWB, and the World Gaming Congress became the official trade show and conference of the AGA.
Being part of the largest, most respected and widely represented trade show and conference for the gaming industry is a genuine privilege for the AGA. In an era when downsizing is the norm, the gaming industry is expanding, creating jobs and reviving struggling economies. And as an industry that is growing faster than most any other force in the country, it is extremely important to bring gaming industry leaders from around the world together to discuss the direction that we are headed.
This growth can be seen simply by looking at the World Gaming Congress itself. In 1987, the World Gaming Congress’s first year in existence, there were 35 exhibiting companies, 100 booths and 500 attendees at the conference. In 1996, the conference featured approximately 1,850 booths, 625 companies and 19,000 attendees. With this year being its 10th year in existence, the AGA will work with IGWB to make the World Gaming Congress & Expo ‘97 the best of its kind. As the place to discuss gaming issues and the future of the industry, the conference is an educational tool through which the AGA will help lay out the gaming industry’s achievements, obstacles and potential in the years to come.
Through panels, speeches and workshops, the AGA will provide leadership and opportunities to get to the heart of many issues. Discussion groups will include topics such as how to create responsible programs for problem and underage gambling; how to form political action committees; the economic impact of gaming in this country now and in the future; effective ways to communicate to the public and Congress; how to use the media to your advantage; current tax issues that effect the gaming industry, among many other interesting subjects.
The World Gaming Congress & Expo will be held in conjunction with the AGA’s annual meeting, as well. By combining these meetings, we’ll ensure that the our current and potential members will have an opportunity to interact with some of the best and brightest figures in the gaming industry.
There are many exciting things happening in this country because of the gaming industry. A recent study funded by Arthur Andersen revealed that the gaming industry employs more people and pays higher salaries than most other industries that provide discretionary services and products. The gaming industry provides real jobs and helps real people. As an industry that is shaping millions of people’s lives, it is our responsibility to continually respond to the many issues that face us so that we can continue to improve. For this reason, the AGA is honored to be part of World Gaming Congress & Expo ‘97, and we look forward to sharing our ideas and having a significant learning experience with all of you.
About the AGA:
The American Gaming Association was formed in June of 1995 with the fundamental goal of creating a better understanding of gaming-entertainment by bringing the facts about the industry to the general public, elected officials, other decision makers and the media through education and advocacy. The Association has an aggressive public education program to bring the industry’s message to targeted audiences both in the nation’s capital and across the nation. Located in Washington, D.C., the AGA works closely with member organizations to monitor and influence federal industry-related issues. The AGA serves as the industry’s first national information clearinghouse, providing timely, accurate gaming-entertainment data. The AGA also provides leadership in addressing newly-emerging national issues and in developing industry-wide programs on critical issues such as problem and underage gambling.
Since AGA’s opening in June of 1995, when the first 14 members consisted exclusively of casino companies and gaming equipment manufacturers, the diversity of the association’s members has expanded to include financial and professional services, suppliers, vendors, state associations, publications and unions. The breadth of this representation demonstrates the gaming industry’s broad-based support and indicates the real impact gaming has on many sectors of the U.S. economy. The AGA’s membership has grown significantly not only in diversity, but also in numbers, and currently has more than 80 member organizations. Members include companies such as Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., Hilton Hotels Corporation, International Game Technology, Arthur Andersen & Co., Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Las Vegas, Nevada Beverage Company, Pepsi Cola Distributing Company, Associated Pathologists Laboratories, California Pizza Kitchen, Sturgeon Electric Company and the California Card Club Association, to name just a few.
The National Center for Responsible Gaming:
Established in February 1996 by the AGA, the National Center for Responsible Gaming is the first nationwide, consolidated clearinghouse to promote research and collect information on problem and underage gambling. With a prestigious 20-member board of directors, including educators, health care professionals, community and civic leaders and the individuals from the gaming-entertainment industry, the Center was formed to fund research; create prevention, intervention and treatment strategies; act as a national clearinghouse for research findings; and provide assistance to state and local governments to encourage responsible gaming practices. In January 1997, the Center announced that it received firm commitments of $3.11 million to fund its activities over the next three years. Although the number of problem gamblers is a small percentage of those who participate in gaming, one problem gambler is too many. The Center was established to support meaningful unbiased research, fact gathering and data analysis for the purpose of better defining this problem and developing proactive, positive strategies to address it.