Huffington Post – Beyond The Neon: American Gaming Association Highlights Industry Commitment To Diversity At National Minority Supplier Development Council
November 7, 2017
By Pravina Narayan
When it comes to the casino entertainment industry, most people think of cities like Las Vegas for the vast array of gaming and hospitality options available amid bright lights. However, somewhat overlooked is the role and impact of the casino industry on small businesses, including women and minority firms. The American Gaming Association (AGA) is doing its part to change this perception.
Of the 1.7 million casino gaming employees nationwide, 45 percent are minorities – far exceeding the national average of 33 percent – the American Gaming Association (AGA) highlighted recently at a round-table discussion at the National Minority Supplier Development Council Conference & Business Opportunity Exchange (NMSDC) in Detroit, Michigan. The panel event was part of the AGA’s “Get to Know Gaming” (G2KG) campaign, which aims to educate communities about gaming’s role as a community partner in 40 states across the country.
“The gaming industry’s commitment to a diversified workforce has never been stronger,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA. “AGA is proud to partner with the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council and we look forward to actively supporting their mission to advance business connections that count for many years to come.”
The events round-table included Stacy Taylor, SVP & chief procurement officer of Global Procurements, MGM Resorts International; Jessica Rosman, vice president of procurement, Caesars; Renee Boyce, president, CEO and founder, My Next Career Path Staff, LLC.; Jacci Woods, VP of public relations and community affairs, MotorCity Casino Hotel; Paul Jenkins, MiG Construction; and Shaundell Newsome, founder, Sumnu Marketing.
During the G2KG campaign, AGA has highlighted a number of minority-owned businesses nationwide. In April, AGA kicked off the American Gaming Small Business Jobs Tour at Eastern Food Services, a minority-owned business in Laurel, Maryland that works with MGM National Harbor to provide MLife water bottles to the new property. In June, AGA traveled to St. Louis to meet with minority-owned Regents Maintenance Supply, a janitorial supplier and equipment provider for the region’s casinos. Also in June, AGA traveled to Maryland Live Casino to highlight Edwards & Hill Office Furniture, a minority-owned office furniture supply and installation firm in Annapolis, Maryland. Each company said their business grew exponentially thanks to their work with the gaming industry.
Earlier this year, AGA released a report, The Gaming Industry’s Impact on Small Business Development in the United States, that examined nearly a dozen U.S. gaming markets and assessed casino gaming’s direct and indirect impact on local, small businesses. Researchers from Spectrum Gaming Group concluded that gaming’s widespread impact is felt in markets across the country, but has larger impacts in small to mid-sized communities where local businesses work to integrate into gaming operations.
Nationwide, the small business report concluded that the casino gaming industry generates $52 billion in annual revenues for American small businesses and supports $13 billion in small business employee wages. In addition, $52 billion in annual small business revenues go toward real estate, finance, health care, STEM, manufacturing, information technology and other industries.
The AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states. AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry. It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a path for growth, innovation and reinvestment.