Nevada’s Elected Officials to Play Key Role in Presidential Campaign Ahead of Debates, Caucuses

Press Release
August 12, 2015

Washington, DC – Nevada elected officials who endorse candidates and actively support their campaigns should ensure presidential hopefuls recognize casino gaming as a powerful economic engine and job creator.  

In a letter to Nevada’s congressional delegation, constitutional officers, state legislators and others likely to endorse, American Gaming Association (AGA) President and CEO Geoff Freeman and Nevada Resorts Association (NRA) President Virginia Valentine highlighted the important role the Silver State’s elected officials can play this election cycle in educating candidates about the thousands of jobs gaming supports and economic activity gaming generates. See the complete list of recipients below.

“As an elected leader in Nevada, you understand that casino gaming is the lifeblood of the state’s economy,” wrote Freeman and Valentine. “And as you engage with presidential campaigns and candidates, officially or otherwise, we urge you to impress upon them the importance of supporting gaming.”

Casino gaming contributes $53 billion to the Nevada’s economy, supports 425,000 jobs and generates nearly $8 billion in tax revenue. Direct gaming taxes make up 47 percent of the state’s general fund revenue. 

“Some candidates require more education than others, and you can play a tremendous role in this education process. No matter which candidate you prefer in the upcoming caucuses, each of them will boost their chances of winning the Silver State by taking a stand in support of gaming,” wrote Freeman and Valentine.“Your counsel will play an important role in shaping candidates’ strategies and positions. We encourage you to take advantage of this chance to show your candidate the ins-and-outs of our dynamic industry and introduce them to the thousands of gaming employees who are also voters.”

They also warned of repercussions that can result from seemingly innocuous statements about Las Vegas.

“As you know, decisions and comments from federal officials can negatively affect gaming – as well as Las Vegas overall and the hardworking Nevadans we employ. For example, in a speech shortly after he took office, President Obama discouraged business travel to Las Vegas and other destinations—and his comments cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in the midst of the Great Recession,” wrote Freeman and Valentine. “It’s our responsibility to get ahead of potentially harmful comments and policy proposals by ensuring elected leaders fully understand our business. At the end of the day, everyone in Nevada will benefit from a proactive approach.” 

Las Vegas will host the first Democratic debate of the 2016 cycle in October, while Nevada will host the GOP field for a debate in December. Both precede the February caucuses in Nevada, the third state to weigh in on the candidates and the first in the West.

The letter is part of the first-ever initiative by the gaming industry, called “Gaming Votes,” to educate candidates about the industry and inform employees about candidates.  

About NRA: The Nevada Resort Association is the primary advocacy voice for Nevada’s gaming and resort industry. Established in 1965, the NRA represents the state’s largest industry and provides information, perspective and industry insight for decision makers throughout the state.

About 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.

Recipients of AGA-NRA letter


Brian Sandoval, Governor

Mark Hutchison, Lieutenant governor

Adam Laxalt, Attorney general

Barbara Cegavske, Secretary of state

Dan Schwartz, Treasurer

Ron Knecht, State controller

Harry Reid, U.S. Senator

Dean Heller, U.S. Senator

Joe Heck, Congressman

Cresent Hardy, Congressman

Dina Titus, Congresswoman

Mark Amodei, Congressman

Michael Roberson, State senate majority leader

Aaron Ford, Senate minority leader

Patricia Farley, State senator

Pat Spearman, State senator

Ruben Kihuen, State senator

Tick Segerblom, State senator

Scott Hammond, State senate majority whip

Donald (Don) G. Gustavson, State senator

Joseph (Joe) P. Hardy, Senate president pro tempore

Ben Kieckhefer, State senate assistant majority leader

Mark Lipparelli, State senator

Debbie Smith, State senate assistant minority leader

David R. Parks, State senator

James A. Settelmeyer, State senate majority whip

Mark A. Manendo, State senator

Joyce Woodhouse, State senator

Becky Harris, State senator

Kelvin Atkinson, State senate minority whip

Moises (Mo) Denis, State senator

Pete Goicoechea, State senator

Greg Brower, State senator

Melissa Woodbury, Assemblyman

Jim Wheeler, Assemblyman

Glenn E. Trowbridge, Assemblyman

Robin L. Titus, Assemblywoman

Tyrone Thompson, Assemblyman

Heidi Swank, Assemblywoman

Michael C. Sprinkle, Assemblyman

Ellen B. Spiegel, Assemblywoman

Stephen H. Silberkraus, Assemblyman

Victoria Seaman, Assemblywoman

James Oscarson, Assemblyman

James Ohrenschall, Assemblyman

Philip “P.K.” O’Neill, Assemblyman

Dina Neal, Assemblywoman

Harvey J. Munford, Assemblyman

Randy Kirner, Assemblyman

Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Assemblywoman

Brent A. Jones, Assemblyman

Amber Joiner, Assemblywoman

Ira Hansen, Assemblyman

John Hambrick, Assemblyman

David M. Gardner, Assemblyman

Edgar Flores, Assemblyman

Michele Fiore, Assemblywoman

John C. Ellison, Assemblyman

Chris Edwards, Assemblyman

Victoria A. Dooling, Assemblwoman

Jill Dickman, Assemblywoman

Olivia Diaz, Assemblywoman

Richard Carrillo, Assemblyman

Maggie Carlton, Assemblywoman

Irene Bustamante Adams, Assemblywoman

Teresa Benitez-Thompson, Assemblywoman

Derek Armstrong, Assemblyman

Elliot T. Anderson, Assemblyman

Paul Anderson, Assemblyman

Nelson Araujo, Assemblyman

Erv Nelson, Assemblyman

Shelly Shelton, Assemblywoman

John Moore, Assemblyman

Lynn Stewart, Assemblyman

Pat Hickey, Assemblyman

Carolyn Goodman, Las Vegas mayor

Steve Sisolak, Clark County commissioner (chair)


press release contact
Christopher Browne