Philadelphia – The American Gaming Association (AGA) today convened a roundtable forum at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, bringing together gaming executives, Philadelphia-area business and community leaders, federal, state and local elected officials to discuss the significant contributions of gaming to the city.
Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos are responsible for over $6 billion in economic activity and support nearly 34,000 jobs, which pay more than $1.7 billion in wages to Pennsylvania workers. Federal, state and local tax revenues generated from gaming add up to an impressive $2.4 billion – and $1.4 billion of that is generated directly from gaming taxes.
“Gaming has been a significant economic engine for Philadelphia for years, providing important jobs, revenue and growth for the city,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA. “Gaming in Pennsylvania continues to provide good-paying, quality jobs for thousands of workers.”
Pennsylvania state legislators, along with the gaming industry, continue to be on the leading edge in advancing policies that will allow the industry to thrive into the coming years. For example, legislators recently signaled a willingness to provide legalized, regulated sports betting in Pennsylvania if Congress takes action to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). This would allow the gaming industry to tap into a market of sports fans who have signaled a desire to bet on professional sports.
“Illegal sports betting is anything but a victimless crime,” said Freeman. “The $150 billion underground market funds violent crimes and siphons tax revenues from local communities.”
AGA has been actively coalescing key stakeholders – including law enforcement, sports leagues and other influencers like former NBA Commissioner David Stern, who said last week he supports a repeal of PASPA and an implementation of a legal, regulated sports betting market – in an effort to advance the issue of sports betting on Capitol Hill beginning in 2017.
The roundtable featured Congressman Pat Meehan (R-PA-07); Wendy Hamilton, general manager of SugarHouse Casino; Marc Oppenheimer, chief marketing officer, Parx Casino; Richard F. Levins, VP and deputy general counsel, PA Markets, Independence Blue Cross; and Julie Coker Graham, president and CEO, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau. The discussion was moderated by Stephen Mullin, president and principal, Econsult Solutions.
Participants discussed the industry’s contributions to programs that support education, veterans, employee growth, sustainability, the arts and more. Others who attended the event included local elected officials, community leaders and industry employees who know firsthand the industry’s commitment to job training and placement, charitable giving and community stewardship.
The event was held as part of AGA’s Get to Know Gaming campaign to shine a spotlight on gaming’s many positive impacts on communities. Across 40 states, casino gaming is a $240 billion industry that supports 1.7 million jobs and generates $38 billion in tax revenue.
AGA has hosted similar events in Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada and recently in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For more information, visit GetToKnowGaming.org.
About the American Gaming Association (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.