St. Louis, MO – With Missouri playing an important role in the 2016 presidential election, the state’s casinos today delivered a clear message to Republicans and Democrats alike: look no further than the gaming industry for examples of consistent job creation and robust economic development. The American Gaming Association (AGA) today convened a roundtable forum at Pinnacle’s River City Casino with Missouri gaming executives, St. Louis-area business and community leaders, and state and local elected officials to note the $8 billion in tax and admission revenue generated by the industry since the first casino’s doors opened in the state in 1994.
“Thanks to unmatched career opportunities, tax revenues and charitable contributions, casino gaming is a valued community partner in St. Louis and across Missouri,” said AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “However, the policies that worked yesterday will not work tomorrow. We encourage elected officials to take a progressive view of gaming policy that encourages greater reinvestment, flexibility to adapt to rapidly changing consumer demands and commonsense regulations that help the industry generate even greater tax revenue.”
“Missouri’s casinos are proud to be good neighbors and good corporate citizens,” said Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association. “Today’s panel provided a portrait of the many ways in which we boost St. Louis and communities throughout our state.”
Participants also focused on the industry’s impact on the state and local communities, workforce development and diversity. Women make up nearly half of the Missouri gaming workforce, while more than 40 percent of employees are people of color. Further, Missouri casinos routinely purchase from minority-owned, women-owned and small disadvantaged businesses.
“The gaming industry consistently provides unmatched career opportunities for employees from diverse backgrounds and a range of experiences,” said Virginia McDowell, president and chairwoman of Global Gaming Women, a 501(c) 3 with a mission to support women in the gaming industry.
Freeman also spoke of the enormous opportunity legalized sports betting presents for Missouri if the 24-year federal government ban is lifted. Americans bet at least $150 billion on sports illegally last year alone, and AGA is aggressively building a broad coalition that will urge Congress to adopt a new approach. Legal, regulated sports betting could generate significant tax revenue for state and local governments in Missouri.
Participants in the panel included: Chris Plant, vice president and general manager, River City Casino & Hotel; Todd George, vice president and general manager, Penn National Gaming; Donn Mitchell, chief administrative officer, Isle of Capri; Jeff Danis, chief procurement officer, Pinnacle Entertainment; Mike Donovan, vice president, marketing & hotel operations, Lumière Place Casino & Hotel; Virginia McDowell, chair, Global Gaming Women; Sandra Marks, chief executive officer, Marks & Associates Consulting; Andrea Scales-Williams, president, Document Imaging Systems; and Ed Bryant, vice president, Diverse Business Solutions, St. Louis Chamber of Commerce.
St. Louis is the latest stop on AGA’s “Gaming Votes” tour, which aims to highlight the industry’s role as a strong community partner for candidates. Polls show Missouri poised to be a battleground state this fall, and presidential candidates will debate in St. Louis just weeks before Election Day. AGA has hosted similar events in in Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Mississippi. Casino gaming supports more than 1.7 million jobs in 40 states.
FACTS ABOUT CASINO GAMING IN MISSOURI
- Casino gaming in Missouri is a $3.3 billion industry that supports more than 20,000 jobs and generates nearly $1 billion in tax revenue per year.
- Since doors of the first casino opened in 1994, the industry has generated $8 billion in tax and admission revenue, including $5.5 billion for education;
- Casinos have spent $3 billion for capital investments;
- Gaming companies have contributed $225 million to programs to support veterans;
- Missouri 13 casinos operate in: St. Louis; Kansas City; Saint Charles; La Grange; Boonville; Cape Girardeau; Caruthersville; Riverside; and Saint Joseph.
- St. Louis-area casinos include: Pinnacle’s River City Casino; Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino St. Louis; Tropicana Entertainment’s Lumière Place Casino & Hotel.
- Isle of Capri’s corporate headquarters are located in St. Louis.
About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S. casino industry. 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.