American Gaming AssociationThe American Gaming Association (AGA) is taking steps towards improving awareness of positive aspects of the gaming industry amongst stakeholders, especially elected officials so as to enable better policy decisions.

According to Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of the AGA most lawmakers still have outdated ideas of the gaming industry, causing them to take decisions without understanding their full effect.

The latest move by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to levy a tax of eight percent on all promotional tax credit offered by state’s casinos is among the many proposals initiated by lawmakers that impact numerous stakeholders without lawmakers realizing it.

Freeman said that the 12 casinos located in Pennsylvania generate an economic impact of $6 billion, sustain over 33,000 jobs and give $2.4 billion in tax revenue each year. The AGA has sent a letter to the Governor Wolf protesting the new tax law, saying that taxing promotional credit programs would result in economic losses for casinos using these programs resulting in reduced play and tax revenues.

Freeman added that Pennsylvania was not the first state to propose such a measure, with Ohio having made a similar attempt previously. In a bid to put the spotlight on the value created by the gaming industry, AGA has introduced a new initiative called Gaming Votes during the election year to educate lawmakers.

The most recent program under Gaming Votes was held at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh which included a casino tour and a panel discussion between community leaders, local elected officials, and industry employees. The program highlighted the fact that Rivers like other casinos in the country generates jobs, offers opportunities for growth to small businesses and enables community welfare.

In a statement, Carol Philp, owner of a small business in Pittsburgh that creates designs for blankets and throw pillows said,

I started in my basement and have been in business for 20 years. Working with Rivers is where magic comes from for small businesses. Rivers helped us grow and create new partnerships and American-made products.

A number of other stakeholders echoed this sentiment. Valerie Njie of Bidwell Training Center said that the company valued the relationship with the casino since its students were certain to find employment with them.

Craig Clark, Rivers Casino general manager stated that providing jobs was a fundamental responsibility of the casino, adding that diversity and inclusion was a key part of Rivers’ philosophy.

Freeman said that Pennsylvania as well as the other 39 states in U.S having gaming facilities contribute in large way to their state’s economic growth and development by providing workforce development and training, having inclusive hiring practices and also serve as responsible community partners.

Categories: Casino News

Posted on: 14th April 2016 by: Gary Beachley