The American Gaming Association (AGA), the nation’s leading casino trade association, announced the addition of Wynn Resorts, Station Casinos and Churchill Downs to the organization this week. The three gaming leaders will join nearly a dozen companies involved in commercial casino industry whose goal is to "represent the interests of its members on federal legislative and regulatory issues."
The move will see all three companies insert a representative to the AGA board of directors. Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn and Station Casinos Chairman Frank Fertitta III are expected to join the board. Wynn helped form the AGA in 1995, but left the organization in 1999.
AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman believes the new heavy-hitters will make the organization stronger and more valuable.
“This is a critical step in the AGA’s evolution as a representative of the entire gaming industry," said Freeman. "We will continue to be passionate advocates for the enormous value the gaming industry provides and there is increasing support for our agenda.”
In addition to Wynn, Station Casinos and Churchill Downs, the AGA includes the following companies:
|Bally Technologies, Inc.||MGM Resorts International||International Game Technology (IGT)|
|Las Vegas Sands Corp.||Caesars Entertainment||Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc.|
|Aristocrat Leisure Ltd||Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada||Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc.|
|Boyd Gaming Corporation||Penn National Gaming|
While the AGA stands united on most gaming issues, it has dealt with some friction in 2013. As an organization, the AGA has supported the regulation of online gaming in the U.S. However, one of its members is preparing to launch a public campaign against online gambling, even hiring lobbyists to seek a federal ban and oppose state efforts.
Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson has called online gambling a "plague and cancer waiting to happen," and even suggested that online poker isn't a game of skill. Adelson said that he's willing to spend whatever it takes to destroy Internet gambling — including poker — in the States.
Meanwhile, several members of the AGA, including Caesars Entertainment and Boyd Gaming, have already launched online gambling operations in Nevada and/or New Jersey. New AGA member Station Casinos entered the market in April when it opened the first regulated real-money online poker room in the country (Ultimate Poker in Nevada).
Freeman explains that disputes are common among major organizations.
"We’re not the first association to have members disagree on an issue," Freeman said in an interview with GamblingCompliance.com. "Now, other associations may not have people with the same resources (as Adelson) to express their point of view, but this happens in associations all the time."
Photo courtesy of www.cntraveler.com.