Gaming Association to Presidential Candidates: What’s Your Stance?

By asking the 2016 presidential candidates to answer questions related to the gaming industry, the American Gaming Association doesn’t intend to endorse a candidate. Rather it hopes to educate employees on issues that may affect the industry’s success.

Last week the American Gaming Association (AGA) issued a questionnaire [PDF] to Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Its goal is not only to uncover candidates’ stances on gaming-related issues but also to better educate industry employees on how these issues may affect the industry’s success.

“We are very interested in how employees connect with these issues,” AGA CEO Geoff Freeman told Associations Now. “One thing we noticed is there are a lot of broader travel issues [and] labor issues that some of our employees and policymakers don’t associate with the gaming industry. … Educating our own industry on issues of concern [like immigration and broad travel policies] is important for the industry’s long-term success.”

To make the information it receives from candidates most useful for industry employees, Freeman said AGA will compile the responses into a voter’s guide ahead of the Iowa caucuses in February. However, AGA will not go as far as to endorse a candidate.

While AGA had not yet received a formal response from any candidate when Associations Now spoke with him, Freeman said that he is optimistic the association will get good results before the December 18 deadline.

Among the list of questions sent to the candidates:

  • How would you encourage the growth of innovative new companies like daily fantasy sports companies?
  • Which actions would you take to support the many immigrants who work in our industry?
  • What steps would you take to combat the multibillion-dollar illegal gambling sector?

While Freeman did acknowledge that candidates may make “flippant comments about gaming,” he warned that may be a risky endeavor given there are about 1 million employees in the industry and added that candidates regularly fly to Las Vegas to recruit donors. In addition, he said in 2016 a few key battleground states—such as Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—are places where gaming has played a very important role in terms of employing thousands and putting millions of dollars into local economies.

In a letter to candidates that accompanied the questionnaire, Freeman was clear in AGA’s intentions: “We’re ensuring that our employees are as informed as possible about you and the entire field of candidates running for president,” he wrote.

This is not the first time AGA has made candidates aware of gaming-related issues. Back in February it launched its “Gaming Votes” initiative and held a series of events in swing states over the summer.


Katie Rucke

By Katie Rucke

Katie Rucke is former Associate Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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