Casino lobby mulls options for educating state officials

WASHINGTON: The American Gaming Association (AGA), the casino industry's chief lobbying group in DC, is playing down a report that it is considering a campaign to educate state officials across the US about the ways lowering taxes on casinos can benefit their communities.

WASHINGTON: The American Gaming Association (AGA), the casino industry's chief lobbying group in DC, is playing down a report that it is considering a campaign to educate state officials across the US about the ways lowering taxes on casinos can benefit their communities.

Last week, the reported that AGA CEO Frank Fahrenkopf said that the casino industry "had failed miserably with politicians with regard to the tax question ... There are tax rates that make it nearly impossible for public companies to operate."

Speaking at the Global Gaming Expo, Fahrenkopf, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, reportedly said that the AGA had recently formed a committee charged with deciding what kind of PR campaign the group could pursue to remedy the problem.

"I don't know whether we'll do national ads. I don't know what the strategy will be," Fahrenkopf said, as reported by the Sun.

But according to AGA communications director Holly Thomsen, there is nothing to discuss at this time, because the association has yet to draft a full plan.

According to a new AGA survey, a majority of civic leaders in gaming communities across the country have a positive view of the impact of casinos in their community. With the benefit of hindsight, 75% of civic leaders indicated that they would vote to allow casinos in their community if they could go back and do it all over again. The survey, released September 20, was conducted by DC-based research firm Peter D. Hart Research Associates.

Despite the survey's positive results, one of the AGA's goals will be to do a better job getting a more positive message out to the media about the gaming industry, Thomsen said.

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