Creating Perceptions from Reality

Across the country, the gaming industry is making communities better – creating jobs, generating opportunities for local suppliers, increasing tourism and giving back through volunteerism and philanthropy. While none of this is a surprise to those who work in the industry, it is our responsibility to tell that story every chance we get.

As the AGA gets ready to embark on a new year, we look forward to aggressively telling the industry’s story. The most recent effort is a case study video launched in my column in the December issue of Global Gaming Business Magazine. It focuses on the mutually beneficial partnership between the community and gaming industry in Kansas City, Mo. Click here to view the video.

I encourage everyone involved in the gaming industry to use this video as a tool to tell the world what we bring to communities. Use this video when you’re talking to officials or residents in new markets, share this with your supporters, and most importantly, ask them to share it with their friends and neighbors. We are proud of our industry and the work we do, and this video shows people why.

Creating Perceptions from Reality

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Some people view our industry as a necessary evil rather than a mainstream entertainment business.

You and I know that’s not reality. And many of you probably think that we’ve already won this argument—that we’ve proven how the gaming industry is an economic engine for our country and a strong partner for our communities. After all, casinos have expanded into 38 states, accounting for hundreds of thousands of jobs and opportunities for local businesses.

We’ve indeed made great progress in this area. Thanks to the hard working men and women of our industry, the perception of gaming has shifted a great deal from where it was in the mid-90s. Since then, more communities have experienced gaming for themselves, and more people recognize its enormous contributions.  But local leaders often view us merely as a source of revenue instead of a partner and catalyst for growth.

At the AGA, we’re looking at everything we do through a lens of growth, and growth can’t happen unless policymakers recognize our value.

In the year ahead, you’ll see the AGA lead as an aggressive and unabashed champion of our industry. We’ll leave no stone unturned in telling the story of our value to communities across the country and the impact of gaming on the broader national economy.

The opening salvo in our efforts comes this month. In a new video developed by the American Gaming Association (AGA), we’re showcasing the positive effect of our industry on one community – Kansas City. The video tells the story of how the industry has added tourism, created jobs for a diverse workforce, helped revitalize the community and partnered with local charitable organizations. We know that in gaming communities, our industry has (rightly) earned the reputation as a valuable community partner, and this video shows casino companies contributing in ways that improve the lives of citizens throughout the region.

The story is told through the eyes of local leaders and those who have seen these contributions first hand. Whether they’re suppliers, government officials or employees, these are the allies we need to leverage to tell the tremendous story of our industry.

There are countless stories just like the one in Kansas City in gaming communities across the country, which is why this is just the start of our efforts.

We will aggressively work to shape perceptions of the industry—releasing new research that positions the industry as a powerful economic engine and a catalyst for job creation, a champion of the customer and our employees and an outspoken advocate for responsible gaming.

Additionally, we’ll highlight another area our companies have long been investing in—corporate social responsibility. Through partnerships with local charitable organizations, giving and volunteering, diversity initiatives and environmental sustainability commitments, our industry is contributing far more than economic benefits. It’s a story that must be told.

Lastly, as the video featuring Kansas City shows, we’ll build a stable of advocates across the country who’ve experienced our business for themselves and know our dedication to first class service and entertainment, quality jobs and community partnership. When people view the industry as a community partner and an economic engine, we can clear a pathway for more favorable policies at the federal, state and local levels that encourage innovation and facilitate growth.

In the coming year, it will be a major focus of mine—and a job for all of us—to tell more of these stories. To watch our new video, visit the AGA website at or the AGA YouTube channel. I hope that you enjoy it and, most importantly, share it—letting the decision-makers in your area know that there’s more where this came from.