Gaming Association head says DoD credit cards shouldn’t be banned at Biloxi casinos

American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman said Thursday casinos in Biloxi and across the country shouldn’t be singled out in a proposed ban on credit card use by Department of Defense employees.

A report this week by the department’s Office of Inspector General found service members and other Pentagon officials used their DoD credit cards for personal use at casinos and gentlemen’s clubs.

Freeman, who recently spoke during a conference of attorneys general at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, said in a letter to DoD Inspector General Jon T. Rymer and Defense Travel Management Office Director Harvey Johnson that although government employees should use credit cards responsibly, the recommendation to ban such cards at casinos is troubling.

“A policy that prohibits the use of government credit cards at casinos would reflect a gross misunderstanding of casinos, which consist of much more than the gaming floor itself, and would ignore the many legitimate business-related expenses incurred at gaming facilities,” Freeman said.

He asked if the policy would prohibit employees from staying in a hotel room or dining at a restaurant within a casino.

“Further, in cities across the country, from Las Vegas to Philadelphia, Biloxi to Detroit, government agencies and private-sector businesses alike routinely hold important meetings and conventions at casinos, which provide state-of-the-art facilities,” he said.

The Beau Rivage and other casinos hire military veterans, provide discounts for the military and team up with charities that benefit veterans and active-duty service members.

A blanket ban on government credit cards at casinos would have “significant negative unintended consequences,” he said.

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