AGA Helped in Massachusetts Casino Vote

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I read an interesting article by Howard Stutz, one of the few gaming journalists that actually covers the entire country – even New England.  Howard writes for the Las-Vegas Review Journal and many other sources, as well as his own blog called “Stiffs & Georges.”  And, while I hear and read other pod-casters and bloggers almost guessing at what’s going on in New England, Howard has been following the Massachusetts project all along.

We all knew, or assumed that the No-Repeal lobby had lots of cash to represent itself in the previous November ballot.  What I didn’t know was how strong the financial support was outside of New England.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) opened its office in Washington, D.C., in June 1995 with the fundamental goal of creating a better understanding of the gaming entertainment industry by bringing facts about the industry to the general public, elected officials, other decision makers and the media through education and advocacy.   The AGA represents the commercial casino entertainment industry by addressing federal legislative and regulatory issues affecting its members and their employees and customers, such as federal taxation, Internet gambling, and travel and tourism matters.

According to Howard Stutz, “The Washington, D.C.-based association wanted states and cities to decide whether gaming expansion was right for their own backyards without any influence from the trade association.”

But in Massachusetts, the AGA used a marketing series produced to help educate the masses about the gaming industry. The series, “Get to Know Gaming” had advertisements in the Boston area leading up to the vote.  MGM & Wynn were the help financial backers that ran the campaign.

Geoff Freeman, CEO of American Gaming Association

Geoff Freeman, CEO of American Gaming Association

It was the AGA’s responsibility to help this time, and not let the states residents make a decision without hearing the casino industry’s  economic benefits.

It’s effort was a clear 60-40 decision in favor of not repealing the casino law.  I guess “No” does mean “Yes” – but only in Massachusetts.

CEO Geoff Freeman released the following statement after Massachusetts voted to welcome gaming to the Bay State:

“The people of Massachusetts have wisely rejected tired stereotypes about gaming and chosen to welcome a reliable economic engine to the Commonwealth. Massachusetts joins a long line of states that have considered casino gaming, weighed the facts and chosen to embrace the entertainment, jobs and revenue that the industry consistently provides. Our industry looks forward to a strong partnership with Everett, Plainville, Springfield and the people of Massachusetts.”

Special thanks to Howard for his inspiring article.  Thanks for following our little neck of the woods.

That’s all for now.

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