This year's Southern Gaming Summit, which is taking place this week at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, Biloxi, Miss., will open with the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Frank Fahrenkopf, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), who will retire June 30. Fahrenkopf has been the first and only chief executive of the AGA since its inception in July 1995.

The award will be presented on Wednesday, May 8, at 9:00 am by the Summit's opening keynote speaker Gary Loveman, CEO and president, Caesars Entertainment, who also serves on the AGA's Board of Directors.

"There is no better way to start this year's Southern Gaming Summit than by recognizing Frank Fahrenkopf for his many years of indispensably valuable leadership of our industry," said Larry Gregory, executive director, Mississippi Casino Operators Association. "The AGA under Frank has brilliantly represented and constructively advanced the case for legal, regulated gaming as a positive contributor to the economy. Simply put, the growth that our industry has enjoyed since the mid-90's would not have been possible without Frank Fahrenkopf."

The AGA has enjoyed tremendous success under Fahrenkopf's leadership, including the positive findings and recommendations of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission; the establishment and good works of the National Center for Responsible Gaming; and the worldwide success of industry trade shows Global Gaming Expo and G2E Asia as watershed accomplishments

The creation and adoption of an industry-wide code of conduct for responsible gaming, creation of the AGA Diversity Task Force to promote diversity in industry hiring and procurement, the recent establishment of the Global Gaming Women program and leadership in the pursuit of intelligent regulatory reform also are key successes.

“I’ll be at the Southern Gaming Summit [to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award] in May and IAGA will be giving me an award at their meeting in London in June so it’s a fun time,” said Fahrenkopf in an article that ran in the April issue of Casino Journal. “I’m not retiring; I want to make that clear, I’m just stepping down from this job. I’m talking to a couple of universities about doing some teaching, writing and consulting as I do know a little bit about this industry.”