This year's Southern Gaming Summit 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 a.m. 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.

The opening keynote will be followed by a two-day Southern Gaming Summit conference program featuring 16 breakout sessions focused on a broad range of issues of interest to the commercial and tribal gaming sectors. The Summit's companion show, Bingo World Conference & Expo, will offer nine breakout sessions, plus its popular Bingo U workshops.

All Southern Gaming Summit & Bingo World conference attendees will have access to the full program.

There will also be plenty of networking opportunities available throughout the event, with the return of the popular opening day Global Gaming Women Luncheon at the Island View on Tuesday, May 7. Opening day will also feature a golf tournament at Caesars Grand Bear Golf Course; and a welcome reception that same night at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. An opening night party follows on Wednesday, May 8, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

With its unique and dynamic audience of commercial and tribal casinos, racetrack gaming and bingo operators, Southern Gaming Summit is again drawing strong exhibit booth, sponsorship and advertising sales, with more than 70 exhibiting companies already signed up.

Full details on every aspect of the show, including how to register for the full conference or for the trade show-only, are available at www.sgsummit.com.