Frank Fahrenkopf, the president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA) since the its founding in 1995, has announced he is stepping down from his position effective June 30, 2013. He will be retained as a consultant to the AGA to assist with the transition through at least the end of 2013.

“I have enjoyed my time at the helm of this incredible organization and am proud to have represented an industry that provides tens of millions of men and women with the best entertainment value in the world,” said Fahrenkopf in a prepared statement. “It has been a true honor to work with so many passionate and innovative leaders as we have moved the industry forward during the past 17 years.”

The AGA board and Fahrenkopf have been involved in succession planning over the course of the past two years and reached an agreement in December 2011 on the date when he would step down. An executive search firm has been retained to identify Fahrenkopf’s successor.

“I cannot begin to express the tremendous gratitude and respect our entire board holds for Frank,” said Richard Haddrill, chairman of Bally Technologies, Inc. and chairman of the AGA. “He has been a steady, thoughtful leader through a period of great change for our industry and has steered us through some of its most difficult challenges. The fact that today our industry is recognized as a vital part of the global economy is in no small part due to his tireless efforts and leadership.” 

Fahrenkopf noted that when the AGA was created, the perception of the gaming industry in Washington and throughout much of the country was based more on myth than reality. From its first day of operation, the AGA’s mission has been to create a better understanding of the industry by bringing the facts about it to the general public, elected officials, other decision makers and the media through education and advocacy.

The AGA has enjoyed tremendous success under Fahrenkopf’s leadership. Gaming industry leaders cited 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.

“There’s no doubt that Frank’s political savvy has been instrumental in protecting and promoting our industry’s interests on Capitol Hill, but the impact of his leadership stretches well beyond Washington,” said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. “From the very start, he understood the need to unify the industry in addressing key issues like responsible gaming and diversity, programs that are at the cornerstone of how we do business.  It hasn’t always been easy to bring our disparate group together, but he did it.  Frank’s legacy at the AGA is testament to what we can accomplish together.”