In light of a new report in which the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Inspector General recommends banning the use of government credit cards at casinos, the American Gaming Association (AGA) is urging DoD not to single out the gaming industry and ignore the diverse offerings provided by casinos. In a letter to DoD Inspector General Jon T. Rymer and Defense Travel Management Office Director Harvey Johnson, AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman said that while 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,” wrote Freeman in the letter. “For example, would employees not be permitted to stay in a hotel room that is part of a casino? Would such a policy prohibit the purchase of staple items in retail locations, or restrict patronizing restaurants, 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. Would a potential DoD ban prohibit these activities?”

Freeman noted that casino gaming is a $240 billion American industry that supports 1.7 million jobs and generates $38 billion in vital tax revenues for state and local governments. He also compared the proposal to the misguided blacklisting of prominent cities for government conferences and events.

“The gaming industry is also proud to provide outstanding career opportunities to military veterans after they have completed their service to our country, and we regularly partner with charitable organizations that benefit veterans and active duty servicemembers.

“Given the offering of lodging and convention amenities, as well as diverse retail and dining establishments often housed within a casino facility, a blanket ban on the use of government credit cards at casinos would have significant negative unintended consequences. We urge you to consider these negative repercussions and not single out an industry that represents a key part of the U.S. economy,” wrote Freeman.