Recently I read with interest a release Bill Miller, the new president and CEO of America Gaming Association (AGA), sent to the trade group’s membership regarding gaming priorities its putting before the new U.S. Congress. For those who missed it, here it is in its entirety:
Dear Gaming Colleague,
This is a remarkable time for gaming in America. The industry continues to grow, and acceptance of gaming as a form of mainstream entertainment has never been higher.
Fundamental to the gaming industry’s continued success is ensuring that policymakers at all levels of government understand our positive economic impact and commitment to responsibility. With nearly 20 percent of the new U.S. Congress composed of freshman members, it is incumbent on AGA to engage and educate them aggressively with the goal of developing a regionally and politically diverse group of future industry champions.
With that in mind, I sent an introductory letter to Capitol Hill last week providing a brief overview of the gaming industry and outlining the policy priorities we hope to work with members of Congress from both parties to advance.
Among the key policy areas we highlighted are:
- Growing legal sports betting by directing federal attention to illegal sports betting operators that put consumers and the integrity of sports at risk, while allowing state and sovereign tribal nations to build on their proven record of successfully regulating gaming without federal involvement;
- Reviewing the current anti-money laundering (AML) framework to ensure a strong culture of compliance while alleviating unnecessary industry burden;
- Supporting a corporate tax policy that encourages industry investment and lowers administrative time and costs; and
- Implementing smart immigration and travel policies that meet the needs of the gaming industry’s diverse workforce and customer base.
As always, we want to be a resource for you as we work to advance our industry’s interests in Washington, DC. If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out.
It’s a very strong and measured list, with consensus-building items that all the gaming industry can support. But I wish one more rather radical bullet point had been added—the AGA voicing approval and throwing support behind the New Green Deal initiative.
I know, I know…it’s liberal, it’s socialist, it’s communist… and it’s anti-beef! I also realize the Green New Deal is more of a statement of goals than an actual piece of legislation, and it has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing in today’s highly partisan federal government. Still, if you are able to get by all the spin and hype and look at the actual goals of the proposal, you find that some of them jibe very well with current gaming industry actions.
For example, the Green New Deal calls for guaranteed jobs with family-sustaining wages and benefits; something which the gaming industry as a whole has provided for its workers for quite some time. Study after study shows casinos offer large numbers of well-paying jobs for a diverse group of the populace including minorities and women.
The Green New Deal also wants people to have greater access to training and higher education. Segments of the North American gaming industry have led in this category as well… tribal gaming operation are renown for the training and educational opportunities they offer employees and local communities.
Another tenant of the Green New Deal is creating energy efficient buildings. I can’t begin to tell you how many press releases I get about green building initiatives from casino operators, outlining everything from the creation of solar power farms to power gaming facilities to wastewater recycling and carbon footprint reduction. Why not have other industries follow suit?
Once again, I know the Green New Deal is likely DOA. But what does it hurt to tilt at the windmills every now and then?