AGA: Maryland Casinos Drive Opportunity and Growth for Small BusinessesApril 19, 2017 at 12:14 pmWashington, DC, April 19 – The casino gaming industry supports 350,000 small business jobs nationwide and nearly 3,000 of them are in Maryland, the American Gaming Association (AGA) announced today at Eastern Food Services, Inc., a local food provider in Prince George’s County, Maryland.Today’s event, part of the AGA’s American Gaming Small Business Jobs Tour, highlights the direct role MGM National Harbor plays in supporting Eastern Food Services, Inc., a company that provides M life water bottles and other food services to the recently opened Maryland casino. Eastern Food Services is one of many companies nationwide that benefits from partnering with a local casino.“Casino gaming is and always has been a strong community partner in Maryland and across the country where hundreds of thousands of small business jobs are supported,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of AGA. “The industry exemplifies the American entrepreneurial spirit with a special emphasis on creating good local jobs for American workers both inside and outside our casinos in nearly every state.”The casino industry is a $240 billion-a-year industry that supports 1.7 million jobs nationwide. In Maryland, gaming employs roughly 15,000 people, supports $446 million in wages and generates $1.7 billion in economic impact.“The gaming industry is a critical source of opportunity and growth for small businesses like Eastern Food Services,” said Congressman Anthony Brown. “Partnering local businesses through the Community Benefits Agreement with MGM National Harbor has proved to be a highly successful venture, and has assisted in the creation of more than 4,000 new jobs, with nearly half of those hires coming from within Prince George’s County itself. I applaud the gaming industry’s willingness to give back to the community, and look forward to furthering our relationship that will generate jobs and sustainable growth for years to come.”This week, AGA released a report, The Gaming Industry’s Impact on Small Business Development in the United States, that examined nearly a dozen U.S. gaming markets and assessed casino gaming’s direct and indirect impact on local, small businesses. Researchers from Spectrum Gaming Group concluded that gaming’s widespread impact is felt in markets across the country, but has larger impacts in small to mid-sized communities where local businesses work to integrate into gaming operations.The report concluded that “the State of Maryland has been proactive in ensuring that a broad range of businesses share in the benefits of gaming by directing 1.5 percent of all casinos’ slot proceeds go to the Maryland Casino Business Investment Fund (MCBIF).”This fund provides capital for small, minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses in Maryland and 50 percent of the funds are directed to target areas that surround the state’s six casinos. In addition, nearly 80 Prince George’s County-based businesses were involved with the construction of MGM National Harbor that totaled $214.3 million for the local businesses.Nationwide, the report concluded that the casino gaming industry generates $52 billion in annual revenues for American small businesses and supports $13 billion in small business employee wages. In addition, $52 billion in annual small business revenues go toward real estate, finance, health care, STEM, manufacturing, information technology and other industries.“Since we arrived in Maryland, MGM National Harbor has placed a tremendous emphasis on engaging locally owned small businesses,” said Bill Boasberg, General Manager of MGM National Harbor. “During our construction and now in our regular operations we strive to serve as a champion for local business engagement. We were able to identify and award 32 percent of our construction contracts to qualified Prince George’s County enterprises.”“Choosing Prince George’s County for MGM’s property confirmed that the area is filled with first-class talent and is a world-class destination,” said Chris Umstot, General Manager of Eastern Food Services, Inc. “Under the guidance of our owner we look forward to doing our part to make sure MGM National Harbor is successful and Prince George’s County prospers.”Eastern Food Services, Inc. is the first stop on AGA’s American Gaming Small Business Jobs Tour. The tour is part of AGA’s Get to Know Gaming (G2KG) campaign, a multiyear, integrated public affairs campaign rooted in authoritative research which touts the value of gaming nationwide. To date, through its Gaming Votes initiative and broader G2KG campaign, AGA has visited Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Pennsylvania.