AGA Highlights Tribal Gaming’s Positive Economic ImpactBy Geoff Freeman, President, American Gaming AssociationOctober 23, 2017 at 1:39 pm Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in our first Get to Know Gaming Event with AGA’s Tribal gaming partners in Oklahoma City. As you know, this series of events convenes the gaming industry, small businesses that benefit from partnerships with our members and local and federal elected officials to have a discussion on the positive impact of gaming on communities across the country. In Oklahoma, many state-wide benefits are derived from Tribal gaming, and we were fortunate to have representatives from Cherokee and Chickasaw Nations participate, and many others in attendance.This event provided a great opportunity to release our groundbreaking new report, The Economic Impact of Tribal Gaming: A First-Ever State-by-State Analysis, about the many economic benefits states derive from Tribal gaming. Tribal gaming supports 635,000 jobs, paying more than $33 billion in employee wages and $16 billion in taxes and direct payments to federal, state and local governments. This report helps our industry tell a story about the totality of casino gaming in the United States. Together, commercial and Tribal gaming drive $240 billion in economic activity, approximately $70 billion in gross gaming revenue, nearly $40 billion in taxes and direct payments to governments and 1.7 million American jobs. When embraced as a potent economic force, our industry is best positioned to advance our shared interests at the local and federal level.Both the event and research are part of AGA’s Get to Know Gaming (G2KG) campaign, which aims to educate communities about gaming’s role as a community partner in 40 states across the country. I encourage you to read through the overview of this significant piece of the gaming industry.We had standing-room-only attendance at the event which featured participation from:Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4);Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2);Matthew Morgan, director of gaming affairs Chickasaw Nation;Mark Fulton, chief operating officer, Cherokee Nation Entertainment;Richard Faught, director of sales, Orion Security Solutions;Sheila Morago, executive director, Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA); andRussell Evans, executive director, Stevens C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute (ERPI).Congressmen Cole and Mullin, registered members of the Chickasaw and Cherokee Nations respectively, lauded the significant impact of gaming on the state. “The economic impact, in terms of jobs, in terms of tax revenue, is just extraordinary,” said Cole. “Because of gaming, you’re seeing the impact in our communities” with investment in critical infrastructure including schools, roads and bridges, added Congressman Mullin.Faught gave his perspective of how his small business partners with the gaming industry, saying “it’s really been a blessing for us, all the business that we’ve been allowed to gather from local gaming.”We discussed what makes Oklahoma unique, and the opportunities associated with the pending Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of the federal ban on sports betting (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act or PASPA).The event, and the research attracted significant attention from local media as well, including coverage on FOX Oklahoma City, ABC Ft. Smith, and CDC Gaming Reports.We look forward to continuing to tell the exceptionally positive story of gaming’s impact on communities across the country in the months ahead, and will keep you posted when the Get to Know Gaming tour comes to your community.