The story of a casino vendor By Rick Mitchell, V.P. of Sales, Shreveport Communication Service February 22, 2020 at 3:13 pm Publisher’s Note: Rick Mitchell of Shreveport, Louisiana submitted this commentary in response to Gaming: an economic driver beyond the bright lights by Bill Miller, President, American Gaming Association – JC On April 18, 1994 Harrah’s casino opened their doors in Shreveport, Louisiana. Weeks later, the Isle of Capri opened across the river in Bossier City. As the sales manager of a locally owned two-way radio dealership, and a Christian, myself, along with many in our twin cities, were apprehensive how gaming might adversely affect our area. Our company, along with many others, had decisions to make. Do we proactively go after these opportunities; or allow local and/or outside competition to gain significant market share in our region? This fear drove us to move forward; although at first guardingly. Having worked with federal, state, and local governments for years, I was soon excited to learn that Harrah’s had hired Marlin Flores, the past Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police as their Security Director. Marlin Flores, in my opinion, provided credibility to our fledging gaming market. The first General Manager of Harrah’s was Anthony Sanfilippo, a man who became a major player in the industry. If I had to use a single word to describe Anthony in those early days; it would be, approachable. Fast forward twenty-six years and our company has had the pleasure to provide support to over fifty such properties across the United States since this first connection. Through years of personal management of this vertical, I can honestly say working with the gaming industry has been a pleasure. As a major Motorola two-way radio dealer, we operate in multiple major verticals and without hesitation I can say the personnel working in management roles in this industry are as capable and as honorable as any. Knock-on-wood, but we have never had a property not pay us for equipment and services in a timely manner. I like to believe we are a relationship company; that we move beyond being just another vendor to our customers. Over the last few years, with property after property changing ownership, unfortunately times are a changing. The apprehension of gaming in our area has changed to uncertainty of possible changes to come. Fast forward five more years into the future and I can’t tell you where the gaming industry will be. But whatever happens; gaming has played a large part in the growth of our company for over a quarter of a century.