Watch out, this new thing can be dangerous

Supervising the American Game Association (AGA) is different from having a cat. It’s more like driving a mountain lion. If you take one wrong step, you will lose some body parts.

I wonder if anyone has given Jeff Freeman this job description.

Last week, Freeman, 38, took the second-highest management position for seven years at the American Travel Association to become the second chief executive of the Washington, D.C.-based trading organization in the history of nearly two decades. The AGA monitors the interests of the gaming industry on Capitol Hill.

There may be synergies between the travel and gaming industries, but there is a tremendous difference between tourism leaders and gambling bosses. 카지노사이트 순위

Have you ever been in the same room with Gary Loveman of Caesars Entertainment, Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands, Jim Muren of MGM Resorts International, Peter Kalino of Penn National Gaming, and Keith Smith of Boyd Gaming? (Luckily Steve Wynn’s Wynn Resorts Inc. is not an AGA member).

And we’re yet to get access to Richard Haddrill of Bali Technologies, Patti Hart of International Game Technologies, Gavin Isaacs of SHFL Entertainment, and the rest of the game equipment manufacturing group.

Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., the departing CEO who helped found AGA in 1995, will somehow quit in late June with all of his accessories. Freeman has until July 1 to ponder on the personality and uniqueness that make up the gaming industry.

“I’m not going to try to take Frank’s position,” Freeman said last week. “The AGA has a great team. The game is a great industry and it’s similar to the travel industry in terms of creativity and ways of development.”

Freeman’s leadership style differs from Parenkov’s. That led the AGA board to unanimously select him.

Freeman has testified before Congress, but he is not a regular lobbyist. He is not partisan in his political orientation and is skilled at social media and building consensus among grassroots citizens. Freeman knows members of Congress, but he has never held public office himself.

Freeman has no relationship with any of the American Game Association members. As the chief operating officer of an American travel agency, Freeman interacted with Casino Leadership in Las Vegas, but he is not considered anyone’s houseplant in the organization.

Muren, chairman of MGM Resorts and vice president of AGA’s board, said Freeman has emerged as a favorite because he met everyone’s qualifications.

“We felt strongly about having someone with deep experience in a trade organization that understood the regulatory industry,” Muren said. “We declined to have a retired elected official who preferred someone with more tactical experience.”

Parenkov’s retirement announcement in January drew many candidates, including lobbyists in Washington and former lawmakers with ties to the casino industry. As reported by the Congressional Quarterly, most were interested in the $2.6 million annual salary he received in 2010.

But Freeman was built more for 2013 than it was in 1995.

AGA was created to combat anti-gaming forces that could have halted casino expansion and triggered federal taxation on casino revenue.

Parenkov appeared to have gone straight from central casting to AGA positions. A Reno native and lawyer, Parenkov became the perfect insider during the Reagan administration when he chaired the Republican National Committee.

Over the years, anti-gaming forces have gone silent and federal tax ideas have disappeared.

In 2012, 22 states with commercial casinos made $35.64 billion in gaming revenue.

“AGA was born with the incredible belief that we were being attacked like never before,” Muren said. “We needed someone with impeccable credentials and a deep connection. Frank was unmatched in his efforts.”

The problem facing the gaming industry today requires a different style.

Haddrill, chairman of Bali Technologies and current chairman of the AGA board, said Freeman’s experience in enhancing U.S. Travel’s image and role will help the game.

Haddrill said, “Politics is moving at a much faster pace than ever. We’re not defending as an industry anymore. We need to be aggressive. He’ll be less visible than Frank at first, but he’ll be effective in other ways. Like Frank, he’ll be the public face of the game.”

Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said Freeman has the talent, leadership skills, and political knowledge to manage AGA, solve game problems, and deal with the personality of the industry.

Ralenkotter, who ends his two-year term as chairman of U.S. Travel, is not worried that Freeman will be eaten alive.

“Geoff has succeeded in identifying and understanding problems, building consensus, conducting sound research, and being a good speaker,” said Ralenkotter.

You’ll soon see how good he is at taming mountain lions.

36 thoughts on “Watch out, this new thing can be dangerous

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *