On July 1st, 2013 the American Gaming Association (AGA) will have a new president in place as it embarks on a new chapter of gaming in the US. Geoff Freeman was selected to take over the position and has officially been appointed as president and chief executive offer of the gaming association. A veteran of 16 years of major industry association experience in leadership roles and is ready to take over at the end of June. Geoff is only 38 years old but has extensive experience with public affairs including seven years with the U.S. Travel Association and helped issue campaigns and reposition the industry. As chief operating officer during his tenure with the travel association he worked on passing the Travel Promotion Act that was instrumental in helping places like Las Vegas with increased travel in the US.
Freeman also doubled the resources of the travel industry and was a major point man for the expansion of such activities that included reducing visa times waits for international travelers and improved the US travel infrastructure by reforming the Transportation Security Administration.
The American Gaming Association looked hard and long to find a replacement for Frank Fahrenkopf Jr, who is now 73 and ready to retire. But the association needed new energy to take over the helm and by the sounds of it, Geoff is ready; “Every industry has its challenges,” Freeman said in an interview Wednesday. “And all industries want the same thing, such as policies that are consistent with growth. As gaming grows around the globe, I look forward to strengthening our partnership with other aspects of the travel community.”
Mr. Fahrenkopf has confirmed that he will work with Mr. Freeman to make sure things go smoothly for him during the transition. Geoff realizes that the American gaming industry in going through lots of changes now, especially with online gaming coming up so quickly, “Like the travel industry, gaming is a complex industry,” Freeman said.
The AGA knew they had the right man after an extensive executive search and determined that they want strong connections in Washington; it’s what they need right now considering all the different dynamics and intricacies in the American Gaming landscape at this current time; “We are excited to welcome Geoff to the AGA and look forward to working with him in his new role as president and CEO," said Richard Haddrill , chairman of Bally Technologies, Inc. and chairman of the AGA's Board of Directors. "He is both a thoughtful and energetic leader who already understands our industry, has a deep public policy background and extensive network of relationships in Washington, and has the skills to build coalitions and execute grass roots campaigns."
One of the major issues that will be coming over this new president’s desk with be to begin getting a hold of all the online gaming issues going on right now in the US. With Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware now legalizing online gaming, there are sure to be more states on the way. Most likely one of the major reasons Mr. Freeman was hired was to get the AGA to make an impact in Washington and make sense of some Federal legislation and all the details that will need to be covered to make that happen. His strong points will coming in handy when he needs to build a consensus and identify issues that will serve the gaming industry as it moves into this new phase with online gaming. One of the major issues with a Federal bill in the US is making everyone happy including the Indian Tribes, States, Opposition parties, major corporations and land-based casinos.
Freeman has worked with casino company executives in the past and over the years so he knows what he’s up against. One of the areas he will need to address will be how to handle the online gaming company executives and find a common ground between the two so that they can all work together in the coming years as the US market expands.
The major players in Las Vegas are confident that he can take the AGA comfortably into the new frontier, “Geoff is one of the up-and-coming leaders in policy development and strategy,” as Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Rossi Ralenkotter said. The AGA needs a fresh tireless approach and they have selected someone who will be able to handle all the many facets and issues that are on it’s way in the coming years. Geoff Freeman is a graduate of the University of Berkeley and lives in Arlington Virginia.