It’s not an easy name to spell, but Frank Fahrenkopf – the 74-year-old retiree after 18 years as the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) president – is still a recognized force among Washington, D.C. lobbyists. And while he was ready to step down from the post he held for almost two decades on July 1st of this year, he is hardly ready to watch TV and eat bon bons all day. Apparently, a life filled with adrenaline-rushing work doesn’t die down easy.
The Gaming Life
Fahrenkopf has quite a resume to bring forward, on top of his illustrious AGA career. After starting out in gaming law in Reno in the 1960s and 1970s, he also did six years as the Republican Party chairman in the 1980s.
Fahrenkopf has seen a lot of changes in the gaming industry in his 18-year tenure with AGA. When he started in 1995, there were only commercial land casinos and racetracks in 13 U.S. states, and total gross gaming revenues were around $16.2 billion. By last year, those numbers had swelled to 23 states and revenues of 37.3 billion, and that’s even taking into consideration that Nevada – still the largest revenue source for domestic gaming – is still climbing back out of the recessionary hole that took hold in 2008.
With perhaps a little false modesty, the retired lobbyist says it was all just good timing on his part. “It was a perfect storm in a way that when the industry needed to have someone, I happened to be here,” Fahrenkopf said in a recent interview.
Jon Porter, who served previously in the House on the Hill and now works as a lobbyist for gaming clients, says that Fahrenkopf “has been a part of an era of massive expansion of gaming and has played a major role in the defense of the industry and speaking on behalf of the industry.” Kind of a verbal gold watch there.
As for what lays ahead, although he says he will now have more time for “chipping and putting,” Fahrenkopf is far from becoming a full-time retiree. He’s considering doing more public speaking, teaching, and will continue as an interim liaison for new AGA CEO and president Geoff Freeman for at least the next six months.
He may also become an advocate for more bipartisanship in Congress via an organization called No Labels and will continue as co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, an outfit that organizes election year events, at least for one more cycle, through 2016.
He will not, however, be practicing law anymore, nor will he be “walking the [Capitol] Hill every day,” he says.
He’s probably put in a lifetime of miles in those halls already. Take a rest, sir.