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American Gaming Association to Name DC Lobbyist Bill Miller Next CEO

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has been without a chief executive since August 1, but the lobbying organization that represents casino interests in DC and throughout the country has reportedly found its next leader.

Bill Miller is rumored to be the man for the American Gaming Association job. (Image: Business Roundtable/AGA/Casino.org)

CDC Gaming Reports’ Howard Stutz has learned that longtime DC lobbyist Bill Miller has been tapped for the job. Miller currently serves as senior vice president of government relations for the Business Roundtable, a group consisting of high-profile CEOs that works to promote pro-business policies in the nation’s capital.

Former AGA President Geoff Freeman officially stepped down August 1 to take over the Grocery Manufacturers Association. His resignation came just a month after the gaming industry scored its biggest win in decades: the US Supreme Court’s decision in May to repeal the longstanding federal sports betting ban and hand back such regulatory powers to the states.

The AGA is the leading lobbying group that represents the $240 billion US gaming industry. Members include commercial and tribal casino operators, equipment suppliers and manufacturers, and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry.

According to his Business Roundtable bio, Miller oversees “all outreach to Capitol Hill” for the group and has “more than two decades of experience … representing business interests in Washington.” Prior to the Roundtable, Miller worked for the US Chamber of Commerce.

Murren Impact

The American Gaming Association isn’t commenting on the CDC Gaming Reports article. Stutz says the AGA’s board of directors will vote on Miller’s nomination next week.

Though nothing is set in stone, Miller might have one powerful casino exec in his corner.

MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren chaired the AGA board of directors for three years between 2014 and 2017. He is also a member of the Business Roundtable. And most importantly, Murren was part of the six-member AGA search committee to find the gaming lobbying group’s next chief executive.

Penn National CEO Timothy Wilmott replaced Murren as AGA chair in November 2017.

Critical Period Ahead

If Miller is indeed Freeman’s successor, he will have some rather large shoes to fill. DC-based media outlet The Hill named Freeman one of the top lobbyists in 2016 for “leading the charge against the federal ban on sports betting.”

2019 and the years ahead will be a crucial stretch in the US gaming industry. Numerous issues are facing the market, with the expansion of sports betting the most pressing current topic.

Seven states — Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Mississippi, and New Mexico — have joined Nevada in legalizing full-fledged sports betting in wake of the SCOTUS decision. But there are ongoing efforts in DC to have Congress intervene with a nationwide regulatory framework that would supersede all state laws.

It’s something the AGA is working against. AGA Senior VP of Public Affairs Sara Slane said in August, “Federal oversight of sports betting was an abject failure for 26 years only contributing to a thriving illegal market with no consumer protections and safeguards. New federal mandates are a nonstarter.”

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