The Hill Top Lobbyists List Recognizes AGA President Bill Miller, VP Chris Cylke

Posted on: December 13, 2019, 09:50h. 

Last updated on: December 13, 2019, 11:49h.

The Hill has recognized American Gaming Association (AGA) President Bill Miller and Senior VP of Government Relations Chris Cylke as being two lobbyists who are on top of their games.

The Hill lobbyists AGA Bill Miller
K Street in DC is littered with lobbyists, but The Hill says two of the best are working for casinos across the country. (Image: Getty)

The media outlet focuses on federal politics, policy, and international relations, and is headquartered on K Street, the epicenter of the DC lobbying and advocacy scene. The Hill’s 2019 Top Lobbyists numbers more than 500 individuals who successfully worked on behalf of various industries and companies over the last year.

“In a busy and testing year for the influence world, these are the people who wielded their clout and knowledge most effectively on behalf of their clients,” The Hill said of its rankings. “The ranks of Washington’s policy experts and influencers runs deep, but these are the players who stand out for delivering results for their clients in the halls of Congress and the administration.”

Miller and Cylke are both relatively newcomers to the gaming industry.

Miller was appointed president and CEO in December 2018 after Geoff Freeman resigned to head up the larger Grocery Manufacturers Association. Cylke came to the AGA in July 2017 after lobbying for such organizations as the Motion Picture Association of America, National Music Publishers Association, and US Chamber of Commerce.

AGA Future

The AGA scored perhaps its biggest victory in its history in May 2018 when the US Supreme Court repealed the federal prohibition on sports betting. It was Freeman’s curtain call, as it led to the Grocery Manufacturers Association poaching the lobbying expert from the gaming industry.

Miller enters with a big vision to further deliver credibility to the gaming industry, providing federal lawmakers with the facts regarding the benefits casino gambling and associated hospitality brings to states.

Now more than ever, our industry is recognized as a vast economic contributor, a source of proud and reliable employment, a pathway to the middle class, and a provider of unique entertainment experiences throughout the United States,” the AGA’s Strategic Plan 2020 declares.

At October’s Global Gaming Expo, Miller said the group has three main priorities. It’s focused on making sure the industry gets sports right, turning its public support into political influence, and modernizes casino floors.

DC Lobbying

According to the Center for Responsible Politics’ OpenSecrets database of campaign finance activity and lobbying expenditures, lobbying spending reached $3.42 billion in 2018, the highest mark in eight years.

The top lobbying spender was the US Chamber of Commerce, which shelled out nearly $95 million paying firms to push its agenda. The chamber has been the top spender every year since 2000. The National Association of Realtors was second at $73 million.

OpenSecrets shows $32.8 million was spent on lobbying for the gaming industry in 2018. Tribal gaming entities were responsible for the bulk of the activity. but MGM Resorts ($1.9 million), Caesars ($1.14 million) and Las Vegas Sands ($1 million) also contributed.