As the gaming industry expands to new areas around the country, Congressmen Joe Heck (R-NV) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS) today announced the launch of the Congressional Gaming Caucus. Both Congressmen represent districts with a significant gaming presence, and will serve as Co-Chairs of the caucus. Reps. Heck and Thompson share firsthand knowledge of the gaming industry and will direct activities of the caucus. The caucus will focus on educating Members on gaming-related issues and working to identify key policy areas that can be advanced at a federal level, to enhance the economic impact of gaming around the country. The caucus will bring together lawmakers, industry representatives, and key stakeholders to develop an appropriate federal role in the gaming industry.
"The gaming industry is crucial to the economic health of Nevada and so I joined with Congressman Thompson in rejuvenating the gaming caucus so that we can keep gaming issues at the forefront of the Congressional conversation," Congressman Heck said. "I look forward to working with caucus members to advance responsible federal policies that will allow the gaming industry to continue to thrive as the national job creating engine it is. With gaming expanding into more and more states, we have a great opportunity to engage Members of both parties from a wide array of districts on issues that are becoming more prevalent for them to work on."
"The commercial gaming industry has brought over 820,000 jobs to Americans across the country, and has benefitted many constituents directly in our various Congressional districts. The Congressional Gaming Caucus will, on a bi-partisan basis, raise important gaming related issues, on the federal level, which impact our communities and constituents. As Members of Congress, if we truly want to promote economic development and jobs, we must begin to work with businesses that exists in the communities we serve, like the commercial gaming industry. I look forward to working with Congressman Heck and the other members of the Congressional Gaming Caucus for a productive 2013/2014 program," said Congressman Thompson.
"On behalf of the commercial gaming entertainment industry, the American Gaming Association (AGA) is pleased that Congressmen Heck and Thompson have taken a leadership role in revitalizing the Congressional Gaming Caucus," said Frank Fahrenkopf, AGA president & CEO. "The gaming industry has quickly grown as a significantly positive economic catalyst for so many communities across America, helping to provide more than 820,000 direct/indirect American jobs, generating close to $25 billion in tax revenue, and supporting economic activity roughly equivalent to 1 percent of the entire U.S. GDP. With more than half of the U.S. Congress representing districts in states that offer legal, regulated gaming, the AGA looks forward to working with members of the Congressional Gaming Caucus on many important issues that will continue to enhance the economic impact of the gaming industry around the country."
The activities of the Congressional Gaming Caucus will initially focus on the following:
a. Addressing employment and economic issues -- to promote training and skills improvement which can make jobs available to constituents and economically empower gaming communities;
b. Interacting with gaming companies and their representatives to hear their concerns and to share Member's concerns;
c. Holding Member and staff level meetings on a regular basis to assure the effectiveness, viability, and relevance of the Caucus.
The Co-Chairs sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to fellow House Members inviting them to join the caucus.
Congressman Joe Heck, a Republican, represents Nevada's Third District in the House of Representatives. He has served the third district in the House since 2011.
Congressman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, represents Mississippi's Second District. Congressman Thompson has represented the second district in the House since 1993.