Issue: October 2006 Issue
Roll the Dice
Frank J. Fahrenkopf., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, says it is not like Ohio already doesn't have gambling -- the Ohio Lottery.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), grew up in Reno, Nev., giving him a profound perspective on the state's number one industry. After 17 years of practice as a trial and gaming lawyer in Nevada representing such notable clients as Wayne Newton, Fahrenkopf moved to Washington D.C. and now heads up the organization that represents the commercial casino industry.
Created in 1995 after the Clinton Administration threatened to start imposing a four percent gross receipts tax on all gaming in the United States, AGA gained the support of more than 30 state governors to effectively squash the initiative. Today, in addition to addressing federal legislative and regulatory issues affecting its members, AGA takes an aggressive stance on educating the general public on newly emerging national gaming issues.
"We only go into states where we are invited; I don't go in as an advocate [on gambling] one way or the other," says Fahrenkopf about the message he is bringing to this year's Northeast Ohio audience at the 2006 Commercial Real Estate Deal Maker Forum. "My job is to make sure that I direct the decision makers to the facts so they can make informed, intelligent decisions."
Fahrenkopf is a frequent commentator on political and gaming issues, appearing on such network television programs as "Crossfire," "Meet the Press" and "Hardball." He recalls the last time Ohio was facing a gaming issue on the ballot, he debated then-Governor George Voinovich on "Face the Nation" in 1996.
"It's not like Ohio doesn't have gambling. I said, â€˜Governor, you actually sit as the head of one of the biggest gaming activities in the country – the Ohio Lottery,'" remembers Fahrenkopf, who says public attitude about gambling in the United States has remained "pretty solid, with about 15 percent opposed to all forms of gambling on moral grounds," according to the polls.
In addition to his leadership duties at AGA, Fahrenkopf stays busy with a number of other political appointments. He is co-founder and presently co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which conducts the general election presidential and vice presidential debates in presidential election years. He also founded the National Endowment for Democracy, where he served as vice chairman and a board member from 1983 to 1993, and serves as a board member of the International Republican Institute, which he also founded in 1984.
Fahrenkopf first gained national prominence during the 1980s when he served as chairman of the Republican Party for six of President Ronald Reagan's eight years in the White House. When he retired in January 1989, Fahrenkopf had served as chairman of that committee longer than any person in the 20th century (and second longest in the history of the party).
But it's the gaming, entertainment, tourism and hotel casino industry that remains most captivating to him. "It's a very dynamic, very interesting industry. They say when you are doing a job, you want one that's fun to do. This is hard work," Fahrenkopf says about his role wth AGA, "but it's fun and I enjoy it."
For additional information, contact Karolyn Isenhart at Ulmer & Berne LLP at 216-583-7308 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ulmer.com
More articles for Gaming in Ohio:
Roll the Dice
Taking a Stand
The Stakes Are High
On the Bright Side
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