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AGA road trips to explain how casinos help small businesses

Updated April 18, 2017 - 1:37 pm

The American Gaming Association is starting a series of road trips Tuesday to explain how commercial and tribal casinos help small businesses across the country.

Representatives of the Washington, D.C.-based association will meet with Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., at Eastern Food Services in Laurel, Maryland, to raise awareness of the casino industry’s influence on small business and the economy.

The association completed a report in February showing that casinos support 350,000 small-business jobs in the United States and are responsible for $52 billion in revenue across several employment categories.

In addition, casinos pay an estimated $3 billion for direct purchases from small businesses, directly or indirectly produce $13 billion in income through wages, tips, benefits and salaries and annually drive $7 billion in federal, state and local taxes in addition to the $9 billion in taxes generated by commercial casinos in 2016.

Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the association, said the casino industry often is incorrectly accused of cannibalizing small businesses when new casinos are proposed in a jurisdiction. Instead, she said, they drive growth in local communities by offering new jobs and providing new services.

The association says casinos frequently work with local restaurants, theaters, community centers and other venues to complement products and services they offer.

In Maryland, Eastern Food Services works with MGM Resorts International’s new National Harbor casino property, producing branded water bottles for the casino’s Mlife casino loyalty program.

The association, which has listed case studies of small businesses working with casinos across the country in its report, plans presentations in different locations throughout 2017. Officials at the association say they haven’t determined yet whether they’ll include Nevada among the tour stops.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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