Geoff Freeman to leave American Gaming Association in August

The man who has led the gaming industry’s fight to bring nationwide sports wagering across the country will become the new president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Geoff Freeman, the president and CEO of the American Gaming Association for the past five years and only the second person to lead it, will take the helm of the GMA Aug. 1.

Freeman is expected to remain with the AGA, the primary trade association representing the $261 billion U.S. casino industry, until late July and will participate in the board-led succession planning process.

“The AGA accomplished many important successes during Geoff’s tenure, most notably the recent Supreme Court ruling declaring the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act unconstitutional, a decision that paves the way for legalized sports betting in the U.S.,” Tim Wilmott, CEO of Penn National Gaming Inc., and the chairman of AGA’s board said in an emailed statement issued by the association.

“It is a testament to our industry, as well as to Geoff himself, that GMA would look to gaming as a model for managing through dynamic change and complexity to achieve success in both policy and perceptions,” Wilmott said. “Geoff has built a strong board and a strong team. He leaves us well positioned for future success.”

Freeman, the former chief operating officer of the U.S. Travel Association that helped develop Brand USA, the public-private effort to increase tourism from abroad, succeeded Frank Fahrenkopf as AGA’s first CEO in 2013.

Fahrenkopf, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, became AGA’s first CEO in 1995 following a legal career that began in Reno.

When Freeman was hired, MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren, an AGA board member, said the association rejected a retired elected official in favor of having someone with more tactical experience with lobbying.

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

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