The Chairman at the American Gaming Association (AGA) is one of the most influential in the US casino industry, so the election of a new officer is typically met with great anticipation. With Jim Murren, the previous incumbent, stepping down, the reins of power have been handed over to Tim Wilmott.
Wilmott will assume the position for the next two years. The accomplished American is currently serving as the CEO of Penn National Gaming. Alongside his work there he has been an active member of the AGA; first as an Executive Committee member, before latterly taking on the role of board director.
Well respected in the industry, Wilmott has decades of experience to call upon, with ten years at Penn National Gaming under his belt and two decades as COO of the Harrah Entertainment group immediately preceding that. Overall, the AGA courting Wilhott is thought by many in the industry to be a major victory!
Jim Murren will continue in his role as the CEO of MGM Resorts, though the sense is that his strong presence on the board of AGA will be sorely missed. The American Gaming Association’s president, Geoff Freeman, said:
"I am indebted to Jim for his tremendous leadership over two consecutive terms as our chairman. Throughout, he has been committed to modernising the Association and has led an era marked by significant progress on important matters of policy and building stronger relationships in Washington and with key stakeholders across a variety of industries."
Even so, Freeman is clearly impassioned by the appointment of Tim Wilmott as Murren’s successor:
"We are fortunate to have Tim as our next chairman. His passion for our industry, shared vision and deep involvement on a number of critical issues assures a smooth and successful transition into the future. Tim will be instrumental in driving the implementation of our 2020 Strategic Plan and I know I speak for our team and the entire industry when I say we look forward to working together."
Murren will continue to serve as an active AGA member and is looking forward to a bright future under his successor. Murren explained:
"I’m immensely proud of the progress we have made in establishing our industry as mainstream entertainment, a source of strong jobs and as a crucial economic engine of the US economy. Tim is a chief executive of the highest calibre and has been an engaged and invaluable member of the AGA Board and Executive Committee and a strong partner to me personally. He has contributed greatly to our past successes and has my full support as he leads us into the future."
The AGA identifies its own position in a mission statement as ‘the single most effective advocate for casino operators, suppliers and allies in the gaming industry’. And, given the numbers involved, that is not a role to be taken lightly. The US casino industry is said to be worth a cool $240 billion per annum.
And, despite a strict regulatory framework, more than 1.7 million people are employed in casinos across 40 different states. The object of the AGA is to aid in continued future growth, as well as combat any public policies that aim to curtail the activities of the industry. So Tim Wilmott will be busy in the coming years!