Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 | 11:55 a.m.
The president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, Frank Fahrenkopf, is leaving his position at the end of June, the gaming industry lobbying group announced Monday.
Fahrenkopf, the former chairman of the Republican Party, has led the association since its creation in 1995.
“I have enjoyed my time at the helm of this incredible organization and am proud to have represented an industry that provides tens of millions of men and women with the best entertainment value in the world,” Fahrenkopf said in a statement. “It has been a true honor to work with so many passionate and innovative leaders as we have moved the industry forward during the past 17 ½ years.”
The move was planned well in advance. The American Gaming Association board of directors and Fahrenkopf reached an agreement on his departure date in December 2011, according to an association release.
“I cannot begin to express the tremendous gratitude and respect our entire board holds for Frank,” Richard Haddrill, chairman of Bally Technologies Inc. and chairman of the AGA said in a statement.
“He has been a steady, thoughtful leader through a period of great change for our industry and has steered us through some of its most difficult challenges,” Haddrill said. “The fact that today our industry is recognized as a vital part of the global economy is in no small part due to his tireless efforts and leadership.”
The association has tasked an executive search firm with finding the next president, and Fahrenkopf is expected to stay on as a consultant through the end of the year.
During his tenure as president of the association, Fahrenkopf worked on the establishment of the National Center for Responsible Gaming and the development of the Global Gaming Expo and G2E Asia trade shows.
The 73-year-old executive also aided in the adoption of an industry-wide code of conduct for responsible gaming and the creation of an association task force to promote diversity in industry hiring and procurement.
“There’s no doubt that Frank’s political savvy has been instrumental in protecting and promoting our industry’s interests on Capitol Hill, but the impact of his leadership stretches well beyond Washington,” Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, said in a statement.
“From the very start, he understood the need to unify the industry in addressing key issues like responsible gaming and diversity, programs that are at the cornerstone of how we do business,” Murren said. “It hasn’t always been easy to bring our disparate group together, but he did it. Frank’s legacy at the AGA is testament to what we can accomplish together.”
The association has helped the gaming industry fend off proposals to levy a federal tax on gaming and, more recently, threw its weight behind an as-of-yet-unsuccessful initiative to approve federal legislation allowing Internet poker.
Fahrenkopf graduated from UNR in 1962 and received his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1965.
His early legal career included nearly two decades of work as a trial and gaming lawyer in Nevada, which included representing clients before Nevada gaming regulatory authorities.
He served as the first chairman of the American Bar Association Committee on Gaming Law and was a founding trustee and president of the International Association of Gaming Attorneys, a worldwide organization of government gaming regulators and private attorneys acting on behalf of licensed gaming enterprises.
Fahrenkopf served as chairman of the Republican Party from 1983 to 1989 and is presently co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which conducts the general election presidential and vice presidential debates.