The American Gaming Association (AGA) welcomed local business and non-profit leaders to a Get to Know Gaming event hosted in Des Moines on Friday last week which highlighted the productive partnership between gaming and the state of Iowa.

Friday’s event was part of AGA’s Get to Know Gaming campaign, which aims to educate local leaders about gaming’s role as a community partner in 40 states across the country. The gathering also marked the release of the association’s latest report, Casinos & Communities Iowa, offering an in-depth look at how the gaming industry supports local communities through small business investments, non-profit partnerships and local workforce initiatives.

“For more than a quarter century, Iowa has benefited from the significant impact of gaming on local communities,” said Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs of AGA. “The economic impact of gaming runs deep in Iowa, with the industry generating over $300m in gaming tax revenues annually and creating nearly twice as many jobs as the Iowa utilities sector. We as an industry remain focused on engaging with communities, supporting small businesses and creating stable jobs across the Hawkeye state, and the new Casinos and Communities Iowa research demonstrates the results of that commitment.”

Brad Rhines, chief strategic officer of Prairie Meadows Casino and Hotel, commented: “We are proud to call Polk County our home. There is a real commitment in our industry to give back to the communities we serve. Since 1996, we have distributed more than $1.69bn throughout the county and state, along with supporting dozens of area non-profits through our grant programmes, event sponsorships, and in-kind donations.”

Friday’s roundtable in Des Moines also included Wes Ehrecke, president and CEO of the Iowa Gaming Association; Paul Czak, vice president and general manager of Ameristar Council Bluffs; Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, chief community impact officer, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines; Dory Briles, executive director, Des Moines Public Library Foundation; State Sen. Jake Chapman; and Slane.

SBC Americas analysis: The Iowa gaming industry employs over 15,000 people statewide, supports $618m in wages and has a total economic impact of $2.5bn, three very good reasons as to why events such as this are key to raising the positive profile of gaming. Credit to the AGA for its Get to Know Gaming initiative and taking a lead role in giving states a platform to share vital knowledge.