Posted on: June 23, 2022, 01:03h.
Last updated on: June 23, 2022, 10:18h.
Former American Gaming Association (AGA) CEO Geoff Freeman helped transform the US gaming industry by successfully petitioning the Supreme Court to review the longstanding federal sports betting ban in 2018. The nation’s high court in May of that same year overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and made sports betting legality a state’s right.
Freeman, considered one of the country’s top lobbyists, was subsequently poached from the AGA in June 2018 by the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Freeman has led that trade association since it was renamed the Consumer Brands Association in 2020.
Now, Freeman is set for another new gig. The US Travel Association, the national nonprofit that represents all components of the travel industry, has named him as its next chief executive.
Freeman is no stranger to US Travel. He served as the organization’s SVP of public affairs, executive VP, and chief operating officer before departing for the AGA in July 2013. The association cited Freeman’s gaming industry experience in introducing him as its incoming CEO.
“As CEO of the American Gaming Association … Freeman led an industry-wide campaign to legalize sports betting and expanded the organization’s membership to include tribal gaming entities,” the US Travel Association release read.
The group additionally pointed to Freeman’s leadership navigating the Consumer Brands Association into its new identity, and helping to “re-establish the association as a Washington, DC, powerhouse.”
Critical Role During Critical Time
The COVID-19 pandemic hurt nearly every industry, but travel was among the hardest hit. The travel industry, which is inclusive of casino gaming, came to a standstill in 2020. The pandemic’s restrictions on domestic travel endured into much of last year, too.
An abundance of leftover pandemic pent-up demand spurred a quick recovery in many travel segments. For casinos, last year and the first half of 2022 have been a thriving time, as record gross gaming revenues are being experienced in numerous states, including Nevada.
But a chaotic Wall Street, paired with steep inflation, threatens to stampede the roaring post-pandemic 2020s. Freeman is keenly aware of the potential challenges ahead, and the critical need to keep the travel industry afloat.
There are few industries more essential to the nation’s economy, more connected to consumers and more critical to bringing Americans together than the travel industry,” Freeman declared.
Freeman and the US Travel Association will work with Congress to push legislation that only strengthens the association’s many sectors. Freeman will officially enter his role effective September 1. He replaces Roger Dow, who has been in the role for the past 17 years.
Casinos US Travel Members
Because gaming and resorts are a major component of the domestic travel industry, the nation’s largest casino operators are members of the US Travel Association.
Notable gaming operators that are US Travel members include MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Las Vegas Sands. The AGA itself is additionally a member organization.
The US Travel Association uses a dues model that is based on each company’s annual revenue and industry segment.