Frank Fahrenkopf Steps Down as AGA President
The AGA has announced that its head, Frank Fahrenkopf, will be stepping down from his positions as chief executive and president of the powerful lobbying group at the end of June. Fahrenkopf has worked for the AGA since it was formed 1995 and will continue to serve as a consultant to the group after he leaves his duty as head of the organization.
Fahrenkopf came to the position with an impressive resumé in hand; previously he served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee under the presidency of Ronald Reagan. In addition to his duties with the AGA, he is also currently a co-chairman for the Commission on Presidential Debates, a post he will retain through the 2016 election cycle.
As a young lawyer, Fahrenkopf worked closely with gambling clients, defending them before the Nevada Gaming Commission and Gaming Control Board early on in his career. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he is a graduate of the University of Nevada at Reno.
In a statement released by the AGA, Fahrenkopf said, “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. 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 and 1/2 years.”
Fahrenkopf’s departure does not come as a surprise to the AGA; Fahrenkopf said that his transition has been planned since December of 2011. Fahrenkopf worked closely with Nevada Senator Harry Reid on online poker legislation, a draft of which circulated late last year in the Senate but never received enough GOP backing to gain traction.
Fahrenkopf expressed dismay at the failure of federal regulation of the game, saying, “We realize that it’s a tough sell. We had to be lucky to get something down. It’s a pretty tough environment right now in Washington.”
With Fahrenkopf’s exit, there will surely be a long line of qualified candidates hoping to take his place. Politico reported that Fahrenkopf was paid $4.6 in salary in 2011.
While he has not publicly gone on record with a suggestion for his successor, the Las Vegas Review-Journal named several possible candidates, including former U.S. Representatives Shelley Berkley (D-Nevada) and Jon Porter (R-Nevada), as well as former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones, who is currently employed with Caesars Entertainment as executive vice president of communications and government affairs.
Those who have worked with Fahrenkopf over the years responded to the news of his departure with hearty praise. Newly-retired Nevada Senator Dean Heller said that Fahrenkopf served as a “consistent and powerful advocate for issues that are important to Nevada” and referred to him as a “great Nevadan.”
The AGA, which supports gambling-related issues such as online poker and tribal gaming interests, has been an outspoken backer of federally-regulated real money online poker in the United States. It also operates a PAC, the AGA PAC, devoted to promoting the interests of the gambling industry.