Several months ago, we released a first-of-its-kind study highlighting the vast impact of the gaming industry — a $240 billion industry — on America’s economy. As we focus on the people of the industry this year, the AGA is building on that research by releasing a seminal report outlining the quality, range and skills associated with the more than 200 types of careers at hundreds of casinos across 40 states.

In addition to the research, we launched a video series that highlights real-life stories of gaming employees, and announced an upcoming multi-year national initiative to ensure presidential candidates understand gaming’s significance in strengthening the middle class.

Providing a Gateway to the Middle Class

Released as part of AGA’s Get to Know Gaming campaign, which aggressively promotes the value of the industry, Oxford Economics’ report revealed that gaming:

• Creates Jobs and Opportunities: Gaming offers a wealth of career opportunities to workers from all backgrounds with a wide variety of skill sets. Gaming employs workers in more than 200 job classifications, including high-tech, engineering, software development and law enforcement. According to projections, the industry is on track to add more than 62,000 well-paying jobs in the next decade. (See gettoknowgaming.org/jobs.)

• Employs Highly Diverse Workforce: Few industries offer as diverse a workforce as gaming. Forty-five percent of gaming’s workforce is composed of racial or ethnic minority employees — far more diverse than the U.S. average of 33 percent. Twenty percent of gaming employees are Hispanic, compared to the national average of 15 percent. Additionally, women make up nearly half of gaming’s workforce (48 percent) — also higher than the national average.

• Offers Exceptional Benefit Programs: In addition to on-the-job experience and training, many leading gaming companies support continuing education programs, offer flexibility for employees to pursue education and provide a path to upward mobility. More than 20 percent of gaming employees who remain in the industry continue to further their education and earn a degree. Many companies also provide citizenship assistance, on-site health and wellness, day care centers, fitness centers or gym memberships and other benefits.

• Provides Fulfilling Careers for Millennials: For a generation of people that is otherwise struggling to find work — 23.3 percent of workers under 30 are unemployed — gaming offers a path to a fulfilling career. More than a third of the gaming workforce is younger than 30, compared to the national average of 25 percent. The average age of a gaming employee is 39, with the national average being 42.

• Builds the Middle Class: Gaming jobs pay good wages that allow workers to provide for themselves and their families. Nearly two-thirds of gaming equipment manufacturing workers have a bachelor’s degree or higher and earn an average annual salary of $75,000. More than a quarter of computer and information systems managers in the gaming industry hold a master’s degree or higher and earn a median salary of $90,000 a year (and up to $152,600). The gaming industry serves as a gateway to the middle class.

The Stories Behind the Numbers

In conjunction with this report, we launched a “Faces of Gaming” video series that includes firsthand testimonials from employees about their experiences in the gaming industry. These videos will be featured on our website and will air nationwide to target policymakers and other industry stakeholders as part of our efforts to aggressively shape the image of the gaming industry.

Our goal is to give a voice to the hundreds of thousands of employees who are building their careers in the gaming industry.

Educating Policymakers

As part of this launch, we also announced a multi-year national initiative, called “Gaming Votes,” which will incorporate in-district events that highlight the gaming industry’s workforce. Our mission is to ensure that as the 2016 election season commences, political candidates understand gaming’s vital role in providing middle-class jobs and driving economic growth in key states across the country.

Presidential candidates will be encouraged to embrace policies critical to the gaming industry’s future, including improving infrastructure, developing a skilled and diverse workforce, promoting innovation and thoroughly reviewing increasing regulatory burdens. This first-of-its-kind initiative for the gaming industry launched in Las Vegas in February and will continue in states across the country, including battleground states such as Iowa, Colorado, Florida and many more through Election Day, November 2016.

Oxford’s report affirms that gaming empowers its employees to pursue higher education, move up the career ladder and build a better life for themselves and their families. But behind the research, statistics and facts are real stories of U.S. workers that reveal the limitless opportunities the gaming industry provides.

In the year ahead, we will rally the industry to showcase firsthand the jobs that gaming supports in key political states across the country. We will highlight the many faces and people of gaming so that policymakers may better understand and appreciate the value of our industry’s jobs.

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