Online Gambling

Casino Lobbyists Prepare for Online Gaming Fight

Divided industry, but representative group is fighting in favor of legalization

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The American Gaming Association (AGA) has brought on a flurry of new staff and public affairs firms as the battle over Internet gambling heats up.

Geoff Freeman, the AGA's president and chief executive, said bulking up in staff and consulting are part of his plan to create a more aggressive casino trade association that can operate outside of the Beltway.

"It's part of a big shift that we are making. We are becoming a more proactive group that is working to define the image of the gaming industry. It's less about legislation and more about defining the image of this industry, not in just Washington but in the states as well," Freeman told The Hill.

That includes bringing on Jim Messina, President Obama's campaign manager for his 2012 reelection bid. The trade group has hired the Messina Group to help with grassroots campaigns, including support of online gambling.