AGA Elects Penn National CEO As New Chairman

Written By Martin Derbyshire on November 16, 2017 - Last Updated on June 7, 2022
Magnifying glass over Penn National logo

The board of the American Gaming Association (AGA) recently elected a new Chairman.

Tim Wilmott will succeed outgoing AGA Chairman Jim Murren. Murren is the Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts. Murren held the AGA position since 2014. Wilmott has been CEO of Penn National Gaming since 2013.

Wilmott has served on the AGA board since 2015. During that time, he has been an Executive Committee member, Director of the Board, and Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee. He will now serve a two-year term as Chairman. That term will begin in January 2018.

Four decades in the casino industry

Wilmott has had a lengthy career in the casino industry spanning four decades. In fact, he was with Harrah’s Entertainment from 1987 to 2008, serving as Chief Operating Officer. Wilmott then joined Penn National Gaming as President and Chief Operating Officer in 2008. He was named Chief Executive Officer in November 2013.

AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman commented on his replacement in a press release.

“We are fortunate to have Tim as our next Chairman. His passion for our industry, shared vision and deep involvement on a number of critical issues assures a smooth and successful transition into the future. Tim will be instrumental in driving the implementation of our 2020 Strategic Plan and I know I speak for our team, and the entire industry, when I say we look forward to working together.”

The American Gaming Association and sports betting

In 2017, the AGA focused on the fight to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Repealing the law would allow states to legalize sports betting if they so choose. New Jersey is currently challenging PASPA at the United States Supreme Court level. Oral arguments in the case will be heard on Dec. 4, 2017. The AGA already filed a brief in support of New Jersey in the case.

Outgoing AGA Chairman Murren said he was proud of the work the AGA has done in this area and overall.

“I’m immensely proud of the progress we have made in establishing our industry as mainstream entertainment, a source of strong jobs and as a crucial economic engine of the U.S. economy. Tim is a chief executive of the highest caliber and has been an engaged and invaluable member of the AGA Board and Executive Committee and a strong partner to me personally. He has contributed greatly to our past successes and has my full support as he leads us into the future.”

Freeman thanked Murren for his service to the board and the casino industry as a whole.

“I am indebted to Jim for his tremendous leadership over two consecutive terms as our Chairman. Throughout, he has been committed to modernizing the Association and has led an era marked by significant progress on important matters of policy and building stronger relationships in Washington and with key stakeholders across a variety of industries.”

Optimistic about the casino industry’s future

Wilmott said he looks forward to the chance to work with Freeman and continue the AGA efforts started under Murren. These things have him optimistic about the future of the organization and the industry.

“I am excited to continue working with Geoff and the AGA team to advance issues critical to the gaming industry’s success,” he said. “I certainly have big shoes to fill following Jim’s tenure as Chairman, but I look forward to continuing the momentum that he initiated.”

The AGA represents the $240 billion U.S. casino industry. Members include both commercial and tribal casino operators, and businesses affiliated with the gaming industry.

Photo by Casimiro PT /

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Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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