They did not agree much when serving in Congress together, but Sen. Harry Reid and Speaker John Boehner are teaming up for a new educational think tank at the University of Las Vegas (UNLV).
The new group is sponsored by MGM Resorts International and will be known as The MGM Resorts Public Policy Institute at UNLV.
It is the latest step in a growing effort from MGM to have a bigger presence in government.
Institute focuses on gaming and hospitality-related policies
Reid and Boehner will co-chair the new, bipartisan institute.
It will be a part of the existing School of Public Policy and Leadership within the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs.
Said UNLV President Len Jessup:
“Identifying solutions to complex public-policy issues can only be achieved through robust debate and our university – with its diverse expertise and capacity for community engagement – is a natural setting.
We look forward to working with the leadership of MGM Resorts and the Institute co-chairs to further define a compelling research and policy agenda.”
Reid has been a longtime supporter of casino endeavors being a senator for the Silver State.
Boehner brings a different point of view to the table. The Representative from Ohio is a staunch anti-online gambling advocate, though his supporters include Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson.
Despite their differences, Boehner and Reid are confident they will work well together on this educational endeavor. The issued a joint statement on their new roles as consultants for the program:
“While our public opposition on issues may be more storied than our private friendship, we have successfully collaborated on complex problems and signature ideas and look forward to doing so again.
As passionate and committed believers in the importance of public service, we are eager to work with MGM Resorts and UNLV to inspire a new generation to serve their country through public office.”
MGM continues to prioritize policy
The new educational institute is the latest move by MGM Resorts to have a larger presence in the government side of gaming affairs.
In January, the casino company launched a new office in D.C. led by former Reid aide Ayesha Khanna. The point of the office is to bring the Vegas-based company closer to political decision makers for lobbying purposes.
Right now there is minimal movement on the federal front when it comes to the hot-button issues like sports betting and online gaming. Meanwhile several states, like Pennsylvania and New York, are on the verge of regulation online gambling at the state level.
Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International Jim Murren championed the company’s new take-charge approach to policy in the announcement about the UNLV institute.
“I’m excited about the possibilities the Institute offers to proactively explore issues and develop bipartisan policy solutions – especially on topics that matter to our workforce, our communities and the industries in which we play a leading role,” Murren said.
The Institute is pending approval from the Board of Regents. Last Thursday Jessup spoke to the Student Affairs Committee about the proposal.
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