Rhonda Cohen is the Gaming Professional of the Year

17 October 2001

The inaugural Global Gaming Expo put on by the gaming industry in Las Vegas this month took time to recognize one of Detroit's own casino leaders as the "Gaming Professional of the Year." Rhonda Cohen, General Manager of the Motor City Casino, received the prestigious award from the National Casino Management Association at the American Gaming Association's Communications Awards luncheon.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) created the AGA Communications Awards to pay tribute to the financial and corporate communications accomplishments of gaming companies, including casinos, pari-mutuel facilities, state lotteries, as well as industry vendors and suppliers. The awards program was created to coincide with the AGA's first annual trade show and conference for the gaming-entertainment industry. The investment firm of Goldman Sachs sponsored a special luncheon at the Las Vegas Country Club, which was attended by many of the top executives of the gaming industry including Glenn Schaeffer, President and CFO of Mandalay Resort Group, the parent company of the Motor City Casino.

Winners in various categories received the Gaming Voice award. The luncheon concluded with the Casino Management Association (CMA) Gaming Professional of the Year being presented to Ms Cohen, who expressed her gratitude for the recognition of her accomplishments and commitment to proper training of members of the industry. In accepting the award, Ms Cohen acknowledged the leadership of her management staff when it comes to education and encouraged other companies to recognize the importance of education to the gaming industry and the role that the CMA can play in facilitating the process.

Robert Russell, one of the people responsible for organizing the Detroit Windsor Chapter of the CMA, expressed his thanks for Ms. Cohen's assistance in successfully launching the first local chapter of the CMA outside of Las Vegas. "Ms. Cohen and the Motor City Casino have been very supportive of the effort to provide ongoing and continuing education to members of our industry in Detroit. They embraced the concept of a local chapter immediately, and took significant steps to assure a strong level of interest with their employees and with others in the industry. We are very fortunate to have such strong leadership in this community that recognizes the importance of continuing education."

The AGA Communications Awards luncheon is an expansion of the previously existing Gaming Industry Annual Awards, which included awards for annual reports and executive financial performance. "The AGA Communications Awards emphasize the importance of financial and corporate communications and highlight the achievements that have been made in this area by companies involved in the gaming industry," said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., President and CEO of the American Gaming Association. "We hope that these awards will become a symbol of business excellence industry wide."

The first annual AGA Communications Awards Luncheon is certain to continue on as a regular part of the new Global Gaming Expo, an industry trade show that has billed itself as the first show that is "by the industry and for the industry." Despite the recent terrorist attacks and the trepidation that many felt about traveling in early October, the Global Gaming Expo still brought approximately 10,000 people to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Exact show attendance numbers are being audited by Expomark, the exhibition-auditing unit of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). Expomark will conduct a third-party audit, verifying the show's attendance and attendee demographics.

"G2E was a great show for IGT," said Tom Baker, President and Chief Executive Officer, International Game Technology. "We were concerned that the terrorist events might curtail attendance, but all of our domestic and most international customers visited our booth. IGT had a strong, fresh line up of products, and we were able to show everyone what's available for 2002."

David Orrick, Communications Director for Unidesa Gaming, further noted: "Given the uncertainty of recent times and events, no one could predict how G2E would turn out. It is a testament to the spirit of the global gaming industry that so many exhibitors and visitors from around the world came together to do such high levels of business."

It is certain that the Global Gaming Expo will continue and that the AGA Communications Awards ceremony will remain a very important event for years to come. Everyone in the Detroit market should be proud of the recognition that one of our own has received.

Related Links
Michigan Online Gambling
American Gaming Association (AGA) 1st Annual Gaming Industry Communications Awards - 2001