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AGA launches new program

16 November 2006

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – (PRESS RELEASE) -- Representatives from the gaming entertainment industry's 25 largest suppliers and several gaming companies were in attendance today as the American Gaming Association (AGA) and five of its largest member companies announced a new Tier II Diversity Reporting program for suppliers. The program, which will begin in early 2007, requires suppliers of participating gaming companies to submit quarterly reports detailing the amount of business they contract with minority-, women-, and disadvantaged-owned business enterprises (MWDBEs).

Gaming companies participating in the program include Boyd Gaming Corporation, Harrah's Entertainment, Inc., MGM MIRAGE, Penn National Gaming and Station Casinos. Mark Stolarczyk, vice president of corporate purchasing for MGM MIRAGE and chairman of the AGA Diversity Task Force's subcommittee on purchasing, announced the program to an audience at The Mirage Events Center that included representatives from companies such as Aristocrat Technologies, the Coca-Cola Company, Ecolab and Pepsi-Cola.

"As an industry, we have been long-time champions of diversity, both in our human resources and procurement and contracting practices," said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the AGA, who gave a brief history of industry diversity initiatives at the event. "We regard diversity as a business imperative, and the new Tier II reporting program helps us ensure our biggest suppliers share that vision, as well as a commitment to diversity in their procurement and contracting practices."

For now, gaming industry suppliers only will be required to submit indirect tier II reporting, which means they will be required to report the total amount of business they do with MWDBEs whether or not the products or services from those companies are then passed on to gaming companies. However, according to Stolarczyk, some individual gaming companies will likely require suppliers to provide direct tier II reporting, meaning they also will be asked to report on diversity business with vendors and suppliers whose products get passed on directly to the gaming companies.

While there is currently no threshold suppliers must meet in their diversity reporting to do business with participating gaming companies, Stolarczyk pointed out that, when selecting between two similar companies for procurement and contracting opportunities, the company doing a better job with diversity practices will have a distinct advantage.

"As gaming companies, we all consider diversity in procurement to be a critical component of our business practices," Stolarczyk said. "We want our suppliers to see the need for diversity in this area with that same level of importance, and this program encourages them to do just that."

Rick Darnold, vice president of strategic sourcing for Boyd Gaming Corporation, and Punam Mathur, senior vice president of corporate diversity and community affairs at MGM MIRAGE, also spoke at the event, focusing particularly on the business case for diversity in the gaming entertainment industry.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) is the national trade association for the commercial casino industry. In addition to representing the interests of its members on federal legislative and regulatory issues, the AGA serves as a clearinghouse for information, develops educational and advocacy programs, and provides leadership on industry-related issues of public concern.

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