las veg a
s 202 1
Honoring leading companies, breakthrough up-and-comers and the most dynamic individuals, and how they made their mark in the global gaming industry over the past year
FROM YOUR HOST
EVENT MANAGER Mariya Savova COO, EDITOR IN CHIEF Julian Perry EDITOR Carl Friedmann email@example.com Tel: +44 (0) 207 739 9908 STAFF WRITERS Ezra Amacher Ezra.Amacha@gamingamerica.com Michael Bartlett Michael.Bartlett@gamingamerica.com LEAD DESIGNER Brendan Morrell DESIGNER Olesya Adamska ILLUSTRATOR Aleksandra Cakikj FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION ASSISTANT Dalia Ambrazaite DIGITAL ASSETS Tom Powling COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Deepak Malkani Deepak.Malkani@playerspublishing.com Tel: +44 (0)20 7729 6279 BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGERS Warren Wilkinson Warren.Wilkinson@playerspublishing.com Tel: +44 (0) 207 613 5863 Aaron Harvey Aaron.Harvey@playerspublishing.com Tel: +1 702 425 7818 CREDIT MANAGER Rachel Voit Gambling Insider magazine ISSN 2043-9466 Produced and published by Players Publishing Ltd
All material is strictly copyrighted and all rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is forbidden. Every care is taken in compiling the contents of Gambling Insider but we assume no responsibility for the effects arising therefrom. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher.
We’ve confronted a lot of adversity over the past year, but we’ve risen to each challenge and are now seeing how that resilience has paid off. Speciﬁc to these Global Gaming Awards, now in their 8th year, we can’t understate the excitement of returning to an in-person event. And despite the hardships, we’ve seen tremendous growth to the point of having to create two new categories, Property of the Year: LatAm and Payment Solution of the Year. The Global Gaming Awards’ sterling reputation of honoring best-in-class organizations and individuals is undiminished. From gathering self nominations, assembling the judging panel, narrowing down a shortlist and having the voting process independently adjudicated by KPMG, these are the elite accolades in the industry. Even just making the Shortlist is worth celebrating, as you’ll see in this issue. Of course, putting the Awards together is a monumental achievement and I want to thank lead partner BetConstruct, KPMG in the Crown Dependencies, the GA and GI editorial teams and those able to attend the Awards ceremony. Gary Roudette, CEO, Players Publishing and host of the Global Gaming Awards
LEAD PARTNER The Global Gaming Awards celebrate igaming and sports betting in all forms for years. Joining in means going toe-to-toe with the industry. But winning means being one advancing the standards even higher. Being a lead partner, BetConstruct recognizes the organizers’ expertise, and supports their decisions alongside showing devotion to the industry. This year together with the GGA, we’ll see and share the feeling of triumph of the Award winners. Vigen Badalyan, CEO, BetConstruct
FROM AWARDS ADJUDICATOR KPMG has acted as independent adjudicator to the Global Gaming Awards since their inception in 2014, and I’ve been lucky to represent KPMG at the event. This year we hope to be back in Las Vegas, but we’ve learned during the pandemic that plans can change. What I can assure you of, though, is there’s no change to the voting and adjudication process. We review the GGA’s system and tools for collecting votes, check the winner and runner-up in each category has been determined correctly based on votes cast, and select a random sample of judges to check that the votes recorded for them are a complete and accurate reflection of their voting. Our commitment to and involvement with this sector is, I believe, unparalleled. Micky Swindale, COO, KPMG Islands Group
AGA PRESIDENT Since 2014, the GGA have celebrated the industry’s successes. And there’s added reason this year, as we’ll be able to gather in person again to honor the 2021 nominees and the great efforts of companies and leaders over the year to prioritize the wellbeing of employees while still providing new products and experiences to offer world-class entertainment. As a result, gaming is on the rise again, with 2021 commercial gaming revenue on pace to set the record for the best year in industry history. Regardless of who wins, there’s no better testament to gaming’s comeback than our ability to host G2E and the GGA. Best of luck to the nominees, especially the many AGA members. Bill Miller, President & CEO, American Gaming Association
A LONG LOOK BACK
TODD HAUSHALTER, EVOLUTION (LEFT), JOHN CONNELLY, INTERBLOCK.
ACCEPTING THE AWARD FOR DIGITAL OPERATOR: PAUL LIBERMAN, (CENTER) CO-FOUNDER OF DRAFTKINGS.
ACCEPTING THE AWARD FOR PRODUCT INNOVATION ELAINE HODGSON, CEO OF INCREDIBLE TECHNOLOGIES.
ACCEPTING THE AWARD FOR DIGITAL SUPPLIER: KRISTIAN NYLÉN, (RIGHT) KAMBI CEO.
SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE Anna Sainsbury Chairman and co-founder, GeoComply
Richard Schwartz President, Rush Street Interactive
Jason Robins CEO, DraftKings
Amy Riches Head of marketing, Evolution Group
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ON THE GGA SHORTLIST? Being shortlisted is a great honor as it represents genuine and widespread recognition by industry leaders. To see our name among heavy-lifters in every niche is tremendously exciting. Geolocation is a small yet vital part of the American gaming market, and the GGA raises our profile significantly. Reputation is essential for our work in compliance, security, and Responsible Gaming (RG).
We are thrilled to be among the shortlisted companies for these prestigious awards once again this year. We put a lot of thought into the product development and player experience when creating BetRivers.com and PlaySugarHouse.com. It is very flattering to see the trusted Global Gaming Awards, which recognize and reward the gaming industry’s strongest performers, are noticing, along with our peers.
It’s truly an honor to be recognized by Global Gaming Awards on their shortlist for American Executive of the Year. There is an amazing group of individuals on the shortlist who have had incredible journeys, and it is a great privilege to be included alongside them.
To be shortlisted from a strong-field of world-class companies is exciting. This marks a year of firsts for the Evolution Group, including the ﬁrst game created in partnership with NetEnt. It’s also the ﬁrst live casino game available in virtual reality mode. NetEnt has gone live with 120 new brands or existing brands in new markets, and Red Tiger has seen the biggest release of the company’s history. These awards are an opportunity to celebrate the latest industry innovations, and we’re thrilled to be included.
HAVING WON IN 2020. HOW CAN YOU IMPROVE? Last year, we were awarded Responsible Business of the Year, which encouraged us to move further with CSR. For us, growth, technology and responsibility are interdependent pieces of the same puzzle. Being recognized by the GGA for Conscious Gaming and PlayPause is truly heartwarming. We’ll always have our sights set on a better and healthier gaming ecosystem powered by technology, and to have industry leaders behind us is the best motivational boost.
We were incredibly honored to be named the Digital Operator of the Year for 2020 and have our achievements endorsed by our peers. Our overall strategy at RSI has always been to be the first and best to offer exciting and engaging online casino and sportsbook experiences. We’re consistently working to improve on previous successes, which is why we’re excited to hear we’ve been shortlisted once again this year. Last year’s top GGA win is a tribute to our interactive teams and their commitment to continually improve the quality of our product and customer experience.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST AT G2E?
Like everyone else, I’m looking forward to rekindling industry connections in person again. Whatever the format or circumstances, spending time with our clients and partners is the best way to learn about their needs, market needs and how we can work together to lean into solving additional challenges.
We are looking forward to getting together with the digital industry’s top leaders who are driving igaming innovation in this still emerging industry. The Global Gaming Awards brings together industry heavyweights all in one room making this a must-attend event at G2E.
Winning last year’s Global Gaming Awards for American Executive of the Year was a tremendous honor, yet I believe there is always room to grow. At DraftKings, we’re constantly looking for ways to be the best and we thrive off competition, as it spurs innovation. Over the past year, we entered into several new jurisdictions, added new products, completed mergers and acquisitions, nearly doubled our employee headcount, and completed our first year as a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
The Global Gaming Awards are always some of the most exciting gaming events in Las Vegas. After a year and a half of virtual events, I think I can speak for most when I say that we are thrilled to be back in person again and share in the excitement and energy in the room, which virtual settings can’t capture. It will be exciting to see so many fellow leaders in the industry at the award ceremony and celebrating one another’s success.
It’s an honour to be judged as winners by our peers, and last year saw Evolution winning Digital Supplier of the Year for the first time. 2020 was challenging, but it was also a year where we expanded our games portfolio, released a record 12 titles and launched a new studio in Pennsylvania. We’re always looking to create and implement new innovations and create great products for both players and operators. That desire is always front of mind, and the team has been working even harder this year to bring operators games that players will love for years.
This will be one of the first live award ceremonies as the world begins to re-open. It marks an exciting return to normal. It’s also coinciding with the G2E event. The US is a priority growth area for us. We’ve recently launched our third live casino studio in Michigan and we’ve developed close partnerships with state operators and have new games launching in the coming months. So we’re looking forward to networking and building relationships with industry leaders, and the awards will also be a great opportunity to be able to support our customers in their success.
UNLV Distinguished fellow, responsible gaming
GeoComply Chairman & co-founder
KIMBERLY VAN AMBURG
DR. LAILA MINTAS
Global Payments Gaming Solutions President
JCM Global SVP
Betfred USA COO
Casino del Sol CEO
Incredible Technologies CEO
Aruze Gaming America, Inc. President & secretary, global chief legal officer
Resorts World Las Vegas Executive coach and gaming consultant
MICHAEL D. RUMBOLZ
Playport Gaming Systems CEO
Eureka Casino Resorts Chairman & CEO
Passport Technology CEO & chairman 8
Everi Holdings Director & CEO
Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort CEO
World Poker Tour President & CEO
Kindred Group SVP USA
Ruby Seven Studios CEO
Rush Street Gaming Co-founder & CEO
Table Trac President & CEO
PlayUp US CEO
Caesars Entertainment Head of caesars sports & online gaming
Novomatic Americas President & CEO
Snoqualmie Casino CEO & president
Backstageplay Inc. Executive Chairman
SG Digital SVP and general manager, US
Eclipse Gaming CEO
Sportradar CEO & founder
DAVID MARSHALL Game Play Network CEO
Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Executive director
EVE KOLAKOWSKI Rymax President
FABICash President & CEO
Union Gaming Group Co-founder
Inspired Entertainment President & COO
Treasure Island Resort & Casino Gaming operations manager
Google Industry head
Chalkline CEO & Co-founder
National Indian Gaming Association Chairman
ERNIE STEVENS, JR
Circa Resort & Casino CEO
Lottery.com Chief legal officer
Bally’s Interactive CEO
eConnect Global President & CEO
NRT Technology Founder & CEO
Betting Jobs MD
PointsBet USA CEO
Pala Interactive CEO GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM
Spin Games CEO & founder
Wynn Las Vegas SVP of slot ops & marketing
SONNY JOHNSON Pearl River Resort CEO
Cherokee Nation Entertainment VP strategy & business development
Ocean Casino Resort CEO
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino Director of casino operations
SuzoHapp President of global gaming & amusement
GT Advertising Founder
Trilogy Group Founding partner
MAX MELTZER Strive Gaming CEO
Galaxy Gaming President & CEO
ACS PlayOn COO & Founder
Connective Games CEO
Kambi EVP business & group functions
MARY BETH HIGGINS
Acres Manufacturing Founder & CEO
Affinity Gaming CEO
Churchill Downs Senior director of gaming
Fifth Street Gaming CEO
TCSJOHNHUXLEY Executive chairman
San Manuel Casino GM
Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma CEO
Seneca Gaming Corporation President & CEO
Indigo Sky Casino GM
Coeur d’ Alene Casino Resort and Hotel CEO
PHILIP MCHUGH Paysafe Group CEO
Bragg Gaming Group Non executive director
MARTIN DE KNIJFF
Cache Creek Casino Resort COO & GM
MGM Resorts International SVP of marketing
Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa VP and GM
Simplebet Co-founder & CEO
Thunder Valley Casino Resort GM
Sightline Payments Co-CEO
MELANIE CHASE HESKETT
Pechanga Resort Casino GM
Gun Lake Casino President & COO
Metric Gaming Chairman of the board
OPTX Co-founder & co-CEO
Sega Sammy Creation USA Chairman & CEO
FanDuel Chief product officer
MICHAEL PACE Pace-O-Matic Chairman & CEO
Aspire Global CEO
Agua Caliente Casinos COO
Eagle Mountain Casino General manager
for a full list of all the judges please visit www.globalgamingawards.com/vegas
LAND-BASED OPERATOR OF THE YEAR
R IGT is a global leader in gaming. The regular nominee and former winner is listed on the New York Stock exchange and operates in over 100 countries employing over 12,000 people globally.
BALLY’S CORPORATION HARD ROCK INTERNATIONAL PENN NATIONAL GAMING GENTING GROUP MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT WYNN RESORTS BOYD GAMING MOHEGAN GAMING & ENTERTAINMENT OSAGE CASINOS
Getting the lay of the land with land-based operators. Brick-and-mortar properties are the cornerstone of the gaming industry. The last year has been difficult for some of the most established land-based operators, yet in the face of this huge challenge, they have stood up and built on their success. So here are the nominees for Land-based operator of the year. First up in the Land-Based operator category is Bally’s Corporation, the premier, full-service, vertically integrated sports betting and igaming company in the US with a B2B2C business model. It currently owns and manages 14 casinos across 10 states, a horse racetrack in Colorado and has access to OSB licenses in 14 states. Highlights for the company from the past 12 months include the acquisition of sports betting platform provider Bet.Works for $125 million; reaching an agreement to combine with operator Gamesys; and purchasing the Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, the company’s first Las Vegas asset. Next is Hard Rock International. All Hard Rock International properties offer world-class entertainment, award-winning dining, and lively casino gaming. And earlier this year, Hard Rock’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino announced Hard Rock Air, an air charter service, catering to high-end customers travelling to the resort from select markets across the region. Not to be outdone, Penn National Gaming’s casinos re-opened following Covid-forced closures and the company reported seeing spend-per-visit that is much higher than it was pre-Covid. Also, visitation is at or near 2019 levels in most markets. This year, the company re-entered the strong Maryland gaming market by acquiring operations of Hollywood Casino, Perryville for $31.1 million in cash. This summer Penn is also opening a new property: Hollywood Casino York, which will be its third in Pennsylvania. Malaysian casino operator Genting Group also received a deserved nomination. It made its debut in Las Vegas with Resorts World, the first ground-up construction on The Strip in 10 years. Totaling $4.3 billion, the property is the most expensive resort ever developed in Las Vegas and is leading the way in technology by offering a cashless experience throughout the entire property, from the casino floor to the retail shops and everywhere in between. Another deserving nominee is MGM Resorts International, which made meaningful progress in Q1. The company said consumer demand strengthened, and the significant changes made to the company’s operating model positioned MGM Resorts to capitalize on the recovery from the pandemic. Plus, MGM Resorts’ regional properties achieved record Q1 Adjusted Property EBITDAR and Adjusted Property EBITDAR margins. Las Vegas operating results also improved sequentially. Next up is Caesars Entertainment. Its Q1 results improved significantly versus Q4 of 2020, generating net revenues of $1.7 billion, making it a worthy
contender. In April, Caesars also completed the acquisition of William Hill for approximately $4 billion. The transaction gave Caesars ownership of one of the world’s leading betting companies and the ability to maximize the opportunity within sports betting and online gaming in the US. Additionally, Caesars recently announced plans to invest $400 million into its Atlantic City properties, together with a renovation plan for the main entrance to Las Vegas’ iconic Caesars Palace.
“Resorts World leads the way in technology with a cashless experience throughout the entire property” Wynn Resorts’ Q1 results reflected continued progress in terms of recovering from the pandemic. Wynn Las Vegas showed continued strength in the casino segment, with the property remaining the destination of choice for high quality gaming customers. Encore Boston Harbor also delivered record Adjusted Property EBITDA on the back of solid execution across the property. Following, Boyd Gaming reporting an exceptional first quarter, achieving the strongest EBITDAR and margin performances in the company’s history, they too have received a nomination. The company recently announced that the strength from Q1 of the year has carried into Q2. All three of its operating segments set all-time records for operating margins, while the Las Vegas locals, midwest and southern segments also registeredall-time records for adjusted EBITDAR. The next nomine, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, opened the first Native American casino in Las Vegas, the Mohegan Sun Casino, at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, a 60,000-square foot state-of-the-art gaming venue. Earlier this year MGE also announced it will bring retail and online sports betting as well as igaming and daily fantasy sports to MGE’s flagship property in Connecticut, Mohegan Sun, thanks to its partnership with FanDuel Group. In 2020, our final nominee, the Osage Nation announced it is investing $90 million to replace existing casinos at two Oklahoma locations. The project has been in the works for years but in June this year, Osage Casinos finally broke ground on the two new casino-hotels in Pawhuska and Bartlesville with both expected to open in fall of 2022.
DIGITAL OPERATOR OF THE YEAR
With a focus on developing highly localized and specialized products, Connective Games powers some of the biggest names in the industry. Since its founding in 2006, Connective Games has expanded its online casino solutions with a focus on online poker, slots and table games.
POINTSBET WYNNBET BETMGM DRAFTKINGS FANDUEL BETRIVERS BETFRED SPORTS BARSTOOL SPORTSBOOK 888 TWINSPIRES
Smooth Digital Operator. In a year when we were all trapped at home, digital operators stood up and allowed players to access the games they love from their phones and computers. Here are nominations for Digital Operator of the year. In a little over a year, our first nominee, PointsBet went from a brand with zero awareness or recognition to the fastest growing sportsbook in the US. Currently operational in six states, the company has aspirations to continue its growth throughout the country. PointsBet recently launched its iGaming platform in Michigan and has confirmed plans to launch in New Jersey soon. The company also inked some impressive partnerships (NBC Sports, WNBA, NHL) and secured brand ambassadors (NFL legend Drew Brees) that speak volumes to the belief in the product. Launched in 2020, WynnBET, the online gaming division of Wynn Resorts and our next nominee, offers a world-class collection of casino and sports betting mobile options for discerning players who understand the difference between placing a bet and experiencing a bet. WynnBET is anchored by its eponymous mobile sports and casino betting app, providing unique social betting mechanics, and a high-quality user interface. Currently live in six states, WynnBET is poised for rapid expansion with market access opportunities in 10 states and several pending license applications. Since its launch last year WynnBET quickly partnered with NASCAR, the Detroit Pistons and the Memphis Grizzlies. Equally deserving of its nomination, BetMGM is quickly becoming one of the largest players in the sports betting market. Born out of a 2018 partnership between MGM Resorts and Entain, BetMGM operates three brands: BetMGM Sportsbook, BetMGM Casino, and BetMGM Poker. At the start of 2020, BetMGM operated in just three markets but it ended the year with 10 and is now currently live in 12 states. BetMGM expects to be in 22 states by the end of 2021, with access to approximately 40% of the US adult population. In Tennessee, BetMGM is top of the online sports betting market, maintaining a leading market share and $71 million in handle. In New Jersey, BetMGM is the third most popular operator, finishing the year with an 11% market share. Covid didn’t stop our next nominee, DraftKings, from achieving $644 million in revenue for 2020 and $312 million for Q1 of 2021. In Q1 2021, DraftKings launched mobile sports betting and igaming in Michigan and mobile sports betting in Virginia. The operator is now live with online sports betting in 12 states and with igaming in four states. DraftKings also announced the upcoming rollout of social functionality to its DFS and mobile sportsbook apps. The app will feature an integrated social community across sports betting and daily fantasy sports, so fans can interact with each other as they play. Following recent launches in Michigan and Virginia, the FanDuel sportsbook is now live online in 10 states, reaching a quarter of the US population. The company’s 2020 performance demonstrated strong customer demand for all its products. This momentum continued into 2021, including an exceptional
performance during Super Bowl week that included FanDuel’s sportsbook app being the third most downloaded app in the United States on gameday, behind just TikTok and Robinhood. Up next is Rush Street Interactive’s BetRivers, which offers online betting and mobile wagering, and is already live in eight states with more launches expected soon. Between the live streaming options and unique in-play betting features, BetRivers is an attractive sportsbook for those who like to bet on events as they happen. In 2020, BetRivers announced a partnership with sports data provider IMG Arena to launch the UFC Event Centre for a significantly improved and unique MMA betting experience. Next up is Betfred. In September last year, Betfred USA Sports announced the launch of Betfred Sports’ online betting in Colorado and Iowa, just in time for football season. With Betfred Sports, players have access to dedicated pages for college and professional sporting events with real-time updates on a variety of betting types including straight bets, in-play wagering, parlays, teasers and more. The operator also operates in Pennsylvania, with Nevada coming soon.
“TwinSpires seeks to launch its online sportsbook with the Tonto Apache Tribe.” Penn National Gaming’s online Barstool Sportsbook had a significant contribution to the company’s strong 2020 results, making them a deserving nominee. In May this year Penn National launched its Barstool Sportsbook mobile app on iOS and android, as well as for desktop users in Indiana, the company’s fourth online sports betting market following previously successful launches in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Illinois. Barstool’s mobile sportsbook app is expected to be live in at least 10 states by the end of the year. Not only did our penultimate nominee 888 post strong results for the full year 2020 but in December last year, the operator announced it has secured market access to three more US states: Colorado, Indiana and Iowa. In June this year 888 announced it has obtained exclusive rights to the Sports Illustrated brand and will launch SI Sportsbook later in 2021. Last up is Twinspires. The Churchill Downs-owned brand is one of the largest and most profitable online wagering platforms for horse racing, sports and igaming in the US. In the past 12 months the online operator launched successfully in Tennessee, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Colorado. And recently, it revealed it will seek to launch its state-of-the-art online sportsbook in the newly legalized sports betting market in Arizona through a partnership with the Tonto Apache Tribe.
LAND-BASED PRODUCT OF THE YEAR
Evolution is a leading B2B online service provider with aspirations to be the world’s leading provider of online casino. The company utilizes innovative software and well-established enterprise-class infrastructure to add real value to customers’ gaming business.
IGT - PEAKBARTOP CABINET TABLE TRAC - KIOSKTRAC AGS - STARWALL X ORION INCREDIBLE TECHNOLOGIES - PROSPERITY BOOST THEMES ARISTOCRAT - IN THE CLEAR KAMBI - BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE TECHNOLOGY INTERBLOCK - MINISTAR GOLDEN BALL ROULETTE JCM GLOBAL - ICB ASAP NOVOMATIC AMERICAS ACTIONBOOK SPORTS BETTING KIOSK ELYS GAME TECHNOLOGY - ELYS GAMEBOARD GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 21
Stuck at home but land-based product developers have been busy. No matter how difficult things get, there’s always cause to look for a silver lining. And while land-based operators were hit particularly hard by the pandemic, from out of that adversity came a lot of great product innovation, creativity and ingenuity to celebrate. For instance, our first nominee for Land-Based Product, IGT’s PeakBarTop epitomizes hardware innovation that helps propel the future of the gaming industry. The cabinet boasts a curved, 23-inch display, enhanced lighting and sound, a USB charging port, a play-level indicator and improved serviceability. The PeakBarTop became a huge hit in US casinos immediately after its launch in mid-2020. It uses IGT’s cashless gaming technology and provides another channel for players to enjoy their favorite IGT video poker, slots, Keno and roulette games. Next up is TableTrac’s Player Reward Kiosk, KioskTrac, a product that provides properties with a full suite of features that increase player satisfaction. KioskTrac’s main functions allow guests to claim direct mail offers, enter drawings and participate in available promotions, all from one point of contact. The KioskTrac Players Rewards Kiosk also serves as an extension of Players Club by allowing players to view card level status, update account details and communication preferences. Not to be outdone is AGS’s Starwall x Orion. The Starwall merchandizing package for AGS’ Orion Portrait cabinet is a first-of-its-kind large-format modular video display combining hundreds of direct-view LED tiles to create a seamless, game-synchronized video backdrop for AGS games. Starwall is an absolute showstopper, recognized by casino operators for its ability to activate any area of a casino with its vibrancy, game synchronization, and immersive, theater-like gameplay experience. Another deserving nominee on the list is Incredible Technologies Prosperity Boost Themes. Happy 8’s & Jolly 8’s Prosperity Boost are a smash-hit on Infinity Pilot cabinets with an iconic eight-spin persistent feature. Proven math on the Infinity V55 core cabinet paved the way for an upgraded, premium experience on the Pilot and players are responding nationwide with averages up to four times. A cycle of eight spins allows players to collect wilds, progressives and bonus scatters for a free spin event while the Infinity Pilot cabinet surrounds them in high-def screens for an immersive environment free from distraction. Next up is Aristocrat’s In the Clear, a set of system-drive solutions for operators of all sizes. It automates social distancing, eliminates player confusion, gives players greater control and saves operators time and expense. When a player begins a gaming session, the slots on either side of the chosen machine are automatically placed out of play. When the session ends, those machines automatically become available when
the chosen slot is automatically placed in Cleaning Quarantine Mode. The system automatically delivers notifications to floor staff and a simple swipe of the attendant’s card makes the game available for play. Our next nominee is unique to Kambi. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) technology enables bettors to construct bets from anywhere, on or off property, generating a QR code, which can be scanned at the counter or at a Kambi kiosk, reducing wait times in lines and eliminating the need to come into contact with any other surfaces. BYOD is a further element through which casinos a generate greater share of wallet across gaming and hospitality, giving players the opportunity to construct their bets while at the bar or searching the casino floor for their favorite slot game. Following on is Interblock’s Golden Ball Roulette. The product offers a unique spin on a classic table game favorite, giving it awell earned nomination. With never-before seen patented technology and unique lights, sounds and gold hardware, this ETG provides roulette players with an opt-in side bet to increase the level of entertainment, time on device, and hold percentage of this otherwise traditional game. Golden Ball Roulette is enhanced with beautiful chairs, hardware and sign packages embellished in gold, along with stunning animations and graphics that will attract and retain players. ICB ASAP (Intelligent Cash Box with Automated Secure Asset Processing) is the next nomination, which automates the count room, enhancing productivity in four areas: reducing human contact, strengthening security, improving throughput and increasing reliability. It is a network of four industrial-grade robots and industry-standard automation devices, and it reduces the number of employees handling cash box contents, processesing up to 240 cash boxes per hour and up to 4,000 notes and tickets per minute. That’s an impressive twice as fast as the highest speed count sort machines in the market today. With over 800 kiosks in the North American market, our penultimate nominee is Novamatic’s ActionBook sports betting Kiosk. ActionBook is one of the most popular self-service sports betting kiosks available. It has a full HD screen with multi-touch V5000. It also features a barcode scanner, universal card reader and the flexibility to use any premium sports betting software available on the market. Customers love the simplicity of use and the speed of transaction. Our final nominee is the new retail sports betting platform Elys Gameboard. It’s one of the most advanced certified betting technologies available for gaming operations in the US. Built on micro services with a distributed model architecture, it’s an innovative, cost-effective betting technology solution that operates on United Tote’s Duo Kiosk self-service betting terminals.
DIGITAL PRODUCT OF THE YEAR
With a focus on entertaining players through the supply of classic and tailored content, real money, and social operations, Greentube is the leading full service provider in the online gaming sector. Beginning its journey in 1998 with its game Ski Challenge, Greentube would become part of the Novomatic team in 2010.
GEOCOMPLY - IDCOMPLY NETENT - DIVINE FORTUNE MEGAWAYS BETCONSTRUCT - SOCIAL GAMING SOLUTION IGT - IGT PLAYSPORTS CHALKLINE - FREE TO PLAY GAMES SCIENTIFIC GAMES - OPENARENA GENIUS SPORTS - SPORTSBOOK PLATFORM SPORTRADAR - AD:S SOCURE - SOCURE ID+ GAN - SIMULATED GAMING GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 25
A digital world calls for great digital products. Every year the digital product category brings with it new technology and exciting innovations. The last year showed that now more than ever, these developments are vital for consumers everywhere. Ultimately, the conditions placed on developers in 2020 and 2021 have brought out the best in them, so with that in mind, here are our nominations for Digital Product of the year. As a trusted supplier with deep relationships, our first nominee, GeoComply, is expanding the services it provides to its gaming operator customer base, beyond its award-winning geolocation compliance solutions. IDComply enables operators to achieve the highest verification and acceptance rates through a multi-vendor waterfall workflow and easily tackles multi-state compliance. With IDComply, online operators can seamlessly handle their player onboarding digital identity verification processes, including detailed KYC, AML and other compliance-related data requirements, using automated data collection from a driver’s license or passport, which eliminates most manual input. Next is Divine Fortune Megaways, the top performing Megaways game in terms of GGR and turnover. A Megaways remake of a classic NetEnt IP, Divine Fortune Megaways was released in the US in February 2021 and became an immediate player favorite. In Divine Fortune Megaways, players enter the ancient world of myth and legend once again, this time enhanced with 117,649 Megaways and a maximum win of 4502x. Featuring falling wilds re-spins and expanding wilds, it’s a great gaming experience fast becoming a legend in its own right. Then we have BetConstruct’s Social Gaming solution, which allows casinos to keep customers playing slots and placing bets, even when they’re far from the casino floor. It’s an impressive tool for customer retention and acquisition, which also gives operators complete control over content, promotions, bonuses and loyalty. Last year BetConstruct launched the product with the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma and the social platform is integrated with the casinos’ loyalty program, enabling the tribe to monetize players with virtual currency while building a digital CRM program to engage patrons when they’re off-property. Our forth nominee, IGT PlaySports, is helping define the US sports betting market as the sports betting platform for casino, racetrack, tribal and lottery operators across 15 states. In 2020, IGT’s PlaySports platform processed more than $6 billion in sports wagers, accounting for the largest share of legal sports wagers, emerging as the leading B2B sports betting technology provider in the US. The company has secured major commercial sports betting technology agreements with top B2C sports betting brands like FanDuel Group, PointsBet, SuperBook, Boyd Gaming and Circa Sports. IGT PlaySports is designed specifically for the US market and offers multiple tiers of service ranging from platform-only to full turnkey solutions.
Chalkline’s Free to Play Games are perfect for engaging new and casual bettors and worthy of a nomination for Digital Product of the year. The Chalkline platform makes it easy for operators to quickly build and launch customizable free-to-play games directly on their site. All games are mobile-first and can easily be accessed via phone, desktop or app. Most recently, Chalkline partnered with PlayUp USA to bring its freeplay games to NHL fans in New Jersey. The supplier also partnered with TwinSpires for the third year in a row to create a free-to-play game for the TwinSpires $1,000,000 Kentucky Derby Challenge. Next, we have Scientific Games. The launch of OpenArena, the industry’s first and only one-stop content marketplace, is a true piece of innovation that allows operators to build the ultimate sportsbook offering, all through one single point of integration. OpenArena provides customers with access to top-tier sports betting tools and intelligence without the need for multiple complex integrations and financial agreements. SG built the service in response to market challenges and allows sportsbook operators to easily gather all the tools and insights needed to create the ultimate sports betting experience for players, all while drastically cutting development time. Equally deserving of its nomination, we have Genius Sports sportsbook platform. Genius Sports was recently granted a permanent sports wagering license by the West Virginia Lottery Commission and the company is now operational in 13 states, powering leading sportsbooks and lotteries. Genius’ sportsbook platform is powered by the fastest, most reliable live data and robust software, ensuring a winning sportsbook operation and world-class betting experience for players. Not to be overlooked is Sportradar’s full-service, data-driven marketing solution. Ad:s helps operators turn sports fans into betting customers. A big reason for the success and popularity of Ad:s among major bookmakers is the fact it provides them with access to over 50 million user profiles, so they know who to target and how. Earlier this year, Socure, a provider of identity verification products, made its ID+ verification platform available to digital gaming operators in 11 states, which includes Intelligent KYC, DocV, Global Watchlist with Monitoring for compliance, plus Socure’s flagship Sigma Fraud Suite. The platform uses data sources that include more than 289 million verified identities and more than 7 billion records from credit, utility, telecom and other sources. Our final nominee, GAN’s B2B social casino solution for the US branded as simulated gaming, leverages existing rewards programs to offer a social casino experience while generating incremental online revenue and driving visits to on-property venues. Unlike other solutions in the B2B social casino space, Simulated Gaming is deployed from GAN’s proprietary turnkey platform, the GameSTACK IGS, and is purpose-built for casino operators.
LAND-BASED INDUSTRY SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR
FDJ Gaming Solutions prides itself on fair, innovative gaming. FDJ provides high-performing solutions to lotteries and tier 1 operators worldwide as well as developing a unique next generation sports betting platform. With over 25m clients, FDJ is the 4th largest lottery in the world.
INTERBLOCK IGT SCIENTIFIC GAMES GAMING ARTS EVERI ARISTOCRAT ARUZE GAMING SUZOHAPP TABLE TRAC KONAMI
Finding the ace of land-based industry suppliers. 2020 and 2021 have given many land-based suppliers time to pause, and to innovate. This year has seen development across the category from movements in the electronic table games space to the growth of cashless casino solutions. With that said, here are our nominations for best Land-Based Industry Supplier. Our first nomination, Interblock, is a leading manufacturer of luxury electronic table gaming products. Its multi-player gaming devices set industry standards and provide the ultimate in luxury interactive entertainment experiences. When the global pandemic hit, Interblock quickly adapted some of its Stadium set-ups in order to create social distancing, not only for players, but also for dealers. This includes partitions between machines, cashless options and gaming machines having 1.5 meters of space, plus disinfection slots. As a leading global casino supplier, and our second nominee, IGT invested its time last year in developing and delivering products and services that helped casino operators navigate uniquely complex business conditions, drive growth and engage players. The company expanded its ETG and sports betting footprints and modernized casinos through new content and cabinets. IGT launched the PeakBarTop, PeakSlant49, PeakSlant32 and PeakSlant49 Wheel cabinets and increased penetration of the Cobalt VLT while also working on new cashless solutions. Not to be outdone, Scientific Games is a world leader in entertainment offering dynamic games, systems and services for casino operators. Committed to responsible gaming, Scientific Games delivers what customers and players value most: trusted security, engaging entertainment content, operating efficiencies and innovative technology. The company made good progress in Q1 demonstrating recovery from the hit caused by the global pandemic. SG’s gaming division certainly didn’t slow down when the world temporarily shut, as the company launched a number of successful and innovative products such as the Kascada cabinet; the i-Score Ultra baccarat table display and the Mural cabinet. With a big focus on tribal gaming, our next nominee, Gaming Arts, continues to supply high-performing slots, bingo and Keno content to the market. During the pandemic, the company used its time wisely and ramped up its R&D efforts. To combat the threat, Gaming Arts worked on developing the world’s first series of UVC disinfecting mechanisms specifically engineered for the gaming industry. These devices are designed to disinfect EGMs, shufflers, playing cards, dice, gaming chips and more, allowing operators to battle not only coronavirus but any future pathogens that may arise in the new norm. Headquartered in Nevada, Gaming Arts holds licenses in approximately 130 jurisdictions. Next up is Everi. Focused on player engagement and assisting its casino customers to operate more efficiently, Everi develops entertaining game content and gaming machines, gaming systems and services for land-based operators. The company is also well-known for its fintech solutions such as CashClub Wallet, which
is used in many casinos throughout the US. There’s also Jackpot Xpress, which is trialed at the iconic Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Our next deserving nominee, Aristocrat, leads the industry in cabinets, games, systems, and online or social gaming. Independent reports confirm Aristocrat’s leadership position in game performance, leased games, for-sale games and most-anticipated games. The supplier’s innovative In the Clear solution helped operators maintain maximum performance while meeting cleaning and safety guideless, and its cashless solution has been deployed across the country. Aruze Gaming delivers some of the most innovative products to the global casino gaming industry, making the company worthy of its nomination. The supplier converts universally entertaining ideas into reality through ground-breaking technologies and creativeness. The company recently entered the Pennsylvania gaming market by installing its cabinets at Rivers Casino in Philadelphia. Aruze also partnered with the Seminole tribe of Florida to launch its Roll to Win Craps Virtual, a dealerless version of the company’s popular ETG. The next nomination goes to Suzohapp, which has over 50,000 gaming, amusement, sport betting, lottery and bingo products for terminal manufacturers and operators. Products include LCDs, coin/bill/cashless mechanisms, printers and scanners, buttons and cabinet parts. During the pandemic, SuzoHapp realized their responsibility as an industry supplier to do all they could to help casinos reopen. They invested in sources for gaming-relevant PPE to keep casinos safe, donated masks during the shortage, offered flexible repayment plans and held shipments to soften the financial blow. During difficult times our penultimate nominee, Table Trac, continued to maintain its promise of delivering innovative industry-leading solutions to its customers with no additional costs for them. While casinos were closed in 2020, Table Trac worked on developing its patented Dynamic Social Distancing software and was able to provide it to all of its existing customers at no charge. At the beginning of 2021, Table Trac continued to make its casino partners top priority by delivering a new full-scale player rewards kiosk. In addition, the company released its latest software version that has begun rolling out to properties free of charge. Last but not least we have Konami Gaming. Building on the strength of record casino systems expansion and proven premium slot product, Konami has been a driving force in delivering fresh entertainment and memorable player experiences to today’s casinos in the form of convenient mobile solutions, cashless gaming and biometric technology. Within the past 12 months, the company’s core focus on research and development has introduced novel gaming entertainment from All Aboard to Ocean Spin, and top systems technology from its Synk 31comprehensive Title 31/AML system to Money Klip cashless technology.
DIGITAL INDUSTRY SUPPLIER
OF THE YEAR
Licensed to operate in around 300 jurisdictions, Aristocrat has a long history of success at the Awards, taking home two during the 2019 ceremony. Aristocrat is a gaming juggernaut, offering a unique blend of products and services in over 90 countries.
CONTINENT 8 TECHNOLOGIES IGT PLAYDIGITAL INSPIRED ENTERTAINMENT BALLY’S INTERACTIVE EVOLUTION BETCONSTRUCT SCIENTIFIC GAMES KAMBI GREENTUBE PLAYTECH
Combing through the wires for the best digital industry supplier. As more players adopt digital means to satisfy their gaming needs, the companies that produce this content must find new and exciting ways to innovate and keep patrons engaged. The last year has seen digital gaming and sports betting grow at phenomenal rates, and below are the companies that led the charge and comprise our nominees for Digital Industry Supplier of the year. Our first is Continent 8 Technologies, a provider of global managed hosting, connectivity and security services, working with many of the industry’s biggest brands including DGC, Tipico, FanDuel, DraftKings and Playtech. The supplier’s network is growing rapidly with more than 70 connected locations across the Americas, Europe and Asia. Continent 8 is live in over 20 states, with a number of additional sites planned for 2021, and a dedicated team already on-the-ground, based in Florida and ready to assist customers. Continent 8 also invested in the LatAm market, launching its cloud solutions in Colombia in 2020, with additional sites planned in the near future. Up next, IGT PlayDigital offers online entertainment in the areas of lottery, casino games and sports betting. In sports betting, the PlaySports platform is the largest B2B platform provider in the US. The recent digital gaming launch in Michigan has proven how PlaySports and PlayCasino can join forces to deliver exceptional gaming experiences. PlayCasino has also had great successes with its latest omnichannel titles, FortuneCoin and Cash Eruption. In addition, online table game products such as video poker have shown steady growth in both handle and popularity. Utilizing gameplay data from PlayCasino, PlayLottery will soon launch its first-ever progressive eInstant game. Inspired’s Interactive division reported revenues of $5.2 million in Q1, making them a worthy addition to the shortlist. This is an increase of 143.2% year-over-year, and Inspired’s growth in online casino outpaced the general market during 2020 with over 50 new online customers based throughout New Jersey, Michigan, Canada, Mexico and other countries, with plans to continue expanding the jurisdictions it serves. Today, Inspired enjoys success in North America with more than 90,000 active players with its top performing games including Gold Cash Free Spins, Big Bonus, Bonus Island, Gimme Gold Megaways and Jin Chan Cash. Rising to the challenge, Bally’s Interactive (previously Bet.Works) helped its clients successfully navigate 2020 and continues to grow. Its continuous delivery model ensured its offering was responsive to client requirements as the betting landscape changed. For instance, a Bally’s B2B client was one of the only outfits to take bets on opening day in Colorado. Our next nominee, Evolution, sets the industry standard by inventing new games and categories, and re-inventing classic casino games. Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt and Crazy Time leverage advanced, new technology offering industry firsts: first Live Casino game to use VR; first to mix live and slots; and a unique use of augmented reality. Evolution is the only supplier
to bring craps live, making the company the only provider to offer all classic casino games online. The acquisition of leading slots providers NetEnt, Red Tiger and Big Time Gaming significantly boosts the company’s innovation capabilities and drives its vision to be the world leading B2B provider of online casino. Our next deserving nominee, BetConstruct, continues to leverage player insights and technology trends to push the limits of gaming. The company’s sportsbook presents highly innovative technology in sports betting. It’s a fully managed platform that powers businesses of many global operators and allows them to stand out in the ruthlessly competitive market with full-fledged sports data and supporting services. During one of the most challenging periods for the sports betting sector, Scientific Games pushed the industry forward with its leading OpenSports platform. More operators than ever before trust SG to power their sports betting offering, with a host of companies actively switching to OpenSports to drive forward their business operations. In the past 12 months, FanDuel launched OpenSports technology in West Virginia and Colorado, and Golden Nugget used SG’s platform to enter Michigan on day one of the new market’s launch. SG was also the only platform provider to deliver zero downtime during the Super Bowl. Last year, our next candidate, Kambi, powered more online launches than any other sportsbook partner in the US sports betting market. The supplier enables operators to develop their own unique betting app and experiences in line with their brand and unique strategies. Investment in product, a rapid expansion into new states and a growing partner portfolio is why Kambi processed three times the number of wagers for the Super Bowl in 2021 than it did during the 2020 event. Greentube has curated a games portfolio consisting of online versions of popular land-based titles, as well as created popular, innovative new slots with thrilling mechanics and features through its in-house development teams, making it deserving of the penultimate spot on our list. With US states now gradually legalising online gaming, Greentube is committed to providing content that appeals to local players and has developed specific games for the US including Diamond Cash, Power Prizes and Thunder Cash series, as well as titles such as Great American Eagle and Wings of Fortune. The final spot goes to one of the industry’s largest online gaming suppliers. Playtech grew its US footprint last year after agreeing to supply its casino software across the BetMGM network in New Jersey. Earlier this year Playtech also expanded into Michigan, Indiana and Pennsylvania, having signed a strategic igaming partnership with Parx Casino. The supplier also announced its plans to open its first live casino studio in the US after securing a milti-year lease at a site in Southfield, Michigan.
CUSTOMER LOYALTY PROGRAM OF THE YEAR
Interblock has provided premium electronic table games to patrons for over 30 years. Found in casinos worldwide and known as a leading supplier and developer of electronic games, Interblock is famous for its innovation.
CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT - CAESARS REWARDS PENN NATIONAL GAMING - MYCHOICE OCEAN CASINO RESORT - OCEAN REWARDS MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL - M LIFE MOHEGAN GAMING & ENTERTAINMENT - MOMENTUM REWARDS SAN MANUEL CASINO - CLUB SERRANO REWARDS WYNN RESORTS - WYNN REWARDS ACCEL ENTERTAINMENT - AE PLAYER REWARDS SCIENTIFIC GAMES + MISSOURI LOTTERY - MY LOTTERY BOYD GAMING - B CONNECTED GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 37
Customer loyalty programs worthy of pledges of allegiance. Customers are at the center of everything businesses throughout the gaming industry do. They keep the industry functioning and without them they wouldn’t exist. After a tough year for everyone, Customer Loyalty has had to up its game so here is the list of best for 2021. Fully deserving of its nomination, Caesars Rewards now has over 65 million members making it the largest loyalty program in the industry. Members get rewarded for every way they stay, dine, relax, shop and play at over 50 destinations, as well as how they place online bets on the recently upgraded Caesars Sportsbook, now live in eight states. Rewards credits can be redeemed in many ways including for tickets to over 130,000 live sporting events, shows and concerts anywhere across the US. Members who use the rewards program’s mobile app are also often given the chance to win incredible giveaways. Next is Penn National’s industry-leading mychoice rewards program of over 20 million members, which now connects Penn’s land-based casinos to its sports betting and icasino products, offering players a wide-range of compelling incentives to consolidate play across the operator’s various platforms. As members move up tiers they’re eligible for extraordinary rewards including cruises and tropical vacations. Our next nomine, Ocean Casino Resort, recently revamped its Ocean Rewards loyalty program with four new tiers, earning periods and exciting benefits. Two of the property’s swanky new lounges, Luna’s and Avila, are reserved exclusively for Ocean Rewards cardmembers. Luna’s is exclusively designed for the top Ocean Rewards tier level guests and elevates the VIP experience with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Members with Prime or Reserve status can also enjoy travel perks including a stay at the Wynn Las Vegas or a complimentary cruise. With over 34 million members, it’s no surprise that M Life is already a multiple award-winning loyalty program and takes fourth spot on our shortlist. Members receive benefits for virtually every dollar spent at MGM Resorts’ world-renowned destinations in Las Vegas and across the US. Based on tier level, benefits include special room and retail discounts, pre-sale access to concert and fight tickets, priority reservations, room upgrades, priority hotel check-in line, and more. M Life is also fully integrated with the rapidly-growing BetMGM, and online bettors from across the US can translate their gameplay into world-class experiences at iconic resort properties. Mohegan’s rewards system consists of Momentum Dollars; one is equivalent to one US dollar. As members elevate their status, Momentum Dollar Accelerators will kick in to boost their Momentum Dollar earning rate. So the higher the member’s status is, the faster they can earn to spend on unforgettable experiences. As of this year one more property became part of the program - the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas. Next up is Club Serrano Rewards. San Manuel Casino’s loyalty program has four tiers with a fifth Turquoise tier for invitation-only members.
Some of the loyalty program’s perks include invites to VIP casino events and tournaments, retail shop and restaurant discounts and more. San Manuel has also partnered with some of the best teams in the MLB, NHL, NFL and MLS to launch the special Club Serrano Fan Loyalty collection, which turns members’ Club Serrano cards into coveted sports treasures.
“Caesars Rewards has over 65 million members, making it the largest loyalty program.”
In December last year Wynn Resorts debuted our next nominee, Wynn Rewards. Its all-new tiered customer loyalty program substitutes the previous Red Card loyalty program. Wynn Rewards members can benefit from special pricing on hotel rooms, invitations, events and promotions, and the ability to earn slot points for free credit toward slot play. Plus, Wynn Rewards members can now earn comp dollars while playing table games and slot machines that can be redeemed for many of the resort’s Five-Star amenities including hotel rooms, spa and salon treatments, fine dining, golf and more. Then launching in March 2021 after three years of development, AE Player Rewards is designed to bring casino-style rewards and loyalty to the challenging landscape of distributed gaming. AE Player Rewards was built on player research from Accel’s significant player database acquired via previous sweepstakes. The exclusive rewards program solves the challenge of rewarding loyal patrons to drive increased visits to partner locations without having the ability to track individual player revenue. Ranked among the Top 20 lotteries in the world for instant game retail sales per capita, our penultimate nominee, the Missouri Lottery, knows a loyal player base is key to revenue growth. In 2020, total player spend entered into its My Lottery loyalty program was $647m. The program experienced record highs through the pandemic as well with 114k MAUs by January 2021. Scientific Games and the Missouri Lottery initially launched the loyalty program in 2012. From then to 2021, 143k registered players grew to 784k+, or a 548% increase. Finally, with Boyd Gaming’s five-tiered loyalty program B Connected, members can enjoy exceptional rewards like cruises, stays in Las Vegas and Hawaii, other memorable experiences and extraordinary annual gifts. B Connected privileges and benefits can be enjoyed at all 27 B Connected properties throughout the US. Members can also earn B Connected Points by placing wagers on the B Connected Sports app.
PROPERTY - NORTH AMERICA OF THE YEAR
A giant within the gaming sector, Scientific Games is an American corporation that supplies products across land-based, online, casino, sports betting and lottery gaming. The provider has won and been nominated for numerous Global Gaming Awards over the years.
OCEAN CASINO RESORT CASINO DEL SOL CHOCTAW CASINO & RESORT - DURANT CIRCA RESORT & CASINO SAN MANUEL CASINO GUN LAKE CASINO HARD ROCK CASINO NORTHERN INDIANA CACHE CREEK CASINO RESORT HARRAH’S CHEROKEE CASINO RESORT RIVERS CASINO DES PLAINES GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 41
Get on my land! Property: North America. Despite the difficulties of last year, which invariably spilled over into this year, properties in North America have shown remarkable resilience and determination to open quickly and safely in equal measure. Here are the ones that have shown incredible fortitude and ambition to not only recover, but grow steadily into the future. In April, for instance, the Gun Lake Casino detailed plans for a new $300 million expansion project that will upgrade the property to include a 250-room luxury hotel, indoor pool that will double as an event venue, a spa and an additional restaurant. The new project announced comes as phase four of construction nears completion at the casino, the gaming venture of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, commonly called the Gun Lake Tribe. The ongoing project will add 72,000 square feet to the existing facility, 450 new slot machines and three restaurants.
“Already a household name, Circa can boast having the largest sportsbook.”
Choctaw Casino Resort is also planning to expand with an investment of 600 million. The project includes a Sky Tower and Sky Casino, with 40 new poker tables and 3,300 new slot machines. There’ll also be six new restaurants, 11 new bars and lounges, and two new pools covering three acres. Adults can enjoy a swim-up bar, but there’s also a family-friendly water park. Already a household name, Circa can boast having the largest sportsbook, its Stadium Swim pool complex, and how it’s revitalizing Downtown. The property has also redefined “smaller” resort properties for the next generation of customers. It is amenity heavy, indoor and outdoor experiental, and has innovations that have made everything else look second-best. It has been a magnet for new customers to the area, and neighboring properties have also benefitted. Very few operators open up 100% fully formed, but Circa has. Speaking of ambitious, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort’s $250m expansion project will add 83,000 square feet of convention space and 725 hotel rooms, and a parking garage is expected to be finished this fall. There’s also the WSOP Poker Room that opened in September 2020. Guests there can enjoy the 34-table World Series of Poker Poker Room, which offers eight-handed cash games. Plus, the non-smoking room features 85 spots and is open daily. Cache Creek Casino Resort’s $180m expansion is also noteworthy. Owned and operated by Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation about 50 miles northwest of Sacramento, the new 450,000-square foot, 459-room hotel is in the Capay Valley, where the Yocha Dehe
Wintun Nation produces its own wines, olive oil and other agricultural products. The expansion also includes new entertainment and event amenities, a landscaped resort pool and a full-service spa. A revered name in its own right, Hard Rock, with its Northern Indiana casino, opened in May with a 37-foot-tall guitar marquee. The $300m, 200-room hotel includes a 2,000-seat entertainment venue. Opening was part of a move from former Lake Michigan to the more populated area near Gary. The property showed an impressive start and reported $20m revenue for just two weeks in May. Located in the secluded mesquites of the Tucson desert, Casino Del Sol is an entertainment oasis, with an array of activities to enjoy day or night without having to leave the resort grounds. It offers many gaming options with more than 1,300 of the newest slot machine titles, 24 table games including blackjack and poker, and a bingo hall. The beautiful casino floor welcomes guests under a bright blue sky and a Mediterranean sun that never sets. The award-winning property is also known for its countless dining outlets, luxurious spa services, championship golf and world-class live entertainment. It has also grown its hospitality offerings with a new 151-room hotel and a 73-space RV park, as well as expanded the conference center. The new hotel features an arcade, 100-foot water slide, meeting rooms, and their Party Pit allows guests to play blackjack while listening to live music or watching sports. Their integrated mobile app and text product also engage and reward loyalty club members with first rights to concerts and other exclusive perks. San Manuel Casino makes the list in light of the opening of its expanded gaming space plus a 24-hour restaurant and a high-end dining venue. In addition, three new retail shops, are scheduled to open imminently. Rivers Casino Des Plaines, owned by Churchill Downs and Rush Street, broke ground in February on a 78,000-square-foot expansion that will add a ballroom, a restaurant and increase gaming positions from 1,200 to 2,000. The construction is scheduled to be completed in two phases, with the first adding about 200 slot machines and 30 table games, and the second adding another 300 slots, the poker room and a ballroom. The expansion is set to open next spring, but the anticipation was enough to land it on the Shortlist this year. And finally, after a hefty $15 million investment and comprehensive redesign effort spread over 10 months, Ocean Casino Resort looks and feels more inviting than ever. As for what’s new, guests can indulge in high-stakes thrills at The Cove, a 7,450-square-foot high limit slot area, and The Loft, a private 2,000-square-foot luxury gaming suite perched sky high on the 44th floor. There are also two swanky lounges, Luna’s and Avila, reserved exclusively for Ocean Rewards cardmembers. If slots are your game of choice, then try one or more of the 250 new machines. And to help you navigate the renovated casino floor with ease, safety and comfort, pathways have been installed.
PROPERTY - LATAM
OF THE YEAR
As a new category for 2021, the Latin America Property of the Year award acknowledges the property, whether new or established, that pushes the boundaries of customer experience in the land-based sector.
CITY CENTER ROSARIO (ARGENTINA) HARD ROCK PUNTA CANA (DOMINICAN REPUBLIC) HIPÓDROMO ARGENTINO DE PALERMO (ARGENTINA) SHERATON PUERTO RICO HOTEL & CASINO (PUERTO RICO) CASINO CLUB BARILOCHE (ARGENTINA) CASINO CARNAVAL (PARAGUAY) SOFITEL MONTEVIDEO CASINO CARRASCO & SPA (URUGUAY) CASINO BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA) CASINO LUCKIA BOGOTÁ (COLOMBIA) OCEAN SUN CASINO (PANAMA)
Viva la vida! Property: Latin America It’s not accurate to paint all of Latin America as an emerging market considering the strides and high-profile progress certain regions have achieved recently. So here we celebrate the best in this new category for the Global Gaming Awards 2021. Up first is Argentina’s City Center Rosario, the largest entertainment center in Latin America. Designed to offer all necessities under one roof, the property features a casino, convention center, restaurants, spa, hotel and more. The casino has three levels with 3,000 slot machines, 50 tables, an exclusive Texas Hold’em poker room, and a VIP section. Coinciding with the resumption of land-based operations after a Covid-enforced closure, City Center Rosario launched its online gaming platform offering online roulette, slots, poker games, blackjack and bingo to Santa Fe residents. Next, The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is like a piece of Las Vegas mixed with the Caribbean. The property has a stunning poker room and the biggest casino in the Caribbean at 45,000 square feet with 500 player-favorite slots such as Blazin’ 7s, Dancing Drums, Buffalo Grand, and more than 28 exciting table games. Hard Rock Punta Cana also offers the ultimate VIP experience. Exclusivity meets luxury at the private gaming areas that house blackjack, roulette and baccarat. Not to be overshadowed, the Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo in Argentina has a 1.5-mile long track and a beautiful casino with a large selection of slots and table games. The property constantly works to expand and diversify its entertainment offering and seeks to incorporate new products. Earlier this year it added Zitro’s recognized progressive multigames Link King and Link Me to its slots hall. In March this year the casino operator also entered the local online gambling market after launching its Betfun platform. Following on is the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino. In 2020, the property marked its 10th anniversary with a $10 million renovation. Within the property, guests can find Casino Metro, Puerto Rico’s best casino and the largest in the San Juan area. It features over 430 slot machines and 18 table games, including blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps, EZ baccarat, electronic roulette, free bet blackjack and 21+3 extreme blackjack. Following an enforced closure last year, the casino implemented strict health and safety protocols and is now showing good signs of recovery from the pandemic. Last October, Argentinean casino operator Casino Club won the licence to run the beachside Casino De Bariloche and has since proved itself worthy of a nomination. In January this year, the casino reopened following a renovation, and now has more than 250 slot machines and a number of Aristocrat slots were installed there recently, including Mighty Cash Link, Wonder 4 Stacks, Gold Stacks, Dragon Tower and Buffalo, all appearing on Aristocrat’s Helix cabinets. Casino Carnaval in Paraguay is our next nomination. This year the property celebrated its 15th
anniversary and is one of the few properties in the country to quickly obtain the Safe Travel certification, ensuring its guests feel not just welcome but safe. The property has a number of player favorite slot machines and table games and recently announced plans for opening new game rooms in Itapúa, with 30 to 50 new slot machines. A national landmark in Uruguay, our next nominee, the Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco & Spa is dubbed the ‘Palace in the Sand’. The nearly 33,000 sq ft Casino Carrasco, located within the property, is a luxurious state-of-the-art entertainment venue, which this year celebrated its 100th anniversary. It has 380 slot machines including video poker and electronic roulette. Guests can also find a variety of their favorite table games such as baccarat, French roulette, blackjack and poker. Then there is the Casino Buenos Aires. This is the largest casino in Argentina’s capital city, which has more than 120 table games, over 1,400 slot machines and an exclusive poker room for high rollers. In April this year, Casino Buenos Aires launched its digital arm, giving players access to 100 online slot games plus live casino games.
“Uruguay’s Casino Carrasco is a luxurious entertainment venue, which this year celebrated its 100th anniversary.” Casino Luckia Bogotá, one of Colombia’s very best entertainment venues, is our penultimate nominee. Casino Luckia Bogotá ensures visitors will have fun while staying safe and the casino has more than 90 slot machines. However, its specialty is the wide variety of table games as it’s home to the best and one of the biggest poker rooms in the country. Visitors can play Omaha and Texas Hold’em, and participate in many poker tournaments the casino hosts throughout the year. Visitors can also enjoy baccarat, blackjack and roulette. Finally, there’s the Ocean Sun Casino in Panama. Located inside the iconic JW Marriott Panama building, this is the highest casino in the world. It offers not only the best views of Panama City from its rooftop pool bar, but also player favorite games including 600 slot machines, 37 table games and a sports bar with sports betting facilities. The casino also has a great loyalty program, Sun Rewards, which entitles members to a number of benefits, discounts and exclusive events.
PRODUCT INNOVATION OF THE YEAR
Risk and reward go hand in hand with the Product Innovation of the Year Award, recognizing unique and innovative products from either online or land-based verticals.
IGT - RESORT WALLET WITH IGTPAY GAMECO - SWEET SPOT GOLF ARUZE GAMING - ROLL TO WIN CRAPS VIRTUAL PACE-O-MATIC - DRAGON’S ASCENT AGS - BONUS SPIN XTREME INTERBLOCK - UNIVERSAL CABINET EVERI - CASHCLUB WALLET LIGHTNING BOX - CHICKEN FOX 5X SKILLSTAR SIMPLEBET - MICRO-MARKETS VIZEXPLORER - SLOT RECOMMENDATION ENGINE GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 49
Being proactive is the first step to product innovation. True innovation is hard to come by. Over the last year, the broad selection of contenders for this award have taken challenges in their stride and embraced the chance to truly move the gaming industry forward. From new payment methods to brand new ways to enjoy classic products, here are our nominees for Product Innovation of the year. IGT’s Resort Wallet with IGTPay, is the industry’s only fully integrated, turnkey cashless solution for land-based gaming. Players can fund their Resort Wallet Cashless Wagering Account at a casino cage, kiosk or slot, and also via a mobile app or web browser when combined with IGTPay. They can then use those funds for transactions on slot machines, table games, sports betting and retail points of sale using their mobile app and/or physical loyalty card. Most recently, the Resort Wallet was deployed at three Agua Caliente Casinos in California. GameCo’s arcade-style machines are changing the way the world plays and wins. With that in mind, our next nominee, Sweet Spot Golf, combines the mechanics of the classic slot machine and the thrill and interactivity of a video game. It features a three-slot reel front end with engaging mini-games where players must strategically hit the button in the “sweet spot” to win big. The game appeals to existing and next-generation players and is designed to capture golf enthusiasts. Next nominated is Aruze Gaming’s Roll to Win Craps Virtual. In December 2020 Aruze partnered with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to launch the first installations of Roll to Win Craps Virtual, a dealerless version of the award-winning Roll to Win Craps. Roll to Win Craps Virtual gives players a new way to experience a time-honored game. It uses the same full-sized craps table and player stations, but becomes dealerless by switching to virtual dice. It also offers chip-free and error-free operation. Following on is Pace-O-Matic’s Dragon’s Ascent. A company built on innovation and compliance, Pace-O-Matic goes beyond the world of skill-based games and into empowering communities. Dragon’s Ascent is a classic aim-and-shoot video game that awards cash rewards based on player performance. The game brings in customers and keeps them coming back as they develop skills and capture dragons to save the kingdom. AGS’ Bonus Spin Xtreme table game progressive utilizes groundbreaking proprietary technology to link all tables on the casino floor to the same jackpot pool and is a worthy nominee, requiring only one seed amount and providing faster-incrementing and larger jackpot awards. Through AGS’ proprietary math, Bonus Spin Xtreme is the only progressive side bet on the market to provide one unique progressive jackpot winner for different games with different probabilities of winning, including community-style games like roulette, baccarat and craps. This gives every participating player the same chance of winning the jackpot regardless of which game they’re playing. Next is Interblock’s latest lineup of innovative hardware, the Universal Cabinet (UC), a breakthrough form factor
that has created a gaming revolution, accelerated due to the pandemic. The Universal Cabinet suite of games represents a new and unique segment of ETGs, designed with players and operators in mind. It provides casino operators with a variety of game options, including craps, roulette, blackjack, baccarat and sic bo in a smaller footprint than traditional ETGs, configurable in three, four or five-seat carousels. The UC provides an intimate ETG experience that flows at the player’s own pace. Another contender is Everi’s CashClub Wallet, which provides casino operators and their customers with a flexible, cost-effective and secure payment method on the casino floor. Creating a contactless environment that provides an alternative to cash, the CashClub Wallet application gives casino patrons the ability to deposit funds into their digital wallet at their convenience on-site or away from the casino via bank card or directly from their checking account. Everi’s product is currently live across casinos operated by Seminole Gaming as well as in other properties across the US.
“Pace-O-Matic goes beyond skill-based games and into empowering communities.” Lightning Box released online slot Chicken Fox 5x Skillstar late last year as an innovative sequel to the original Chicken Fox. The patented Skillstar play for fun feature has seen an 85% take up by players opting to use their skill to “catch eggs.” The worldwide leaderboard has players competing for the top scores and in February, the game went live in New Jersey with BetMGM and became an instant hit. Not to be outdone, Simplebet’s proprietary use of machine learning and automation created a new category of in-play betting called Micro-Markets, which are in-game betting markets created and resulted in just minutes or seconds, driving fan engagement and sports betting to a new level. Shortly after the product launched last year, Simplebet signed a one-year deal with FanDuel. The company also signed a deal with Intralot, which allowed it to bring its technology to Montana. Finally, we have VizExplorer’s Slot Recommendation Engine (SRE). SRE automates two time-consuming but critical functions like optimizing slot floor decisions and estimating ROI for any given slot change. SRE uses both machine and customer data to provide rapid and prioritized recommendations for products already on the casino floor. This allows casinos to reduce their capital spend and quickly find new revenue opportunities.
SAVE THE DATE
OF THE YEAR
The payments sector has grown to the point of warranting a new category in order to recognize and put a spotlight on the safest, fastest and most efficient payment processor in the sector.
SIGHTLINE PAYMENTS GLOBAL PAYMENTS GAMING SOLUTIONS NUVEI FABICASH PASSPORT TECHNOLOGY ACS PLAYON FLEXIA PAYMENTS MARKER TRAX CASINOMONEY PAYSAFE
For every problem, there’s a payment solution. Cash has been integral to the gaming industry since its inception. But players are now looking for new and innovative ways to pay for their favorite products and games. As cashless becomes commonplace throughout the industry, and technology advancement and safety concerns accelerated since the pandemic, a number of companies are presenting best in class payment solutions for the gaming industry. Here are our nominee’s for best Payment Solution. Our first nominee, Sightline Payments, is the one of US sports betting and casino gaming market’s leading digital payments provider and mobile app developer. Sightline applies modern solutions to a traditionally cash-based industry projected to grow to more than $100 billion in the next few years. Joingo by Sightline created the Resorts World Las Vegas app, which allows customers to have a mobile-first experience across the property, linking gaming play, restaurant reservation options, entertainment ticketing and more. Global Payments’ solutions reimagine casinos’ internal processes to provide the most effective and efficient value and are worthy of a spot on our list. With the company’s VIP Mobility, guests can create digital TITO tickets on their mobile device by scanning an existing voucher or using their VIP Preferred e-check account. Plus, VIP Preferred is available in more than 500 North American land-based, mobile and online gaming locations. More than 3.5 million patrons rely on Global Payments’ VIP Preferred for simple, safe and responsible play. Nuvei (formerly known as SafeCharge) has nearly 20 years of experience supporting the biggest operators in the gaming industry and is our next nominee. Backed by years of international industry experience, Nuvei can provide a seamless payment experience, from rapid onboarding to fraud prevention and optimizing payment profitability. Nuvei recently acquired Mazooma to enhance its portfolio of alternative payment methods with a leading ACH platform for both pay-in and payout functionality, developed exclusively for online gaming in the US. It also acquired Simplex to further support cryptocurrency processing. Up next, FABICash is the gaming industry leader in providing the only true omnichannel solution to its casino clients, which includes Cash Access, Cashless Solutions and Title 31 AML Compliance tracking and reporting. With over 200 satisfied casino partners, FABI continues to lead the way in gaming technology. In light of the health concerns in the gaming industry related to the pandemic, the company launched FABIWallet in order to facilitate a fully cashless gaming experience that allows the patron to play at slot machines and tables, place sports bets and play online without the need for a cage or kiosk visit. Then there’s Passport Technology Inc., a leading developer of fintech solutions and services for the worldwide casino gaming and financial services industry. Passport, through its privileged and associated gaming licenses, has securely and responsibly settled over $25 billion in funds to casinos around the world.
Recently, the company surpassed all internal milestones and exceeded Pechanga Resort Casino’s expectations after a multi-year product performance review of Passport’s LiveCage platform. ACS PlayOn provides a POS chips purchasing solution for table games and with proven player adoption and seamless casino operations integration, it’s worthy of a spot on the list. PlayOn for Table Games facilitates a debit card transaction for chips at a table game, allowing players the convenience of accessing their bank funds while in their seat. With PlayOn for Table Games currently operating on over 600 table games, ACS PlayOn has processed over 200k transactions for over $200m, including in major American Indian and Nevada casinos. Another deserving nominee, Flexia offers a unique omnichannel platform that empowers a cashless solution throughout the casino resort. Flexia is the only solution to combine multi-accounts in a single card issued in minutes at the casino. The Flexia cashless gaming card and Mastercard debit card is co-branded with the casino’s logo and graphics, and fully integrated into the casino CMS and other closed loop platforms.The Flexia App provides instant transfer of funds between accounts and guests can easily load new funds directly from their bank account. Next we have Marker Trax, a cashless casino marker solution that takes the risk out of issuing funds. In 2021 Marker Trax continued to build on its casino management system partnerships to ensure the seamless issuance, recording, managing and tracking of cashless credit lines. These efforts have resulted in the ability to optimize collection efforts and AML compliance. Working collaboratively with a wide range of casino management system providers, vendors and casinos in multiple jurisdictions, the convenience of Marker Trax allows for the advancement of funds to the mass market responsibly, safely and conveniently. As our penultimate nominee, Casinomoney’s full-service applications deliver ATMs, kiosks, cash advance, check cashing, cashless payments and armored cash-in-transit. With over 24 years of cash service experience, the company offers the most advanced technology in the industry and delivers rock solid reliability through innovative software, the latest hardware, and superior user experience. Casinomoney also offers innovative options for the cage such as a computerless terminals for cash advance and check cashing, POS systems, its own CM-2020 ticket redemption machines and proprietary four-in-one ATM technology. Finally, Paysafe has been servicing the gaming industry for 20 years through its renowned Skrill and Neteller digital wallets, and its paysafecard ecash solution. The company has centralized matters with a single point of integration and service, a single API and a robust technology platform. The company also has 100% coverage of the Canadian market and is already integrated with 75% of all US operators. Most recently, Paysafe announced a new partnership with mobile sports betting app WynnBET.
OF THE YEAR
CasinoTrac’s mission is to provide a complete casino management system for its customers, including functionality modules for guest rewards, loyalty clubs, marketing analysis, audit, accounting and many more
INCREDIBLE TECHNOLOGIES - ULTRA RUSH GOLD ECLIPSE GAMING - SUPER $ VAULT BLUBERI - WAVES OF FORTUNE ARISTOCRAT - BUFFALO LINK SCIENTIFIC GAMES - MONOPOLY MONEY GRAB IGT - REGAL RICHES AINSWORTH - PAC-MAN WHEEL GAMING ARTS - CASINO WIZARD ZITRO - 88 LINK WILD DUELS ARUZE GAMING - FRONTIER SPIN
Slots: never too much of a good thing. It’s easy to miss all the ingenuity that goes into new slots but here we highlight the best in class given the demand for original concepts and play action. Our first nominee, Incredible Technologies Ultra Rush Gold, is a bigger and brighter continuation of the successful Ultra Rush game family. Ultra Rush Gold Mythical Phoenix and Tiger Run add a twist to the hit lock and spin feature on Infinity V55 and Summit cabinets. With a persistence feature, player selectable multi-denom, and progressives at any bet, it checks all the player-desired feature boxes. A locking gold spin scatter improves the chance of triggering the Ultra Rush bonus with six scatters. Performance across the US remains over two times house average, with some properties reporting over three times indexes. Featured on the striking Impact 43 portrait cabinet, Eclipse Gaming’s Super $ Vault is an entertaining three-reel game available in a one-line or five-line version and a worthy nominee. The game bolts players to their seats with a multi-wheel pointer and a chance to win all three progressives on a single spin in the wheel spin bonus feature. The slot has captivated players since launching last November. The simplicity of play complemented with alluring graphics and thrill-inducing vault animations pull players into the game. Our next nominee is Bluberi’s Waves of Fortune. Showcasing attractive and fun features, this Class II game stands out with its eye-catching designs and dazzling colors. Entirely designed to provide a fascinating gaming experience, Waves of Fortune and its amazing money making features has everything players look for in a game: wilds, tons of free spins and a brand new Insta Hit bonus that grants prizes and jackpots, all in one round. Buffalo Link was the year’s most highly anticipated game, and upon its release, operator demand instantly made it one of Aristocrat’s best-selling games, making this slot worthy of its place on the list. Player reception was immediate and outstanding. Housed on Aristocrat’s MarsX Portrait cabinet, Buffalo Link combines the thrill and functionality of Lighting Link and Dragon Link with the theme and features of Buffalo, the gaming industry’s most recognized slot brand. Unique to Buffalo Link is a new mystery must-hit-by-bonus, awarding either free games or the new hold-and-spin bonus feature. It has a single-site linked progressive with multi-denomination functionality. Showcased on the innovative new Kascada cabinet is the latest game in Scientific Games’ hugely successful Monopoly game series and our next nominee. It includes all of the iconic Monopoly elements and game features players love. Money Grab includes the popular hit and win mechanic, but with a twist: in this version, the money values don’t need to land from left to right, and Mr. Monopoly can also add additional money values to the reels. Currently, players are spinning the reels of Monopoly Money Grab and Mr. Monopoly makes it rain at casinos
around the country, resulting in a performance rating of 2.0-times on average. Next up, IGT’s Regal Riches video slots is a performance-driving, highly entertaining game that routinely performs over twice floor averages and has made Eilers-Fantini’s top-indexing list each month since its debut. The game can be found in approximately 200 casinos across the US. It’s available on in-demand hardware including IGT’s CrystalCurve and PeakSlant49 cabinets and includes innovative and engaging math and mechanics, including the player-favorite Progressive Wilds Free Games features, giving players the opportunity to collect gem symbols that boost the values of the game’s minor, major or mega jackpot meters. Ainsworth’s Pac-Man Wheel is another deserving nominee. Displayed on Ainsworth’s new A-Star Curve cabinet, this is a five-reel, 243-ways-to-win slot with a wheel spin bonus trigger mingling with the ghosts and other Pac-Man icons of the theme. The main wheel bonus, triggered by wheel symbols on the first and fifth reels, occurs every 21 spins. The 12 slices on the wheel include a few static credit awards along with six bonus events based on the Pac-Man theme, plus a jackpot slice that reveals one of two progressives: a major, resetting at $300 or the grand, resetting at $2,500. Gaming Arts’ innovative Casino Wizard slot is up next. The first of its kind multi-game collective of video table games includes roulette, craps, blackback, and baccarat all contained in a single, standalone slot cabinet. From the comfort of their seats, players can enjoy their favorite table games and seamlessly switch between each of them. Its intuitive and easy-to-use interface delivers a classic wagering experience that players love and one that will allow beginners to learn table games in a non-intimidating environment. Video blackjack and baccarat offer side bets to add a little excitement to the gameplay experience, while craps offers familiar, traditional bets and proposition bets. Next is Zitro’s world-renowned progressive multi-game 88 Link Wild Duels, which offers the combination of multiway mechanics with an exciting lLink bonus, the first time a game has done this. The game is featured on the Allure ultra-slim cabinet with ×27” HD LCD monitors and its impressive SyncroScreen functionality that uses the top monitors to deliver continuous animations that flow from one machine to another. The game’s most recent install was at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. And finally, a new multi-progressive video slot series is displayed on Aruze’s Muso Curve-43 and Curve-43 Hybrid cabinets. There are four five-reel games in the series so far: Frontier Spin Bear, Frontier Spin Wolf, Frontier Spin Stag and Frontier Spin Bull. The unique thing about these games is the free-spin feature. When triggered, the player is awarded the sum of the numbers on the screen as the numbers of free spins, which can result in a maximum of 200 free games.
RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Paysafe is a leading igaming payment processor with over 20 years of experience combining scale with nimbleness, and an ability to offer an unrivalled portfolio of proprietary solutions that empower businesses and consumers to connect with each other using one meeting point. From online to in-store payments; merchant acquiring to payment gateways; alternative payments to omni-channel and secure cross-border e-commerce; PaySafe offers businesses an unbeatable one-stop solution.
PENN NATIONAL GAMING LAS VEGAS SANDS CORP HARD ROCK INTERNATIONAL BOYD GAMING THE SAN MANUEL BAND OF MISSION INDIANS SYCUAN CASINO RESORT MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT IGT PACE-O-MATIC
The first rule of a responsible business is talk about it. The last year has put a lot of people through tough and challenging times. During these hardships, some members of the gaming community took the challenges head on to help those in need. Here is our list of the gaming companies who went the extra mile to support the industry and the people involved in it. Up first, Penn National supported its partner Dave Portnoy and Barstool Sports to help sustain small business owners around the country who have been hard hit by the pandemic. Over $39 million was raised to provide ongoing support to more than 391 businesses and counting. The operator also launched a new Diversity Scholarship Program for the children of its team members and committed $1m annually to it. The program is designed to provide financial assistance to graduating high school seniors and current college students.
“IGT upholds nine of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals” Through its Sands Cares program, our next nominee, Las Vegas Sands Corp, addresses its regions’ most pressing issues and needs, and commits valuable funding to help local communities thrive. In June this year, Sands partnered with the LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada, committing over $150,000 to providing full onsite health and wellness care for LGBTQIA+ and low-income downtown residents. Together with Clean the World, last year Sands also developed The Drop by Drop Project, a unique initiative that reinvests its savings from water conservation projects around the world into water initiatives based in its business regions. Then there’s Hard Rock International. Through local, national and global philanthropy, it invests in efforts that advance health, wellness, social conditions, economic well-being, disaster relief and environmental sustainability. Earlier this year the company unveiled the “Imagine There’s No Hunger” campaign, a unified effort to raise awareness and funds to combat global hunger and poverty, which was designed together with WhyHunger and activist-artist Yoko Ono Lennon. Next on the list, Boyd Gaming generously supports worthwhile charitable organizations, and carefully directs contributions to the areas where they will have the greatest possible positive effect. In 2020, the company awarded more than $145,000 to non-profit organizations across the country in its annual holiday competition, “Wreaths of Hope.” In addition, last October Three Square Food Bank received a $150,000 grant from Boyd Gaming to continue its fight against food insecurity in Southern Nevada, which was at record high levels due to Covid. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians say charitable acts are part of their ancient heritage and this is reflected as they come in as a deserving nominee.
Earlier this year, the San Manuel tribe stepped up to help struggling businesses in Southern California by donating $20,000 each to 50 small businesses, a total of $1 million. The tribe said the recipients are based within the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians ancestral territory, and all have been devastated by Covid. At the end of 2020, our next nominee, the Sycuan Casino Resort donated more than $70,000 to 21 charities during its 2020 Holiday Gift Giving Celebration. Every December, each member of the Sycuan Tribal Council and leadership team is given the opportunity to select a charity to receive a donation from the tribe. Among the charities that benefitted this time were Alzheimer’s Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters San Diego County, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Children’s Health Defense, Computers2Kids San Diego, and more. Not only does our next nominee, MGM Resorts International do charity work such as donating more that 1.1 million meals to charitable organizations in 2020, but the company is also a true leader in the battle against climate change. This June MGM Resorts launched its 100-megawatt solar array, the hospitality industry’s largest directly sourced renewable electricity project worldwide. The array’s clean energy now produces up to 90% of MGM Resorts’ Las Vegas daytime power needs, spanning 65 million square feet of buildings across 13 properties and more than 36,000 rooms on the Las Vegas Strip, including Bellagio, ARIA, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand and The Mirage, among others. Caesars Entertainment is committed to social-economic equity in every community in which it operates. In April this year Caesars said that it has donated $3.1 million to nine Southern Nevada nonprofits and charitable organizations. The funds were collected from Caesars’ paid-parking garages. Through its CodeGreen strategy, Caesars also drives environmental awareness and engagement, as well as performance, across its business. In 2020 our penultimate nominee IGT was recognized as an ESG “outperformer” by Sustainalytics. IGT’s sustainable growth strategy is centered on four key priorities: valuing its people, advancing responsibility, supporting its communities, and fostering sustainable operations. As part of this commitment, the company upholds nine of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while adhering to the United Nations Global Compact, all in partnership with prominent international organizations. Last but not least, Pace-O-Matic is committed to being a good corporate citizen and each year, the company gives money and volunteer hours to local families and organizations to help strengthen its communities. To date, the supplier has provided over $3.5 million in charitable giving. Most recently, Pace-O-Matic together with Miele Manufacturing, gave a check for $50,000 to Veterans Promise, to help the group further its work showing honor and providing assistance to veterans.
OF THE YEAR
Continent 8 has delivered digital products and services to the gaming sector for two decades. The company has points of presence across the US as well as data centers in Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee among others. DR. LAILA MINTAS - CEO, PLAYUP USA JAY SNOWDEN - PRESIDENT & CEO, PENN NATIONAL GAMING ANNA SAINSBURY - FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN, GEOCOMPLY SOO KIM - CHAIRMAN, BALLY’S CORPORATION ELAINE HODGSON - CEO, INCREDIBLE TECHNOLOGIES JOSEPH PAPPANO - CO-CEO, SIGHTLINE PAYMENTS KIMBERLY VAN AMBURG - CEO, CASINO DEL SOL ADAM GREENBLATT - CEO, BETMGM TERRY GLEBOCKI - CEO, OCEAN CASINO RESORTS RENATO ASCOLI - CEO GLOBAL GAMING, IGT JOHN CONNELLY - CEO, INTERBLOCK MELONIE JOHNSON - PRESIDENT & COO, BORGATA HOTEL CASINO & SPA HOWARD GLASER - HEAD OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS AND SPECIAL INITIATIVES, SCIENTIFIC GAMES KIM NASUTA - VICE PRESIDENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES, AGS SHEILA MORAGO - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OKLAHOMA INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION HECTOR FERNANDEZ - PRESIDENT, AMERICAS, ARISTOCRAT GAMING REBECCA PAUL HARGROVE - PRESIDENT & CEO, TENNESSEE LOTTERY JASON ROBINS - CEO & CO-FOUNDER, DRAFTKINGS ELLEN WHITTEMORE - EVP & GENERAL COUNSEL, WYNN RESORTS ERNIE STEVENS, JR. - CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION VICKIE CHEN - FOUNDER & CEO, AVIA GAMES CHRIS BEVILACQUA - CO-FOUNDER & CEO, SIMPLEBET CASSIE STRATFORD - VP OF LEGAL AFFAIRS, BOYD GAMING RICHARD SCHWARTZ - CEO, RUSH STREET INTERACTIVE DEREK STEVENS - CEO, CIRCA RESORT
At the top of their game: American Executive of the Year Leadership is central to success at the best of times. During hard times, strong leadership has to reveal itself to sustain a business. The candidates for American Executive certainly rose to the occasion over the last year. In an ultra competitive sports betting market, Dr. Laila Mintas, CEO, PlayUp USA, has grown the US operations from just her to a fully operational group. Her leadership and her long-term vision have allowed her to get PlayUp operational in Colorado while forging market access agreements in nearly 20 other states. Jay Snowden became president and CEO of Penn National last year and despite the pandemic, he navigated the company through several mitigation efforts and capital raises to help secure the company’s future. Then there are Anna Sainsbury’s efforts as co-founder and chair of fraud prevention and cybersecurity company GeoComply, a company now licensed in all states offering online betting and gaming. Soo Kim, chairman of Bally’s Corporation, had a vision to transform Bally’s into a national gaming leader, which became a reality this year. Bally’s executed over 15 strategic partnerships and attained a market cap that grew from around $400 million to over $2.5 billion. Elaine Hodgson, president and CEO of Incredible Technologies, was able to create fast growth without having to reduce staff or benefits during the pandemic. Then there’s Joseph Pappano, CEO of Sightline Payments, who joined in the middle of the pandemic. Due to his leadership, Sightline made gaming history by helping to launch the first casino, RWLV, where anything can be purchased onsite with a mobile wallet. Since Kimberly Van Amburg took the helm, Casino Del Sol experienced significant growth with an extensive expansion of a second hotel, expanded conference center and new event center. She also serves as a mentor to many team members, preparing them for future roles. Under Adam Greenblatt’s watch, BetMGM has managed to quickly build a leading position in the US igaming sector and has now established itself as one of the premier online sports betting operators. Terry Glebocki, CEO of Ocean Casino Resorts, made sure that lockdown time wasn’t wasted and took the opportunity to see how to improve the organization, leading to a $15 million redesign investment. Renato Ascoli leads IGT’s entire gaming enterprise, which extends to six continents and approximately 100 countries. He and fellow IGT leaders successfully navigated the unprecedented business conditions of 2020 and significantly grew its sports betting, igaming and VLT/Specialty businesses. Interblock CEO John Connelly’s extensive background in US and international markets played a pivotal role to increase Interblock’s market share, innovation and profitability. During the pandemic, he made health and safety a priority for his workforce, and ramped up R&D efforts to better serve customers and offer solutions to bring players back to the casino floor safely. Having entered into the role during Atlantic City’s Covid-mandated shutdown, Melonie Johnson, President & COO of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, worked closely
with local officials to safely reopen in July last year. Under her leadership, the property achieved a 28% year-over-year increase, the top performer in Atlantic City. Howard Glaser, head of government affairs and special initiatives at Scientific Games, help gaming jurisdictions maximize and protect revenue while operating safely by organizing virtual briefings for states and jurisdictions that generate $44 billion in annual gaming revenue. Last year, Kim Nasuta, VP of HR at AGS, led the business through a traumatic health and economic crisis without losing focus on the employee experience, thereby being largely responsible for AGS being named among the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation from 2017 to 2020. Sheila Morago, OIGA executive director, has invaluable experience in the tribal gaming sector and works tirelessly to advance tribal gaming. She was also integral bringing the OIGA trade show back in-person again in August. In two years as Aristocrat’s president of the Americas and EMEA, Hector Fernandez has led the Aristocrat Assist initiative, helping employees, customers and players through the pandemic crisis. Rebecca Paul Hargrove, president and CEO of the Tennessee Lottery, has built multibillion-dollar lotteries to fuel industry growth. It surpassed $2 billion in total annual revenue for 2021 and she’s also ensured that the Lottery benefits the state, funding a designated education program. Jason Robins, CEO and co-founder of DraftKings, enabled the company to grow fast and trade on the Nasdaq. This year Robins ensured his company will grow beyond fantasy sports and sports betting into igaming, by agreeing DraftKings’ acquisition of GNOG. Ellen Whittemore, EVP & general counsel, Wynn Resorts, works with Wynn’s board, C-suite and is actively involved in many civic and charitable organizations. Ernie Stevens, Jr., chairman of NIGA, has worked to educate Congress, the media and the public about the positive impacts of Indian gaming. In July, he and NIGA brought the gaming community back at the NIGA tradeshow and convention. Since Vickie Chen co-founded Avia Games in 2017, she has helped secure $40 million in funding to be used to accelerate player acquisition, develop new games and expand its team and international presence. Over the past 30 years, Chris Bevilacqua, co-founder and CEO of Simplebet, has established himself as a leader in sports and media business and recently co-founded Simplebet. Under his watch, Simplebet recently raised $15 million in its latest financing round, which will be used to expand its in-play betting capabilities. In addition to her role as VP of legal affairs at Boyd Gaming, Cassie Stratford was also recently appointed president of the Global Gaming Women industry group. Under Richard Schwartz’ leadership at Rush Street Interactive. the company has built an award-winning proprietary technology platform and online operations, generating revenues up 89% year-over-year. Finally, Derek Stevens opened Circa Resort & Casino in Las Vegas during the pandemic with the city’s biggest sportsbook and innovative pool complex, Stadium Swim.
The Global Gaming Awards, brought to you by Gambling Insider and Gaming America in association with G2E , the American Gaming Association and Reed Exhibitions. Official voting adjudicator KPMG Isle of Man.