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GGB Global Gaming Business Magazine
November 2018 • Vol. 17 • No. 11 • $10
GENDER BIAS IN GAMING 2019 G&T AWARDS F&B FRANCHISES FOXWOODS’ RODNEY BUTLER
40 Under 40
Gaming’s Emerging Leaders Front & Center
for People Aristocrat and VGT focus on culture, customers and innovation Mashpee Morass
Federal decision means difficulties for Massachusetts tribe and Indian Country Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers
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Vol. 17 • No. 11
Global Gaming Business Magazine
18 COVER STORY Forging Ahead
12 AGA Show of Shows
Aristocrat Leisure Limited and its U.S. subsidiary Aristocrat Technologies continue to produce slot content that tops all industry performance surveys, while consolidating its North American forces in a new Las Vegas corporate campus. By Frank Legato
15 Fantini’s Finance Safe but Boring Frank Fantini
44 Revenue Management Crossing Over the Aisle Marco Benvenuti
52 Making My Point Escaping the Rut On the cover: Jay Sevigny, president of Aristocrat subsidiary VGT; and Matt Wilson, Aristocrat’s managing director for the Americas
64 Payment Processing Show Me Your Wallet Christopher Justice
FEATURES 24 40 Under 40 The first 10 of the 40 rising stars of the gaming industry are profiled in the annual “Emerging Leaders of Gaming 40 Under 40” list compiled by GGB and The Innovation Group. By Marie Casias, Allison McCoy, Marjorie Preston, and William Sokolic
34 Mashpee Message The difficulties experienced by the Mashpee Wampanoag Indians of Massachusetts in securing trust land may signal hard times ahead under the Trump administration’s Indian policy. By Dave Palermo
38 Rose-Colored Glass Ceiling Difficulties in efforts to advance women to top executive positions in the gaming industry sometimes result from current C-suite execs denying the problems exist. By Jane Bokunewicz and Noel Criscione-Naylor
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
46 Best of the Best
The 17th annual GGB Gaming & Technology Awards recognize the top innovators in the gaming industry.
By Patrick Roberts
By the Numbers
48 Franchise Performers
10 5 Questions
Restaurant franchisees provide casinos with a ready-made F&B customer base and many other benefits not possible with in-house restaurant operations.
16 AGEM Page
By Dave Bontempo
60 The Big Show The 2018 edition of the Global Gaming Expo demonstrated unprecedented innovation on the supply side and an educational program focused on the newly legal U.S. sports-betting business. By Frank Legato and Roger Gros
54 New Game Review
58 Frankly Speaking 62 Goods & Services 65 People 66 Casino Communications With Rodney Butler, Chairman, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe
At Scientific Games, we’re EVOLVING ENTERTAINMENT, and at G2E this year visitors will see how we not only have the full spectrum of products, services, technology and talent to meet today’s challenges, but also the VISION and capacity to help shape the FUTURE of entertainment.
LOTTERY | GAMING | SYSTEMS | DIGITAL | SOCIAL The look and feel of the games and their individual components and displays are trade dress of Scientific Games Corp. and its Subsidiaries. TM and © 2018 Scientific Games Corp. and its Subsidiaries. All rights reserved.
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Vol. 17 • No. 11 • NOVEMBER 2018 Roger Gros, Publisher | email@example.com twitter: @GlobalGamingBiz Frank Legato, Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org twitter: @FranklySpeakn Monica Cooley, Art Director | email@example.com
Roger Gros, Publisher
ive states have already legalized sports betting, and at least that many more will consider it in 2019. Predictions are that at least 40 of the 50 states will legalize sports wagering in the next five years. While the model seems to have the sports wagering controlled by the casinos and racetracks in the individual states, there is also a movement in some states to put the lottery in charge. But when that happens—as it has in Delaware, West Virginia and Rhode Island so far—the casinos still play a role as the only physical locations where sports betting can be made. But of course, the real money these days comes from mobile or online sports betting. In Nevada, more than 60 percent of the revenue is derived from the mobile apps that have been developed by the host casinos. And in just three months in New Jersey, as demonstrated by the charts in the By the Numbers section on page 8 of this issue, mobile and online sports bets already account for more than half of the betting. Some states have decided to move forward without mobile or online betting, such as Mississippi. Undoubtedly, state legislators will reconsider when they see the revenue that is being left on the table. When new states begin to legalize sports betting, they are also going to look at the ratio between in-person and mobile betting, and likely decide to offer both. This will please the casinos, which will get a bigger market, and the legislators, who will garner more tax revenue. Of course, we’ll see how the Pennsylvania experience plays out with a 34 percent tax rate. It’s hardly conducive to a profitable sports book operation, but since several casinos have applied for the license, maybe they know something I don’t. But in addition to the legalization of sports betting, there is a huge opportunity to also legalize online gaming at the same time or maybe a few years later. It’s not a huge leap from betting on sports to playing casino games online. And for legislators, there is a bit more flexibility with taxes on online casino games. It’s not unusual for taxes to be set anywhere up to around 20 percent before operators start to flinch. Remember, online gaming is now a proven commodity. The hysteria about children gambling online or betting occurring in places where it’s not
legal—such as across state lines—have proven to be red herrings. There are few if any accounts of those things emanating from the states where online gaming is currently legal—Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, and soon Pennsylvania. So the job of convincing state legislators has gotten easier. But who is going to be the champion of online gaming? Probably not the American Gaming Association, whose members are still uncertain about how to get their arms around that side of the industry. Individual online gaming companies could certainly advocate for an expanded industry, but that always sounds like so much greed. What is needed is an association of online gaming companies. They need to present research on how it has been conducted safely and securely, not only in the U.S., but also around the world. They need to make a case—just like sports betting—that it is already occurring and the potential tax revenues that each state could generate are now going to criminal enterprises. An association could give facts about the integrity of online gaming operators, the transparency of the data, the efforts set up to prevent underage gambling and protections against problem gambling. An association could speak with one voice—a voice that is unified and confident, and one that would be influential in the state capitals. It could designate minimum standards for legislators to consider—legislators who may not understand the costs of operating an online gaming site, affiliate marketing, cross-border compacts and a host of other topics that are too far down in the weeds for them to understand. This is an opportunity for the entire industry. Certainly this kind of association would include the giants of iGaming like GVC, the Stars Group, Betfair, William Hill, Paddy Power and others, but should also add IGT, Scientific Games, Aristocrat, and even operators like MGM and Caesars. Legalization of iGaming would benefit the entire industry and the states in which it operates. The time is now to organize and be ready for the inevitable debates that will follow.
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
Lauren Byrge, Director, Sales & Marketing LaurenB@GGBmagazine.com Floyd Sembler, Business Development Manager firstname.lastname@example.org Becky Kingman-Gros, Chief Operating Officer email@example.com Lisa Johnson, Communications Advisor firstname.lastname@example.org twitter: @LisaJohnsonPR Columnists Allie Barth | Marco Benvenuti Frank Fantini | Christopher Justice | Roger Snow Contributing Editors Jane Bokunewicz Dave Bontempo twitter: @bontempomedia Marie Casias | Noel Criscione-Naylor Allison McCoy | Dave Palermo twitter: @DavePalermo4 Marjorie Preston | Patrick Roberts | William Sokolic
EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Rino Armeni, President, Armeni Enterprises
Mark A. Birtha, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Hard Rock International
• Julie Brinkerhoff-Jacobs, President, Lifescapes International
• Nicholas Casiello Jr., Shareholder, Fox Rothschild
• Jeffrey Compton, Publisher, CDC E-Reports twitter: @CDCNewswire
• Dean Macomber, President, Macomber International, Inc.
• Stephen Martino, Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer, MGM Resorts International, twitter: @stephenmartino
• Jim Rafferty, President, Rafferty & Associates
• Thomas Reilly, Vice President Systems Sales, Scientific Games
• Steven M. Rittvo, Chairman Emeritus, The Innovation Group twitter: @InnovGrp
• Katherine Spilde, Executive Director, Sycuan Gaming Institute, San Diego State University, twitter: @kspilde
• Ernie Stevens, Jr., Chairman, National Indian Gaming Association twitter: @NIGA1985
• Roy Student, President, Applied Management Strategies
• David D. Waddell, Partner Regulatory Management Counselors PC Casino Connection International LLC. 901 American Pacific Drive, Suite 180 • Henderson, Nevada 89014 702-248-1565 • 702-248-1567 (fax) www.ggbmagazine.com The views and opinions expressed by the writers and columnists of GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS are not necessarily the views of the publisher or editor. Copyright 2018 Global Gaming Business LLC. Henderson, Nevada 89014 GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS is published monthly by Casino Connection International, LLC. Printed in Nevada, USA. Postmaster: Send Change of Address forms to: 901 American Pacific Dr, Suite 180, Henderson, NV 89014
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NEW JERSEY SPORTS BOOk REVENUES DOUBlE WITh FOOTBall T
he September revenue numbers for Atlantic City came in, and the big news for the month was the almost doubling of sports betting revenue from August. Clearly, the catalyst was the opening of the NFL season and the addition of more physical and online gaming choices. But the surprise was the complete dominance of the two former daily fantasy sports companies, FanDuel and DraftKings. Between the two of them, they accounted
for $11.3 million of the $12.6 million in digital revenue for New Jersey sports books. And digital clearly is the choice of New Jersey bettors, already surpassing the $11.4 million bet at the brick-and-mortar sports books. Discounting “futures” bets—wagers on events that have yet to be completed—New Jersey sports books held 7.9 percent.
SEPTEMBER NEW JERSEY SPORTS BETTING REVENUE Property (Digital Partner)
Resorts (DraftKings, BetStars)
Monmouth Park (William Hill)
Ocean Resort (William Hill)
Golden Nugget (SugarHouse)
Bally’s WW West (Caesars online, 888)
All revenue in $millions
ith the difference between Class II and Class III slot machines blurring, tribal casinos are opting to buy more Class II games. In many states, like Oklahoma and California, the compact between the tribe and the state limits the number of Class III machines any casino can offer. But by adding Class II machines, the tribes can increase choices for their customers without violating the numbers of Class III machines permitted under the compact. This chart is part of the latest definitive guide to tribal gaming, the 2018 issue of Casino City’s Indian Gaming Industry Report. The report covers all issues related to Indian gaming, including gaming and non-gaming revenue; number of facilities, tribes, gaming machines and table games; market summaries; trends; and revenue sharing with state and local governments. To obtain a copy of the report, visit CasinoCityPress.com.
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
Number of Class II v. Class III Machines in Oklahoma
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Rahul Sood President, Unikrn
“I hope that all American operators will be able to show that we operate as local operators here. We are all working towards building Macau.” —Pansy Ho, major shareholder, MGM China, on U.S. gaming operators in Macau in light of China’s trade dispute with the Trump administration
sports wagering is in its infancy, but Rahul Sood got on board early. His Unikrn company is the undisputed king of esports betting, with major investors like billionaire Mark Cuban, star of CNBC’s Shark Tank and owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks. Esports is a burgeoning opportunity for the casino industry, but it’s still unclear about how to take advantage of it. Sood discusses how Unikrn operates, using many different titles and player skills. He talks about how the company handles its bets, why cryptocurrency is part of the Unikrn strategy, and how it could work in conjunction with the casinos. He spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros at the Unikrn offices in Las Vegas in October. To hear a full podcast of this interview, visit GGBMagazine.com.
1 2 3 4 5
GGB: Tell us what Unikrn is all about. Rahul Sood: Unikrn is a global esports bookmaker. We create our own odds. We permit live betting
on our platform. We’re a “fan first” company. We embedded ourselves into the esports community. We create content like ESPN would for sports. We own teams, we run tournaments… We’re really a participant in the community rather than just a betting operator. And most importantly, I think, we’re the only wagering company on earth that’s built entirely on blockchain. We can accept 9,000 transactions per second, and we’re soon going to be able to offer our platform over multiple countries and accept bets in multiple currencies. And you produce your own currency as well, correct?
Yes, back in 2015 we introduced Unikoin and created UnikoinGold last year. UnikoinGold can be used in a number of different ways. It’s not only tied to wagering. Customers can come to our platform and connect their gaming accounts—League of Legends, DotA, Fortnite, whatever—and start playing games and collecting tokens. They can win tokens, digital items and jackpots. And then we use UnikoinGold as a betting bonus. There’s lots of ways we can go with this using our ecosystem. In the wagering space, I think we’re light years ahead of anyone else with this. Can you bet on teams or is it head-to-head betting?
It’s both. You can either bet on professional esports teams or you can bet on yourself when you go up against a friend. We do buy-in tournaments at MGM, for example, where you buy in for $15 and can win a prize, like a poker tournament. What regulatory bodies have given you a license, and how do they oversee your activities?
We’ve worked with the strictest regulators in the world in Australia, the Isle of Man, Malta and the U.K. We’re about to get licensed to take wagers and for our cryptocurrency activities. And it’s frankly very hard to get, because you have to show them your AML and your KYC programs on the platform, and we’ll be the first in the world to accomplish that for cryptocurrency. Esports is quite bifurcated because of the various publishers of the games. How do you work with so many different entities?
Right now, it’s kind of a spectrum. You have some that willingly share their data with us and think about the future of the space and others that say they can’t do anything because of the optics of gambling. When we built Unikrn, we built our platform to be completely publisher-agnostic. It doesn’t matter what the publisher does, we can put a wagering experience on top of all the popular games.
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
November 5-6: Betting & iGaming Africa Summit 2018 (BiG Africa), Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa. Produced by Eventus International. For more information, visit bigafricasummit.com. November 6-8: Asia Gaming Summit, Taipei, Taiwan. Produced by Beacon Events. For more information, visit AsiaGamingSummit.com. November 21-22: Balkan Entertainment & Gaming Exhibition BEGE Expo, Inter Expo Center, Sofia, Bulgaria. Produced by the Bulgarian Trade Association of Manufacturers and Operators in the Gaming Industry. For more information, visit BalkanGamingExpo.com. November 27-28: ICE Sportsbetting USA, Convene, New York City. Produced by Clarion Gaming. For more information, visit SportsBettingUSAConference.com. December 4-6: World Gaming Expo 2018, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco. Produced by Monaco International Events. For more information, visit World-Gaming-Expo.com. December 5: GambleAware Conference 2018, The King’s Fund, London. Produced by GambleAware. For more information, visit GambleAware.org. December 13: UNLV Gaming & Hospitality Education Series: Modern Player Development, Stan Fulton Building, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Produced by GGB magazine and UNLV William F. Harrah College of Hospitality. For more information, visit UNLVGHES.com. December 13: UNLV Gaming & Hospitality Education Series: The Perils and Possibilities of AML and Payment Processing, UNLV’s Stan Fulton Building, Las Vegas. Produced by GGB magazine and UNLV William F. Harrah College of Hospitality. For more information, visit UNLVGHES.com. February 5-7: ICE Totally Gaming, ExCel Centre, London. Produced by Clarion Gaming. For more information, visit ICELondon.uk.com.
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AMERICAN GAMING ASSOCIATION
Show of Shows 2018 another banner year for the Global Gaming Expo
’m proud to report that 2018 was another successful year for the Global Gaming Expo (G2E)—the world’s premier international gaming trade show and educational program hosted by the American Gaming Association (AGA). Coming into G2E 2018, we were encouraged by the fast growth of G2E Asia, which was the largest to date in both size and attendance with more than 16,000 people joining us from 89 countries and regions. The success of G2E Asia points to the show’s growth as a signature event for the industry around the world to highlight innovation, reconnect and network with gaming-entertainment professionals, prepare for the evolving market and find a wide array of tools to boost business operations.
By Allie Barth
gaming and hospitality to stars of ABC’s Shark Tank, Kevin O’Leary and Daymond John, and fellow business mogul Cindy Eckert (Whitehead), CEO of The Pink Ceiling and founder of Sprout Pharmaceuticals. The judges awarded one finalist $10,000 and a booth at next year’s G2E, and the audience awarded an additional booth to their favorite business pitch, which they chose by voting on their phones. This year’s G2E also featured the expo’s first Sports Betting Symposium, complete with a keynote address from ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt, a show floor tour of exhibitors’ sports betting products and several days of education covering all aspects of the sports betting sector. As state legislatures come back into session and consider whether to establish legal,
“Innovation was a key theme throughout the expo, from the dynamic talks at the third-annual Innovation Lab to new products unveiled by our exhibitors and the first-ever Innovation Incubator at G2E.” Last month’s G2E in Las Vegas continued this success with more than 30,000 attendees and 300-plus exhibitors representing all segments of the diverse gaming industry. Innovation was a key theme throughout the expo, from the dynamic talks at the third annual Innovation Lab to new products unveiled by our exhibitors and the first-ever Innovation Incubator at G2E. The Innovation Incubator was one of attendees’ favorite events of the expo, with four students and startups—Inside Injuries, Shield Card Shoe, Vegas Doorstop and Window Magic—pitching their best business ideas in
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
regulated sports betting markets in the coming months, the lessons learned at G2E’s Sports Betting Symposium will be invaluable. We could not have had such a banner year for the Global Gaming Expo without the support of the entire gaming industry. It’s a pleasure to bring together the casino gaming sector to network, collaborate and reflect on the industry’s great progress during G2E, and we look forward to building upon this year’s success to create an even better expo next year.
Allie Barth is vice president of industry services for the American Gaming Association.
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Safe but Boring Why casino REITs are changing the financial dynamics of the gaming business
asino stocks may be coming to an interesting intersection of bullish economic fundamentals and rising interest rates. On the bullish side, the two most important economic measures for casino stocks, jobs and consumer confidence, are hitting their best numbers in decades. On the cautionary side, the Federal Reserve has been consistently raising interest rates, thus making income investments such as bonds more attractive to investors who have been happily into stocks during this cheap money era. What makes the intersection interesting is that while the strong economy is filling the pockets of freer-spending consumers today, it also is creating the wage and other inflationary pressures that could prompt the Fed to continue raising rates to the point where they slow the economy and significantly raise the costs of borrowing, or of carrying existing debt. Interest rates have been held artificially low for so long that businesses have become inured to them, at least to some degree. Casino companies now talk about debt at 4.5 and five times EBITDA as normal and sustainable. Gaming equipment suppliers, once debt-free, carry long-term debt today. Casino companies have done a good job of managing debt and guarding against the future—refinancing debt down to lower rates, converting floating interest rate debt to fixed, extending maturity dates. But the reality is that casinos are capitalintensive. It takes a lot of money to build casino resorts, and it takes a lot of money to maintain and refresh the properties. There will be debt to service. The time may come when rates rise high enough that the cost of new or refinanced debt crimps growth plans. And if the economy falls into recession, those 4.5- and five-times debt ratios might rise as EBITDA falls, becoming less comfortable.
By Frank Fantini
That, of course, is the nature of the business cycle. However, there is a new element for gaming companies in this eternal push and pull—real estate investment trusts. REITs today help casino companies expand by being able to reduce acquisition costs, considering casinos are only buying operations, not real estate and buildings. The REITs also have been helping to boost casino stock prices as regional properties are being purchased at valuations significantly higher than the historic norm. If properties are being purchased at 10 or 12 times EBITDA,
‘The REITs have been helping to boost casino stock prices as regional properties are being purchased at valuations significantly higher than the historic norm.’ then it follows that the value of regional casino operators is higher than the seven or eight times that have long held sway. REITs also help the value of companies like Eldorado, Red Rock Resorts and Golden Entertainment that own most, or all, of their real estate by creating a market value for their real estate, which allows investors to imbed some part of that value into stock valuations. That goes for whether investors are calculating takeover value or seeing the potential to monetize the real estate through some other means, such as selling it. All of which raises a question: What about the REITs themselves? The three gaming REITs might become
more attractive in a slowing economy. Gaming revenues might fall to the detriment of the operators, but they will still pay rent to their landlords, the REITs. The REITs also are required to pay dividends, and they are significant dividends. Here are their approximate yields today: • Gaming & Leisure Properties 7.3 percent • MGM Growth Properties 6.0 • VICI Properties 5.4
Those are good returns in a world of little better than 3 percent yield on U.S. 10-year bonds. And they are going to rise as REITs acquire more properties. Carlo Santarelli of Deutsche Bank calculates that six properties soon to be acquired by Gaming & Leisure Properties will result in a dividend yield approaching 8.2 percent in two years. Those yields also bring up the value of total return—stock price appreciation plus the dividend. Today, those returns are small. Gaming & Leisure Properties stock, for example, has risen just 3 percent over the past year, providing a total return of over 10 percent. That isn’t a rocket ride. It falls well below the 25 percent jump in the Nasdaq Composite over the last year, the Dow’s 13 percent jump and the S&P 500’s 17 percent rise. But it is fairly secure. While other stocks will bear the brunt of the next market downturn, REITs will be cushioned by their reliable revenues and dividends. Not sexy, but safer and, over time, maybe providing an attractive total return. And if a recession is not around the corner? Well, there are plenty of casinos still to be acquired by REITs, and a big world beyond casinos into which to expand. In other words, there is the potential for growth to raise stock prices over time as well as dividends. Frank Fantini is the editor and publisher of Fantini’s Gaming Report. For a free 30-day trial subscription email email@example.com.
NOVEMBER 2018 www.ggbmagazine.com
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AGEMupdate AGEM MEMBER PROFILE
With more than 286,000 global professionals offering audit, tax, risk, financial advisory and consulting services, Deloitte serves clients across a wide range of industries. Deloitte serves many of the world’s most admired brands, including more than 85 percent of the Fortune 500, and more than 6,000 private and middle-market companies. Deloitte private practice is exclusively focused on serving private clients of all sizes and driven to address the opportunities and challenges unique to private businesses. Deloitte has been serving gaming companies for more than 50 years. Clients include casinos, resorts and riverboat dockside operators, online gaming, gaming manufacturers, racetracks, regulators and state lotteries. Recognized as a leading provider of professional services to the gaming sector internationally, Deloitte supports clients across all major gaming jurisdictions around the world including the U.S., Macau, Singapore, U.K., Europe, Canada and Australia. Deloitte’s national gaming practice is located in Las Vegas and comprises more than 160 professionals including 18 partners, principals and managing directors—the largest audit practice in the city. Deloitte is at the forefront of innovation—constantly evolving services and technologies to address the clients’ needs. Clients count on Deloitte to help them transform uncertainty into possibility and rapid change into lasting progress. Deloitte’s people know how to anticipate, collaborate, innovate, and create opportunity from even the unforeseen obstacle. Recently, Deloitte was named 2018 Audit Innovation of the Year by the Audit Innovation Bulletin Awards and ranks in the top 10 Best Places to Work, according to Fortune magazine. For more information, contact Tim Bremer, managing partner,Nevada Practice, Deloitte & Touche LLP at 702-893-3136 or Tbremer@deloitte.com.
AGEM Board of Directors Actions – October 2018 • The first recipient of the of the EDP Gender Diversity Scholarship set up by the European Casino Association with AGEM, Clarion Gaming and the Executive Development Program was awarded at the beginning of October. Pauline Boyer Martin from the French casino group JOA was announced as the winner who will attend the program in Lake Tahoe in November, showing strong leadership skills and a desire to further her professional education. She is currently the marketing director for France’s third-largest landbased operator. On winning the scholarship, Bower Martin said she was “delighted and immensely proud to have been selected as the winner of the first-ever Clarion-ECA-AGEM EDP scholarship.” • AGEM’s Compliance Committee has a short working session scheduled on October 23 with Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Becky Harris to discuss the “assume responsibility” portion of Regulation 14. Ultimately, AB75 was intended to allow new innovation to come into gaming and gaming equipment as long as licensees “assume responsibility” for the hardware and software in their equipment. AGEM’s aim will focus not on legislative intent, but specific language it opposes and reaching an agreement to provide proper direction going forward. • The U.S. State Gaming Regulations Forum made up of the seven states of Nevada, New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Mississippi held a G2E meeting for the first time. This organization originally issued a statement in the aftermath of the U.S. sports betting ruling so information could be shared across state lines for a variety of gaming-related issues. At the meeting, Harris presented a list of items compiled by AGEM that have caused a lot of issues for suppliers for many years. Members of ghe group were open and enthusiastic about assisting with their support, and although this will not produce instant results, it is very positive and encouraging to see regulators working together and including AGEM in the process. • During a ceremony on the G2E show floor, Gavin Isaacs was awarded the 2018 Jens Halle Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Commercial Gaming Professionalism, and Frank Legato was honored as the recipient of the 2018 Peter Mead Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Gaming Media & Communications. Currently vice chairman of the board of Scientific Games, Isaacs has a long history of success and respect in the global gaming industry. Legato has served as editor of Global Gaming Business magazine since 2002 and is the leading voice for new slot titles and gaming technology from both the industry and player perspectives. The nominees for these memorial awards are based on a set of criteria aimed to capture the unique attributes displayed by Halle and Mead during their storied careers. Both recipients are worthy and gracious winners.Manufacturers Association of Gaming Equipment September 2018 • The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States 2018 Winter Conference, held January 4-6 at Positive contributors to the September 2018 AGEM Index AGEM Index decreased in September 2018, Harrah’she New Orleans, recently gained approval for sponsorship included thesupport following:of $5,000. AGEM is pleased to finishing the month at 493.03 points, a decline of 28.48 points, or 5.46 compared to support this well-attended eventpercent, that gathers together a strong group of legislators. August 2018. The AGEM Index reported a yearover-year increase for the 36th consecutive month and has climbed 35.12 points, or 7.67 percent, since September 2017.
Crane Co. (CR) contributed 7.12 points due to a 7.75
percent increase in stock price to $98.35.
Everi Holdings Inc. (EVRI) reported a 5.77 percent
increase inwill stock price to $9.17, contributing 0.58 • The annual AGEM Cup Golf Tournament & Holiday Reception take place on Friday, November During the latest period, six of the 13 global gaming points. 16 at Bali Hai, Las Vegas. Invitations are open to the full membership seeing 20 two-person teams comequipment manufacturers reported month-to-month increases in stock price. Seven reported pete for the prestigious prize. manufacturers A reception and prize giving will follow the competition and is open to Selected negative contributors included the following: decreases in stock price during the month. players and non-players. With its stock price falling 9.97 percent to AU$
The three major stock market indices saw gains during 28.44, Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL) the month. The S&P 500 reported a month-to-month contributed negative 19.90 points. increase of 0.43 percent to 2,913.98. The Dow Jones Industrial Average grew 1.90 percent to 26,458.31, Konami Corp. (TYO: 9766) reported a 4.40 percent while the NASDAQ decreased 0.78 percent during the in atstock price to ¥4,450, contributing The AGEM Index decreased in September 2018, finishingdecrease the month 493.03 points, a decline of 28.48 period to 8,046.35. negative 5.52 points.
points, or 5.46 percent, compared to August 2018. The AGEM Index reported a year-over-year increase for the 36th consecutive month and has climbed 35.12 points, or 7.67 percent, since September 2017. During the latest period, six of the 13 global gaming equipment manufacturers reported month-tomonth increases in stock price. Seven manufacturers reported decreases in stock price during the month.
AGEM is an international trade association representing manufacturers of electronic gaming devices, systems, lotteries and components for the gaming industry. The association works to further the interests of gaming equipment manufacturers throughout the world. Through political action, trade show partnerships, information dissemination and good corporate citizenship, the members of AGEM work together to create benefits for every company within the organization. Together, AGEM and its member organizations have assisted regulatory commissions and participated in the legislative process to solve problems and create a positive business environment. 16
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
The AGEM Index is published monthly by Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) and Applied Analysis | Copyright © 2018
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Ready To Connect? IGT’s PlayShot sports betting solution is your best bet. Talk with us to learn more. © 2018 IGT Global Solutions Corporation. The trademarks used herein are owned by IGT or its affiliates, may not be used without permission, and where indicated with a ®, are registered in the U.S. IGT is committed to socially responsible gaming. Our business solutions empower customers to choose parameters and practices that become the foundation of their Responsible Gaming programs. Images are representative only.
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Driving Forward Aristocrat continually grows and diversifies its business as it maintains a top spot among suppliers of slot machines BY FRANK LEGATO
ristocrat Leisure Limited was founded in 1953. Aside from the primal version of the Bally brand, it is the oldest slot supplier in the gaming industry. Yet, so much about this company seems brand-new. Its CEO, Trevor Croker, has been at the helm less than two years, and only last fall became the first Aristocrat CEO to relocate from the company’s home base in Sydney, Australia to Las Vegas, home of the company’s U.S. subsidiary Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. Before the end of the year, that subsidiary will be in a new campus in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin that will serve as the headquarters for all North American operations. The heart of those operations, of course, is another element of Aristocrat that seems forever young—a game development staff that is the envy of the casino supply sector. Already strong from additions in the past decade that include game design legends like Joe Kaminkow, Ted Hase, Dan Marks and Scott Olive—now in a stellar second stint with the company—this month, the company adds Allon Englman, a longtime game design leader for Scientific Games and WMS Gaming, as senior vice president of game development, in charge of a new studio focused on North American gaming content. It’s part of what the company calls its design and development force
Jay Sevigny, President, VGT
(D&D, or RD&D, to include research) that has grown from the original Sydney studio into an operation extending to studios around the world— from Las Vegas to Reno; from Atlanta, Georgia to Austin, Texas; from Noida, India to Franklin, Tennessee, the latter the result of the acquisition four years ago of distinguished Class II supplier Video Game Technologies (VGT), which has been instrumental in the development of RELM, Aristocrat’s latest stepper slot series. “We’re spreading our production and D&D across a growing number of tech hubs around the world,” says Matt Wilson, Aristocrat’s managing director for the Americas. “Wherever there’s great talent, let’s go there and get 18
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“We want to be the employer of choice in the gaming sector. We’re expanding quickly, and we’re looking to take on people who aspire to the same vision that we do, to be a market leader and be a great partner for casino operators.” —Matt Wilson, Managing Director for the Americas, Aristocrat
them to join the organization so we can continue to make great games. And I think from a consumer and operator perspective, the bar is getting higher and higher.” Aristocrat has a knack not only for drawing talent, but for cultivating that talent to the benefit of the entire organization. That goes right to the top. In the past 18 months, Croker has evolved the company with new acquisitions— notably the integration of VGT which was purchased four y ears ago, and acquisitions including social game company Product Madness and Seattle-based interactive gaming supplier Big Fish Games—but has continued to bolster the core business of developing slot games that continually top industry surveys such as the Eilers-Fantini report.
energy that you need to be a true market leader.” Along with the company’s original studios in Australia, the new Las Vegas headquarters is the epicenter of a growing network of talented staff which contributes to the company in their own area of expertise. “There are a lot of different market segments out there for games and systems, and we have innovators in each of these different categories that are the best at what they do,” Wilson says. “That’s one of the keys to our success—finding the best talent, and then creating the right structure for them to be successful. “It’s our customers that are our inspiration, and they are the enablers of our success, and we are thrilled that customer response has been so supportive and positive.” The evidence is there in Dollar Storm, Olive’s follow-up to one of the biggest hits of the decade in the slot market, Lightning Link, and its muchcopied hold-and-respin game mechanic. It’s there in Buffalo Diamond, the 10th anniversary edition of the industry-topping Buffalo video-slot brand, on the unique flame55 cabinet with its double-curved 55-inch monitor. And it’s there in the RELM stepper series, Aristocrat’s newest mechanical-reel product suite that was developed thanks to the expertise that came to the company with the VGT acquisition. VGT has been one of the top Class II suppliers with a product line dominated by stepper-style games.
At this year’s Global Gaming Expo, Aristocrat encapsulated its recent success under the slogan, “It’s All About What’s Inside.” “What we’re saying there is that the industry recognizes us for our great product,” Wilson says, “but it doesn’t happen by accident. It really comes back to hiring great people, and creating the right environment for them to do their best work. It’s what’s inside the organization, in terms of our culture. The key differentiator for us is the culture that we’ve built at Aristocrat, and we’re proud of that, and we’re spending a lot of money to continue to invest in our people and develop them. “We want to be the employer of choice in the gaming sector. We’re expanding quickly, Aristocrat’s new Las Vegas headquarters is the epicenter and we’re looking to take on people who aspire of a growing network of design and development studios to the same vision that we do, to be a market leader and a great partner for casino operators.” Perhaps the most visible evidence of this effort can be found in the new 180,000-squarefoot North American headquarters. “We wanted to bring many of our teams in Las Vegas under one roof in Summerlin, with the exception of our slot assembly facility,” says Wilson, “and so we have 1,100 employees here locally, across all different functions, from HR to finance, accounting, sales, marketing, game design and supply chain. We wanted to bring everyone together in an environment where we could create the right amount of collisions between all those different functions, to spark the
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The first big branded game on the new format is Motown, a reelspinner that features player-selectable music—a jukebox of sorts, allowing the player to select songs to accompany the reel-spinning, accompanied by a video of the song being performed on the top monitor.
“The journey of VGT has been a journey of continuing to integrate into the Aristocrat family, and one of the early ways we did that was by taking our RD&D staff that works on the games and the steppers, and moving them under Aristocrat oversight,” says Jay Sevigny, president of VGT. “VGT has a lot of pride in the development of that, but really, that development continued under the oversight of Aristocrat developers.” “That was one of the beautiful things about the VGT acquisition,” adds Wilson. “We had complementary skill sets—at our core, we’re a Class III video company, and at VGT’s core, they’re a Class II stepper company. So when you bring those two together, with very complementary skill sets, underpinned by very common core values, I think it’s a been a merger of great success.” Aristocrat is taking that success to new levels with the RELM XL premium cabinet, which takes the RELM platform and adds a 43-inch curved monitor above the reels, topped by a bonus wheel. The latest branded game on the new format is Motown, a reel-spinner that features player-selectable music—a jukebox of sorts, allowing the player to select songs to accompany the reel-spinning, accompanied by a video of the song being performed on the top monitor. And of course, the RELM series at Aristocrat complements the continuing success of VGT in the company’s Class II markets. “We have an amazing lineup of Class II products, which is something that VGT and Aristocrat have been working on for quite a few years now, since the acquisition of VGT,” Wilson says. Adds Sevigny, “For VGT, this reflects a commitment of about 45 games that are going be introduced to the market this year. We’ve got about 70 different games on the floor (at G2E), and that’s record-setting for us, to be able to come to the market with that kind of an inventory, and the quality behind it.”
That includes porting Aristocrat’s winning strategy in gaming operations over to the Class II arena. “The licensed category is still a big and important category for us, and a good example of that is PBR,” Sevigny says. PBR is the first high-profile brand designed for the Class II space, a linked progressive Class II slot based on the culture and stars of the Professional Bull Riders organization, which stages nationally broadcast professional rodeo competitions across the U.S. “It’s the first time that we’ve really come out with a licensed brand,” says Sevigny. “It’s a great theme for us, and we’re able to do this because now that we’re part of the Aristocrat family, we get to take advantage of the linked technologies that Aristocrat has to offer. We couldn’t do that before.” Aristocrat also is moving full-speed into the interactive space, but again, Wilson says it all goes back to creating new avenues for its core business, which is the creation of great games. “When you look at Aristocrat at its foundations, we’re a games company,” Wilson says. “And so, we look at the digital categories, and we realize they’re aligned to what we do as an organization. “We started that journey with Product Madness in 2012. We bought that company for a very small amount of money, and we’ve seen the value you can create in the digital segment. So, we’ve had some success there; we’ve built some great capability in the digital arena.” The acquisition of Big Fish Games, a developer of casual games for PCs and mobile devices, closed earlier this year, and along with last year’s agreement to acquire social games company Plarium, the development has added new strength to the company’s interactive division. NOVEMBER 2018 www.ggbmagazine.com
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PBR is the first high-profile brand designed for the Class II space, a linked progressive Class II slot based on the culture and stars of the Professional Bull Riders organization, which stages nationally broadcast professional rodeo competitions across the U.S.
“We’re working hard to bring the (Big Fish) business under the umbrella, and we’re excited about that,” Wilson says. “We’ve also made a significant acquisition in Plarium, which focused on a very different market segment, in terms of the consumer base. The traditional Class III casino customer skews very heavily female; it’s the older demographic. If you look at the Plarium business, it skews male, it skews younger. And so, it’s an adjacent market that makes sense for us to enter.”
New Horizons The new Class II entries and growing interactive business are examples of new horizons being pursued by Aristocrat as it enters the next phase of its North American expansion. At G2E, the company introduced its first bar-top multi-game unit, built after numerous requests for a bar-top version of the hit game Buffalo (according to Wilson, some operators were even cutting holes in their bars to fit in upright Buffalo units). Wilson notes that the new Aristocrat bar-top includes a full contingent of the traditional video poker games, but the inclusion of the Buffalo brand adds a way for operators to hold more on their bar-top units. “Our strategy is very simple—focus on the customer,” Wilson says. “Bar-top units constitute a footprint on the operator’s floor and we’re trying to bring great slot content into that category. We’re taking our favorite brand in Buffalo into that space—Buffalo Gold, which is the No. 1 game in the Class III video space, to sit alongside poker and keno. “Customers have been looking for innovation in that category for some time, and they’re happy that we’re delivering it. It’s been well-re-
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
ceived, but it’s early and we’re taking nothing for granted.” “What’s important to our customers is important to us,” Wilson says. “We’ve just gone live in Washington state, in the Class III video lottery space. Tulalip, our casino partner up there, is our launch partner in Washington. That’s a huge market that we haven’t participated in before. “We’re also opening up in the VLT market; we’re live in Atlantic Lottery Corporation casinos in Canada. We’re going live in Manitoba in the next month, so that’s another huge growth opportunity for us. We’re also looking at many other adjacent opportunities where we can take our core competency and move into a market segment where operators want us to be.” Wilson says Aristocrat’s way forward lies in never being complacent with its success. “First and foremost, we’re a supplier to the gaming sector, so as a market leader, we are making sure we make products that help grow the market, and help our casino partners grow,” says Wilson. “Making sure that that business is vibrant is important to us, and complacency is always a danger. We can’t just be happy with the success we have; we have to continually raise the bar. “The analogy I use a lot in our business is that we’re trying to climb a mountain, and we’re only halfway up—and no one climbs a mountain to get to the middle. So, we’ve got a long way to go, and the things that got us halfway up the mountain are different than the things that we need to get us all the way up. And so, we have to continually look inside the organization to how we strive for excellence, and keep being ambitious and trying to drive the business forward and help our customers succeed.”
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Youth Squared A combined ELG 40 Under 40 list features some of the industry’s top talent
hen GGB magazine launched its “40 Under 40” program five years ago, the aim was to recognize the young talent in the gaming industry that will set it up for future development. The program grew and eventually was coordinated with the Emerging Leaders of Gaming program that was launched by The Innovation Group (TIG) and G2E around the same time. This year the two programs combined into one, creating the “Emerging Leaders of Gaming (ELG) 40 Under 40.” The 2018-19 class of the ELG 40 Under 40 recognizes gaming industry professionals under the age of 40 already making significant impacts on the casino gaming industry. The honorees represent a slice of today’s next-generation leaders, and ELG 40 Under 40 seeks to offer these young professionals an extra advantage in the already-competitive gaming, entertainment, leisure and hospitality industries. “The ELG program has become the most important vehicle for recognition of young leaders in the gaming industry,” said Roger Gros, publisher of GGB magazine. “With nominations up nearly 50 percent year-over-year, the list was difficult to narrow. It’s a testament to the bright future of the industry how competitive the process has become.” Michael Soll, president of The Innovation Group, said reaction to the program has been incredible. “Awareness of the Emerging Leaders program, now in its seventh year, continues to grow. We’re able to recognize an increasingly more diverse class of rising executives each year,” said Soll. “The Innovation Group firmly believes that new leadership can serve to invigorate an industry, and we hope this program continues to play a key role in identifying individuals with the talent and creativity to lead gaming into the future.” The ELG 40 Under 40 winners are selected by a combined GGB and TIG advisory board from nominations solicited through an open call to the industry. Honorees celebrated during the annual ELG Cocktail Event during Global Gaming Expo (G2E) at SUSHISAMBA Las Vegas in the Palazzo Las Vegas. This year’s event was supported by Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. and the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers. Profiles of first 10 members of the ELG 40 Under 40 appear in these pages, and the remainder will be featured in subsequent issues through October 2019. Nominations for the 2019-2020 class of the Emerging Leaders of Gaming 40 Under 40 will open in April, and the winners will be announced just prior to G2E 2019. Stay tuned to GGB magazine for details.
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
The 2018-19 Class of the Emerging Leaders of Gaming 40 Under 40 Joyce Arpin • Senior Vice President, Finance and Treasurer, Caesars Entertainment Corporation John Baca • Director of Slot Operations, Angel of the Winds Hotel & Casino Kyle Bender • Managing Director-Consumer, Gaming and Leisure Investment Banking, Macquarie Capital (USA) Inc.
Jason Birney • General Manager, Hollywood Casino Columbus Julia Boguslawski • Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Investor Relations, AGS
Gena Caviness • Auditor, National Indian Gaming Commission Carlos Eduardo Coelho • Senior Associate, MdME Lawyers (Macau) Evan Davis • Vice President and General Counsel, SugarHouse Casino Steven Ebner • Director of Slot Operations, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa C.J. Fisher • Associate, Fox Rothschild LLP Adam Fong • Vice President of Product Management-Casino Solutions, Everi Maulin Gandhi • President, Tangam Systems
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For Love of the Game Julia Boguslawski • Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Investor Relations, AGS eing a gambler may have given Julia Boguslawski an edge in her career. But it’s a career she never planned. As a college student in Florida, Boguslawski was a regular at the Hard Rock Tampa. Poker was her game. “I always loved the excitement of being on the casino floor,” she says, “but I didn’t think of gaming as a career path.” A stint in investor relations for the hotel business led to a similar job at Shuffle Master, where Boguslawski did double duty in IR and corporate communications. She packed up and relocated to Las Vegas, where she began collecting casino player cards (at last count, she was up to 30). Then came the roller coaster years. In 2013, SHFL was acquired by Bally. In 2014, Bally was acquired by Scientific Games. With each change, Boguslawski’s roles and responsibilities expanded. At Bally, she had to jump into global marketing. At Sci Games, she led corporate communications and also served as chief of staff. It was “madness,” she says. It was also a test of her resilience. “Did I worry? A little bit, but I thought, wow, what fantastic new opportunities. I was totally scared and in over my head. But when you’re not sure if you’re going to sink or swim, you’re probably going to swim—and you’re going to be challenged and kept on your toes.” In 2015, she joined AGS, shortly after David Lopez became president and CEO. “AGS was super-under-the-radar, and David turned it into something really amazing,” says Boguslawski. “We have one of the best corporate cultures in the gaming space. We’re growing 40 percent year-over-year. Our slot products are leading the industry in game performance. He put our company on the map.” Today, as chief marketing officer and executive VP of investor relations, Boguslawski wears many hats and addresses many audiences—financial analysts, customers, stockholders and the media. For her, it’s all about storytelling.
“Communicating with Wall Street, there’s an expectation that you have the financial acumen,” she observes. “But they also want to know what’s going on behind the scenes. How are we investing in R&D? What are we doing to secure and deliver long-term success? It’s the same on the marketing and corporate communications side. I have to show how innovative our products are and how they create profitability on the casino floor.” Boguslawski counts decisiveness and flexibility as essential to her job. “I worked through a lot of M&A, where there was change at every level—in management, in culture, in the size of the company. It’s really important to be comfortable with ambiguity. You have to keep marching ahead and adding value.” Mentors including Lopez have been indispensable. “David doesn’t sugarcoat. If I mess up, I know I’m going to hear from him. He taught me to get good at uncomfortable conversations—an important leadership trait. (Scientific Games Vice Chairman) Gavin Isaacs taught me the importance of relationship-building. There’s not a better connector in this industry.” She admires Katie Lever, formerly of Shuffle Master, now chief legal counsel at the Drew Las Vegas. “Katie is so successful and effective without losing her femininity. I’ve always respected that.” Boguslawski’s six-person department is “small,” she says, “but we get a lot done in a day. “I love to be a cheerleader for AGS, promoting and talking about how awesome our products and people are. I love sharing our success stories. I’m overwhelmed every day, running 100 miles per hour. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.” —Marjorie Preston
Serkan Gecmen • Vice President of Innovation and Applications, Affinity
Emily Marshall • IIDA, Interior Design Discipline Leader and Senior Associ-
ate, HBG Design
Jackie Gibson • Executive Director, Office of Public Gaming, Muscogee
Bryan McVey • Director of Mechanical Engineering, Incredible Technologies Will Provance • Director of VLT Operations, Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield
Rosaura Gonzalez • Vice President of Sales, NRT Technology Corp. Geoffrey Goodman • Vice President, Business Development and Strategy, Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc.
Sydney Hatcher • Director of Table Games, Golden Nugget Casino Hotel Elaine Ho • Executive Director, Regional Premium Account Management, Marina Bay Sands
Jordan Hollander • Deputy Attorney General, New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement
Mick Ingersoll • Senior Manager, Education, Atrient Jennifer Kearns • Executive Director of Marketing, Maryland Live! Casino Jamie Knight • Senior Game Producer, Scientific Games Keith Kruczynski • Director of Game Development, Gaming Arts, LLC Ryan Kulp • Manager of Technical Services, Ainsworth Game Technology Wendi Long • Marketing and Player Development Manager, Indigo Sky Casino & Resort, Outpost Casino and Bordertown Casino & Arena
Tamara S. Malvin • Partner, Litigation Practice Group, Akerman LLP
Joseph Radetich • President, Sysco Las Vegas Tonya Roedell • Director of Strategic Initiatives, Aristocrat Technologies Yoshua Rubinstein • Vice President, Strategy and Operations, Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Anna Sainsbury • Founder and Chairman, GeoComply Stephen Singer • Chief Strategy Officer, The Drew Las Vegas Adam Suliman • Vice President of Online Gaming, JACK Entertainment Kit Szybala • Partner and Executive Director of Operations, Global Market Advisors
Dustin Thomas • Director of Compliance, National Indian Gaming Commission
Dirk Whitebreast • General Manager, Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel Mimi Williams • Executive Director of Marketing and Sales, Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino
Edward R. Winkofsky • Shareholder (Global Gaming Practice, Corporate), Greenberg Traurig LLP
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Jamie Knight • Senior Game Producer, Scientific Games
Mick Ingersoll • Senior Manager, Education, Atrient
oftball and mathematics played a major role in Jamie Knight’s education, a role that brought her into the world of gaming. She parlayed her skill at softball into a fullride scholarship to play at Illinois State University, majoring in math. “I believe playing softball and serving as team captain trained me to be a great team player, lead and push my teams to be the best. There is nothing more important than an effective team full of passionate people all driving towards the same goal,” she says. After graduation, Knight landed a position as a marketing manager in California. But her online resume attracted interest from Atronic, seeking a mathematician. “I knew very little about gaming at the time, but I worked with some of the best in the industry and learned and grew quickly,” says Knight, now senior game producer with Scientific Games. “Gaming is fascinating, and the longer I’m in it, the more I know that I chose the right career path.” From Atronic, Knight went to Design Works Gaming, where she helped run the math and marketing department. Then it was on to Bally Technologies as a mathematician. “After about a year in that role, I was promoted to game producer, which enabled me to blend my experience designing math models for games with my passion for creativity and marketing. It was the perfect position that drew on my range of abilities from both the technical and creative sides.” Scientific Games acquired Bally in 2014. Knight has developed games for five years and now runs three pipelines that produced Monopoly Hot Shot, Cash Spin Deluxe, Sword of Destiny, Michael Jackson Icon, Zhen Chan and more. “I oversee studios that include artists, animators and engineers. I work with the artist to concept a new idea. Sometimes these ideas start with an art direction and some are inspired by a game mechanic. I work closely with a mathematician to perfect the experience. Either way, the art and math need to complement each other to be successful.” The orchestration of the process is important to ensure the player understands the game, she adds. To get to this level, Knight had the mentorship of John Vallejo, who is the vice president of game development at Scientific Games. “He is amazing. He has taught me by example how to be a good manager and how to have a successful team that is passionate about their work and who feel appreciated.” To Knight, Scientific Games is in a unique position to evolve and create a full entertainment experience for the player. “We’re developing games players love, using innovations to provide an engaging experience. We will continue to innovate our product lines to provide value for the player, who ultimately decides our success,” says Knight, who coaches baseball for one of her two sons’ teams; both boys are into sports in a big way. With her side of the industry in a growth pattern, Knight has some wisdom for new blood. “Be fearless. Be confident in yourself. Lead by example and be kind to people. Teams do not want to follow those who bark commands, but those who appreciate their hard work and give constructive feedback. Bad news does not get better with age, and don’t be afraid to have those difficult conversations.” —William Sokolic
ick Ingersoll began his career at Penn National Gaming, where he spent nine years immersing himself in the industry. At just 22 years old he was advised by one of his mentors—Billy Smith, who was player development manager at the time—that he should go into player development. Heeding that advice, Ingersoll began working as a casino host, and with his strong desire to learn, he attended dealer school at night so he could better understand table games. He feels strongly that taking the initiative to expand your knowledge and comprehension of the industry not only makes you better but helps you to stand out and get noticed. While he enjoyed working for a casino property, Ingersoll realized it limited him to engagement with only one team. This motivated his switch to the vendor side of the industry, where he joined VizExplorer as director of gaming operations and international customer success. He says that move had the biggest impact on his career, enabling him to work with hundreds of teams at once. Ingersoll recently transitioned from his role at VizExplorer to become senior manager, education at Atrient. He also continues to conduct his own research, which has opened doors for him to host webinars, engage in public speaking and write articles. He’s taken his experience and endeavored to connect with other young professionals in his organization—to be a source of career development for them. He tries to introduce them to as many new contacts as possible to help build their networks. Ingersoll is a firm believer in educating yourself in all aspects of the industry, regardless of your particular position. “Jump in, immerse yourself, and get exposure to everything you can. If you work in database marketing, go learn how slot machines work. If you work in slots, learn how the hotel operates,” he says. “The more you make the election to understand, the ampler your opportunities will be to grow.” He encourages young professionals to research startups and small companies, which offer amazing opportunities to gain experience in multiple areas, and to have some autonomy. “In tech and other small organizations, you can really shape your own role and advance rapidly.” Appropriately, then, when asked about the industry trends that are opening doors for emerging leaders, his response was an enthusiastic, “TECHNOLOGY!” He anticipates that AI will get more sophisticated and that algorithms running the industry will evolve to levels unimaginable. “They have such an advantage in understanding the future of our business… I’m jealous of their frame of reference in that regard,” he says. “Take full advantage!” —Allison McCoy
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2018 40 UNDER 40
“Different patrons of different nationalities in different jurisdictions require different approaches.”
Maulin Gandhi • President, Tangam Systems
Gentle Persuasion Elaine Ho • Executive Director of Regional Premium Account Management, Marina Bay Sands laine Ho is a diplomat and a detective, a strategist and a psychologist, a counselor and occasionally a confessor. Ho is executive director of regional premium account management-Asia at Marina Bay Sands—in other words, a bill collector. In most cases, Ho uses tact and finesse to get past-due high-value clients to pay up. “My boss taught me that people need to feel good about paying you,” says Ho, who’s based in Singapore and also oversees collections in Macau. “I didn’t understand it at first, but it’s so true. This may be a returning customer who’s having a down time. He may want you to understand and listen to his problems. Six months down the road, when he’s happy, he remembers you. He remembers that even though he owed you money, you didn’t treat him like a criminal.” Born in Malaysia and educated in the U.K., Ho is a former barrister who joined MBS as part of the legal team. Five years later, at the urging of Christopher Melton, senior VP of global collections for the Las Vegas Sands Corp., she took “a giant leap of faith” to cross over to the casino side. She’s become an expert at the sensitive, cross-cultural relationship-building that’s critical to her job. “Different patrons of different nationalities in different jurisdictions require different approaches. Chinese patrons, for example, will talk to you about the balance they owe, but it can be very difficult when it comes to funds transfers (from China). Then we have Japanese patrons. I learned you have to go to dinner with those patrons and not talk about the debt. And they will somehow pay some of the balance.” She recalls one customer in financial straits
echnology always fascinated Maulin Gandhi growing up in Kenya. He owned an early version of an Apple before such computers went mainstream. “When I was curious, I learned the old-fashioned way—by taking things apart, and putting them back together.” This interest in high tech led to graduate studies in computer engineering and artificial intelligence at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, a stepping stone to his role as president of Tangam Systems. “I got exposure to the other end of the spectrum. Information was readily available, but we had to parse through massive volumes of it to solve problems. Fundamentally, I believe it’s the combination of these learnings that has shaped me.” Armed with a degree, Gandhi joined Tangam founder Prem Gururajan in 2004, with the goal of using video analytics to overhaul how casinos think about table games. The early team spent the first few years developing and commercializing the breakthrough technology that would use surveillance cameras to automate data collection for table games. Despite interest from clients, and winning numerous awards at gaming shows, the product failed to make headway with enough casino operators. Sales were hampered in part by significant upfront capital costs, in part by poor market conditions created by the global financial crisis. “We discontinued the product in 2009,” Gandhi says. But as the saying goes, you can learn more from failure than success. “We were able to pivot into a new strategy and started research and development on a solution that would enable operators to improve table games performance using the data they already collected,” Gandhi says. Tangam focused on algorithms that made complex data easier to utilize. “More importantly, we were able to offer our clients a minimal upfront investment model and immediate return on investment.” This model turned out to be a win-win for Tangam and its clients. “We enabled ordinary table games managers to drive financial performance and productivity improvements by helping them make better decisions,” says Gandhi, who spends time with wife Swati, and two young children, when not in work mode.
who described himself to her as “a wounded dragon,” but promised he would make good when he was able. With tact and understanding, Ho was able to retain that patron’s long-term loyalty. “He thanked me for my patience,” she says. Legal action is a last resort. “Many of these patrons are high-caliber,” says Ho. “Some are rich and famous. If you sue, the casino doesn’t look good. Most of the time if you call them, you find they overlooked the balance, or were unhappy about something—a misunderstanding with a host or a bad F&B experience.” Ho calls the MBS legal department her university, and its executives her mentors. “Penny Lo, vice president and deputy general counsel of MBS, is my go-to person when I feel challenged or encounter setbacks at work. I am particularly grateful to Andrew MacDonald, our chief casino officer, and Faris Alsagoff, our general counsel, who supported my transition from a legal role into a gaming role. I’m extremely lucky that I have had the privilege of working with great positive individuals at MBS.” She especially thanks Melton for his guidance and tutelage, and for helping her master the soft touch. “He taught me this business. I believe my success is at least in part due to his sincere support and mentorship.” Ho sums up her role as getting to know her patrons, “solving their problems, and making them happy again. “This is not the way a bank collects money,” she says. “It’s totally unique.” —Marjorie Preston
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As the product line grew over the past nine years, Gandhi’s role with the company evolved. “I consider myself lucky to have touched almost every aspect of our business.” For casinos such as Mohegan Sun, Tangam’s flagship software TYM (Table Games Yield Management) automatically analyzes headcount, table minimums and average wagers to help align the table game mix, spreads and staffing levels to patron demand. “The result is that our clients are able to maintain superior financial performance compared to their peers,” says Gandhi, who often relaxes with midday gym workouts. Gandhi counts his father, Dr. Rajesh Gandhi, as his closest mentor. In addition to being a physician, the Kenya resident is also a “serial entrepreneur. He’s successfully ventured into farming, hardware, manufacturing, private schools and real estate,” Gandhi says. “His latest venture is setting up a full-
“We enabled ordinary table games managers to drive financial performance and productivity improvements by helping them make better decisions.”
service medical diagnostic center, the first of its kind in his town.” Count Prem Gururajan as someone Gandhi also looks up to. “He’s an innovator and has an uncanny ability to see problems through a lens that most people don’t, finding unique solutions to almost every problem.” An avid reader of autobiographies, Gandhi learned from both mentors. “They taught me to push outside of my comfort zone when it comes to critical thinking, problem solving and being persistent.” Others interested in the gaming industry as a profession have plenty of opportunity as demand for talent outpaces the supply, globally. “Experience in more than one field will always offer a path to find new opportunities,” advises Gandhi. “Some of the best analysts are the ones who have experience in operations as well.” —William Sokolic
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The Buck Stops Here
Joyce Arpin • Senior Vice President, Finance and Treasurer, Caesars Entertainment Corp.
Joseph Radetich • President, Sysco Las Vegas
s senior VP of finance and treasurer for Caesars Entertainment, Joyce Arpin holds some pretty important purse stings. With a 10-person team, she manages cash and debt for almost 50 properties worldwide, oversees investor relations, strategizes with financial planners and analysts, and assesses growth opportunities for one of the world’s most influential gaming companies. The Houston native learned gaming from the outside in, starting in corporate banking for the oil and gas industry, then holding three sequential jobs in gaming divisions, at BoA, UBS and Jeffries & Company. She was especially busy during the pre-recession building boom. “A lot of companies were borrowing to build,” she recalls. “We put in place loans to fund some of the expansions you see now on the Las Vegas Strip, like CityCenter”—and those you don’t see, like the Fontainebleau. In 2012, Arpin moved inside—first to Station Casinos, then to Caesars, where she started in investor relations. Later, offered the treasury role, she didn’t exactly jump at the chance. “I’d done it at Station, and I was like, ‘Treasury is so boring.’” She’s glad she picked up the gauntlet. “I inherited a great team, but they weren’t doing corporate treasury—they were doing mundane tasks like accounting and accounts payable and really not looking at relationships. “I took the time to show them what true corporate treasury is, and what I thought was boring on paper actually ended up being revolutionary for the team and the company. We ended up saving a lot of money on bank fees and simply changing the culture, making the team more responsive and collaborative.” It was a lesson learned, she says: “Being open to new areas helps everyone grow—not just you, but the team you’re leading.” In her view, successful leaders educate, then delegate. “It takes patience to build a team that you can trust and teach. Then you have to be willing to let go and stop the hand-holding.” Arpin’s role has grown in importance since Caesars emerged from bankruptcy in late 2017. “Now we’re trying to attract long-term equity shareholders, tell the company’s story and get our shares trading,” she says. “We’re working with investment bankers to refinance our debt, raise debt to buy properties and also work with our bankers on anything equity-related, to see if there’s anything opportunistic we can do from a transaction perspective.” Looking ahead, that could mean a berth in Japan, where Caesars will vie for one of the country’s first three integrated resort licenses; an expanded presence in the U.S. online sports betting market; and growth in bricks and mortar at home, including the $375 million Caesars Forum convention facility in Las Vegas, expected to open in 2020. Asked what she most enjoys about her job, Arpin says, “The strategic side of the balance sheet. That goes back to my investment banking days. I enjoy coming up with new ideas that will benefit the company and then implementing them—making a difference from a financial statement perspective and being able to say, ‘I thought of that with my team.’” —Marjorie Preston
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
ood is an experience,” Joseph Radetich says. So is it any wonder he ended up in the food industry after college? But the road to Sysco Las Vegas, where he serves as president, began while still in college, when Radetich worked part-time at Wegmans Food Markets in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. After foregoing law school, Radetich Googled food wholesalers. “Sysco was the first link and then the journey began,” he says. “I was fortunate to always have the support of my family growing up. I admired my father’s work ethic and success of starting out as an electrician and progressing his way to being vice president of sales. This was a compelling story which motivated me to achieve more.” After college, Radetich relocated to Fairfax, Virginia with Wegmans. He later took a position with Sysco as a marketing associate in Phoenix. Hired at 22, he recognized an outstanding opportunity when he saw one. “I needed to stay focused because I had so much to learn,” he says. Radetich’ s career progressed through various sales positions. He moved to Illinois as a vice president of sales. A year later Radetich returned to Phoenix, where the company named him executive vice president in 2016, then later that year, president of Sysco Las Vegas, a company which works with almost every casino in Las Vegas. “I attribute a lot of my success to the amazing people I surrounded myself with,” he says. “I had outstanding mentors who truly believed in me, for which I will be forever grateful. I have always focused on building a highly engaging and customer-centric leadership team.” Chris Jasper, the vice president of sales, was one of those amazing people, who tapped Radetich to become district sales manager in Flagstaff, Arizona. “Chris is an outstanding leader, humble, always focused on people and process, and is willing to make the right investments in customers and employee associates’ development. His leadership enabled me to have so much exposure to the business and our customers that I ultimately progressed multiple times under his leadership.” The other mentor who made a large impact is his grandfather, John Mueller. “I have never met someone more selfless to support those around him and ensure that they come first. From a young age through today, he provided real feedback and guidance that I take to heart and has always been there to coach me.” Radetich was so caught up in moving his career forward he failed to appreciate some of the great experiences and opportunities in front of him. “Since being in Las Vegas, I have truly dedicated 100 percent of everything I have to the present and future all within the great city I love,” says the car fanatic, who loves to drive through Red Rock Canyon or other various parts of the Southwest desert. His advice for younger people that want to join the industry: stay focused on the customer and their experience. “Build people around you that are people-focused,” he says. “Develop relationships and network with people that are willing to invest the time with feedback and guidance for you. It is not about racing to the highest position you can in the shortest period of time, it is about staying true to yourself and allowing yourself to develop in the role.” —William Sokolic
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Good Fences Anna Sainsbury • Co-Founder and CEO, GeoComply even years. That’s how long it took Anna Sainsbury to grow GeoComply from a kitchen-table enterprise to a global leader in geolocation for the gaming industry. Sainsbury began her gaming career as commercial director of Technical Systems Testing (now owned by GLI), working on compliance with regulators, operators and vendors around the world. After five years, she struck out on her own as a consultant. That’s when she recognized the exploding need for geolocation solutions in the U.S. market. GeoComply was born. “Until that time, most European operators had used an IP-based geolocation solution, which was enough for European regulators,” Sainsbury says. “The U.S. had very specific requirements whereby you had to have assurances that the user was in the state or district and not using tools to mask or manipulate their location.” The company began “as a small, awkward team of myself, (CEO) David Briggs and (VP of Regulatory Affairs) Lindsay Slader,” all working from their homes. Today, GeoComply serves every North American jurisdiction, has a 70person worldwide team, and is “growing organically” to meet growing demand. In the U.S., the solution “pulls in any kind of location data available, and uses more than 350 fraud checks to ensure that the data points hadn’t been tampered with,” says Sainsbury. “That way we can give the highest level of assurance that any player is within the state of the permitted licensed operator.”
Sainsbury says she wasn’t the stereotypical whiz kid growing up, and in fact gravitated more to the arts. “By no means was I the smartest kid in class—I just really enjoyed solving problems.” A graduate of the interior design school at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, she sees many parallels between design and technology, and calls her work at GeoComply “a big puzzle that we get to solve for our clients.” Not surprisingly, she’s busy these days. “It’s an exciting time. We’ve had dozens of launches over the past few weeks and have many more to come over the next three months. It’s going to be a big challenge rolling out a post-PASPA market responsibly with some type of consensus on what KYC rules are—not just geolocation but age, ID fraud, payments. We have a lot of work to do to make sure banks are trusting the systems and getting those payments online.” Asked what advice she would give to up-and-coming entrepreneurs—or her younger self, for that matter—Sainsbury says, “Relax. I sometimes wanted problems to be solved before the market was ready, and that’s not necessarily within my control. You’re always going to end up somewhere, so enjoy the ride.” On a personal note, she’s dedicated herself to the cause of child protection and how her technologies can help stop illegal child imaging on the internet. “I’m working with police and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection on these matters,” says Sainsbury. “It means a lot to me.” Meanwhile, as more states open for iGaming, more player portals become available and more people try to slip through those geo-fencing barriers, “we are constantly evolving,” says Sainsbury. “It keeps our team on its toes and makes sure we continually innovate. I just love a good challenge.” —Marjorie Preston
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The Learning Leader Will Provance • Director of VLT Operations, Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park aving worked in hotels, night clubs and restaurants from early on, Will Provance knew that he was a great fit for the hospitality industry. Determined to turn those beloved jobs into a longterm career, Provance packed up and moved to Las Vegas, where he worked towards his M.S. in hotel administration-gaming from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, joining their Hospitality College Mentor program. It was through this game-changing program that he met one of his greatest career influences and the person who placed him in his first job in gaming, Brian Eby, now the executive vice president of operations at Jack Entertainment. Eby was one of many mentors to share personal experiences and a knowledge base that would shape Provance’s own leadership style. Taking lessons from them, he tapped into his own personal values that would gain him experience and send him on the road to senior management—namely integrity, perseverance and lifelong learning. Instead of just completing immediate projects, he sought ways to add value to his positions and make long-term impacts. He knew that the key to success was simple: hire the trustworthy, and be trustworthy. Provance makes it a point to be available to both his leadership team and his hourly team whenever needed. This trust-building initiative has offered him an invaluable chance to become a better teacher to his employees, and to provide them with a comfortable environment for raising questions. He even started a book club for property managers interested in reading about and discussing leadership, with recommendations like Steven R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and Jim Collins’ Good to Great. Provance sees some definite trends in the gaming industry as it currently stands, observing that analytics in particular provide the largest opportunity for emerging leaders. He feels that although it’s crucial to have a strong understanding and background in operations, industry trends are pointing toward more decisions being data-based. “Tomorrow’s leaders need to be able to understand that data, relate it to the real world, and make impactful decisions based on it,” says Provance. “If you have one without the other, you will have a harder time making the choices that will move a company forward.” As for forward movement, Provance is a big believer in patience, citing the dangers of trying to move too fast, and pointing out the importance of taking the time to self-evaluate. To young professionals navigating the corporate ladder, he soundly advises, “Look for every opportunity to learn. Learn about the job you have, talk to people about the job you want, and read as much as you can. The more you expose yourself to lessons and experiences beyond the day-to-day tasks, the more prepared you’ll be to attack any challenge you encounter. Always be learning.” —Marie Casias
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
True to Her Roots Mimi Williams • Executive Director of Marketing, Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel imi Williams was born in Buffalo, New York. While she moved around quite a lot growing up, she never strayed too far from the Seneca casinos, where she has enjoyed a rising career in the marketing department for more than 15 years. She even lived for a time on the Seneca Territory in her formative years. “Going to different schools and making new friends helped in my development as a strong leader,” Williams says. “My father also raised me to be a leader. He pushed me consistently in everything I did, reminded me to always have a positive attitude as ‘attitude is altitude!’” After graduating from the State University of New York, Fredonia, where she received a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in marketing, Williams joined Seneca Gaming & Entertainment as the marketing manager. “I wasn’t there long, as I was given an opportunity to help open our first property, Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in 2002 as the promotions manager,” she says. The tribe now operates two additional properties: Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. Williams assisted in, hired and developed the promotions departments at all three properties. Eventually, she became director of promotions and then executive director of marketing. “As executive director of marketing, I oversaw the promotions, bus and special events department for Seneca Niagara and Seneca Buffalo Creek for many years, which strengthened my skills, and helped me understand the differences in clientele,” she says. In her role, Williams also handles critical corporate areas of the marketing team including corporate partnerships, bus group sales and convention sales. A handful of mentors helped pave the way for Williams, including Vice President of Marketing Jim Wise. “Jim was so personable and passionate about his job. He really showed me how to be a true leader and never forget where you started. He wasn’t afraid to step in anywhere and help,” she says. The late Valerie Harlan had a way to brighten a room with her laughter, her passion and her tenacity, Williams says. “No matter how hard the day or night was she always has a smile. She showed me that a smile can go a long way.” Melissa Free, the current senior vice president of marketing, gave Williams the opportunity to branch out and into other marketing areas. “She has trust in my leadership and guidance,” she says. A new era is on the horizon, Williams says. Seneca Niagara Resorts & Casinos is undergoing renovations to enhance what will become a True Seneca Signature Resort Destination. “The organization will create a true sense of arrival, creating that wow factor,” she says. “We want our guests to see the immediate visual impact upon arrival to the property. Adding a sense of excitement and anticipation cascades all the way through the newly renovated lobby.” The finished product will leverage marketing to a whole new level, she says. “Marketing will be able to showcase the top of the line and stay competitive.” Williams’ two younger brothers struck a competitive chord in her life. “Being the only girl, I knew I had to beat at least one of them or both in everything we did,” says the mother of three, who devotes her precious spare time to watching her children play baseball, lacrosse and soccer, and when it comes to herself, running, lifting weights or basketball. For those interested in the industry, Williams urges them to get a college degree. “College is where you develop true independent skills. College challenges you to prioritize, to make choices (good and bad).” Opportunities abound for an industry she describes as exciting and adventurous. “The environment can change from day to day, from morning to night, and that is what keeps it interesting and allows you to figure out what your true calling is,” she says. — William Sokolic
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MASHPEE MASHUP Massachusetts tribe gets bad news from Interior; may have wider implications BY DAVE PALERMO
ederal court rulings, Department of Interior actions and Trump administration policies that threaten to strip trust land from the Mashpee Wampanoag Indians of Massachusetts do not bode well for other tribes seeking land for government casinos. “I think there is sort of a perfect storm,” a Capitol Hill lobbyist says of the apparent lack of empathy toward American Indian tribes by the courts, Interior and the Trump White House. “A lot of forces are lined up against tribes at this point,” says Clyde Barrow, professor of political science at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley. “The tribes are in the middle of a rock and a hard place with this administration that has taken a hard line on land acquisition,” agrees Robert The Trump administration decision on Mashpee land-into-trust will make it almost impossible to build the tribe’s $1 billion First Light Casino Hotel in Taunton.
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
Anderson, director of the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington. “It’s very problematic.” The swirl of negativity surrounding tribal land-trust policy centers on a controversial 2009 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Carcieri v. Salazar which states, in part, that Interior cannot take land into trust for tribes not “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934, when Congress enacted the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). The court did not define “under federal jurisdiction.”
M Muddle Interior under the administration of President Barack Obama placed some 321 acres of land in federal trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which sought to build a $1 billion casino resort in East Taunton. The decision, issued in 2015, referenced a so-called “M opinion” drafted by Interior Solicitor Hillary Thompkins, a Navajo, to define “under federal jurisdiction.” The opinion had been used as guidance by Interior in placing land in trust in the post-Carcieri era, beginning with the newly recognized Cowlitz Indian Tribe in Washington in 2010. But in September, President Donald Trump appointees with Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, referencing the same M opinion, rescinded the Obama edict in the Mashpee case. “The M opinion was written to give the benefit of the doubt to Indians,” says Mashpee attorney Heather Sibbison. “But the flexibility in the opinion that was meant to assist tribes was instead used to do them harm.”
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“This is a tremendous blow to our tribe, without whom America’s earliest settlers would not have survived. It should also alarm tribal nations all across Indian Country.” —Mashpee Chairman Cedric Cromwell
Interior said the Mashpee—descendants of indigenous Americans who gathered with the Pilgrims in celebration of the first Thanksgiving in 1621— failed to prove it was “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934. Interior also said Mashpee did not meet IRA’s definition of “Indian.” The decision was a major setback to the Mashpee, which was granted federal recognition in 2007 and was looking to casino gambling revenues to fund government services for some 2,600 tribal citizens. “This is a tremendous blow to our tribe, without whom America’s earliest settlers would not have survived,” Mashpee Chairman Cedric Cromwell says. “It should also alarm tribal nations all across Indian Country. “I do not believe that our country—this great nation that our tribal citizens have fought and died for—wants to return to the dark days of taking sovereign Indian land away from indigenous communities. “If neither Congress nor the federal courts weigh in to stop this, the Trump administration will return the Mashpee Wampanoag once again to landlessness, force us to close our schools and social service programs and lead us back to despair and hopelessness.” Interior’s decision illustrates the often-volatile ebb and flow of federal Indian policy from one administration to the next, particularly when it comes to providing trust lands for indigenous communities.
Sweeping Pendulum Following a virtual moratorium on tribal trust lands under President George W. Bush (2001 to 2009), Interior under Obama placed some 600,000 acres in trust for Indian governments. The pendulum is again swinging the other way. The Trump administration is taking a hard line on land-trust applications from tribes, particularly when it involves casino gambling. “The administration is obviously not excited about having land taken into trust,” says John Echohawk, a Pawnee and director of the Native American Rights Fund. “As you recall, the Bush administration had problems with that, too. “This all revolves around Carcieri and what constitutes federal jurisdiction in 1934. The Obama administration had issued guidance on that and Mashpee Wampanoag met that criterion. But this administration says they don’t. “Tribes have to deal with whatever federal policy is out there,” Echohawk says. “That’s kind of the way it’s been.” The Mashpee decision is believed to be the brainchild of Interior Associate Deputy Secretary James Cason, a Trump appointee and veteran of the Bush administration. Cason, while serving under Bush, was the author of a controversial “commutability standard” in placing land in trust for casinos.
Meanwhile, proposed Interior changes to Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 151 governing land acquisitions have also come under fire from tribal leaders who contend the rule changes threaten to make the already painfully bureaucratic process longer and more difficult and costly for tribes. “These proposed changes are dramatic,” writes Michigan State University law professor Matthew Fletcher, a citizen of the Grand Traverse Band and author of the website Turtle Talk. “If you are a tribe that doesn’t have a large consolidated land base, these proposed changes will make it harder to have lands placed into trust,” Fletcher says. “They will also put more of a financial burden on tribes seeking to place land into trust, and further politicize this process.”
Tribes ‘Abandoned’ By Interior Mashpee has the backing of Taunton officials and most of its citizens. It also had guaranteed funding for the resort from Malaysian gambling giant Genting Group. After years of efforts to achieve federal recognition and trust lands, ground was broken for the 900-room hotel, casino and water park in 2016. But the project was placed on hold later that year, when District Court Judge William Young, ruling on a lawsuit filed by a group of citizens, remanded the case back to Interior to determine whether Mashpee fit the IRA definition of “Indians” residing on a reservation and assess whether the tribe was “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934. That decision came down September 7 in a 28-page ruling signed by Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney, who had assumed her position only two months earlier. Although the Wampanoag have lived in Mashpee for centuries and were recognized as a tribe by the state and federal governments, Sweeney ruled the federal government never held official authority over the tribe through treaties or other actions as required in Carcieri. The land remains in trust status pending a court edict. “We have been utterly abandoned by our federal trustee,” Cromwell says. Mashpee filed a complaint in Federal District Court for the District of Columbia challenging Interior’s failure to protect the tribe’s reservation, calling the ruling “arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to the department’s own administrative decisions and clear law.” The tribe is also looking to federal legislation—the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reaffirmation Act—to protect its reservation trust status. But the bill is facing opposition from Rhode Island Democrats seekNOVEMBER 2018 www.ggbmagazine.com
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“The administration is obviously not excited about having land taken into trust.” —John Echohawk, Director, Native American Rights Fund
ing to protect their own casino industry. “America has a painful history of systematically ripping apart tribal lands and breaking its word. We cannot repeat that history,” bill sponsors U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey said in a joint statement. “The decision by the Trump administration to move forward with denying the Mashpee Wampanoag a right to their ancestral homeland and to keep their reservation is an injustice.” But it may be tough convincing other members of Congress. Rhode Island’s congressional delegation has come out opposed to the bill. The Ocean State delegation, led by Rep. David Cicilline, whose district includes the state’s entire gaming industry, sees the tribal casino as potentially harmful gaming competition for their two casinos. Rhode Island’s two U.S. senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, have told the Providence Journal that they also oppose the bill. “This decision doesn’t just affect Mashpee,” says Lance Gumbs, a trustee for the Shinnecock Indian Nation, which gained official recognition in 2010. “It doesn’t just affect Shinnecock. It affects any tribe recognized after 1934.” The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in a statement says it is “is extremely disappointed in this decision, as it reflects the obvious failure of the federal government to uphold its trust responsibility to Indian tribes.” “This decision is going to be telling about the current administration’s land policies toward Indians,” Derrick Beetso, NCAI general counsel, told the Cape Cod Times. “The notion that the Mashpee Wampanoag are not Indians under any definition of the word is laughable, if so much were not at stake,” the Herald News editorialized. “The tribe has inhabited this region for millennia, despite efforts to crush its customs, its language, and its way of life.”
Local Impacts Problematic A group of local homeowners are challenging Mashpee’s right to claim Taunton as a sovereign reservation. The litigation is largely funded by
Chicago billionaire casino developer Neil Bluhm, whose casino company, Rush Street Gaming, hopes to build a casino in Brockton, 15 miles away. “They are longtime residents of a semi-rural, quiet community,” attorney David Tennant says of his clients. “They’re homeowners, coaches, members of community groups. Some are semi-retired. Some are working. “They’re salt of the earth, good people who were aghast at the idea of a mega-casino resort being plunked down in the middle of their community.” Tribal gambling—which exploded into a $32 billion industry under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988—has played political havoc with tribal efforts to reacquire ancestral lands lost through centuries of failed federal Indian policy. Trust land is crucial to tribes seeking housing, health facilities, schools and other infrastructure to build and strengthen their governments and provide services to indigenous citizens. Despite the fact only about two dozen of 2,100 tribal land-trust applications under Obama involved casinos, Congress has failed to enact a legislative “fix” to the Carcieri ruling. Senators demand the Interior process be amended to give more authority to state and local governments. “You’ve lost control as a citizen,” Tennant says of the fears his clients have of tribal authority over trust lands. “You can’t go to your local government for zoning and land use restrictions. You can’t go to the state for environmental hazard mitigation. “You’re completely dependent on a whole new government structure. It’s highly problematic to anyone within spitting distance of a development like this to make sure the off-site impacts are mitigated.”
Nearly 150 Indian groups have received federal recognition since 1934, bringing the list to 573. The list includes about 200 Alaska Native villages. There are 325 reservations and trust lands. 36
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
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“I agree that the commonwealth’s actions taken on behalf of the Mashpee Tribe addressed issues similar to federal legislation enacted for the benefit of tribes elsewhere. But that is not enough for the ‘under federal jurisdiction’ inquiry.” —Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara MacLean Sweeney
The Mashpee have MOUs with local authorities mitigating impact of a large casino resort development. Taunton officials bemoan the lack of revenues should the project be abandoned. Sources contend legislation to create a “clean fix” to the Carcieri ruling proposed in 2012 was scuttled by lobbyists for gambling tribes fearful that competition would be generated by newly recognized tribes establishing casinos on their initial reservations. But lobbyists with Akin-Gump, IETAN and other prominent firms argued that there were not enough votes to get remedial legislation through the Senate. They claimed senators wanted concessions to limit gambling on newly acquire land, termed “off-reservation gambling.” “Gaming has turned federal Indian policy upside down,” says Gumbs, a
boyhood friend of Cromwell. “It’s turned on its head not because of the policymakers, but the tribes themselves and their influence through lobbyists and lawyers. They’re getting in the way of what should be a common law policy for all of the tribes. “Because of greed, because of market share, the gaming industry has reared its ugly head with what already had been a difficult situation with regard to federal recognition and getting land into trust. “There just really needs to be an act of Congress, to step in there and separate themselves from the lobbyists and the lawyers and do what’s right for Indian Country,” Gumbs says of the likelihood of a Carcieri fix. “We all know that’s not going to happen.”
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“You did a wrong thing.” —Mashpee Vice Chairman Jessie Little Doe Baird to Assistant Secretary Sweeney at a meeting in Washington, D.C.
‘First Contact’ Tribes Face Problems Proving they were somehow under the jurisdiction of the federal government is particularly problematic for “first contact” indigenous people in the East Coast who encountered European settlers before establishment of the United States. Attorneys for the Mashpee people provided Interior with documents showing the tribe was under federal jurisdiction with the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, when East Coast tribal subservience to the British Crown was conferred to the U.S. government. Mashpee documents include colonial deeds conveying lands to the tribe in perpetuity. Mashpee ancestors also attended Carlisle Indian Industrial School, supervised by federal officials. But Sweeney contends there was no evidence to show the commonwealth acted as proxy for the federal government. There also was no showing that federal officials exercised jurisdiction over the tribe. “I agree that commonwealth’s actions taken on behalf of the Mashpee Tribe addressed issues similar to federal legislation enacted for the benefit of tribes elsewhere,” she writes. “But that is not enough for the ‘under federal jurisdiction’ inquiry. “The record before me contains little indicia of federal jurisdiction beyond the general principle of plenary authority,” she wrote. The Indian Reorganization Act, also known as the Wheeler-Howard Act, was intended to restore and strengthen tribal economies and self-governance, reversing a nearly half-century era of assimilation and tribal termination and restoring land lost with the Dawes Act of 1887. A second termination era occurred in the 1950s and ’60s. An era of tribal self-determination was launched in 1970 by President Richard Nixon. Nearly 150 Indian groups have received federal recognition since 1934, bringing the list to 573. The list includes about 200 Alaska Native villages. There are 325 reservations and trust lands.
Tensions In Indian Country Some liken federal Indian policy under Trump to yet another termination era. That’s not likely as termination is the result of congressional action and not the whims of a presidential administration and Interior policy. As many as seven federal court rulings in the last two years have been handed down supporting efforts by newly recognized and restored California tribes to acquire and place in trust land for casinos.
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
And Trump has signed legislation granting federal recognition to six Virginia tribes. The bill precludes the tribes from operating gambling. “I think that’s overstating things,” attorney Anderson says of those equating Trump administration policies to the launch of another termination era. “That has to come from Congress. But there sure is evidence the administration wants to hold the line on the status of tribal sovereignty in terms of who is recognized and can get land taken into trust.” Sweeney told a September 12 gathering of tribes for Tribal Unity Impact Days in Washington, D.C., “I signed up for this job because I want to move the needle in Indian Country.” Sweeney pledged to be “that advocate inside the administration.” “We may not agree all the time, but my door will always be open,” Sweeney said. But the assistant secretary was besieged by angry tribal leaders and others who assailed the administration policy, including its decision to withhold trust land from the Mashpee. “Help me help my community, protect the women in my community, protect children in my community and keep our land under our feet with our jurisdiction and sovereignty in place,” Mashpee Vice Chairman Jessie Little Doe Baird told the gathering, according to an account in Indian Country Today. “You did a wrong thing,” Baird told Sweeney. Cromwell is concerned that the lack of trust land will discourage efforts to provide schools, housing and other governmental infrastructure to Mashpee citizens. “We still have our land in trust,” he says. “We still get some federal funding based on our having trust lands. But there’s certainly a host of other federal funds that we’re not getting because some federal agencies are confused about the status of the land. “The impact involves the mass hysteria the Interior Department created.” Cromwell says he is frustrated at the failure of the Trump White House and Interior to acknowledge the federal intent of IRA, which was to restore indigenous Americans and their sovereign governments. He’s hopeful Congress will assist Mashpee and encourage policy changes at Interior. “We have to remain hopeful the White House and the Department of the Interior will work together to keep past promises and right the historical wrongs,” Cromwell says. “We got to make sure they strive for justice, restoration and self-determination.”
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Workplace Conditions and Advancement Are rose-colored glasses the color of gender bias? by Jane Bokunewicz and Noel Criscione-Naylor
ow can organizations fix a problem if key executives do not acknowledge that it exists? A recent survey on gender bias revealed a paradox where most respondents in the study perceived gender equality in the workplace when referring to work being valued equally, equal access to opportunity and salary equality. Despite this rosy view of workplace conditions, half of the women in the survey reported having experienced gender bias, giving specific examples including pay gaps, lack of respect, assignment of tasks and several other types of bias. The perception of equality was found most prominently among men and those executives at the highest levels of management. Unfortunately, these positions are the ones which have the most impact in addressing the problem. Viewing workplace conditions through rose-colored classes will surely impede progress for gender equality.
Getting Started This study used a 32-question survey. Respondents were asked to rate the degree of their agreement or disagreement with a number of statements associated with experiencing gender bias and organizational culture. The survey was deployed using SurveyMonkey.com and shared via social media networks. Over 70 percent of respondents obtained a college education. The remaining earned a high school diploma or indicated â€œsome college.â€? The table below shows the percentage of respondents by industry with the highest percentage being from casino/gaming.
Table 1. Respondents by Industry Area
Retail Casino/Gaming Food and Beverage Hotel Other
4.38% 40.88% 20.44% 10.22% 24.09%
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
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Table 2. Perception By Gender
Perceptions of Bias A high percentage of both men and women perceived gender equality in the workplace. Some 85.7 percent of men and 68.2 percent of women responded that their work is valued equally regardless of their gender. Seventy-five percent of men and 59.7 percent of women responded that they have equal access to opportunities, including promotion, regardless of their gender. Despite this perception of equality, 47.3 percent of women reported experiencing gender bias, defined in the survey as being treated differently than a woman or man counterpart; and 50 percent of women reported the existence of salary gaps among men and women at the same level. Men in the study had a more positive perception of workplace equality and reported a lesser percentage of experienced gender bias. Only 14.3 percent of men reported experiencing bias compared to 47.3 percent of women. Most men in the study did not acknowledge the existence of gender bias. Only 21.4 percent of men reported the existence of salary gaps between men and women. Additionally, the men in the study did not acknowledge that their gen-
der provided a competitive advantage while a higher percentage of women reported that their gender did provide competitive advantage (19.1 percent of women compared to only 7.2 percent of men). A higher percentage of men than women had a positive view of the work environment regarding equal opportunity and work being valued equally.
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More Power, More Bias Among respondents in this study, the highest percentage of those who experienced bias were at the highest levels of management—51.4 percent of respondents at the senior management level and 46.2 percent at the owner/executive level reported experiencing bias compared to only 24 percent at the entry level. Similarly, 60 percent at the level of senior management and 46.2 percent at the owner/executive level identified salary gaps, compared to only 28 percent at the entry level. The perception/experience paradox is most apparent at the owner/executive level, where despite a high percentage of people experiencing bias, 84.6 percent reported work being valued equally and 76.9 percent reported equal opportunity between genders. Leaders at the top perceive equality in the workplace regarding work being valued equally and equal opportunities for promotion, yet the actual occurrence of gender bias is undeniable and was pervasive in the study. The results of the survey revealed wide variation in respondents reporting they have experienced bias by functional area. The highest percentage of respondents reporting bias was in marketing and operations. The customer service area had the lowest percent reporting having experienced bias. The finance and accounting areas, traditionally dominated by men, identified salary gaps. More men than women in the study indicated a willingness to participate in activities. A high percentage of men and women said they would participate in activities regardless of the gender of their peers. Only 65.4 percent of women compared to 85.7 percent of men said they would participate in activities led by men; 69.8 percent of women said they would participate in activities led by women while 89.3 percent of men responded that they would participate. Gender bias intensity varied by functional area and leadership level in this study. Traditionally male-dominated areas, such as finance and accounting, demonstrated the highest reported gender bias areas. Accordingly, traditionally female-dominated areas like customer service received the lowest reported gender bias experiences. The identification of intensity by functional area supports the need to inform and educate the existing workforce and address the organization’s culture and norms.
Glass Ceiling Not Shattered
riers to the success of women, including gender bias and gender stereotyping, sexual harassment, the lack of mentors and role models, the lack of formal career development activities and projects, the exclusion from informal networks, the perception of leadership style, and value associated with male-dominated behaviors and functional roles. Service-based industries need to focus on increasing organizational gender balance and leverage women talent. Organizations should utilize their human resources function to address gender bias and encourage the development and recruitment of women. Human resources practitioners must evaluate and review promotion practices, reward and recognition systems and developmental processes that are genderspecific. Human resources practitioners should help their organizations identify signs of diversity problems, emphasizing the importance of documenting employment decisions and helping organizational leaders to create policies that are gender-neutral, offer family flexibility, and create a fair work environment regardless of gender. It is known that women experience barriers in the workplace relative to gender. The degree and significance varies; however, common themes include lack of access to projects, value of work, salary, and afterwork activities as top barriers to success. The lack of acknowledgement of the existence of gender bias by men and by the highest levels of management is concerning. More men than women are in higher-level management positions. For example, in this study, 57 percent of respondents reported having a male supervisor compared to 38 percent who reported having a female supervisor. If individuals in higher-leader levels with authority and power to positively impact equality in the workplace do not see this inequality, this will impede efforts to change it. Ironically, the higher the leadership level, the more likely an individual will experience gender bias, particularly women. This research offers human resources practitioners a starting point to review organizational culture and norms to prepare to evaluate and generate awareness to address gender bias in the workplace. Hopefully, it will help people in positions of authority to remove their rose-colored glasses and acknowledge what exists so that effective steps can be taken to ensure equality for all genders.
The value of gender diversity is widely acknowledged in the literature. Despite links between women and increases in financial results, gender bias is routinely overlooked and minimalized. Although there have been improvements between the wage disparity among men and women, the glass ceiling continues to triumph with the support of several other bar-
Jane Bokunewicz and Noel Criscione-Naylor are professors with New Jersey’s Stockton University, Hospitality and Tourism Management Studies. For more information, visit stockton.edu/business/hospitality-tourismprogram.
Traditionally male-dominated areas, such as finance and accounting, demonstrated the highest reported gender bias areas. Accordingly, traditionally female-dominated areas like customer service received the lowest reported gender bias experiences. The identification of intensity by functional area supports the need to inform and educate the existing workforce and address the organization’s culture and norms.
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
The American Gaming Association would like to congratulate this year’s
GREAT WOMEN OF GAMING AWARD recipients...
Julia Boguslawski – Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Investor Relations, AGS Dale Merrill – Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Administration, Foxwoods Resort Casino Debra Nutton – Executive Vice President of Casino Operations of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, Wynn Resorts Michelle Schenk – Senior Manager for Global Communications, IGT Pokin Yeung – Founder, CEO, Absolute Games
...and all of the women in gaming who make our industry great.
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Crossing Over the Aisle What casinos can learn from hotel revenue management
lthough my education was in hotel operations and revenue management, it just so happened that after grad school I landed in casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. After a stint at Expedia, I worked my way into Harrah’s and then Wynn before launching Duetto. Back then, it seemed like the casino and hotel teams spoke two different languages, marketing was a different department altogether, and none of us shared any data or analytics. Online travel agencies were eating us for lunch, driving both rates and profitability in a downward spiral. For too many gaming properties, this is still the case. If casino operators are looking for the model to turn the situation around, they can find it in their counterparts at hotels. Eventually at Wynn, I was fortunate enough to be given the freedom to construct a more cohesive revenue team. We were able to think outside the box, and our first priority was aligning several departments along the same strategies, data, goals and KPIs. It was around this time I met Patrick Bosworth, a recent Harvard Business School graduate, and together Patrick and I identified opportunities for Wynn to drive room revenue by pricing our inventory more dynamically. We built complex formulas in Excel to price each of our room types and distribution channels independently of each other. As Wynn went through some changes, Patrick and I found our way out, but our newly formed “Open Pricing” models continued to grow. The more hoteliers we met, the more we learned we weren’t the only ones handcuffed by rigid pricing capabilities. A decade later, while our Excel spreadsheets have evolved into cloud software that ingests and analyzes data to make accurate pricing recommendations, hotels have made significant strides on the strategy front as well. In the hotel space, the revenue team has moved out of the basement and brings analysis to the table that ultimately shapes sales and
By Marco Benvenuti
marketing strategies. The majority of hotels have embraced some type of automation, where instead of keystroking rate changes on a daily basis across all channels, they’ve invested in some type of technology to assist. And finally, new data sources have become abundant in the hotel industry, allowing revenue managers to make much more educated and segmented rate decisions.
Analyze as much data as possible from across the entire property to identify your highest-value guests who generate the most profit for your casino. Using only your casino database to fill hotel rooms is not the optimal strategy. If you’re basing your reinvestment solely on theoretical win, you’re missing the bigger picture.
WHAT’S HOLDING CASINOS BACK? MORE OPPORTUNITIES IN THE CASINO REVENUE STRATEGY SPACE To put it bluntly: Casinos have been less receptive to change. Some casinos do not have hotels, but those that do can replicate the lodging industry’s success, and it’s not as heavy a lift as they might think. The idea of dynamically pricing your dates, room types and channels independently of each other is a no-brainer. This will help you segment your guests further and price each segment appropriately based on their value to your property. On top of this, though, casinos have even more tools and resources at their disposable to make significant impacts to the bottom line. With access to a guest’s theoretical win or even gaming spend, casinos can combine that data with Open Pricing and begin dynamically customizing offers and rates based on the total value of each customer. It’s not just for gamers, though. More intelligent pricing and reinvestment starts with better segmentation to value your casino guests more holistically. Customers who play high-stakes games and drink top-shelf beverages should be treated differently than guests who play penny slots and drink water. Patrons who don’t gamble at all should be treated differently as well—but they still should be recognized as a valued guest if they’re spending a lot of money in your hotel suites, nightclub and spa. Reinvestment strategies can be more flexible to meet changing demand. Most casinos have three tiers of pricing: a comp for their highest-rated players, the transient rate for cash-paying customers, and a “casino rate” in between for players or spenders who have value to the casino, just not enough for a full comp.
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
Hotels didn’t jump all the way on the revenue strategy train right from the get-go, either. It took developing and adopting strategy best practices, as well as developing or purchasing tools to ingest the demand data, build a forecast, analyze it and send myriad rate recommendations to the right systems. All of those pieces and parts have been evolving over the past decade and will continue to do so. The cultural shifts—trusting revenue teams to drive decisions, aligning departments around revenue goals, adopting more dynamic pricing strategies—took more time to adapt, and some hotels are still recognizing the value. This is where casinos seem to hit a roadblock. A small number are grasping it, and the results show. When you’re using the right data and making calculated decisions across departments based on this data, revenues will improve immediately. Cash revenue is the first to jump, but as you start getting the right players in the doors, total player value will follow, and soon your higher-rated guests are driving monthover-month profit increases. Evolving revenue management practices to include new demand signals, automation and predictive analytics was obvious for hotels. Because the casino industry is changing fast, from less gaming to more entertainment, and from Las Vegas and Atlantic City to destinations across the country, adopting a more holistic strategy will be vital to sustaining your business for the long term. Marco Benvenuti is co-founder and chief marketing and strategy officer for Duetto.
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Innovation the Hallmark for 17th Annual GGB Gaming & Technology Awards Record number of nominations demonstrates that the awards are truly considered the “Best of the Best” By Patrick Roberts
aming’s most important technology awards were announced last month at the Global Gaming Expo when the winners of the 17th Annual GGB Gaming & Technology Awards were revealed. The GGB Gaming & Technology Awards are the industry’s standard in this field, recognizing excellence in innovation and practical application in all gaming disciplines.
“Once again, the nominations for the GGB Gaming & Technology Awards represented the best new products and services in the gaming industry,” said Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business magazine, which administers the awards program. “The amazing products submitted for the judges’ review were all at the cutting edge of technology that serves all facets of the gaming industry. For the first time, the GGB Gaming & Technology Awards recognized the Best Interactive Products that connect players with their favorite games and casinos, whether inside a bricks-and-mortar building or playing on their devices at home.” Judges for the awards are: Claudia Winkler, president of GHI Solutions; Rob Russell, gaming analyst, Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C.; Frank Neborsky, general manager, the Downs at Albuquerque; Gerhard Burda, president and CEO, ESCAPES Advisory Services; Cliff Paige, slot director, South Point Casino Resort, Las Vegas; and Skyelar Perkins, corporate slot director, Choctaw Casinos. Nominations for the 2020 GGB Gaming & Technology Awards open in June and include new products and services that will be introduced in 2019 or 2020. For more information, visit GGBMagazine.com.
The winners of the 17th Annual GGB Gaming & Technology Awards are: • Best Consumer-Service Technology
Gold Medal: Konami Gaming for SynkConnect Cardless
• Best Productivity-Enhancement Technology
Gold Medal: Gaming Laboratories International for Test Automation
Silver Medal: Lockdogs for Key Changeable Lock
• Best Slot Product
Gold Medal: Aruze Gaming for Muso Triple-27
Silver Medal: Everi for Jackpot Xpress
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
Silver Medal: Aristocrat for Dollar Storm
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• Best Table-Game Product or Innovation
2 0 0 0 AT T O R N E Y S | 3 8 L O C AT I O N S W O R L D W I D E˚
Gold Medal: AGS for STAX Table-Game Progressive Solution
Gateway to Latin America Lorne S. Cantor and Yosbel A. Ibarra are part of a multidisciplinary team of Greenberg Traurig attorneys advising clients entering Latin American markets.
Silver Medal: Gamblit Gaming for Pac-Man Battle Casino
• Best Interactive Product
Greenberg Traurig’s award-winning Latin American and Iberian Practice draws on resources from our Miami and New York offices, in addition to our Mexico City office and other offices around the world, to help clients identify business opportunities in Latin America. Our team, which includes lawyers who have been chief legal officers at major multinational companies, has wide-ranging experience representing U.S. and international clients who do business in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, as well as advising Latin American and Spanish clients on their business ventures in the United States. Lorne, Co-Chair of the Global Gaming Practice, focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, public and private securities offerings, and complex joint ventures. With particular experience advising on gaming industry transactions, he also represents clients in the transportation, hospitality and technology sectors.
Gold Medal: Scientific Games for Open Bet
Yosbel, Co-Chair of the Latin American and Iberian Practice, has spent his career advising clients doing business in the United States, Spain and across Latin America. He has led several important cross-border M&A transactions, as well as joint ventures and infrastructure projects, including public-private partnerships. Lorne S. Cantor
Yosbel A. Ibarra
Global Gaming Practice Regulatory | Operations | AML | IP | Labor | Litigation | Privacy Real Estate Acquisitions | Financing | Learn more at gtlaw.com/gaming
G R E E N B E R G T R A U R I G , L L P | W W W. G T L AW. C O M Silver Medal: Ruby Seven Studios for Best Bet Casino
The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and our experience. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Greenberg Traurig is a service mark and trade name of Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Greenberg Traurig, P.A. ©2018 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Attorneys at Law. All rights reserved. Attorney Advertising. Contact: Martha A. Sabol in Chicago at 312.456.8400. °These numbers are subject to fluctuation. 30472
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Food Fight Are franchises the way to go for F&B or should in-house restaurants rule? BY DAVE BONTEMPO
ood for thought: franchises and gaming produce a lucrative big-business sandwich. Two bread slices could figuratively represent the casino industry. Vendor products can resemble the meat, placed neatly inside the bread to enhance flavor and content. The blueprint ascends. Food franchises have not only graced gaming properties over the past three decades, but gather new steam. Who would have believed that in 2018, the world’s largest Steak ‘n Shake would wind up inside a casino? Hooters in Las Vegas? Subway, which predated the proliferation of gaming, operates in casinos across seven U.S. states and nearly 40 casinos in five countries internationally. Sysco, a food-product powerhouse for the past 50 years, increases its gaming footprint while observing the ethnic trends impacting buying habits. It’s been a prosperous blend. Operators find a customer base to serve quickly and perhaps re-energize for more gambling. The players gain trusted fast food, without the need for long lines at a casino restaurant or buffet. Franchises find a new customer outlet, in casinos, away from strip malls or cities. From several directions, business operators found a way to satisfy “fast,” a win in the social-media age. Technology? It plays a complementary role here, enhancing realms like inventory or the tracking of customer preference. Ultimately, it enables the big picture, the rich symmetry between operators and franchises, to thrive.
Teamwork Paramount Successful partnerships involve dollars, cents and common sense. Corey Nyman, who heads the Nyman Group in Las Vegas, sees a unique intersection for gaming and franchises. Each should fill a niche for the other, he says. A franchisee will realize significant foot traffic in a casino. On the flip side, it may opt to honor comps and change hours to accommodate special events at a property. “We all have delusions of grandeur about what we can do and what we can bring to the table, but both sides have to be realistic,” Nyman asserts. “If you are the franchisee, look at it from the standpoint of the casino. Why are we going to have this brand here? Is it going to add something to our property? Something special for our guests? You want to be bringing something that does not exist in the casino, some kind of benefit that makes them want to choose you over someone else or over the choice of doing it themselves. “Whenever we talk about the quick serves, it’s about ROI and what we can put through,” he adds. “It boils down to the amount of guests we can serve in an hour, and it must satisfy the people who want it fresh, want it hot, want it to 48
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
The Subway franchise at Casino Royale on the Las Vegas Strip
be good and want it now.” Nyman’s company serves both the casino and restaurant businesses. Its menu includes project restaurant development consultants for Bally’s Atlantic City and master planning and development of a new restaurant for the fivestar, five diamond Encore Boston Harbor Hotel. Nyman knows what both sides can bring to the table. One consideration for the franchisee is comparable price points, he adds. A food-court outlet, for example, will best be positioned near a movie theater. “If my operation has a product that costs $7.50, I want to be in the same area as someone who is spending up to $12,” Nyman indicates. “If they will spend $10 on a movie, you bet I think they will also spend a little less money for a burger, fries and a Coke. Positioning is important. Do I want to be close to the parking garage that dumps everyone next to the bowling alley? Yes. If I am a coffee place, the front door next to the valet is exactly where I want to be. Coffee is an impulse buy.” Nyman says a vendor may supply a business that is not labor-intensive. The casino would not pay items like overtime or health insurance, which it might by operating the business itself. Places like McDonald’s and Starbucks, or many coffee outlets, for that matter, are natural fits. Nyman has spent a lifetime observing partnerships. The Chicago native is the son of an executive chef and restaurant owner turned hospitality consultant. Nyman tasted his first glass of wine at the age of 8, and took his first assignment at 14, helping his father develop the concept for the Saks Fifth Avenue Café in New York City. An eye to the future is important, he says. The baby boomers “will be
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“If you are the franchisee, look at it from the standpoint of the casino. Why are we going to have this brand here? Is it going to add something to our property? Something special for our guests?” — Corey Nyman, president of the Nyman Group, a food-and-beverage consulting firm
gone soon enough, although we are not in a hurry to see them go,” he laughs. “Then you have to ask what Gen X wants, what about the millennials after that and what about Gen Z? Does the burger have to be bigger and juicier? What do your customers want?”
Ahead of the Trend Houston-based Sysco Corporation, a food-product powerhouse for nearly 50 years, forges an increasingly prominent casino footprint. Sysco’s participation in Global Gaming Expo and emerging leadership role at industry conferences underscore its rising connection with resorts, casinos and the restaurants they unveil to the public. That means anticipating ethnic and demographic trends, just as a casino would. Karla Perez, the company’s vice president of gaming, says its information reveals powerful trends, like 50 percent of surveyed customers showing interest in unique sandwich carriers, but only 28 percent of operators offering them. Perez says 44 percent of millennials want multi-cultural foods, Indian food is one of the fastest growing market segments, and that of the 87 percent of consumers who want ethnic fare, 32 percent say they would pay extra for it. Sysco’s products have been served in restaurants like Rock & Brews at the Hard Rock (burgers, vegetarian and gluten-free options) and the Chingon Kitchen (tacos, burrito bowls, etc.), associated with George Lopez, in places like the San Manuel Casino in California. “As a trusted business partner focused on delivering on customer needs, it is our responsibility to educate and provide consultative services to our clients,” Perez says. “Sysco has taken a leading role in menu development. With Chef Neil Doherty and his global expertise, diversity in flavor profiles such as ethnic foods (we have seen a spike in Korean, Indian and North African flavors) and identifying future trends from all markets, we are able to bring our customers what they desire. “As a company, we are in touch with the market demands and constantly evaluating and modernizing by utilizing analytics and customer feedback. We have developed a team, Sysco LABS, committed to innovation and utilizing technology to enhance the customer experi-
ence—everything from food trends to technology solutions. As part of our value proposition, we leverage our great partnerships with leading restaurateurs and connect them to casino owners.” Sysco’s Cutting Edge Solutions, derived from leading suppliers, provides unique experiences to the gaming customer. A number of them were unveiled late in 2017. They include Sysco’s Imperial Fruit & Vegetable Juice Concentrates, Clean Cheesecakes, Fire River Farms Grass Fed Beef patties, Coleman Organic Chicken, Beyond Meat, Beyond Burger and Premier Gold Natural Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp. “People are looking for more non-traditional food and beverage options,” says Doherty, the company’s senior director of culinary development. “Rather than the traditional dine-in restaurant, foodies want multi-faceted possibilities such as grab-and-go, dining halls, fully integrated entertainment space, etc. The consumer wants to be engaged from the start of the experience to the very
NOVEMBER 2018 www.ggbmagazine.com
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“As a trusted business partner focused on delivering on customer needs, it is our responsibility to educate and provide consultative services to our clients.”
end—and they want variety. There is a high demand for vegetarian, vegan options and plant-based protein. “Some restaurants are offering vegetable charcuterie, for example, or vegan ramen. They are integrating healthier, gluten-free vegan options into the newest trends such as Korean and Indian. It creates diversity and flavor profiles that attract a wide customer base.” Sysco has a global food reach and perspective. It operates approximately 300 distribution facilities worldwide and serves more than 500,000 customers in several countries including the United States, Canada, Mexico, France and the U.K. For fiscal 2017 that ended July 1, 2017, the company generated sales of more than $55 billion. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas recently an opened an urban food hall, highlighting items like Pok Pok Wings. Doherty believes the variety of food courts says something about the business setting. “Urban food halls are growing in popularity in large cities such as San Francisco, Boston, New York and Chicago,” Doherty says. “Everyone is able to pick what they want to eat and sit in a social atmosphere without the traditional waiters and white tablecloths. The environment has become just as important as the offerings.” And, ultimately, what works in the city setting will find its way to a casino.
casino guests. That menu includes not only pizza but pasta, breadsticks and boneless wings.” Subway’s next substantial rollout may not involve food. It might be “The Look.” “In addition to working to improve the quality of our products, Subway has also been working to improve the look of our restaurants,” Contessa says. “We’re in the process of rolling out a new décor package which will be in all of our existing U.S. stores by the end of 2019. Any new store built will also feature this new décor. It’s sleeker, brighter and puts our fresh baked breads and fresh produce front and center.”
Decades of Vision
Shaking It Up
Long live the sub, the salad, and the synergy between Connecticut-based Subway and the gaming industry. Subway is the largest single-brand restaurant chain, and the largest restaurant operator, in the world. At last count, it had approximately 45,000 stores in 100 countries. Gaming holds a prosperous history with this company. One of Subway’s first casino operations began in 1989 at Arizona Charlie’s, a locals casino in Las Vegas. Even then, long before national ads and sponsorship of major sporting events like NASCAR races transformed the company, Subway understood its shared interest with the casino world. The company’s newest location is at the Lowen Play Gambling Hall in Bingen, Germany, according to Dominic Contessa, Subway’s global account manager. “The most important thing when a Subway goes into a host location is that it is a partnership that allows the host facility to offer something that their guests want,” Contessa indicates. “By offering a variety of menu items that appeal to everyone in multiple day parts, we provide a service within the casino that allows their guests to get something delicious to eat, but to get it quickly and at a reasonable price. It’s not uncommon for a Subway restaurant to draw guests from other locations that don’t have a Subway, so it’s a winning choice for a lot of casinos.” The partnership equates to shared benefits, Contessa asserts. While specific dollars and cents may be difficult to measure, the overall setup ensures business flow. “We have a simple operations process and customizable floor plans which allow us to set up our store and operations to comply with and conform to just about any setup we’re offered by a host facility,” Contessa says. “In return, the host facility gets a brand with worldwide recognition that can offer a wide variety of food options, from salads to sandwiches to our new and indulgent wraps. We also have Mama DeLuca’s Pizza, which is a new Subway menu addition that we can include to expand what the Subway restaurant offers to the 50
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
—Karla Perez, Vice President of Gaming, Sysco Corporation
Fast food meets the fast lane. Steak ‘n Shake applies Nyman’s concepts in unique form. The casual restaurant chain, known for hamburgers (or “steakburgers”) and hand-dipped milkshakes, Steak ‘n Shake was already a success at the South Point locals casino a few miles south of the Las Vegas Strip when it brought its Midwest roots much closer to all the Strip action six months ago, opening in Hooters Casino. Between the two locations, Steak ‘n Shake found a “double burger”—locals and gaming. At Hooters, the restaurant is prominently placed inside the casino entrance. Gaming foot traffic and fast food converge inside the largest of Steak ‘n Shake’s 627 worldwide establishments. This one has more than 200 patrons and even packs an adult beverage. It opened during the spring, just in time to embrace some major community dynamics. The unexpected success of the Vegas Golden Knights during their inaugural hockey season prompted overflow traffic from the games, which unfold at the TMobile Arena. Harold Johnson, the food and beverage director for Hooters, indicates fans quickly caught on to the free parking availability at his property. That translated into a walk-up market, and, as Nyman suggests, the chance to embrace a casino need. During the playoffs, Steak ‘n Shake stayed open past normal hours, boosting both its own bottom line and the convenience for additional casino players. Another innovation involved theme nights for the locals casino. Throughout the summer, it offered free dinners on Saturdays to police, firefighters and teaching professionals. Because the menu is inexpensive, it translates to an easy comp. Besides encouraging future business for Steak ‘n Shake, it brought people into the casinos. As another hockey season begins, a new set of variables engulfs this opportunistic gaming-franchise tandem. Throughout gaming, the fast-food transformation grows—subtle, yet persistent. Beyond the branded restaurants and buffet lies this beneficial niche.
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MAKING MY POINT
Escaping the Rut Careers can take unexpected turns when you take unexpected actions
ail on the down the line, ‘bout half a mile or so, and don’t really wanna know . . . ‘eally wanna know . . . ‘eally wanna
know . . . Back in the old days, back when Lionel Richie was with the Commodores, back when his afro was bigger than a Beefeater’s hat, back when frequencies of sound were pressed onto a flat vinyl disc and then conducted electronically through a metal stylus called a “tooth” or a “needle”—geez, this seems ridiculous, doesn’t it?—songs would skip back when played back. Yes, Generation MP3, you heard that right. Heard that right. Heard that right. What happened was the needle would reach a rut in the record and retreat a few seconds, then would reach the rut again and retreat a few seconds, then would reach the rut again and retreat a few seconds. Over and over and over. You lived with such imperfections because that’s just the way it was. Ruts developed not from abuse, but rather from routine wear and tear, dust and dirt, usage and warpage. Best you could do was wipe your records clean, keep them stored in paper sleeves and touch them as infrequently as possible. And when you did, you did so, so gently, by the edges and with your palms, as if you were wearing kitchen mitts and taking a casserole dish out of the oven. You know something? The good old days kind of sucked. We’ve come a long way since then, as first cassettes, then CDs, then iPods, iPhones and Spotify turned turntables into antiquities and those ruts— those aggravating, frustrating, paralyzing ruts— into relics. Record ruts, anyway. As for career ruts—those aggravating, frustrating, paralyzing ruts—they remain for many as deep and intractable as ever. If you’ve been in the casino industry longer than, well, yesterday, you’ve surely seen signs of rutting. Could be you. Could be a colleague. Could be a friend or foe. But no matter who’s suffering, the symptoms are the same. Like literally
By Roger Snow
the “same,” as in the same company, the same title, the same duties, and—save for an annual cost-of-living adjustment—the same paycheck. Rut-roh. That’s right, Scoobs, employment ennui affects everyone, some temporarily and intermittently, others permanently and continually. However, you don’t have to be stuck in the same groove forever. To wit, here are three proven techniques to get your career out of low gear.
Shake It Up Odds are, your company has more things to do than resources to do them. In other words, it could use a helping hand. Raise yours. Volunteer for a special project. Could be anything that piques your curiosity in operations, marketing, research, product development, accounting, whatever. Something magical happens when you evacuate your comfort zone. Everything seems new and clean. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s invigorating. It’s like when you go on vacation. And it’s not all about what it’s all about for you. The company will benefit from your unpolluted perspective, your innocence and even naiveté. You don’t know what you don’t know, so to speak. Employers should strive to get all these viewpoints into the salad bowl, the new with the old, the inexperienced with the learned, the wild-eyed with the steely-eyed. Then toss, baby, toss. Take that first step and ask your boss what you can do to help.
Relax Maybe you like to draw. Maybe you like to play chess. Maybe you like to write poetry. Maybe you like to go on Facebook and police everyone’s grammar. Hey, to each his own. (Or is it “their” own?) Relax. Decompress. Unplug. Spend more time with your family and away from your laptop. You’ll develop a greater appreciation for both.
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
Here’s a tip inside a tip: Tonight, leave your phone downstairs when you go to bed. Take seven or eight hours off. Recharge your battery while it’s recharging its. Chances are a little away-time will smooth out these career ruts. But if they don’t...
Time To Say Goodbye Hey, when in doubt, get the #$@% out. Roger Waters, a founding member of (and the leading destroyer of) Pink Floyd, said he left the band because its creative energy was exhausted. Gone. Vaporized. Hasta la vista, baby. Had been, he felt, for a long time. And despite the surety, the security, the cold comfort and cash that came from staying with this commercial juggernaut, he wished to not be here—in this environment, in this group, in this rut—anymore. So, in 1985, he quit. It takes courage, and perhaps a little madness, to yank the plug on an ATM, whether it’s spitting out dollar bills or hundred-dollar bills. Lots of folks have walked away from steady paychecks to pursue bigger and better dreams, only to end up frantically scratching on the very door they slammed shut behind them. But if you find yourself dreading the daily routine of work and showing up only because of the paycheck, yeah, it’s time. It’s time to do something different in your career and with your life. You won’t be the first to feel this way. Or the last. Lionel Richie took his talents—and his ’fro— and went solo. Gwen Stefani left no doubt she was leaving No Doubt. Beyoncé dumped the other girls in Destiny’s Child. Simon said goodbye to Garfunkel. Natalie Merchant 86’d the rest of those 10,000 Maniacs. Sometimes, to save your sanity and yourself, there’s only one thing you can do. Sail on down the line . . . the line . . . the line. Roger Snow is a senior vice president with Scientific Games. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Scientific Games Corporation or its affiliates.
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NEW GAME REVIEW by Frank Legato
Blake Shelton IGT
GT has used its new CrystalCurve ULTRA cabinet to house its latest celebrity/music-themed slot game, Blake Shelton. The country star’s greatest hits are featured in audio and video of Shelton performances worked into a five-reel, 40-line game that utilizes the substantial real estate offered by the CrystalCurve ULTRA—a unique dual-screen presentation that uses a main 32-inch monitor in a landscape configuration (situated horizontally), topped by a supersize curved vertical monitor—a full 50inch screen, ergonomically situated toward the player.
The base game features a jukebox including radio-favorite Blake Shelton songs. The combination of spinning hits and spinning video reels, combined with booming audio, bring Shelton’s songs to life during game play. During the BS’ers Pick bonus, players select bottle caps to fill spaces on the bingo-style board. If four horizontal or vertical spaces in a line are filled, the player will win the corresponding credit value. If players fill the winning diagonal line, they are awarded one of 100 guitars autographed by Blake Shelton with their jackpot. Manufacturer: IGT Platform: CrystalCurve ULTRA Format: Five-reel, 40-line video slot Denomination: .01 Max Bet: 375, 750 Top Award: $10,000 Hit Frequency: Approximately 50% Theoretical Hold: 4%-14.1%
ast year, Incredible Technologies launched the Infinity V55 cabinet, which features a 55-inch, flatscreen 4K vertical full-touch monitor, making it the largest screen on a core cabinet in the industry. This year, the manufacturer is loading the cabinet style with new games, one of the first being Bars Up. Bars Up features a traditional-style slot game on dual 25-line reel arrays. Game play centers on classic bar symbols, and a simple game mechanic: When a gold bar symbol lands, it upgrades the bar symbols on its reel set, turning single bars into double bars and double bars into triple bars. Three scatter symbols trigger the free spins event, where the reels contain only bar symbols. Players continue the free spins event as long as at least one bar symbol lands. Once a bar lands, it slides down to the lowest unoccupied position and locks in place. Players who fill the entire screen with bars are awarded a bonus credit amount, in addition to the accumulation of their line wins. Three bonus symbols trigger a picking bonus in which the player touches gold tiles to reveal progressive symbols, the goal being to match three symbols corresponding to one of five progressive bonuses, with resets ranging from 54
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
$25 to $1,000. It’s a “true-pick” progressive feature—the outcome is not predetermined; all jackpots are available and players really are choosing their prize. The screen reveals what was behind the icons not selected, to drive that point home with players. Manufacturer: Incredible Technologies Platform: Infinity V55 Format: Five-reel, 50-line video slot Denomination: .01, .02, .05, .10, .25, .50, 1.00, 2.00 Max Bet: 250 Top Award: Progressive; $1,000 reset Hit Frequency: Approximately 50% Theoretical Hold: 5.75%-14.91%
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NEW GAME REVIEW
Buffalo Diamond Aristocrat Technologies
ristocrat is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the industry-topping Buffalo video slot brand with a new game offering the traditional high volatility and free games of Buffalo in the Reel Power ways-to-win format that uses a 45-6-5-4 reel array (four symbols on the outer reels, five symbols on reels 2 and 4, six symbols on the center reel). In this configuration, the game offers 2,400 possible ways to win on every spin. Buffalo Diamond features a wide-area progressive top jackpot that resets at $500,000. It also is the first game in the Buffalo franchise to appear on the new flame55 cabinet. The game expands upon Buffalo’s most popular feature, the free-game bonus, in a unique scheme. During the base game, players may randomly collect purple, blue or green diamond symbols on the fifth reel, which progresses the free games pool. When the freegame feature is triggered with like diamond symbols, the player receives the number of spins accumulated as diamonds of that color. Buffalo Diamond also offers a unique wheel feature where the player re-
ceives 4X on all pays in free games, 3X all pays in free games, 2X all pays in free games, “Regular Free Games” and the Grand Progressive (only available at max bet). As in the Classic Buffalo game, during the Free Games Bonus, two or more scattered coins will trigger additional free games, and Free Games Sunsets are wild and reveal 2X or 3X win multipliers with corresponding wins. Buffalo Diamond was custom-built for the flame55 cabinet. For example, the graphics power of flame55 allows for the first 4K release of Buffalo featuring updated character symbols in Buffalo, Eagle, Wolf, Cougar, Elk, Royals, Coins and Sunsets. The flame55 cabinet feature a 55-inch, doublecurved monitor, the largest portrait double-curved display in the non-jumbo segment. Manufacturer: Aristocrat Technologies Platform: flame55 Format: 2,400-ways-to-win video slot Denomination: .01, .02, .05, .10, .20, .25, .50, 1.00, 5.00, 10.00, 20.00 Max Bet: 400, 600 Top Award: Progressive; $500,000 reset Hit Frequency: Approximately 50% Theoretical Hold: 5%-12%
Triple Sparkle Konami Gaming
t the Global Gaming Expo, Konami rolled out its new Concerto Opus cabinet, featuring a 65-inch flat-screen 4K ultra-HD monitor, a custom-lit “TouchDash” button deck, dual spin buttons, dual cup holders, and special features like an optional USB charger. Helping to launch the cabinet was the new Triple Sparkle series, with the two inaugural games Solstice Celebration Triple Sparkle and Riches with Daikoku Triple Sparkle. Triple Sparkle uses Konami’s popular Sparkle Feature, in which random sets of Action Stacked Symbols become framed at the start of each spin. When two complete reels land with frames, the symbols disappear and are replaced by new symbols. The Triple Sparkle game increases that to two sets of new symbols, potentially leading to huge wins, and symbol-driven progressive jackpots. The base games are five-reel, 40-line video slots, with three bet options, each level consisting of 40 credits plus a 20-credit “Xtra Reward” ante bet—wagers are 56
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
limited to 60, 120 or 180 credits. The Sparkle Feature is only active at the 180-credit maximum bet, but Aristocrat officials have said the max bet was made affordable to encourage the higher wager. The four progressive jackpot levels are available through the Sparkle Feature—the third time the reels transform in the feature, the symbols that replace the Action Stacked symbols include symbols corresponding to each jackpot—Mini, Major, Mega or the Max, which resets at $10,000. There also is a free-game feature that can be triggered during the Sparkle or Triple Sparkle features. A “woman” symbol on any two, three, four or five reels triggers 10, 15, 20 or 40 free games, respectively. During the features, reels with the sun symbol nudge until all positions on the reel are the sun symbol. Manufacturer: Konami Gaming Platform: KP3+, Concerto Opus Format: Five-reel, 40-line video slot Denomination: .01, .02, .05, .10 (multi-denomination available) Max Bet: 180 Top Award: Progressive; $10,000 reset Hit Frequency: 39% Theoretical Hold: 4%-18%
UNLV_December_2018.qxp_Layout 1 10/19/18 1:52 PM Page 1
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FRANKLY SPEAKING by Frank Legato
Burgers, Bonzo and Buds
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
stream of small juice drops or another button that would give them big gulps of juice occasionally, but would leave them juiceless more often than not. The monkeys picked the long shot every time, chasing the big juice payoff. But when the researchers inactivated a certain region of the prefrontal cortex in the monkeys’ brains, they avoided the risky behavior and went for the sure thing. The conclusion was that it’s possible that the portion of the human brain that corresponds to the monkey cortex could some day be treated to curb risk-taking behavior. As intriguing as that is, admittedly, I only picked the story because it had monkeys in it. I only wish they had been chimpanzees. In jumpsuits. (Monkey Cortex, by the way, is the name of my next band.) Finally, one of the newest attractions in Downtown Las Vegas is Cannabition, a cannabis museum opened to educate visitors about marijuana in the wake of Nevada’s legalization of recreational weed. Attractions at Cannabition include a 24-foot-tall glass bong, “huggable” faux marijuana buds, and a pool full of foam weed nuggets. “Our goal when people come out of this is that they don’t fear the cannabis industry if they are not believers in the industry,” founder J.J. Walker told the Associated Press. “Cannabition is not about just serving people that like marijuana, it’s about serving the masses that want to learn about cannabis and/or just have fun and go do a cool art experience.” Wait a minute. J.J. Walker? J.J. “Dy-no-mite!” Walker? OK, it’s not the same J.J. from the ’70s sitcom Good Times, as apropos as that would have been. But it’s still a cool addition to Downtown. They have a room with gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson’s famous “Red Shark” Chevy Caprice in addition to the big bong, which is named “Bongzilla.” Dy-no-mite! VIC TOR RINAL DO
s I always say, if you’re going to cheat at baccarat, you’d better back up your play with a take-out burger. OK, maybe I don’t always say that, but apparently, it is a fail-safe for at least one guy in Indiana. A 34-year-old gambler was nabbed recently at Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg for past posting— that’s fancy gambler talk for placing a bet after the outcome of a game is known—on a baccarat table. He was approached by an agent of the Indiana Gaming Commission. Here’s what the agent wrote in his affidavit, omitting the name to protect the innocent (just like Jack Webb on Dragnet): “When I advised (the gambler) that what he had done was considered ‘Cheating at a Gambling Game,’ and that it was a Level 6 Felony, he immediately said that he didn’t mean to do it. He said, ‘I wouldn’t try and cheat the casino.’ (He) asked if he was going to jail; he said ‘I can’t go to jail, I’m here trying to make my house payment.’ He also said I’ll get you as many free (McDonald’s) Big Macs that you want.” When I looked at this story, my first impression was how lame the guy’s excuse was. He didn’t mean to do it, and according to the agent, he had to be told that past posting was considered cheating. No wonder he thought he could make his house payment gambling. Roulette wheel spins to stop... “The winner is red 6!” “Hey, that’s what I bet! Just a minute... There, see?” As far as using the promise of Big Macs to bribe the agent, I believe that is a time-tested kind of bribe, going all the way back to the Old West: “You’ve got an ace up your sleeve, you cheatin’ tinhorn! Reach for the sky!” “Don’t shoot! Here. Have a knish.” “Oh, well, in that case...” Back during Prohibition, Elliott Ness and his Untouchables were known as the only law enforcement able to resist bribes of corn dogs and rueben sandwiches. It’s only natural that gambling agents these days have to turn down fast-food bribes. Our Indiana agent was somehow able to resist enough daily Big Macs to send him to clogged-artery heaven. The past-poster was arrested and charged with the felony. Last I heard, he was bribing prison guards with double cheeseburgers. Moving on, if you’re a frequent reader of this column, you know by now that I always pass on any news involving gambling monkeys. Hey, it’s just a matter of being conscientious in serving my readers, you know? I was perusing my latest issue of Current Biology (my favorite periodical, next to Modern Embalmer) when I came across a report on a study of the gambling habits of rhesus monkeys. The little guys were given the choice between pushing a button that would give them a steady
TGGfullpage2019_Layout 1 10/17/18 5:06 PM Page 1
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G2E Rises Again After a somber show in 2017, this year’s version of G2E was a complete turnaround By Frank Legato and Roger Gros
his year’s Global Gaming Expo was different from previous years in several aspects. First, it was a year since the tragic shooting at Mandalay Bay, which occurred the night before the 2017 show was scheduled to open. Then-American Gaming Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman deterESPN’s Scott Van Pelt talked about mined the show must go on, and why he thinks sports betting will be Aristocrat brought in the Lohan School of Shaolin to perform a ceremonial lucky it turned out to be a cathartic ex- a transformative moment for sports dragon dance opening Day 2 of G2E. perience for the industry to be to- in general. gether and to mourn together. G2E 2018 was markedly different. Newly legalized sports betting in the U.S. has spawned a wealth of technology solutions available to make it easy for U.S. casinos, racetracks and other venues to offer sports book products. They were all on display at G2E. The general health of the industry was also a factor. Although gaming stock prices have begun to slide in recent months, revenues have remained strong and competition has heated up. Every casino is looking for the “next big thing” and suppliers were more than eager to promote their latest product to fulfill that desire. However, as usual, the focus at G2E was on the typically remarkable lineup of new slot games, and groundbreaking new hardware on which the major manufacturers are presenting them. All of Drew Carey helped debut a Price is Right Chance, the mascot of the NHL Vegas Golden Knights, the major slot-makers launched new hardware at game for IGT. helped kick off G2E, courtesy of AGS, which displayed a G2E, from upright cabinets to jumbo machines to VGK slot machine. bar-top presentations that include slot games as well as the standard video poker offerings. Among the highlights for the top slot-makers: IGT launched a new series of games based on The Price Is Right, the legendary game show now hosted by Drew Carey. (Carey himself appeared at the IGT booth to promote the game.) The series is offered in three new versions, divided by denomination. A high-denomination version on the Megatower Universal cabinet is The Price Is Right Showcase Showdown. The game uses the 55-inch monitor on the large cabinet for a giant version of the wheel used in the Showdown on the game show, with credits instead of prices. A low-denomination version titled The Price Is Right features the show’s popular Cliffhanger Bonus, while the mid-denomination The Price Is Right Plinko features a pachinko-style bonus. New takes on wheel bonuses were also evident at the Scientific Games
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
booth with Ultimate Cash Spin, featuring a new twist on the “U-Spin” mechanic—instead of the player touching the screen to spin a video wheel, the game features a mechanical wheel that the player can grab and physically spin, using elbow grease to send it spinning as fast as desired. The more intriguing technological offering from Scientific Games, however, was found in the newest game in the James Bond series, Die Another Day. The game is housed on a huge new version of the TwinStar cabinet series, a 1,600-pound behemoth called the TwinStar Phantom. When the main bonus is triggered, the monitor rises to reveal a secret 3D chamber utilizing the first gaming application of the Pepper’s ghost 3D technique. At the back of the chamber is a reel set, and a spaceship to the side shoots beams at the reels to transform symbols into wild symbols.
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Aristocrat put on a mind-boggling display of new games utilizing its latest hardware, such as the flame55, with a 55-inch monitor that curves in two places. Aristocrat used the new form factor to launch Buffalo Diamond, celebrating the 10th anniversary (yes, the Diamond Anniversary) of the industrytopping Buffalo video slot brand. The large 4K-resolution monitor is used to great effect to display video of stampeding buffalo to accompany some game events, and there is Old West-style music that plays during reel-spinning, complete with a karaoke-style lyric stream so you can sing along. Konami Gaming rolled out games designed for its super-sized new Concerto Opus cabinet. Dragon’s Law uses the imposing 65-inch flat-screen monitor on the Opus for colorful graphics depicting a dragon that flies from the top to the bottom reel array to award wild symbols and multipliers, and Treasure Ball uses the screen for an entertaining bonus in which gold and diamond balls are ejected from a gumball-machine-style apparatus on the top screen to the reels to award credits or progressives. Everi displayed its largest and most diverse group of games yet, headed by Shark Week, a six-pod group of games presented as a themed package, the 55-inch monitors arranged touching each other to form a top display that looks like a giant aquarium. Bonus events all draw on the popular Discovery Channel series of the same name, with an array of clever themed bonuses. AGS featured an array of games on its new Orion Upright core cabinet, including many games ported over from its legacy ICON core format, as well a new games for its Orion Portrait premium cabinet headed by the new Diamond Streak series. It also featured a new offering for the company, the 10player Royal Derby mechanical horse-racing game from Slovenia’s Alfastreet. Aruze featured games with entertaining new technology, including a reboot of Paradise Fishing, with its community fishing bonus game. On the new Muso Limited cabinet, the game is placed in banks with 55-inch top monitors side by side, utilized for a bank-wide fishing bonus. As with the original, each machine is equipped with a fishing-rod joystick, and players “fish” in a pond that extends across a giant display formed by the adjacent monitors. The player feels tension while turning the reel, particularly on the bigger fish— reeled in for bigger bonuses. Ainsworth Game Technology launched the second game carrying the theme of the classic arcade game Pac-Man. Pac-Man Link carries all the iconic images of the legendary arcade game with four base games named for the ghosts in the original game—Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. The progressive game is featured on Ainsworth’s new dual-screen EVO cabinet. Novomatic Americas featured its new MacGyver game, based on the 1980s TV series. Housed on the new Novostar V.I.P. 3.50 cabinet with Python Chair or the V.I.P. Lounge 2.32 cabinet, the immersive slot delivers all the quirks of Angus “Mac” MacGyver, the show’s main character, who solved desperate government problems but always came equipped with stuff like a Swiss army knife, duct tape, chewing gum and paper clips to help him. Those items are all featured as reel symbols or bonus icons in the game. Incredible Technologies launched games expanding the library of its new V55 cabinet, featuring a 55-inch flat-screen vertical monitor. Heading the list was Clinko, which uses the big screen for a pachinko-style mystery bonus feature; and Bars Up, a traditional slot game on dual 25-line reel arrays with a
The “Innovation Incubator” brought together two “Sharks” from ABC’s Shark Tank to evaluate unique gaming products.
unique mechanic: When a gold bar lands, all traditional bar symbols are upgraded. Single bars become double bars, and double bars become triple bars. Merkur featured an impressive array of new games. Highlights included Western Pacific and Cash Stacks, both using cash as the main theme; and Big Deal Wheel, featuring segments of wheels as symbols. The player tries to complete the images of wheels on adjacent reels to trigger a bonus feature with wins according to which symbols are matched to trigger the bonus. Gaming Arts the bingo supplier that brought in world-class game development talent to launch a startup slot division, brought its first games to G2E. Highlights centered on three game series—Pop’n Pays, featuring inventive game mechanics and lighthearted themes; Da Fa Ba, a group of Asian-themed games deploying popular game mechanics; and Dice Seeker, featuring innovative bonus games centered on tossing dice. Finally, the skill-based gaming segment was represented by Gamblit, which packed its booth for all three days of the show with attendees viewing a complete lineup of new skill games. Highlights included the multi-player PacMan Battle Casino, in which players compete in a community-style version of the classic arcade game on a flat-table surface; and Playboy Pinball, featuring what is perhaps the truest replication of the traditional pinball game to yet hit the slot floor.
Event-Driven The G2E conference program was in rare form, with the Monday sessions being mostly standing-room-only. Sports betting was the focus for the entire four-day conference, but other topics were also discussed. Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Sharon Delaney McCloud was a stand-in at the opening keynote for late scratch WNBA Commissioner Lisa Borders. McCloud discussed how women can build their own executive presences in male-dominated industries with three key principles. Tuesday continued the sports betting theme, and included some other interesting subjects like a penetrating integrated resorts discussion led by Thalden Boyd Emery CEO Chief Boyd and including Dike Bacon, principal of HBG Design; Robert Miguel, chairman of the AK-Chin Indian Community; and Jared Munoa, president of Pechanga Development Corporation. Wednesday brought the insightful sports betting analysis of ESPN Sports Center anchor Scott Van Pelt, one of the first major figures in the mainstream media to advocate for legal sports betting. His interaction with AGA Senior Vice President Sara Slane was informative, entertaining and sometimes controversial. Maybe the most anticipated keynote arrived on Thursday with the Innovation Incubator featuring ABC’s Shark Tank stars Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary, along with Sprout CEO Cindy Eckert. The panel evaluated four new gaming products before awarding the $10,000 prize to DoorPro Doorstop Founder Bill Hengler, who invented a doorstop for hotel room doors. He demonstrated the product and boasted of 200,000 sales to major clients. NOVEMBER 2018 www.ggbmagazine.com
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SCIENTIFIC GAMES ACQUIRES DON BEST SPORTS
aming supplier Scientific Games Corporation announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Don Best Sports Corporation, a leading global supplier of real-time betting data and pricing for North American sporting events. Under the terms of the deal, Scientific Games also will acquire DBS Canada Corporation. The deal will expand Scientific Games’ B2B sports betting offerings and allow the company to add new capabilities to its one-stop shop for sports book solutions. Subject to standard closing conditions, the deal is estimated to be finalized in the fourth quarter of 2018. Upon closing, Don Best will become part of Scientific Games’ SG Digital division, allowing SG’s global customer base to combine day-to-day sports book logistics with top-of-the-line trading technology. Drawing on their more than 20 years experience in the sports betting space, Don Best determines proper betting lines, tracks more than 100 worldwide sports book operators and provides tailored content solutions. The company’s European sports book operating experience will combine with Scientific Games’ OpenBet platform to further enhance SG’s sports betting solution for the U.S. market and beyond.
HARD ROCK LAS VEGAS PARTNERS WITH DUETTO
ard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas has contracted with Duetto, the hospitality industry’s only revenue strategy platform, to implement its cloud-based applications GameChanger and ScoreBoard at Hard
Rock’s 1,504-room property. Duetto’s flagship Open Pricing application GameChanger will allow Hard Rock Las Vegas to refine its pricing and digital distribution strategies to fine-tune room-type pricing across guest rooms, suites and penthouses. ScoreBoard, the cloud solution for intelligent reporting, will allow Hard Rock to build forecasts, budgets and other crucial reports and share them more easily across the organization for faster decision-making. Duetto Co-Founder and Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer Marco Benvenuti said, “Hard Rock Hotel & Casino stands out as one of Las Vegas’ most iconic properties, offering everything from world-class accommodations and gaming to an unmatched entertainment experience. The strategies that started it all for Duetto were tailormade for an integrated resort like Hard Rock, and we can’t wait to contribute to the success of this team.”
ATRIENT LAUNCHES V3 KIOSK WITH FACIAL RECOGNITION
trient announced the release of V3, the newest version of its award-winning PowerKiosk suite. The kiosk employs facial recognition technology to allow patrons to log in to promotional devices without a player’s club card. Customers not utilizing facial recognition can also log in with an email address or mobile phone number. Traditional magnetic striped and RFID cards will continue to be supported. “It is the largest release to ever be introduced,” said Sam Attisha, CEO of Atrient. “We have rewritten our marketing platform from the ground up.” Atrient’s card printing kiosk has also expanded to leverage facial recognition to achieve a higher degree of security by comparing the patron’s image captured at the kiosk with their driver’s license image. Other new feature releases include social gaming, multi-language, iPad integration and a completely new interface for configuration. Additionally, together with Everi, Atrient will be showcasing the ability to rebate ATM fees.
Duetto co-founder Marco Benvenuti
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
JCM TO SUPPLY ELDORADO RESORTS
CM Global has signed an exclusive master supply agreement with Eldorado Resorts, Inc. helping the company to deepen and expand its connection with its players. Under the agreement, JCM will provide its bill validators and printers for all 26 Eldorado gaming properties in the U.S. The agreement is an expansion of existing relationships between JCM and certain Eldorado properties and a conversion for other properties. JCM will provide its iVIZION and UBA bill validators and its GEN5 and GEN2U printers. Eldorado has also been using JCM’s award-wining ICB Intelligent Cash Box system at many of its properties. “The source of Eldorado’s continued success is our focus on innovative ways to interact with our loyal customer base,” said Anthony Carano, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Eldorado Resorts. “The JCM/ERI relationship is an important part of providing our guests with the unbelievable experience they expect from Eldorado Resorts.”
NOVOMATIC MERGES ASTRA GAMES INTO COMPANY
he Novomatic AG subsidiary Novomatic Gaming Industries GmbH, which has acted as a holding company for a number of brands including United Kingdom-based slot manufacturer Astra Games Ltd., has been merged into the parent, according to a circular last month. Austria’s Novomatic group has recently undergone a number of corporate changes, including acquisition of a majority stake Australian slot machine manufacturer Ainsworth Game Technology Ltd. That deal formally closed in January.
THEATRO, KONAMI LAUNCH VOICE TECHNOLOGY
heatro, pioneers of the world’s first voice-controlled mobile app platform for the hourly workforce, and Konami Gaming, Inc., a leading designer and manufacturer of slot machines and casino management systems, announced a new joint integration that allows Theatro’s conversational computing platform and Konami’s popular Synkros casino management system to seamlessly interact with one another. The leading-edge integration enables elevated and differentiated customer service experiences on the casino floor. The integration of Theatro’s extensible and API-rich platform with Synkros synchronizes entire facility operations, improving casino operations.
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Show Me Your Wallet Can you make online betting frictionless?
he Supreme Court decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act has many in the gaming industry vying for a stake in the $400 billion sports betting market. This will bring new players into brick-and-mortar gaming and significantly expand the current online gambling market—which is estimated to hit $52 billion in 2018. It’s an industry-shaping event that offers great opportunity while threatening disruption of existing business models. Today, this space is still wide open, with potential for rapid growth and no clear leaders. But, all of that will change. Winners and losers will ultimately be decided by those who can connect the wallets of gamblers to a betting venue, both physically and virtually.
By Christopher Justice
The First Frictionless Experience Wins No one with a foot in gaming can afford to be slow out the gate. The lessons of Amazon’s disruptive impact on the traditional retail market should not be lost on anyone—when new technology does a better job putting consumers in touch with what they want, it dramatically loosens loyalty to existing brands. Amazon’s key to success lies in providing consumers with a virtually frictionless experience from order to checkout. As gaming and sports betting increasingly move online, those who can provide a simple and fun experience in placing and redeeming wagers stand to gain the most. Consumers won’t come if they can’t easily fund their play and access their winnings.
For more information or to subscribe to the database or monthly report contact Ashley Diem at ADiem@FantiniResearch.com or call +1-302-730-3793 - www.FantiniResearch.com 64
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
Banks Need to Get Off the Sidelines The biggest problem standing in the way of this gaming nirvana is the number of credit card issuers, including some of the largest U.S. banks, who refuse to authorize gambling transactions and won’t be doing so any time soon. Currently, about two-thirds of credit card transactions related to gambling get declined. Banks decline these transactions for several reasons. First, some bank customers remain unalterably opposed to gaming in any form and the banks are averse to alienating existing business. Second, the potential for players with gambling disorders to draw negative publicity if their use of credit cards contributes to adverse financial consequences. Finally, the consumer’s financial profile may change after their wagers are placed, increasing the risk that the bank could be left holding the bag for a losing bet. Banks are traditionally conservative, and they’re not going to get out in front of the online gaming industry. Unfortunately, your players probably don’t know this, and aren’t going to understand why their transactions were declined, or who declined them. As a result, they will play elsewhere. Invest in Alternative Funding Global Payments has been a leader in the gaming industry for 20 years and is experienced in making commerce work for our physical and digital casino customers. Consequently, our funding performance exceeds 94 percent, which can account for 60 percent of the wallet share of interactive sites. Our progress in removing friction from the gaming transaction demonstrates what needs to happen to fulfill the promise of sports betting and online gaming. Banks’ issues with gaming are not likely to be resolved anytime soon. However, the disruption of your business as a result of not seizing the opportunities from sports betting could happen in the foreseeable future. It’s time the industry started to prioritize a frictionless omni-channel experience. Christopher Justice is president of gaming solutions for Global Payments.
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PEOPLE BOBBY BALDWIN LEAVING MGM
obby Baldwin is leaving MGM Resorts International after nearly two decades as a top executive with the gaming giant. Bobby Baldwin Baldwin, 68, a longtime protégé of Steve Wynn’s who went on to head development of MGM’s massive CityCenter resort complex, will relinquish his positions by the end of year, the company said. He is CityCenter’s president and CEO and also chief customer development officer for MGM at the corporate level. “Few have played a more central role in the growth and transformation of the gaming industry than Bobby, and his contributions over more than three decades are immeasurable,” the company said in a statement. “MGM Resorts thanks Bobby for all he has done for the company and all he has meant to this industry and wishes him the best for the future.” No reason was given for his departure, though news reports speculate that it may be connected with injuries he suffered last year in a fall at CityCenter’s Aria resort casino. He broke his shoulders, pelvis and ribs in the accident and required stitches for head injuries. Baldwin entered the gaming spotlight in 1978 after winning the World Series of Poker Main Event at 28, the youngest player up to that time to take the title. A 2003 inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame, he has since won four individual WSOP championship bracelets. The high-end poker room at Bellagio Las Vegas on the Strip is named “Bobby’s Room.”
ENGLMAN TO JOIN ARISTOCRAT
lot manufacturer Aristocrat Technologies announced that veteran slot game designer Allon Englman will join the company as senior vice president of game development. Allon Englman Englman will lead a studio “focused on creating industry-leading content for the North American market,” according to the company. Englman was senior vice president and chief design officer at Scientific Games, and prior to that company’s acquisition of slot-maker WMS Gam-
ing, he spent seven years as WMS vice president of game design, the final two as vice president and design chief.
strategic leadership in the areas that matter to our customers, including product reliability and performance,” said Steve Sutherland, president and chief executive officer of Konami Gaming, Inc. “His demonstrated commitment to quality and innovation is consistent with Konami’s enduring vision for the business and its role across global markets.”
HARD ROCK CHANGES ATLANTIC CITY PRESIDENT, MARKETING VP
GREENBERG TRAURIG EXPANDS GAMING PRACTICE TO BOSTON
ust three months after the opening of Hard Rock Atlantic City, Hard Rock International is making a change at the top. The casino announced it is replacing Matt Harkness with Joe Lupo, a former BorJoe Lupo gata executive, as president, effective November 1. Officials did not say why the change was being made. Harkness oversaw the planning, construction and opening of Hard Rock, which was formerly the Trump Taj Mahal. Lupo, who runs Hard Jeffrey Hook Rock’s Tampa casino, was a vice president at the MGMowned Borgata. He was formerly vice president of operations at Borgata, overseeing gambling, marketing and entertainment. Also at Hard Rock, Jeffrey Hook was named as senior vice president of marketing. Hook, who is currently the executive vice president of development and marketing for Hard Rock International, previously worked for Harrah’s Entertainment as vice president of marketing.
VICTOR DUARTE JOINS KONAMI
onami Gaming, Inc. last month announced the appointment of industry veteran Victor Duarte to senior vice president and chief product Victor Duarte & strategy officer, to support continued expansion of its world-class research and development. Duarte brings more than 20 years of experience in the global gaming and lottery industry, with expertise spanning multiple operational disciplines. Duarte is responsible for leading the company’s games R&D, including vision, conceptualization, strategy and execution. Duarte formerly was global chief product officer for IGT. “Victor Duarte has a strong track record of
reenberg Traurig has added Boston-based attorney Mark Hichar to its gaming practice, representing an expansion of the firm’s gaming practice to the region. His addition expands Mark Hichar Greenberg Traurig’s topranked gaming practice into Boston. Hichar brings to each project over 25 years of experience working for gaming operators, system suppliers, game developers and gaming licensees. He has worked as both inside and outside counsel to gaming companies. His experience is broad as well as deep, having advised lottery system suppliers, casino operators, gaming technology developers, financial transaction processors, and operators offering internet and mobile games.
November 2018 Index of Advertisers
AGA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 AGEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39, 55 Agilysys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 AGS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3, 29, 33 Atrient . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Everi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Fabicash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 Fantini Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64 G2E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 GLI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Greenberg Traurig . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 IGT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9, 17 Interblock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 JCM Global . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Kambi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14, 20, 26 Konami Gaming . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Back Cover Merkur Gaming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Osage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 RPM Advertising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Scientific Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Seneca Gaming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Subway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Tribal Government Gaming . . . . . . . . . . . .59 UNLV Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53 UNLV GHES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 World Game Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63
NOVEMBER 2018 www.ggbmagazine.com
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&A Rodney Butler Chairman, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and Interim CEO, Foxwoods Casino Resorts
odney Butler joined the tribal council for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, the owner of Connecticut’s Foxwoods Casino Resort, in 2004. He became chairman of the council in 2010 just in time to manage the financial crisis that surrounded Foxwoods at the time. Now, Butler faces other hurdles, the first of which arrived last summer when Foxwoods CEO Felix Rappaport passed away unexpectedly. Butler was appointed interim CEO by the council and now is grappling with the opening of MGM Springfield, Twin Rivers in Rhode Island and next year, Encore Boston Harbor. And a recent decision from the Department of the Interior may derail a third Connecticut casino that would be owned jointly by the Pequots and Mohegans. He spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros at G2E in Las Vegas in October. To hear a full podcast of this interview, in which Butler addresses tribal casinos in Massachusetts, the expansion of Foxwoods and a timetable for a new CEO, visit GGBMagazine.com.
builder—a builder of vision, a builder of property, and a builder of a team. And he built an incredible team for us in the last four years, not only bringing in new people, but also lifting up those that have been there for quite some time. And so, we have a good mix of new team members, and team members that have been with us for 20-plus, almost 30 years in some cases. And they’re all performing at a very high level. And so, the fact that he had the right team in place, the right strategy in place, we just refreshed the entire property. I had been involved almost daily with Felix. I’ve been chair of the nation for nine years, I was treasurer for five years before then. I actually started at Foxwoods, in 1999, as a gaming analyst. So I was very tied in with all of the key strategic decisions we were making. And so, it was natural for me to just be able to pick up in the interim, just to keep balance and consistency, to pick up that role. And it also allows us to not have to rush into making a good or potentially bad decision.
GGB: First of all, let’s start with offering our condolences to you and the Foxwoods family on the loss of Felix. We’ve known him for 25 years and he was a visionary, so it must have been a big blow when he passed away.
Let’s talk about some of the obstacles and opportunities you have here. First is the opening of MGM Springfield, in late August. What kind of impact have you seen so far?
Rodney Butler: You know, it certainly was.
And as you said, he was such a visionary, brought so much to Las Vegas and then had the ability to convert that to Foxwoods. Look, we’ve been in the business for 26-plus years, and he came in and literally re-faced the entire property, in the last two and a half to three years. Why did you decide that you wanted to take over, rather than just bring in somebody new right away?
Well, I certainly didn’t decide I wanted to take over. The great thing about Felix is he was a 66
Global Gaming Business NOVEMBER 2018
You know what? So far, so good. Our slot numbers were down slightly, but not as much as we had anticipated, which is good. And that’s primarily because of all the planning that we put in place. There are so many things that we have that a property the size of MGM will never be able to financially make sense of. We’re still seeing that strong weekend traffic, that strong entertainment-driven traffic. Midweek has been a little slow, but we also had Twin River open up their second facility as well, at the same time. The second challenge now is the recent decision from the Department of the Interior to not back your third casino in East Windsor.
What’s your thinking on that right now?
Obviously we’re disappointed by that and we feel that they made the wrong decision. We’re reviewing our options right now, and there’s a couple of paths that we can continue on. But the Interior Department has said consistently that they don’t necessarily feel that we need to have the compact amended. And so, that’s an option to pursue, as you move forward. MGM and some state legislators have said any third casino should throw it open to a bidding process and allow multiple bids. Would you be averse to that?
Certainly we would be, when we fought against that for the last two years in the legislature. Unfortunately, some of those folks are a little bit ill-informed because of the canvassing that, quite frankly, MGM has done in the state of Connecticut. I mean, you go into the state legislative house, and it’s like the MGM office complex. But we realize that’s business, and that’s what they do, and they do that very, very well. I’ve complimented (MGM CEO) Jim (Murren) on his success, and Uri Clinton, his lead on the ground there, and they’ve both done a great job. We believe that we have a plan, and we’ve worked through this with the leadership in the state, that can grow the gaming industry in Connecticut, and preserve and protect that income that they’re currently receiving. MGM’s argument, of course, is that a casino in Bridgeport will produce much more revenue than a casino in East Windsor.
The argument for MGM is they just spent a billion dollars in an under-performing market! So, they can’t take any more hits, right? And if they believed in that argument so much, then they probably wouldn’t have bought Yonkers as well.
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The casino gaming industry's most respected and important international trade journal. Official publication of the American Gaming Associati...
Published on Oct 25, 2018
The casino gaming industry's most respected and important international trade journal. Official publication of the American Gaming Associati...