Jul/Aug 2021

Editors Letter

It’s good to be back. We’re not totally out of the woods yet but we can certainly see daylight. And with summer in full swing, that’s an important indicator as we look to explore beyond our own back yards for the first time in a year.

One place that’s grabbing a lot of attention, and for good reason, is Las Vegas. It’s a city that doesn't take to lying down, so it made sense that it was one of the first cities to declare 100% capacity, and people responded in kind. Sport, entertainment, expos and, of course, casinos and hotels rolled out the welcome mat, and the word on the street, and the Strip, is that the city is as busy as ever.

“Las Vegas is built on hospitality and entertainment, and we are thrilled to welcome visitors back from around the country,” said Kate Wik, CMO for the LVCVA. “The excitement throughout the destination is palpable, and we know the pent-up demand to visit is real.”

But it’s not like nothing ever happened. Safety measures are still in place but some things that were once seen as means to combat a pandemic are now seen as accelerated innovation. Take for instance how the newly opened and much anticipated Resorts World Las Vegas is celebrating not only its doors opening after years in the making, but the fact that everything on offer can be enjoyed cashless. Not free mind you, but ATMs and being in contact with more than you have to is now a thing of the past. Say what you want about face masks, but this is something we can all agree on. For more on Vegas going back to 100%, check out our feature starting on page 54.

Of course, another step worth celebrating is the fact gaming shows are going to be face-to-face again. Considering this issue of Gaming America focuses on tribal gaming across the country, with our cover feature starting on page 28, we also get encouraging reports from OIGA and NIGA about their respective shows this summer. “It’s more important than ever for Indian country to unite as we continue rebuilding tribal businesses following the pandemic,” says Ernest Stevens, Jr., NIGA chairman. “For us, to build a secure future for our tribal citizens is most important, by building upon the success of tribal communities through gaming.” And in the Midwest, Sheila Morago, executive director at OIGA says, “As thankful as we are for technology, we are incredibly excited to be back in person, and look forward to seeing friends and colleagues who are more like family.” We share the sentiment.

In The Magazine
Id Required

Michael Bartlett speaks with Johnny Ayers about how ID verification technology provider Socure started in financial services, and is expanding its presence in gaming.

The Cashless Gaming Revolution

Joe Pappano, CEO of digital payments provider Sightline Payments, explains how Covid-19 is transforming the casino and gaming industry.

In The Zone

Daniel Kustelski, CEO of Chalkline, says the football season is the best way for sportsbook operators to acquire new players at scale.

Ready To Roll

Ezra Amacher, explores how the return to full capacity has Las Vegas poised for a prolific summer, highlighted by the opening of Resorts World, and the return of conventions and entertainment events.

The Best Defense

As the pandemic accelerated a push to digital, hackers have ramped up efforts as well. Here, Michael Bartlett speaks with Continent 8 co-founder and CEO Michael Tobin about plans for continued expansion as the North American market blossoms.

Committed To The Cause

Pace-O-Matic’s COO Paul Goldean details the company’s strategy to capitalize on the skill game industry.

Still On The Table

Brandon Walker, head of Amelco USA, says to get ready for sports to surge this summer, but reminds us not to leave casino behind.

Right Place, Right Time

Jeff Millar, Evolution’s commercial director for North America, gives some context of the company gaining a foothold in the US, and the unique opportunities and potential that exist.

The Wire Act's Next Act

With contributions from Konami Gaming, Greenberg Traurig LLP and Cooper Levenson, we examine the state of the Wire Act following the DoJ’s decision not to appeal the recent ruling.

All That Glitters

Historically, new casino owners entering the Las Vegas market have been very few, and the successful ones are significantly outnumbered by the failures. Even rebranding an existing casino within the same ownership group has been fraught with danger. On deeper study, both successes and failures follow a similar pattern. Oliver Lovat, CEO and MD of the Las Vegas-based Denstone Group, a consultancy focusing on customer-facing, asset-backed investments including casinos, offers an explanation and pathway to success in casino positioning, and the dangers of getting it wrong.

Common Cause

As tribal casinos return to full capacity this summer, Ezra Amacher examines the states that have passed historic gaming compacts as a means to not only keep the doors open, but expedite growth of sports betting and igaming for years to come.

Back To The Garden State

Gaming America reconnects with US Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey to discuss how the state is rebounding from the pandemic with soaring gaming revenues, and how gaming is an integral part of its recovery and overall identity.

Best Of The Best

The Global Gaming Awards return to the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas to celebrate not only the gaming triumphs over the last year, but the collective resilience of an industry determined to forge ahead in light of a detached world due to the pandemic.

Working To Strengths

Stephen Crystal, CEO and founder of Las Vegas-based SCCG Management, a consultancy specializing in sports betting, igaming, intellectual property protection and casino management among other sectors, details the incomparable distinction between destination and igaming, yet explains the ways they can learn from each other through human intervention.

Time On Our Side

Citing pivotal examples of the evolution of Las Vegas from its shadowy underworld reputation, Jeffrey Silver, of counsel at Dickinson Wright, PLLC, explains how some key people and decisions put the city on a more fortuitous path.

We Meet Again

With the return of in-person shows on the horizon, Sheila Morago, executive director at the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) details the excitement along with measures put in place to ensure they’re back for good.

In Good Hands

In an exclusive interview with Gaming America, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman speaks with Carl Friedmann about encouraging trends that the city is not only gaining momentum to reach pre-pandemic levels, but surpass them with notable new properties and increased investment.

Common Cause

Ernest Stevens, Jr., chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association, speaks to Gaming America about the perseverance of native communities to thrive, with gaming as a centerpiece for success.

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