Turning the corner doesn’t mean taking your foot off the gas. Pairing metaphors is just as bad as mixing them, I know, but with each success story told as we slowly dig our way out of the pandemic, there is an equivalent tale of caution to apply. There’s been no shortage of positives to focus on, though, and in this bumper edition of Gaming America, we celebrate some of the best examples of land-based and digital leadership in the industry.
The CEO Special is always a big deal, and this one, timed with the return of G2E, showcases key influencers, but not in the TikTok sense. These are true innovators who have proven that an inclusive and diverse organization is the latticework on which great things grow. Their successes speak for themselves and the features begin on page 28, starting with Melonie Johnson, president and COO of the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa. Once you finish reading about her, BetMGM’s Adam Greenblatt, GeoComply’s Anna Sainsbury, The Slane Advisory’s Sara Slane and PlayUp’s Dr. Laila Mintas, you’ll have all the inspiration you need to flourish in your own way.
The other big section in this issue is our Sports Betting Focus, and just in time for the start of the NFL season. It’s no secret that sports betting itself is having a banner season as more states realize the win-win it enables, not just for state budgets and operators, but for the fans themselves who have always had an appetite for it anyway, and found ways, irrespective of jurisdiction, to make things “interesting.” So taking certain markets as examples of success, like New Jersey, and extrapolating that model across the country is in full swing, and there’s no turning back now. From Bill Pascrell’s piece on the need for fixed-odds wagering in horse racing and 888 Holdings aligning with legacy media brand Sports Illustrated, to the rapid rise of esports and tactics to leverage the most out of strategic partnerships with sports franchises, we cover it all starting on page 58.
We also dedicate some space on page 8 to July’s return of NIGA, which served (successfully I might add) as a test run for the return of in-person gaming shows. And on that note, we hope you enjoy this issue as you explore the hallways of G2E. Welcome back. We’ve missed you.