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A Numbers Game

Nicholas Weil, Head of Business Development for U.S. Lotteries, Inspired Entertainment

A Numbers Game

When you work for a company unknown to American audiences like Inspired Entertainment, Inc., and pitch an unknown product like virtual sports, it could pose a challenge. Not to Nicholas Weil.

“Virtual sports is such an exciting product, and is so perfect for the U.S. lottery industry, that people are pretty excited to learn more, which usually makes these discussions pretty fun,” Weil says.

Inspired is the latest gaming company for Weil. He’s been around the industry for much of his life, thanks to his father, Lorne, who worked in racing, lotteries and commercial gaming.

“People used to ask me if I liked following my dad into this field, and I always said it was a heck of a lot more interesting than if my dad made vacuum cleaners,” he says.

Lorne is also Weil’s mentor.

“I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have worked with and learned from someone as knowledgeable, intelligent, experienced and accomplished, who also happens to be hilarious. The best thing I ever learned was to shut up and listen to him as much as possible.”

Positions at Autotote and Scientific Games laid the groundwork for Weil’s career path.

“It was when I worked at Scientific Games that I got my first taste of what I really love. It was absolutely thrilling watching how a company of that size steers its long-term goals.”

When he joined GameCo, Weil went from a huge corporation to a startup business with just six employees. That experience was exciting and scary, he says. “GameCo also taught me about business development, which is the other part of the industry I really enjoy.”

At Inspired, Weil educates potential customers in the U.S. and Canada on their products and their benefits, convincing clients that the lottery industry needs “new”—new games, new players, new thinking.

“I believe that virtual sports offers all of that,” he says. “It is everything everyone in gaming always says they are after: technology-driven, millennial-focused, dynamic and sports. It targets a younger, more enthusiastic customer for incremental revenue, and it does it more often in more ways and places.”

Most co-workers are in the U.K. and five hours ahead, so Weil gets to chat by phone or answer emails until the close of business on that side of the pond. “I usually spend the afternoon reaching out to customers,” he says.

Gaming is a very tight-knit business, where people stay in the industry for much of their careers, Weil says. If you want to join that community, he has some advice: “As I said before, shut up and listen! There are a lot of people in this business who have a lot to teach you.”

Despite a schedule that includes a lot of travel, Weil makes the most of his time when home. He has three young daughters.

“I have breakfast with them every morning, then take the oldest one to school,” says Weil, who is also learning the piano. “By the time I’m too old to be eligible for this list, I should be able to play chopsticks.”

Bill Sokolic is a veteran journalist who has covered gaming and tourism for more than 25 years as a staff writer and freelancer with various publications and wire services. He's also written stories for news, entertainment, features, and business. He co-authored Atlantic City Revisited, a pictorial history of the resort.

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