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Celebrating Excellence

Industry honors abound at G2E

The Global Gaming Expo returned in full force for 2022, bringing a full slate of industry awards along with it. This year’s honorees ranged from up-and-coming standouts to established leaders, touching all sectors of the gaming industry—here are three of this year’s most notable awards programs.

Let’s Get Technical

The 21st edition of GGB’s Gaming & Technology Awards showcased the best in innovation

The winners of the 21st edition of gaming’s most respected technology awards were announced just prior to G2E by Global Gaming Business magazine. The GGB Gaming & Technology Awards are the only North American awards program that recognizes excellence in innovation and practical application in all gaming disciplines. Hundreds of gaming products and services were entered this year into this important competition.

“Every year, we are impressed with the quality of the nominations for the GGB Gaming & Technology Awards,” says Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business magazine. “This year was no different. The innovation has accelerated following the pandemic and also has improved as gaming seeks more unique and interesting ways to create products and services that please customers.

“And again, as in years past, it’s quite difficult to evaluate the most innovative and unique products. The judges for the GGB Gaming & Technology Awards are some of the most skilled, dedicated and respected executives in the business, so their opinion carries a great deal of weight. The winners of this year’s edition beat out some amazing competition and demonstrated true innovation.”

The awards were presented October 10-13 at the Venetian Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Judges for the awards were: Claudia Winkler, president, 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 2024 GGB Gaming & Technology Awards will open in May 2023, and include new products and services to be introduced in 2023 or 2024.

GGB Gaming & Technology Awards 2023

Best Consumer-Service Technology

GOLD: Marker Trax—Marker Trax
SILVER: Agilysis—IG OnDemand

Best Guest Health & Safety Product

GOLD: Vaask—Vaask

Best Interactive Product

GOLD: Acres Manufacturing—Cashless Casino
SILVER: Quick Customer Intelligence—QCI Loyalty

Best Productivity-Enhancement Technology

GOLD: Duetto—Duetto RMS
SILVER: IGT—IGT Advantage in the Cloud

Best Slot Product

GOLD: IGT—Prosperity Link
SILVER: Bluberi Gaming—Devil’s Lock

Best Table Game Product or Innovation

GOLD: Interblock—Universal Cabinet
SILVER: Light & Wonder—AToM

Worthy of Praise

The American Gaming Association’s Gaming Hall of Fame Class of 2022 included three storied inductees

This year, the American Gaming Association announced three inductees for the Gaming Hall of Fame Class of 2022, in recognition of their contributions to the industry:

Gavin Isaacs, former president and CEO, Scientific Games Corporation and current chairman of Games Global;

Virginia McDowell, former president and CEO of Isle of Capri Casinos, current non-executive director at Entain, and co-founder of Global Gaming Women; and,

Michael Rumbolz, former CEO and current executive chairman of Everi Holdings.

“Gavin, Virginia and Mike have each helped transform the gaming industry in their own significant ways,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “From leading casino and manufacturing operations across the country to serving in a multitude of board and advisory roles, their influence has spanned the U.S. and global gaming industry—and we are all better off for it.”

Since 1989, the Gaming Hall of Fame has recognized gaming legends, pioneers and business leaders for their lasting impacts on the industry. The Class of 2022 was honored during an invitation-only induction ceremony at G2E.

“The Gaming Hall of Fame is comprised of individuals that have pushed the industry forward through innovation, leadership and excellence. This year’s inductees are well-deserving additions to its ranks,” said AGA Chairman of the Board, Hard Rock International Chairman and Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen.

Hall of Fame honorees are selected by an independent panel of gaming executives. This year’s selection committee members include:

  • Jim Allen, Chairman, Hard Rock International and CEO, Seminole Gaming
  • Kirsten Clark, Executive Director, International Association of Gaming Advisors
  • Jeffrey Compton, Business Manager, CDC Gaming Reports
  • Alan Feldman, Chairman, International Center for Responsible Gaming and Distinguished Fellow, International Gaming Institute, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Craig Ferreira, Interim Executive Director, UNLV International Center for Gaming Regulation
  • Dan Little, Chief Intergovernmental Affairs Officer, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
  • Cassie Stratford, Senior Vice President, Legal Operations & Regulatory Compliance, Boyd Gaming, and President and Chair, Global Gaming Women
  • Steve Sutherland, President and CEO, Konami Gaming
Gavin Isaacs, Chairman, Games Global

When Gavin Isaacs arrived from Australia, his success at Aristocrat was noticed right away, and he rose quickly through the ranks, becoming CEO of the revenue-leading Americas division in 2003.

He later joined Bally Technologies, where he led the development of new slot platforms and cabinets and increased participation revenue by double digits.

Beginning in 2011, Isaacs served three years as the CEO of SHFL entertainment, where he grew the company to record revenues, globally expanded the slot business, and created meaningful opportunities in specialty table game brands both in brick-and-mortar casinos and online.

In 2014, Scientific Games purchased SHFL and elevated Isaacs to president and CEO, where he led the acquisition of Bally Technologies, creating one of the largest gaming suppliers in the world.

Virginia McDowell, Non-Executive Director, Entain; Co-founder, Global Gaming Women

Virginia McDowell served as the only female president and CEO of a major gaming operating company from 2007 until her retirement from Isle of Capri Casinos in April 2016. She now serves as a non-executive director of Entain PLC, where she chairs the Environmental, Social and Governance Committee and serves as the designated workforce director.

McDowell also is the co-founder of Global Gaming Women, a nonprofit she helped establish in 2016 with a mission to support, inspire and influence the development of women in the gaming industry through education and mentoring. During her 40-year career in gaming, she worked in casino operations in a number of regional and destination markets, including the Tropicana Atlantic City and the Trump Organization.

Michael Rumbolz, Executive Chairman, Everi Holdings

Michael Rumbolz currently serves as executive chairman of the board of Everi Holdings, Inc., having previously served as CEO of the company from February 2016 to April 2022. At Everi, Rumbolz brought together the disparate functions of slot manufacturing and payment processing, transforming Everi into the massive gaming supplier it is today.

During his long career, he has been involved in all aspects of the gaming industry, including gaming-related equipment and systems manufacturing and distribution, casino project development and construction, hotel and casino operations, casino fintech equipment and systems, casino regulatory technology, digital gaming, lottery and slot-route operations, and gaming legislation and regulation.

He previously served as the chairman and CEO of Cash Systems Inc., CEO of Anchor Gaming Inc., and vice chairman of Casino Data Systems. Rumbolz has been a member of the board of managers of Seminole Hard Rock International since 2008 and a member of the board of directors of VICI Properties Inc. since 2017. He also formerly served as chief deputy attorney general of Nevada and chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Storied Careers

Roy Student and Frank Fantini were celebrated with AGEM’s lifetime achievement awards

Roy Student and Frank Fantini (center) were named as the recipients of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers’ 2022 Memorial Awards.

Student received the Jens Halle Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Commercial Gaming Professionalism and Fantini received the Peter Mead Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Gaming Media & Communications.

AGEM created the unique annual awards program to acknowledge Halle’s and Mead’s lasting impacts on gaming. This year’s recipients were honored on Wednesday, October 12 at AGEM’s G2E booth.

Student is a 50-year gaming and hospitality industry veteran, respected worldwide as an innovator and leader. For the last 15 years, he has been the president and founder of Applied Management Strategies, a global management and marketing consulting company.

Previously he served as president of Cyberview Technology, as founder and as chairman and president of Gaming Systems International (GSI), senior vice president of Sulcus Hospitality Group, vice president of the business systems division and VP of gaming operations for General Instrument Corporation, hospitality business unit director for Siemans Nixdorf, president of Dirson Enterprises, and president of Intermark Gaming. He also was on the executive team of the opening of the original MGM Grand in December 1973.

AGEM President David Lucchese, who also serves as executive vice president, sales, marketing and digital at Everi, said, “Throughout his career, Roy has bent the arc of the industry’s history toward innovation, from the landmark MGM property in 1973 up to the present day. His insights and opinions, along with the prodding and encouragement he has given and continues to give behind the scenes to leaders at all levels, have permanently shaped the industry and left a lasting legacy.”

Fantini is a lifelong investor and career journalist, publisher, and executive. He created Fantini Research in 2000, publishing the first “Fantini’s Gaming Report” on the very first workday of the new millennium. Initially, Fantini’s Gaming Report served institutional investors, and it soon became a daily service to corporate-level gaming investors, both casino operators and those in games and technology.

Although based in Fantini’s hometown of Dover, Delaware, the company evolved into one with employees throughout the U.S. In January 2022, he stepped back from his all-consuming schedule and sold Fantini Research to longtime business associate Todd Eilers at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. Fantini Research, under the leadership of longtime executive Ashley Diem, continues to provide its full range of services.

AGEM Executive Director Daron Dorsey said, “Frank has been part of a gaming supplier executive’s workday for decades, whether through his research, commentary, analysis or interviews surrounding the gaming industry. His commitment and dedication to delivering insight and context to the ever-changing global gaming marketplace is greatly appreciated by our entire industry. Frank is a well-deserving recipient of this year’s Peter Mead award.”

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