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Coming & Going

We take opportunities to recognize the future leaders of gaming

Coming & Going

Over the last month or so, I’ve had the occasion to catch up with many of my friends who I’ve known throughout my 40-plus years in the business. We reminisce about the old days, talk about the giants of the industry who are no longer with us, and often gripe about the “corporatization” of the casino business.

One of my goals as I step back from my day-to-day responsibilities of GGB is to do a series of podcasts with the giants of the industry who are still with us. I’m hoping these programs will demonstrate how we got to where we are today and to possibly draw a pathway towards the future. Because there are many of us dinosaurs still around, I think these podcasts can be informative as well as being entertaining.

I hope I don’t sound like the old man on the porch yelling at the kids to get off his lawn, because that’s not my intention at all.

In fact, when we started our 40 Under 40 program a dozen years or so ago, that was designed to showcase the young talent in the industry, because we do have some remarkable young people who are helping to build the next stage of gaming. I can’t pretend that I invented this concept of honoring young talent. I actually copied it from a similar program that was published by the late, lamented Atlantic City magazine, where I interned when I was in my late 20s.

One year, the publisher, Fran Freedman, assigned me to work on the 40 Under 40 feature and I found it very enlightening and exciting to meet so many of my colleagues in the Boardwalk marketplace. At that age, I was just a dealer at Caesars Atlantic City and enjoyed talking to people who were on their way to a career, while I was working what I considered to be a menial job with little chance of advancement.

In a year or two, however, I was able to connect with the publisher of Casino Journal, Glenn Fine, and I found my real calling.

A year or two after starting our own 40 Under 40, we connected with The Innovation Group and its then-CEO Steve Rittvo, who had started a similar program called the Emerging Leaders of Gaming. Together, the merged 40 Under 40/Emerging Leaders of Gaming has become the most prestigious award for people of that age group, and the “graduates” have quickly become the leaders of the industry.

For young people just starting out in the industry, it can be a harsh and unwelcoming place. Entry-level workers often get frustrated, as I was as a dealer, and sometimes give up. That’s not necessary if you can find the support that our program offers, not to mention other groups like Global Gaming Women (see our interview with GGW Executive Director Lauren Bates) that are rising to the occasion and standing up for young women and men in the workplace.

This month marks the launch of the 2025 version of 40 Under 40/Emerging Leaders of Gaming. Last year, we had almost 200 nominations for the 40 available positions, and the choices were difficult to say the least, because there were so many worthy and talented individuals to consider. The criteria are pretty wide open. If you are 40 or under during 2025, you are eligible. You can nominate someone within your organization, or if you feel your career path is notable, you can nominate yourself.

We’ve set up an advisory committee to consider the nominees, made up of some of the smartest people in the business, including such people as Justin Carter, senior vice president, regional operations, Penn Entertainment; Kirsten Clark, executive director, International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA); Alex Dixon, president & CEO, Q Casino and DRA; Daron Dorsey, executive director, Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM); Alan Feldman, distinguished fellow in responsible gaming, International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada Las Vegas; and Sheila Morago, COO and partner, Trilogy Group. We’ll be adding to that distinguished list for this year’s process.

Each nominee gets to be profiled within the pages of this magazine throughout the year, including this month’s honorees on pages 42 and 43, and is included in various programs and publications issued by The Innovation Group. To nominate someone or yourself, it’s simple. Just go to ggbmagazine.com/40-under-40 and fill out the application form.

I’m always astounded by the quality of the nominees and the wide variety of disciplines they represent. From the land-based casino world to online gaming, to the legal and regulatory field, there are many areas we like to address in our list each year. Know someone who you believe will become a leader of gaming—a new “giant” of the business? Please take the time to recognize them and their place in our world.

Roger Gros is publisher of Global Gaming Business, the industry's leading gaming trade publication, and all its related publications. Prior to joining Global Gaming Business, Gros was president of Inlet Communications, an independent consulting firm. He was vice president of Casino Journal Publishing Group from 1984-2000, and held virtually every editorial title during his tenure. Gros was editor of Casino Journal, the National Gaming Summary and the Atlantic City Insider, and was the founding editor of Casino Player magazine. He was a co-founder of the American Gaming Summit and the Southern Gaming Summit conferences and trade shows. He is the author of the best-selling book, How to Win at Casino Gambling (Carlton Books, 1995), now in its fourth edition. Gros was named "Businessman of the Year" for 1998 by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Gaming Association in 2012.

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