As the gaming industry’s reliance on analytical insights and market research intelligence continues to grow, Rick Eckert is at the forefront of identifying game performance trends. As the managing director of slot performance and analytics at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, Eckert manages the largest independent centralized slot performance database in the world and helps operators and suppliers alike identify growth opportunities and emerging trends.
Eckert’s gaming industry career began in 2010, when he participated in a career development program at FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Michigan while pursuing his bachelor’s degree in hospitality business management at Michigan State University.
His knack for slot performance analysis showed early on, and helped Eckert land a more permanent role on FireKeepers’ Slot Operations team. In 2011, Eckert relocated from Michigan to Las Vegas, working as a front office agent at Las Vegas Sands before moving back into gaming and joining MGM Resorts as a slot operations analyst.
Eckert’s time at MGM was pivotal in building the technical and managerial skills necessary to become an Emerging Leader. During his tenure at MGM, Eckert completed a nine-month leadership program intended to coach young professionals in management-level positions. He also created SQL workshops with peers at other MGM properties.
“These workshops allowed us all to accelerate our learning in one of the most important aspects of our jobs and created friendships that have lasted since,” says Eckert.
Eckert credits part of his success to these friendships, and advises other young professionals to focus on quality, not quantity, when networking.
“Seek out real, meaningful connections, whether that connection is just someone to speak to about industry topics, participating in groups and workshops, or just staying in contact with someone to speak about life in general.”
After two years at MGM Resorts, Eckert joined the slot analytics team at Wynn Resorts, first as a senior analyst and then a manager. In his first full year in a managerial role, Eckert won Manager of the Year.
In developing his award-winning managerial style, Eckert leaned on his experience with mentors Richard Luthy and Debi Nutton.
“Rick Luthy, my first boss in Las Vegas, really pushed me to learn the industry, and Debi Nutton pushed me to learn the human side of operations,” he says.
Eckert helps develop the next generation of young professionals by training analysts within his organization and by mentoring current students at his alma mater.
“I have always found training and mentoring to be rewarding, and I enjoy sharing the things I have learned along the way, whether it be a technical skill or other aspects of the industry.”
Looking to the future, Eckert has already planned to expand his expertise in the gaming industry beyond slot machines, and feels well-positioned in his current role at Eilers & Krejcik to do so. Eckert is now growing his role at EKG as the lead on a new Online Game Performance Database. This new database product, OGPD, focuses on the online real-money casino industry and will provide insights and analysis to operators and suppliers equally. The inaugural report was published in June, with growth expectations matching the current industry-leading land-based performance database.