The newest branch of the gaming industry understandably has some of the youngest executives in the business, but few of them have the diverse background of Dana Takrudtong. As the vice president of sales for GameAccount Network North America, Takrudtong started with a company that couldn’t get less digital when it started, Yellow Book. She was in sales and management, along with financial for the company’s online publication. She was chosen as one of 44 from around 5,000 Yellow Book sales reps to participate in a partnership with Google, one of the first partnerships Google formed outside the walls of the company. But the economic downturn doomed what was once a bright future for the company, and Takrudtong moved on.
It was then that Takrudtong discovered the gaming industry. She joined WMS, the giant slot-maker, just as it was beginning to explore the online space in 2011. She describes a corporate meeting at that time when the company’s Jackpot Party casino was debuting in the U.K.
“It was only given a short amount of time at that meeting,” she says, “but it was very interesting. After the meeting, I approached the VP of sales at the time and said if this product was coming to the United States, I wanted to be a part of it.”
Takrudtong was again pulled out of the core sales force when the company formed Williams Interactive, selling the company’s “Play4Fun” network to casinos across the U.S. as the Jackpot Party casino.
“It was skinned as the purchasing casino,” she says, “but it would contain all WMS titles.”
During the sale of WMS to Scientific Games, Takrudtong was approached by Foxwoods Interactive, where she had built a great working relationship. Since Foxwoods has a relationship with GameAccount, she’s working for both companies.
“It’s really a hybrid role representing both Foxwoods Interactive when we call upon the tribal customers, and GameAccount Network when we’re working with commercial operators across the country and internationally,” she says.
Takrudtong believes there are many questions about how online gaming will impact land-based casinos.
“It’s unfortunate at the moment that there are very few live case studies in the market where operators are willing to share the data,” she says. “However, the few case studies we’ve seen indicate that there isn’t much of an impact. A study by the British Columbia Lottery Commission showed that its online product and live casino product have continued to grow since the launch of online gaming several years ago. The Maryland Live! experience of play-for-free players migrating to the land-based casino is also encouraging. But there’s just too little data to tell for sure at this time.”
She does agree, however, that the experience in New Jersey will be telling.
“We expect several other states to begin the legalization process very soon,” she says. “They don’t want to get left behind, and they also see that revenue on the table, and after all, that’s a powerful inducement to allow iGaming to occur.”