GGB is committed to providing updated news and analysis on our weekly news site,

Investment Advice

Kyle Bender, Managing Director, Gaming, J.P. Morgan

Investment Advice

Shortly after his April arrival at J.P. Morgan as Managing Director and Head of Gaming, Kyle Bender led a team that advised and provided financing for the announced acquisition of Caesars Entertainment by Eldorado Resorts.

The deal was just the latest transaction for the Los Angeles native since he graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. Penn exposed Bender to investment banking and the skills needed for his career choices, which started when he returned to Los Angeles after graduation.

“I began as a generalist at Banc of America Securities but joined the gaming investment banking team about six months in. I have dedicated most of the last 16 years to covering the sector,” he says.

As an analyst, Bender faced a challenge during the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008. His team at Banc of America relocated to New York, so for him to continue covering gaming in Los Angeles, he moved to UBS Securities. From UBS, he joined Jeffries & Company for two years, followed by more than six years with Macquarie Group.

In terms of his progression, Bender took time to get the transition right from execution responsibilities to client management. “It takes a different set of skills to be successful in client management,” he says.

Early in Bender’s career, his focus was on deal execution—making sure things got done.

“In my current role as a sector head, most of my energy goes into developing and maintaining relationships with companies, generating financing and advisory opportunities and managing a team of talented people. It’s my responsibility to deliver J.P. Morgan’s capabilities and first class advice to our clients,,” he says.

One of the lessons Bender learned over the years is that reputation is very important.

“Gaming is a small industry, so if you have a poor reputation, that can follow you around.”

For Bender, the most interesting evolution to watch revolves around the growth of legal online gaming. As states roll out mobile sports betting, there is a good chance it could normalize digital gaming and lead to more states going full online as exists in New Jersey, he says.

“I don’t believe this will replace land-based gaming, but rather act as a complement and player development mechanism,” he says. “The rollout of expanded gaming is already leading to some exciting business relationships between casino operators and leading betting companies.”

Now a veteran analyst, Bender has his ideas on how novices can succeed. Most important? Develop and maintain relationships with senior team members at the outset of your career.

“In my experience, if you work hard and contribute to your team’s success, the people you work with are likely to take an active interest in your career development,” he says. “I remain close to many of the people who supported me when I was a young banker.”

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.

    Related Articles

  • Inspiring Journey

    Shannon Semenuk. Director of Slot Operations, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

  • From Marketing to Sports

    Kyle Piasecki, Head of Partnerships, Playmaker/Better Collective

  • Labor of Love

    Rob Procter, Vice President of Game Development, Light & Wonder

  • Growing by Design

    Christmas Uberuaga. Vice President, UberWins Studio, Aristocrat Gaming

  • World-Class Experience

    Heather Jerrytone, Director of VIP Services, Yaamava’ Casino & Resort

    Recent Feature Articles

  • Your Friend, Everi

    The supplier’s quest to raise all tides and all boats.

  • Gambling on the Mediterranean

    There are more gaming options in the region than expected, but things are about to change with massive projects planned for Greece and the Emirates

  • Threat or Opportunity?

    Gaming in the metaverse will look different than today’s gaming, but will it add value to the existing gaming companies, attract more players and pass regulatory scrutiny?

  • A Force in Sports Betting

    The third annual Bet Bash was designed by founder Gadoon “Spanky” Kyrollos to make gamblers better at wagering on sports

  • Problem Gambling Treatments Gain Ground

    Problem gambling wasn’t classified as a psychiatric disorder until 1980, but treatments are evolving and becoming more effective