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It Ain’t Me, Babe

Wisdom isn't all it's cracked up to be when you have a team behind you.

It Ain’t Me, Babe

Getting older is a bitch, so said one of my older friends when I told him I had been on the shelf for the last three months due to heart disease. He was glad to hear that I was on the mend, however, after receiving three new valves in my heart. But then he said something that I’ve come to dispute, despite it being widely accepted by people of my generation.

“At least we have the wisdom we’ve accumulated over the years,” he said, as if that was somehow a consolation for the diseases that stalk us in our old age.

Speaking just for myself, I’ve come to question whether that supposed “wisdom” is actually just confirmation of all the attitudes that have been instilled in me during my long life.

The big one, however, was hammered home to me from outside sources—people who have observed my interactions over my long career.

“You are Global Gaming Business,” they would tell me. “GGB is an important publication because you are behind it.”

I heard that when I ran Casino Journal too, and when Casino Journal folded several years ago, my sources pointed to it as vindication that my role was crucial in the success of that magazine and once I left there, it couldn’t survive.

But once my heart illness advanced so deeply, I couldn’t do anything with GGB. I was helpless. For the last three issues, I barely touched the content, the layout or the final product. I was as surprised—and delighted—as our regular readers when the finished product was delivered to my hospital room and now my home. I learned lots of things as I read it cover to cover, something I always strived to do for our readers. I always wanted GGB to be accessible to everyone in the industry—from the valet parker to the CEO. I wanted them to understand the issues and be able to use that knowledge to make the industry a better place to work and increase customer service.

You see, it delights me to say I am not GGB. Our staff is GGB, our readers are GGB, our advertising partners are GGB. GGB ultimately is the gaming industry.

But everything starts with the staff. Some of my competitors who are my age transitioned new leadership by hiring young people who would eventually succeed them. And that was a great plan. These younger folks would learn the business under the wings of the original creators of the product and therefore be ready to take over. That has happened successfully in several cases.

We’ve taken a more seasoned approach.

Of course, one constant over the last 20 years and before has been Frank Legato. One of the most prolific writers in the industry, Frank has an encyclopedic knowledge of slots and technology, which he imparts in easy-to-understand explanations and an entertaining style—especially in his “Frankly Speaking” column, always the most popular feature in GGB.

It took me a while to find the young blood to inject into our company but until I found Jess Marquez, a young journalist from Reno, the search had been in vain. As managing editor, Jess has taken over many of my responsibilities seamlessly, and like a sponge is soaking up gaming’s important lessons.

And my wife Becky fits the “younger” demographic, too. She’s run the most important parts of the company—sales, marketing, finance, etc.—from the start, and after online gambling became legal in the U.S., she directed the growth of iGamingPlayer.com, which we launched in 2013 as one of the first licensed affiliates in this country.

Our sales director Terri Brady is well known in the gaming industry. She’s one of the few gaming media people who has actual experience in the gaming industry, who knows the nuts and bolts of how the industry operates, having worked for several suppliers and operators over the years.

Marjorie Preston has worked on and off for us for over 20 years as a freelance editor and brings a wealth of gaming knowledge to our group.

Our art director Monica Cooley has stuck with me since the Casino Journal days and brings her creativity to every issue.

I’m going to stop there because I’ll forget someone, but our mix of youth and experience is second to none in the gaming universe.

So you see why my previous “wisdom” that I was GGB was flawed and probably very wrong. The effort that the team put in when I went down for the count was extraordinary but not unexpected. They always responded to challenges so I shouldn’t have been surprised at their efforts and production during this period.

So you’ll forgive me if I park some of my wisdom on a shelf for a while during my recovery and beyond. Believe me, good health is a great substitute for questionable wisdom, and that is my immediate goal. Live your life to the fullest and the wisdom that supposedly comes with old age will arrive in time and intact.

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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