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SKILL, VISION AND TENACITY: Kimberly Arnold

COO/Partner, The Innovation Group

SKILL, VISION AND TENACITY: Kimberly Arnold

Kim Arnold’s five-year tenure with the Innovation Group has been a tremendous victory, for both sides.

After helping the Littleton, Colorado-based company expand from four divisions to eight, Arnold was named COO and partner in 2012. Among many roles, Arnold helped establish the iGaming North America and RD&E conferences co-produced by the Innovation Group of Companies in recent years. She also speaks at several industry conferences and trade shows.

Arnold and partner Paul Girvan helped launch Innovation Interactive, the Innovation Group of Companies’ affiliate dedicated to i-gaming advisory services. As co-manager of this specialty practice, Arnold helps domestic clients develop online gaming strategies and procure partners.

I-gaming is a lucrative, looming growth area. Operators appear poised to stalk this multibillion-dollar windfall once state legislators allow it. Nevada and Delaware were the first to award licensing for it.

“Nobody has a crystal ball, but it is inevitable that this could be an explosive area of growth for the industry,” Arnold says. “When you look at the market for social gaming, you see how much younger the gaming clientele is, how comfortable they are using the internet as a source for gaming and entertainment, etc. There are so many things that are ongoing here; it’s just a question of when it will all come together.”

The Innovation Group’s first involvement with a client often involves surveys. They bring the operators and online players together.

“The first thing with market research here typically is that we will assess what a player’s interest is,” Arnold says. “We will ask what social games they prefer, what kind of comps would drive them to come onto a property, how far they would go in terms of driving distance, what are they spending on games, and would that increase if they were on a property? We help the operators understand the demographics they are dealing with. That’s important because many operators have an aging demographic database. The younger players tend to be wealthier and more connected with the social gaming experience.”

This connection of operators and patrons typifies the company’s service menu. It can conduct a feasibility study advising a client seeking to expand. The company can educate the operator about market conditions and even locate an investment banker. Arnold says many clients use Innovation’s official findings to procure investments.

Arnold plans to direct at least three major efforts in this area for 2013. Innovation’s i-gaming show, which doubled its attendance in 2012, unfolds in February. The RD& E conference with GGB magazine unfurls in May and G2E emerges, as always, in the fall.

Arnold had not expected to serve gaming from this side of the table. The Colorado resident was a partner and vice president of business development and client relations at Denver-based WorthGroup, a turn-key design/build organization specializing in the gaming and hospitality industries. Arnold spent 10 years there before Innovation came calling five years ago.

Besides gaming, Arnold is active with the AGA’s Global Gaming Women initiative, sits on the board of directors of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and is a lifetime charter member of the CWCC Women’s Leadership Foundation.

Casino Connection Sports Editor Dave Bontempo is an award-winning sports writer and broadcaster who calls boxing matches all over the world. He has covered the Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs, as well as numerous PGA, LPGA and Seniors Golf Tour events, and co-hosted the Casino Connection television program with Publisher Roger Gros.

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