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Gavin Isaacs, Frank Legato Honored as Recipients of Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) Memorial Awards Honoring Jens Halle and Peter Mead

George Miller

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Gavin Isaacs, Frank Legato Honored as Recipients of Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) Memorial Awards Honoring Jens Halle and Peter Mead
Reading Time: 6 minutes

 

The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) announced today that Gavin Isaacs has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Jens Halle Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Commercial Gaming Professionalism, and Frank Legato has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Peter Mead Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Gaming Media & Communications.

AGEM previously announced the creation of this unique annual awards program to acknowledge the lasting impacts on gaming by Halle and Mead, two distinctive industry veterans who died unexpectedly in 2015. Honorees will be announced each year at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, and this year’s awards ceremony for Isaacs and Legato will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. at AGEM booth No. 3700 near the main entrance to G2E at the Sands Expo.

Currently Vice Chairman of the Board of Scientific Games, Isaacs, 54, has a long history of success and respect in the global gaming industry. Previously, from 2014-2016, Isaacs was President and Chief Executive Officer of Scientific Games and a Board Director. Before joining Scientific Games in 2014, he served three years as the Chief Executive Officer of SHFL entertainment. Prior to that, Isaacs served five years as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Bally Technologies. Earlier in his career, Isaacs served nearly eight years with Aristocrat Leisure Limited. During his tenure, he held key management positions, including General Manager, Legal and Compliance; General Manager, Marketing and Business Development; and Managing Director, Europe, before being named Americas President in 2003. Before joining Aristocrat, Isaacs was a partner with the leading Australia law firm DLA Phillips Fox.

“Few people in our industry’s history have traveled the world shaking hands, meeting customers and sharing his unique personality more than Gavin has during a distinguished career that has also taken him to the top leadership position at multiple respected companies,” said Tom Nieman, President of AGEM. “The nominating criteria strictly guide the selection of these awards every year, and Gavin’s general path and dedication to customer relations are very similar to the traits Jens displayed. I know Jens and Gavin were friendly competitors when they were both circling the globe and it gives AGEM great pleasure to honor both Gavin and Frank Legato this year.”

With a background in gaming dating back 35 years, Legato, 61, has served as Editor for Global Gaming Business (GGB) magazine since 2002 and is the leading voice for new slot titles and gaming technology from both the industry and player perspectives. His career in gaming journalism began as Associate Editor for Public Gaming magazine in 1984 and he launched and served as Editor of Casino Gaming magazine in 1985 before moving on to Casino Journal, where his focus on slot companies and their new offerings became renowned throughout the industry. On the player side, Legato started sharing his humorous tales with readers of first Atlantic City Insider and then Casino Player in 1997 and also guided Strictly Slots magazine and its focus on slot and video poker players. A sought-after speaker and trade-show moderator, Legato is also the author of two books on gaming, “How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines… Or Lose Trying” and “Atlantic City: In Living Color.” He has a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

“When it comes to slot machines and relationships with game companies, no one can touch Frank,” said Marcus Prater, Executive Director of AGEM. “My personal history with Frank goes back to 1996 and I’ve witnessed a commitment to his craft that is unparalleled. He has certainly experienced and written about more slot titles than anyone ever and he does it with an understanding and wit that conveys the entertainment aspect of the suppliers’ place in this global gaming industry. And let’s not forget that Frank is a household name for slot players all over the country who have been reading his hilarious stories of success and misfortune for more than 20 years.”

Halle, a longtime Bally and Novomatic executive in Europe who was most recently CEO of Gauselmann Group’s Merkur Gaming based in Florida, died suddenly on May 20, 2015 at the age of 57. Mead, the founder and publisher of Casino Enterprise Management magazine, died suddenly in Las Vegas on June 24, 2015 at the age of 54.

Current gaming professionals were nominated for these memorial awards based on the following criteria that aim to capture the unique attributes displayed by Halle and Mead during their storied careers:

Jens Halle Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Commercial Gaming Professionalism
“Nominees must have experience working in the global gaming supplier sector for a minimum of 10 years and possess the following traits and qualities that Jens displayed throughout his working life: Professionalism, business success, international scope, attention to detail and timely follow-up; a willingness to ‘go the extra mile,’ both figuratively and literally; a sense of humanity in an oft-times cutthroat business; a recognition of the importance of a handshake and a fair deal for all; and a dedication to the health of the industry as a whole.”

Peter Mead Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Gaming Media & Communications
“Nominees must have experience working in the mainstream media, gaming trade press or individual gaming company PR/communications for a minimum of 10 years and possess the following traits and qualities that Peter displayed throughout his working life: Quality reporting and communication with an emphasis on personal contact to generate ideas and gather information; taking risks and questioning the status quo; challenging the industry to consider new ideas; and identifying trusted partners to improve the overall product.”

Chief Executive Officer and President of Novomatic Americas Rick Meitzler and Global Gaming Business (GGB) founder and Publisher Roger Gros were the recipients of the AGEM memorial awards program in 2017. Ainsworth Game Technology founder and current Executive Chairman Len Ainsworth and then-Golden Entertainment Director of Corporate Communications and longtime Las Vegas Review-Journal gaming columnist Howard Stutz were the initial recipients of the AGEM memorial awards program in 2016.

AGEM is a non-profit international trade association representing manufacturers and suppliers of electronic gaming devices, lotteries, systems, table games, online technology, sports betting, key components and support products and services for the gaming industry. AGEM works to further the interests of gaming equipment suppliers throughout the world. Through political action, regulatory influence, trade show partnerships, educational alliances, information dissemination and good corporate citizenship, the members of AGEM work together to create benefits for every company within the organization. Together, AGEM has assisted regulatory agencies and participated in the legislative process to solve problems and create a business environment where AGEM members can prosper while providing a strong level of support to education and responsible gaming initiatives. For more information, visit www.AGEM.org.

The current AGEM membership roster, 160 companies strong based in 22 countries, is a who’s who of the supplier segment of the global gaming industry: AGEM Gold Members: AGS, Ainsworth Game Technology, Aristocrat Technologies, Everi, International Game Technology (IGT), Konami Gaming, Merkur Gaming, NOVOMATIC Group, Scientific Games and Sega Sammy Creation. AGEM Silver Members: Action Gaming, Aruze Gaming America, Betson Enterprises, Casino Technology, Crane Payment Innovations (CPI), Gaming Partners International (GPI), Inspired Gaming, JCM Global, Ortiz Gaming, Quixant PLC, Suzo-Happ Group, TCSJohnHuxley, TransAct Technologies and Zitro. AGEM Bronze Members: Abbiati Casino Equipment, Ace Systems Mx, Alfastreet, Amatic Industries, APEX gaming, Atlas Gaming, Astro Corp., BetConstruct, Bingotimes Digital Technology, Cammegh Limited, Century Gaming Technologies, CG Technology (CGT), Cole Kepro International, DR Gaming Technology (DRGT), Euro Games Technology (EGT), Exacta Systems, FBM, Galaxy Gaming, Gamblit Gaming, GameCo, Gaming Arts, Gaming Support, Glory Global Solutions, Grand Vision Gaming, Incredible Technologies, Interblock USA, Jackpot Digital, Jumbo Technology, Matsui Gaming Machine Co., Metronia, Patriot Gaming & Electronics, PDS Gaming, RCT Gaming, Spintec, Table Trac, Weike Gaming Technology, Wells-Gardner Technologies, Win Systems and Worldpay Gaming. AGEM Associate Members: 3M Touch Systems, Adlink Technology, Advantech-Innocore, Agilysys, ArdentSky, Arrow International, Asimex Global, Atrient, Automated Cashless Systems, Automated Systems America, Inc. (ASAI), Axiomtek, BDO USA, British Group Interactive (BGI), Capco, Carmanah Signs, Catapult Global, CDC Gaming Reports, CMC Trading Engineering (International) Ltd, Comer Holdings, Comtrade Gaming, Cooper Levenson, Deloitte LLP, Digital Instinct, DiTronics Financial Services, Dominode, Duane Morris LLP, E4 Gaming, EFCOtec Corporation, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, Elite Gaming Technology, Fantini Research, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, Fox Rothschild, G2 Game Design, Gambling Compliance, Gamesman, Gaming Capital Group, GAN, Ganlot, Gary Platt Manufacturing, Gasser Chair Company, Genesis Interactive Technologies, GET IN Global, Global Gaming Business (GGB) Magazine, Global Gaming Group (G3), Greenberg Traurig, GSL Gaming Group, House Advantage, Howard & Howard, Impact Display Solutions, Intel, IPS, James Industries, James Industry Research Group, Jones Walker, JP Morgan Chase, KEY-BAK, Kiron Interactive, Kontron, Lazcano Sámano, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, Lightstone Solutions, Majestic Realty, Millennial Esports, NanoLumens, Nanoptix, Olsen Gaming / Spectronix, Outpost Creative, Patir Casino Seating, Plus Studios, Portilla Ruy-Díaz y Aguilar, Posiflex Business Machines, Proforma GPS, Regulatory Management Counselors (RMC), Rising Digital, RMMC, RSM US LLP, SAP, SCA Gaming, Sightline Payments, Southco, Southwest Manufacturing Services, Spin Games, StylGame USA, Taft Stettinius & Hollister, Talent Associates, The Bright Group, The United States Playing Card Company, Touch Dynamic, Tournament One, TOVIS, TraffGen USA, Veridocs, Wells Fargo, Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) and Zebra Technologies.

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Gambling in the USA

Gaming Americas Weekly Roundup – March 29-April 4

Niji Narayan

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Welcome to our weekly roundup of American gambling news again! It was again an eventful week in the USA, despite the still-active virus attack.

Here, we are going through the weekly highlights of the American gambling industry which include the latest news, financial results and new partnerships. Read on and get updated.

Latest News

Playtech has announced that it has entered a long-term lease in Michigan to house its first live casino studio in the US. This state-of-the-art studio will feature Playtech’s best-in-class technology and video capabilities from its flagship Riga studio. The scale of Playtech’s offering means it can offer integrated live content across retail and online channels and across product verticals, delivering live iGaming entertainment never seen before in the US market.

PointsBet Holdings has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary PointsBet USA and Penn National Gaming have agreed to extend the Online Gaming Services Framework Agreement dated 31 July 2019 to provide PointsBet with online sports betting and iGaming market access in Pennsylvania and Mississippi, subject to enabling legislation and licensure in each of those States. Pennsylvania currently permits online sports betting and iGaming.

Daily Fantasy Sports operator PrizePicks has announced the addition of premier esports titles Call of Duty, Rocket League and Valorant to its marketplace, a major step towards solidifying PrizePicks as the premier fantasy esports operator in North America. PrizePicks already features iconic AAA titles Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and League of Legends on its platform.

Airwaves Media Group has announced the launch of Airwaves Games Network, a multi-platform esports media and production company dedicated to live esports. AGN was founded by former OGN and CJ executives who produced premiere esports events including the 2019 Clash Royale League World Finals, PUBG Global Championship 2019 Group Stages and 2019 Summoners War World Arena Championships, among others.

Sportnco has taken its first step into the US iGaming market with the launch of the SuperDraft Free SportsBook App. The SuperDraft and Sportnco teams worked in close partnership to develop free-to-play betting product targeted at US sports fans. The app will offer players the opportunity to place bets and learn about sports betting without financial risk.

GAN has published its Q4 and full-year results for the period ended 31 December 2020, with full-year revenue up 17% to $35.2m. Annual Gross Operator Revenue increased by 73% to $545 million year-over-year and real money Internet gaming (RMiG) was up 6% to $25.6 million in 2020. Simulated (SIM) gaming revenue increased 66% to $9.5 million in 2020.

Partnerships

FOX Sports and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) have announced an expanded partnership agreement that establishes FOX Sports as the official wagering partner of NYRA Bets and the leading media provider for elite thoroughbred racing through the next decade. The prior FOX Sports/NYRA media rights agreement provided a FOX Sports subsidiary with an option to acquire a 25% stake in NYRA Bets. The FOX Sports subsidiary will exercise this option by the summer of 2021, pending final regulatory approval.

Simplicity Esports and Gaming Company has signed a two-year agreement to sublicense the Flamengo Esports brand to a team competing in the popular mobile game Free Fire. The licensing agreement includes a minimum fixed fee of $100,000, as well as 20% of all sponsorship and advertising revenue received by the team.

BetMGM has entered into a multi-year deal with Audacy. As per the deal, BetMGM has become the preferred sports betting partner of Audacy across all sports broadcast stations, digital platforms, BetQL app as well as BetQL Audio Network. The key partnership details include integrated content across Audacy’s broadcast sports stations, customer acquisition opportunities and talent endorsements across Audacy’s wide spectrum of local and national sports betting content.

PGA TOUR and theScore have entered into a content and marketing relationship designating theScore Bet as an Official Betting Operator of the PGA TOUR across the US and Canada. As part of the deal, PGA TOUR will begin to incorporate daily odds updates from theScore Bet within the TOUR’s live audio play-by-play, distributed via SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and PGA TOUR Digital platforms.

DraftKings and WWE have announced that DraftKings will become an Official Gaming Partner of WWE, subject to regulatory approval in all applicable jurisdictions. The collaboration centers on DraftKings’ popular free-to-play pools product and will launch with an inaugural free-to-play pool at WWE’s two-night pop culture extravaganza, WrestleMania, on April 10 and 11.

New Appointments

Intema Solutions has appointed Leigh Hughes to its newly-constituted advisory board. Leigh brings over 15 years of professional experience in integrated corporate and marketing communications and extensive experience in venture capital services and commercialisation of private and public companies across North America, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

fuboTV Inc. has appointed Ali Ghanavati as head of regulatory technology for its new Fubo Gaming subsidiary. Ghanavati’s extensive gaming career includes roles as chief engineer and as deputy chief of the Technical Services Bureau of the State of New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, where he consulted with numerous state agencies and gaming jurisdictions regarding casino gaming regulation and standards.

Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) has appointed iGaming innovator and leader Joe Bunevith as its Director of Client Solutions. In this role, he will work closely with GLI’s sales, compliance and engineering teams on issues relating to new technologies, client onboarding, new jurisdictions and business solutions. Most recently, he served as Director of Interactive Gaming for Synergy Blue in Las Vegas.

Compliance Updates

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has imposed an $18,000 fine to MGM Springfield after finding three separate “unacceptable” failures that resulted in underage persons being allowed to gamble and, on one occasion, being served alcohol.

Score Media and Gaming Inc. has secured access to the Illinois sports betting market through an agreement with Harrah’s Joliet Hotel & Casino, a Caesars Entertainment property. Subject to receiving all relevant licenses and approvals from the Illinois Gaming Board, the Company anticipates launching its mobile sportsbook, theScore Bet, in Illinois in the second half of calendar 2021.

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Gambling in the USA

Gaming Americas Weekly Roundup – March 22-28

Niji Narayan

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Welcome to our weekly roundup of American gambling news again! It was again an eventful week in the USA, despite the still-active virus attack.

Here, we are going through the weekly highlights of the American gambling industry which include the latest news and new partnerships. Read on and get updated.

Latest News

Full House Resorts Inc. has announced the name and branding of its luxury hotel and casino project in Cripple Creek, Colorado: Chamonix Casino Hotel. Chamonix is located near Full House’s existing Bronco Billy’s Casino. This new project will feature approximately 300 four-star guest rooms and VIP suites as well as a spacious, new, elegant and exciting casino gaming area.

BetMGM has launched BetMGM Poker in Michigan. Michigan joins New Jersey as the second state in the US to introduce BetMGM Poker, the company’s primary online poker offering powered by the partypoker US network. This news follows the January launch of BetMGM’s online sports betting and casino offerings in Michigan. The BetMGM Poker app is now available for download in Michigan on both iOS and Android and accessible via desktop at https://poker.mi.betmgm.com.

Jumio, the leading provider of AI-powered end-to-end identity verification and eKYC solutions, has secured a $150 million investment from Great Hill Partners. The investment will accelerate Jumio’s significant global lead in the digital identity space by devoting additional resources to automate its identity verification solutions, expand the breadth of the Jumio KYX Platform and grow its suite of AML compliance services.

Golden Matrix Group has filed with the SEC to raise up to $10m in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq. The company is currently listed on the OTC. Golden Matrix was founded in 2008 and booked $4 million in revenue for the 12 months ended 31 October 2020. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol GMGI. Kingswood Capital Markets is the sole bookrunner on the deal. No pricing terms were disclosed.

Simplicity Esports and Gaming Company has announced that it has received a record number of applications submitted via its wholly-owned subsidiary, PLAYlive Nation’s website, from potential franchisees interested in purchasing new franchise territories and opening Simplicity Esports gaming centres. New franchisee applications include disclosure of financial information, desired territory and business background.

The state of Connecticut has reached a deal with its two federally-recognised Native American tribes to provide online gambling and sports betting. The deal will tax online gaming at 18% for the next five years, then up to 20%. Sports betting will be taxed slightly lower. The Connecticut lottery will also be allowed to open a number of sports betting outlets, including venues in Bridgeport and Hartford.

Partnerships

GAN Limited has entered into a deal with Gila River Gaming Enterprises to provide Simulated Gaming solutions to Gila’s patrons across all properties on both desktop and mobile. Gila operates three casinos in Arizona on behalf of the Gila River Indian Community: Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Vee Quiva in Laveen Village and Lone Butte in Chandler. The customised solution is powered by GAN’s core Simulated Gaming software and provides meaningful marketing, brand building and revenue opportunities for both operators and GAN.

Enthusiast Gaming has signed an integrated partnership deal with TikTok, the leading destination for short-form mobile video. TikTok will leverage Enthusiast Gaming’s vast platform of video game and esports fan communities to help drive adoption and bridge the integration of TikTok within the gaming and esports industry. The partnership sees a variety of activations set to be rolled out across Enthusiast Gaming’s platform, such as product and logo placement, promotional activity with influencers and social media, as well as the production of media content.

FYX Gaming has partnered with leading esports betting operator Unikrn. The deal will see the two leading esports companies collaborate to deliver next-generation iGaming products and technology. Headlining the partnership is the inclusion of CryptoFights — a skill-based strategic fighting game and the flagship title for the FYX platform — on Unikrn Virtual, a proprietary gaming product offered by Unikrn that uses historical esports match data to power a non-stop stream of content coupled with live betting markets.

Allied Esports has partnered with Xsens to bring live animated casters to a professional esports tournament production for the first time. Through the use of Xsens’ MVN motion capture systems, Allied will transform its tournament casters into animated characters. The exclusively designed live motion avatars will provide fans with a fun and engaging viewing experience specific to the game being played and create unique, innovative opportunities for brand and product integration.

Acquisitions

XLMedia has entered into an agreement to acquire the business and assets of Sports Betting Dime for about $26 million. The company also announced plans to raise a minimum of about £20 million via a placing and a subscription and up to a further £3 million in an open offer. The net proceeds of the fundraising will be used mainly to finance the SBD purchase.

Lottery.com has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Mexican lottery companies JuegaLotto and Aganar. JuegaLotto is federally licensed to sell international lottery games in Mexico through an authorised federal gaming portal and is licensed for games of chance in other countries throughout Latin America. Aganar is licensed to sell Mexican National Lottery draw games, instant win tickets and other games of chance online with access to a federally approved online casino and sportsbook gaming license.

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Gambling in the USA

AGA Forecasts March Madness Betting Boost for Online Sportsbooks

George Miller

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AGA Forecasts March Madness Betting Boost for Online Sportsbooks
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

report from the American Gaming Association (AGA) stated that over $8.5 billion was wagered by 5.8 million people on March Madness in 2019 and that figure is expected to rise to 17.8 million people wagering online on this year’s event.

The AGA’s reported that three times as many Americans planned to wager on this year’s March madness via online sportsbooks compared to 2019.

Of course the event was cancelled last year and this year the pandemic has meant the men’s showpiece college basketball tournament is, for the first time in its history being held in a single state, Indiana.

The March Madness main schedule is as follows:

  • March 18-19 – First Round
  • March 20-21 – Second Round
  • March 25-26 – Sweet 16
  • March 27-28 – Elite Eight
  • April 3 – Final Four
  • April 5 – National Championship

The expansion of the legal sports betting market in the USA has seen 14 more states legalize online gambling which translates into 73 million more Americans who can legally place sports bets.  Since 2019’s March Madness much has changed – and companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel have grown their market and established themselves as major platforms for sports fans to compete for prizes.

45% of American adults are now living in a state with legalized sports betting.

 

March Madness Wagering Stats

Traditional sports betting on March Madness is forecasted to see an overall rise in 2021 with 30.6 million Americans expected to place traditional NCAA basketball bets on the popular March Madness end-of-season tournament. This is up by almost 18 million from two years ago the AGA said.

  • 47.4 million American adults plan to bet on March Madness (that’s more than 20% of the population)
  • 8.3 million bettors are expected to place a March Madness bet at a physical sportsbook, which is up 79% from 2019
  • 17.8 million say they will place a bet online, up 206% from 5.8 million in 2019
  • The odds of picking all 63 March Madness games correctly is 1 in 9.2 quintillion!


With more Americans turning to legal online betting on March Madness, the number of people who have said they plan to fill out a bracket this year has dropped to 36.7 million, down by 8% from 2019.

The latest March Madness Futures odds according to Vegas-Odds.com has the Gonzaga Bulldogs are favorites to win at +170 followed by Baylor (+375) and Houston (+800).

More March Madness Betting Stats

  • Betting among friends and colleagues remains popular – March Madness is likely to generate $4.6 billion of bets from 40 million people wagering with friends and colleagues through a total 149 million brackets, the AGA said.
  • Regulated Vs International Sportsbooks : The remaining $3.9 billion of bets will come primarily by way of international bookmakers / websites, though 4.1 million people will also place legal March Madness bets through licensed U.S based casinos and sportsbook operators.
  • Interest in the tournament is up slightly from 2019 with 26% of Americans saying they are very interested in the NCAA tournament, compared to 23% two years ago.
  • 42% of college basketball fans said they followed the sport more closely this season, with 70% of those attributing their increased attention to the availability of NCAA sports betting.
  • 17.8 million say they will wager online, up 206% from 5.8 million in 2019
  • 8.3 million expect to place a bet at a physical sportsbook, a rise of 79% from 2019

March Madness is set to conclude on April 5th with the Championship final being played at the Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.

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