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40 under 40 Winners
Every year, The Innovation Group, G2E and The Global Gaming Business Magazine Editorial Advisory Board chooses 40 of the most promising leaders in the gaming industry under 40 years old to be featured in the "40 under 40" list.  The successes and accomplishments achieved by these 40 individuals provide an assuring future for the gaming industry.  In order to be chosen for the list, one must initially be nominated and then is selected by the GGB and TIG.  To read their stories
January 2015 
Dear Emerging Leader Member,

To initiate our FIRST EVER quarterly newsletter we are featuring a piece of the recent survey results on Consumer Behavior in the Gaming Industry, conducted by The Innovation Group. We provide upcoming conferences and trade shows as well as a meet up page for those who would like to network with other members.  Find out what type of leader you are and see this quarter's featured ELG members!

Survey Results: The "Me-llennial" Generation

Millennials are a generation that demands immediate gratification and constant stimulation.  Keeping that in mind, Millennials consider themselves first in context and convenience.   The individual must feel a "me" experience when involved in activities.  Nonetheless, Millennials are community-oriented, but simultaneously self-centered with this behavior particularly found in social media.  The gaming industry has been working to better understand what this generation wants in their experience.  


The Innovation Group recently completed a national survey regarding consumer behavior in the gaming industry today. The survey gauges the effect of the current economy on the gaming industry within the United States and results can be broken down in many ways. This article focuses on the Millennials' results who participated in the survey.  The following provides a portion of the results found from Millennial consumers who gamble at casinos. 

The selected survey results compare Millennials to other adult generations; GenX, Baby Boomers, and Matures.  Age ranges for Millennials are 21-34, GenXers are 35-49, Baby Boomers are 50-68, and Matures are 69 years and older.


One of the focuses of The 2014 National Survey was the impact of leisure spending in regard to casinos since the economic downturn.  The recession had a large impact on trip budget; however, the impact on trip budgets varies significantly by generation. 


The younger generations had larger day trip spending budgets than older generations; however, the spend on gambling was lower.  As seen in the following graph, proportionately, Millennials and GenX spent less than 60% of their day trip budget on gambling, while older generations spent over 75%.


Day Gambling Trip Budget 


In regard to Overnight Gambling Trip Budget, younger generations are likely to have a higher overall spend.  Not surprisingly, older generations were hit the hardest by the recession as they were the most likely candidates that had investments tied up in the housing markets, stock markets, etc. Results found the primary reasons why older generations decreased their overnight budgets were from lack of disposable income, personal budget constraints, and concerns about the economy. Since younger generations, like the Millennials, were less likely to have been the gaming age during the recession, they are likely to be more confident in the economy and have more of a discretionary income.  The following graph shows the budgets for each generation.   


Overnight Gambling Trip Budget  



As seen in the previous graphs, younger generations spend far more on non-gaming amenities than the older generations.  In order to have a better understanding of consumer behavior by generation, in the survey we asked participants if they had ever been to a casino, did not gamble, and instead spent their money on non-gaming amenities.  More than half of Millennials mentioned they had visited the casino and did not gamble, comparing to only 15% of Matures who said yes as well.


Non-Gaming Spend: Generationally


Ultimately, the trends we are seeing show waning spend for older generations, which currently generate the majority of gaming revenue.  Younger generations tend to be increasing casino visitation, but are not necessarily attending for gaming purposes.  In general, casinos in the near future will need to review their strategic planning if they intend to reach the younger markets and replace aging casino gamers.  Casino operators will need to consider new interactive games, including more table games, and improve food and beverage as well as entertainment options.  Although these amenities and changes are likely to attract the younger casino gamer, it will typically operate as a lower profit margin.


The survey also includes: preferences of online gaming for consumers, shifts in competitive marketing strategies over the last decade, lasting effects of the recession on gaming behavior, and preferences in the casino experience for all types of demographics. If you are interested in attaining the full survey report or particular categories, contact Erika Meeske, Vice President of Research and Analytics for The Innovation Group, 

emeeske@theinnovationgroup.comIn addition to the survey, The Innovation Group has also recently completed the white paper, Where is Gaming Revenue Going?, which investigates declining revenue and other trends within the US gaming market.


Featured Emerging Leaders
Tonya Roedell

Director of Digital & Professional Services for Aristocrat Technologies, Inc.


Tonya Roedell has been in the gaming industry for nearly 10 years.  She is currently responsible for Professional Services in digital and systems at Aristocrat Technologies, bringing a broad array of services and solutions to complement Aristocrat's system products. Before joining Aristocrat Technologies she worked for eight years with Caesars Entertainment. Roedell was a manager within the internet marketing department and worked closely with Caesars Interactive online gaming partner.  She came to Las Vegas with a Bachelor of Science in eCommerce after living in San Diego, working in business to business sales.


The most difficult challenge she faced in the early part of her career was overcoming a small town mentality.  "I was born in Oklahoma and adapting to the city life was intimidating at first," Roedell said.   With a degree in eCommerce, her biggest dream was to have a career in internet marketing. At the time, not many opportunities presented themselves due to the decline in the economy. To gain business experience she chose to take an opportunity in business to business sales - within this position she was able to learn how to work with all levels of business professionals and get the experience needed to pursue her dream.


Roedell believes, leaving San Diego, was the most impactful decision she has made in her career. An opportunity presented itself at Harrah's Entertainment - this is where she started her gaming career as an internet marketing specialist for the eastern region properties.  "At Caesars Entertainment, I had the privilege of working with very talented professionals and learn from the best marketers," says Roedell. After a year and a half she was promoted to Internet Marketing Manager and continued to grow within the company. The next impactful decision she made was to move to the manufactures side of the business, where she is today. 


Her advice to young professionals is to not be afraid to make mistakes, learn from those experiences and seek a mentor to help you through your career. 


Ari Mizrachi

Senior Director of Table Games, Poker, and Player Development for Parx Casino


Ari Mizrachi moves to where success takes him.  Over the past 12 years, he has moved all around the country from Connecticut to Florida to Las Vegas to New Jersey and now Pennsylvania.  Starting his career from a part-time poker dealer to the Senior Director of Table Games, Poker, and Player Development at Parx Casino, Ari is truly living the American Dream.  Early on in his career it was difficult to find a mentor to guide him in his ripening career.  He took this difficulty as a challenge to work harder through not only discipline and perseverance, but in research and studies on the gaming industry. Later in his career Ari met Mike May Vice President of Tables who took him under his wing.


Mizrachi believes the greatest decision he has ever made in his career was the will to move around the country when an opportunity presented itself.  As Ari continues to emerge and grow as a leader, his goal is to become the General Manager of a casino property. Ari states, "My passion for this business and the willingness to adapt in different situations, I know will make me an asset for any organization."


If you would like to be featured in our next newsletter contact Alexis Garber, Marketing Coordinator for the Emerging Leaders of Gaming, at

What Type of Leader Are You?
In the simplest terms, a leader is someone who leads a group, but what makes a leader? Vision? Determination? Problem solving? Great communication? The ability to delegate?  Leaders can have all types qualities with some stronger than others, however, what every leader has is a style.  Depending on the culture of an organization, the right leadership traits vary and the right style can even contrast by employee.  A great leader is aware of their style and figures out how to utilize it within their profession.  Let's look at the most popular type of leadership styles applied in the workforce.           


"I'm a maniacal perfectionist. And if I weren't, I wouldn't have this company."

-Martha Stewart

Autocratic leaders focus on the authoritarian approach. These leaders feel the need to have control over all the decisions and accept very little input from their employees.  The autocratic leadership style works best in situations where control is essential and the margin of error is little.  Manufacturing and construction industries are great fits for this style.


Autocratic leaders take charge, assign all the tasks, and establish solid rules and deadlines for projects.  This permits employees to focus on performing their task as well as produce highly skilled individuals based on their particular function.  Autocratic leadership can be perceived as a dictatorship if not handled correctly, thus, it is important to not abuse the power.  It can cause resentment and widen the gap between the employer and the employees.  It is vital for leaders to give respect, be consistent, and explain guidelines clearly.


"It's better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you'll drift in that direction."

-Warren Buffett  

Laissez Faire leaders are hands-off and bestow high responsibility on

 employees.  Leaders are helpful in providing the necessary tools and resources, but provide little guidance.  An employee has the ability to make major decisions, but with freedom comes liability and expectation to solve their own issues.  Laissez Faire leadership functions most effectively with self-motivated, highly-experienced, independent workers.  However, laissez faire leadership is not affective for those who lack experience or knowledge in their industry.   


If utilized amongst the wrong people, laissez faire is known to cause the lowest productivity.  Due to the lack of communication, direction is more likely to be misinterpreted.  Employees that need deadlines, management, and help with problem solving can fall behind in this style.  Great laissez faire leaders follow the hands-off approach, but are available and open to discussions and feedback for employees who need it.


"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."

-Dwight D. Eisenhower
Transactional leaders 

people are motivated by reward and punishment. Leaders also find that social systems work best with a chain of command. Clear structures are shaped for employees in order to know what is exactly expected from them and if instructions are followed correctly, they are rewarded. It is crucial to follow your superior's orders and after orders are handed down, employees attain sole responsibility for their tasks.   


A common place for transactional leadership is in sales, which is based on reaching sales targets set by a manager and rewards from commission. Large corporations also work well in this environment.  The style is most effective when problems are clear and simple; however, in many cases this style can lead to ineffectiveness due to limitation on creativity and a worker's full potential.     


"We cannot walk alone."

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Transformational leaders are one of the most inspirational styles, focusing on team-building, motivation, and collaboration between people at all levels of an organization.  Goal setting and incentives are essential in motivation tactics.Transformational leaders' philosophy is that an organization is only as strong as its people, thus, leaders don't stand outside the group, they lead from within. Leaders believe they need their employees, just as much their employees need them.   

Four major aspects of a 

transformational leader are: the promotion of creativity and mental stimulation, open communication, creating passion, and to serve as a role model. The downside of this style is ultimately its strength- the reliance on emotion and passion.  Leaders can turn a blind eye towards hard facts if it does not agree with their work, and it is important for transformational leaders to balance emotions and bias with truth.


"I'm a bit of a P.T. Barnum. I make stars out of everyone."

Donald Trump

Participative leaders let team  members participate in major decisions.  This style of leadership is 

known to be highly-effective and productive amongst leaders and their employees.  It generates group morale and deeper commitment from team members, since they are invested in the decisions at hand.  People are encouraged to share their ideas; however, the leader still has the final say.  Participative leadership motivates workers to be more engaged in the process and creativity is rewarded. 

Although studies show this leadership style can be the most effective, it can cause a lack of clarity in communication, especially when deadlines are cutting close.  In addition, employees may not always have the necessary expertise to be making such crucial decisions for the organization.  Participative leadership works best when workers are highly skilled and experienced.  Time management is critical, in order for everyone's opinion to be heard, develop a plan and all agree on it.  


Figuring out the leadership style that best suits you and your organization is a journey that develops over time, can blend together, and even change with the circumstances.  The debate of what makes a great leader has been argued for years and in truth there is no one right answer.  Each style is different and has a unique impact on you, your team members, and the culture of the organization.  Finding the one(s) that work best takes trial and error, observations, and time. 


Upcoming Conferences & Trade Shows
Networking is the most powerful marketing tool to grow and uphold you and your organization.  It is about connections and building beneficial relationships.  Networking creates personalized ties and those personal associations enable you to stand out and rise above the noise.  The members of this organization are not only the leaders of today, but are the leaders of tomorrow.  The Emerging Leaders of Gaming provides its members with the opportunity to connect with others in the organization.  To know what other Emerging Leaders will be at the conference or trade show you plan to attend, Emerging Leader of GamingTM created a the Conference & Trade Show Facebook Page. 
Click here to access the page.    


January 2015:              


Jan 13-15 International Amusement & Leisure Show - London, England

Jan 18 -20 Affiliate Summit West 2015 - Las Vegas, Nevada

Jan 31 -Feb 3 London Affiliate Conference 2015 - London, England


February 2015:

Feb 2-4 2015 New Horizons in Responsible Gaming Conference - Vancouver, BC

Feb 2 European Online Gaming Law Conference - London, England

Feb 3-5 ICE Totally Gaming 2015 - London, England

Feb 4-6 Joint EL/WLA Marketing Seminar 2015 - London, England

Feb 10-12 Western Indian Gaming Conference 2015 - Valley Center, California

Feb 12-13 19th Annual National Institute on Gaming Law Minefield - Henderson, Nevada

Feb 26 iGaming Legislative Symposium 2015 - Sacramento, California


March 2015:

Mar 16-17 Native American Leader's Forum: Casino GM's Exchange 2015 - Scottsdale Arizona

Mar 17-19 iGaming Asia Congress 2015 - City of Dream, Macau

Mar 18-19 FADJA Peru 2015 - Lima, Peru

Mar 18-19 Caribbean Gaming Show & Summit 2015 - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Mar 26-29 Alberta Gaming Research Institute 14th Annual Conference - Banff, Alberta

Mar 28-30 China Guangzhou International Game & Amusement Exhibition 2015 - Guangzhou, China

Mar 30-Apr 2 NIGA Indian Gaming 2015 Tradeshow & Convention - San Diego, California


April 2015:

Apr 8-9 FADJA 2015 - Andean Gaming Trade Show - Bogota, Colombia

Apr 14-16 iGaming North America Conference 2015 - Las Vegas, Nevada

Apr 15-17 I-Gaming Forum 2015 - Stockholm, Sweden

Apri 20 Pubcon Austin 2015 - Austin, Texas

Apr 21-23 Global iGaming Summit & Expo (GIGSE) 2015 - San Francisco, California

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