August 12, 2015
Dear Emerging Leaders of GamingTM Member,
This quarter's newsletter includes content about the development of fantasy sports and generational gaps in the gaming industry, a feature on our highlighted Emerging Leader, a snapshot of one of the young executives recently showcased in GGB Magazine, links to future networking opportunities, and more. Read on for more about Emerging Leaders of GamingTM and how you can participate!

by Christopher Irwin


Fantasy Sports, once a term associated with scientific calculators and print newspaper, is now worth well over a billion dollars and in the United States and Canada alone has approximately 56.8 million participants.[1] According to a 2014 article published by Corinne Green about the birth of fantasy sports, the many millions of people who participate each year can attribute it to Wilfred "Bill" Winkenbach. He was a minority investor in the Oakland Raiders and in the 1950's organized the first fantasy sports league. This league pitted friends against each other where they would select professional golfers from that week's tournament. After four rounds, the friend with the lowest combined score won, primitive but fantasy-esque nonetheless. Then, on a road trip with the Raiders in 1962, Winkenbach, along with two writers from the Oakland Tribune, drew up the basic rules that have now become fantasy football and created the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League (GOPPPL) - the first ever fantasy football team. It was a hit with the Raiders limited partners, and they sat around for the first few weeks of the season, their big concern not being the Raiders, but how their GOPPPL team was doing. Though this idea of fantasy sports caught on with the Raider executives, it took much longer to catch on with the general public.[2] In fact, fantasy baseball, invented many years later in the 1980's by magazine Writer and Editor Daniel Okrent, was much more popular. By 1988 there were approximately 500,000 participants, as stated by a USA Today article, most of whom played fantasy baseball.[3] 


The internet boom created a whole new aspect to fantasy sports. Computers could now calculate a player's points and update scores, with no need for that scientific calculator or print newspaper anymore. As a result, it started to emerge as the "cool" thing to do during the sports season and the activity exploded. Fantasy sports have now reached a wider audience, allowing more and more people to participate just as the internet had influenced any number of other popular activities such as dating, shopping, and gaming. Not only did the fee revenue associated with fantasy sports (traditional fantasy sports) grow, but so did the gambling aspect with the introduction of daily fantasy sports. But one question always remained: is it legal? Is this so-called "gambling" activity going to land said fantasy sport participant in hot water with the Feds?


Fast forward to 2006, and the United States Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), an act that defined fantasy sports and exempted it from being considered unlawful online gaming.[4] This fueled the emergence of daily fantasy sports in 2007. Participants now had the ability to play individual daily fantasy games for real cash without having to worry about a season long commitment. Since then, participation has nearly tripled from 19.4 million in 2007 to 56.8 million in 2015. Average spend has also increased. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), average spend per player on both daily and traditional fantasy sports as well as material (premium websites, magazines, cheat sheets, etc) increased from $80 to $465, or an increase of 481% between 2012 and 2015. The largest increase focused on spend for daily fantasy sports, which increased to $257 per person in 2015, up from only $5 per person in 2012, just a short three year period.[5] 


Growth in Fantasy Sports






Daily Fantasy Sports




Traditional Fantasy Sports













Source: Fantasy Sports Trade Association, The Innovation Group


All of the growth in daily fantasy sports was spurred by the two daily fantasy league moguls: FanDuel and DraftKing. FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles was quoted in an Inc. article, stating "Here's a product that will take the next six months of your life versus here's a product that will take the next 15 minutes."[6] Participants looking for competition can now participate daily thus increasing overall competition; and those intimidated by a season long commitment or the financial investment now have an avenue to participate. In these leagues, players can now sign up for $2 daily matches with winnings upwards of $50,000, something completely unheard of outside of a casino. These games are interactive, exciting, enticing, and completely mesmerizing. According to a study by the FSTA, people have become more interested in real life sports because of fantasy sports. 61% of study participants say they are watching more live sports while 60% say they read more about sports, all attributed to fantasy sports. An individual may choose to watch a game that they otherwise would have no interest in specifically because a player on their fantasy sports team is playing.


Traditional gaming revenues are on the decline, yet fantasy sport popularity is increasing, a trend identified by The Innovation Group in a recently updated national survey, Consumer Behavior in the Gaming Industry. The survey split the gamers into four distinct age groups: Millennials (21-34), Generation X (35-49), Baby Boomers (50-68), and Matures (69+). The survey shows that 62% of Millennials participate in fantasy sports while only 36% and 23% of Generation X and Baby Boomers participate, respectively. Fantasy sports are seen as games of skill and are drawing the younger generation to gamble through interaction and the ability to play with friends; something traditional casino luck based games lack. Millennials are now the largest population segment since the Baby Boomers have spoken, and fantasy sports is not a fad but here to stay for good.

[1] http://www.fsta.org/?page=demographics


[3] http://futureoffantasy.com/the-history-and-evolution-of-fantasy-sports

[4] https://rotogrinders.com/articles/daily-fantasy-sports-legality-141

[5] http://www.fsta.org/?page=demographics

[6] http://www.inc.com/jeff-bercovici/best-industries-2015-fantasy-sports-services.html 


Prior to joining The Innovation Group, Chris graduated from Leeds Business School at the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Finance. Since joining in January of 2013, he has spent his time conducting financial forecasts for a number of different projects, includi ng but not limited to casinos, hotels, special event space, and retail offerings in both domestic and international markets. Outside of work, Chris enjoys out door activities such as golfing, wakeboarding, and snowboarding in the winter. Chris can be reached at the Denver office at cirwin@theinnovationgroup.com

by Stephanie Adkison


With the push to retire later in life, the age range in the United States workforce is widening. If this trend continues for the next few years, up to four generations could be employed in the workplace concurrently. While this diversification has its benefits, there are also notable drawbacks, the most important of which is the communication gap that exists between different generations. To shrink this gap, employees must not only recognize which communication methods work well for themselves, but also understand how their colleagues prefer to interact with one another. Once these differences are identified, employees must then use this information to embrace both sides of the coin and learn to work together efficiently.


Understanding the Generational Communication Gap

In order to narrow the communication gap that exists between generations, employees must first understand the characteristics and preferences of the following age groups:


Baby Boomers

The Baby Boomer generation represents those born between 1946 and 1964. While not as strictly traditional as its predecessor, this age group prefers a personal face-to-face meeting to an email. Taking time to build relationships and respecting one another is very important to this generation. When faced with a quick email to discuss an issue as opposed to a formal meeting, a Boomer may take this impersonal approach as a sign of being rude.


Generation X

Generation X consists of those born between 1965 and 1980. While familiar and comfortable with phone calls and email, the older ages of this generation may take a little more time to catch on to new types of technology. Although this generation is not incredibly "tech savvy," a Gen X would rather discuss an issue via email rather than through a sit-down meeting and would prefer a formal-style email as opposed to a quick one-liner.


Generation Y

Those in Generation Y are typically born between 1981 and 2000. The older ages of this generation remember life before the internet, but were introduced to technology at an age early enough to be able to quickly catch on to new types of technology. A Gen Y is used to the fast-paced exchange of information, preferring a brief email or even a text message rather than a formal email or a face-to-face conversation. As this generation is used to being on the go, a Gen Y responds best to quick, concise communication methods that do not require a lengthy response.


Generation Z

Generation Z represents those born in 2001 and later. The oldest ages in this group are preparing to enter the workforce in the next few years, which will add a new dynamic to the office. This generation is characterized by its constant connection to social media and is immersed in technology. A Gen Z has only ever lived in a world where information is available instantly at the touch of a finger, which is anticipated to be reflected in his/her work environment. This generation prefers short, rapid blurbs of communication, typically through social media websites. A Gen Z receives most of his/her information through reading 140 character Tweets on Twitter, checking instant messages on Facebook, or skimming the titles of Buzzfeed's articles.


Generational Communication in the Gaming Industry

The gaming industry is no exception to this trend; if anything, it highlights the ever-widening age range in the workforce. Between the Baby Boomer executives, the Generation X managers, the Generation Y interns, and the Generation Z up-and-comers that will soon be filling the line-level positions, the gaming industry provides jobs to all employable generations.


As the gaming industry's target market continues to shift toward millennials, casinos are looking to hire more people from Generation X to provide insight and fill decision-making positions. Since Baby Boomer executives are working longer, the generational communication gap will continue to widen. This issue can only be solved if employees are willing to work together to learn each other's preferred methods of communication.


Bridging the Gap

A quick internet search will open the door to online resources that offer activities to strengthen the communication between generations in the workplace. These activities are free, but need to be facilitated by one person who is very dedicated and organized. While this is one way a company can start bridging the gap, there are also other options through third-party organizations.


Many professional groups specialize in communication and teamwork workshops, some of which specifically offer generational diversity training. In respect of the client's schedule, many of these organizations will travel to host the workshops at the company and may also offer online training. While taking this avenue does require investing some time and money, it may be worth it to begin bridging the generational communication gap and setting the stage for strong communication in the workplace. 

Since joining The Innovation Group in June of 2014, Stephanie Adkison has assisted with feasibility analyses, conducted market research and completed financial forecasts on projects including, but not limited to, casinos, hotels, food and beverage venues, convention centers, entertainment facilities, and various other leisure amenities. Her experience encompasses both domestic and international markets, with focus on the Caribbean and Latin America. Stephanie can be reached in our Orlando office at sadkison@theinnovationgroup.com.


Eric Frank 
Gaming Attorney 
Duane Morris LLP
As the legal landscape of gaming changes, Eric Frank dedicates his legal practice to anticipating and staying current on the industry's evolution. This is apparent through his use of social media and Duane Morris' unique Gaming Law Blog, which stays on top of such changes. Eric concentrates his practice in the areas of gaming and regulatory matters for both land-based and Internet gaming clients. He represents casino operators, holding companies, gaming manufacturers/suppliers, private equity institutional investors and individuals in licensing and compliance, acquisitions and mergers, litigation, bankruptcy, and administrative matters. His gaming practice expands beyond commercial casino gaming, including representative matters in the fantasy sports, tribal gaming, lottery, and horse racing industries.

Eric is able to channel his experience from his previous career as a political strategist to play an integral role in the interpretation and advancement of emerging legislation.
"Our firm's Gaming Practice Group provides counsel to clients operating in mature and emerging jurisdictions both domestically and internationally. Eric is a vital part of our practice and is integral to Duane Morris' ability to stay ahead of the curve on the legal aspects of emerging technology and growth areas impacting our clients."
Frank DiGiacomo
Partner, Duane Morris LLP

He has taken on additional leadership roles outside of his day-to-day responsibilities, most recently as treasurer for an independent expenditure political committee involved in working to elect the next governor of the State of New Jersey. Eric also serves as a board member to the Latin American Economic Development Association, a small business incubator in Camden, New Jersey, and is active with his local chapter of the March of Dimes. He was a keynote speaker at the 2014 March of Dimes Born to Shine Gala in Atlantic City, which told the story of his now two-year old son, Brady, born 8 and ½ weeks premature at just 3 and ½ pounds. 

In 2012, The Innovation Group decided to expand our exposure within the younger demographic of leaders in the gaming industry, our goals being to foster relationships with emerging leaders, develop a platform for those leaders to interact, and provide networking opportunities at industry events and conferences. This venture kicked off with a small meeting of industry leaders under the age of 40 at Global Gaming Expo's 2012 show, marking the first opportunity for young members of the gaming and casino community to interact with peers instead of with superiors or elders in the industry. That event spawned the creation of a LinkedIn Group and database that allowed industry members under 40 to interact, to schedule events, and to meet at industry functions.  
In 2013 and 2014, as a follow-up to the success of the previous year's efforts, The Innovation Group partnered with Reed Exhibitions (the producers of G2E) and the American Gaming Association to develop the Emerging Leaders of GamingTM program. This program featured the recognition of a small group of emerging leaders in the industry with scholarships and the creation of Global Gaming Business Magazine's recurring feature, "40 Under 40", which highlights up-and-coming young leaders. At G2E in 2014, TIG, Reed, and the AGA sponsored a networking event that allowed people under 40 to interact with each other and with a lauded group of industry leaders. The instant mentoring opportunities at the event were unparalleled.
The 2015 Emerging Leaders of Gaming program at G2E should be the largest event to date. We have secured a great location at The Venetian for the scholarships awards and networking event. Guest speakers will include Bobby Soper, President of Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. The event will also include recognition and scholarships for nominated members of the Emerging Leaders group, and will be coupled with the announcement of Global Gaming Business Magazine's new "40 under 40" honorees. If you are interested in attending the event, please nominate yourself via http://www.globalgamingexpo.com/Show-Info/Keynotes-and-Networking/G2E-Emerging-Leaders-Scholarship-Program/
" Emerging Leaders scholarship programs and events shine an important light on the more than 200 unique careers that the gaming industry provides, supporting the development of professionals who seek to advance their careers in the industry. The Innovation Group's support of this effort is invaluable to the AGA and to gaming professionals across the country."

Keli Elkins

Vice President of Industry Relations

American Gaming Association

Stay Connected with Emerging Leaders

See what TIG's staff had to say about this Emerging Leader highlighted in GGB Magazine's August issue: 
"Setting Systems" by Michael Vanaskie 
Benson Fok lo Teng's passion is information technology. As an emerging leader in the gaming industry, Fok's love of information technology may come as a surprise. However, Fok's ability to pursue his passion within an industry that he finds both inspiring and exciting has helped his career keep pace with the rapidly evolving gaming industry. (CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE)


CLSA (Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia)
Sep 14-18
Hong Kong, China
G2E (Global Gaming Expo)
Sep 29 - Oct 1
Booth #3918
Las Vegas, NV - Sands Expo & Convention Center

Japan Gaming Congress

Oct 7-9

Tokyo, Japan



Macau Gaming Show

Nov 17-19

Macau, China



Emerging Leaders of Gaming has established itself as the go-to network for young professionals assuming the next generation of leadership in gaming, entertainment, hospitality, food and beverage, tourism, and leisure. We continue to support the growth and development of these rising stars as they achieve their fast-track to success, destined to fill tomorrow's senior-level and C-suite management positions.


For more information, contact  leaders@theinnovationgroup.com or visit our website.  

7852 S. Elati Street, Suite 100  |  Littleton, CO 80120  |  www.theinnovationgroup.com

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