2022: A New Chapter in Gaming

Each year at this time, from our position at the intersection of the industry, The Innovation Group (TIG) team takes a moment to reflect on what has transpired and to consider what is to come. At the end of 2021, we saw a bifurcated year for gaming, during which industry-shifting growth opportunities in recovering jurisdictions laid in contrast to many markets still managing through the pandemic. A year later, we can see the shape of a new industry emerging on the other side of this roller coaster cycle, as indicated by the following:

  • The steady reorganization of legacy operating companies as they contemplate new areas of emphasis within their businesses;
  • The shift in focus and opportunity around sports betting from emerging markets to the reconciliation of marketing budgets, media relationships, and integration into the broader global iGaming space;
  • The continued expansion of Tribal property amenities and rapid diversification into commercial operations;
  • The return of modest international market growth – perhaps more notably in Latin America and Europe than in Asia, currently;
  • Codification of new, progressive technology-based business practices in analytics, payments, and design;
  • A renewed, industrywide prioritization of responsible gaming; and
  • Real conversations happening worldwide about unregulated gaming and how it can be combatted.

Our work this year has reflected many of these trends. In early 2022, TIG President Michael Soll joined the board of directors of the International Center for Responsible Gaming and, with industry colleague Jeff Hartmann, analyzed the growing tribal commercialization movement for Global Gaming Business. SVP Michael Zhu offered insights on opportunities in the Philippines and Thailand for industry trades, while SVP Mike Vanaskie took up the mantle on Latin America with a market outlook for the Caribbean and an overview of meaningful regulatory changes across the region. SVP Brian Wyman has been engaged on sports betting and iGaming projects of every size and scope throughout the year and, most recently, directed the research behind the American Gaming Association’s new report: Sizing the Illegal and Unregulated Gaming Markets in the United States.


Internally, TIG is evolving too, growing our team with two new analysts – Jack Goodin and Rae Berkley – in our Las Vegas office and with the appointments of Chris Irwin and Mike Vanaskie as firm partners. We continue to sharpen the focus of our services in response to the aforementioned industry changes. This year, our Native American services team led client application efforts for the Tribal Tourism Grant Program and our iGaming team continues to closely track tangible opportunities for operators around VR, AR, and the metaverse.

In keeping with our decade-long tradition of helping non-profits at year’s end, we are excited to support the Young Executive Scholars Hospitality & Tourism Program, more commonly known as YES, at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute. This rigorous summer course of applied learning, team collaboration, and mentorship offers under-resourced high school students the opportunity to discover the managerial and executive-level career opportunities available in their own backyard. Someday soon, graduates of YES will no doubt, in turn, be recognized by our Emerging Leaders of Gaming program.

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2023: What's in Store?

Predicting where the gaming industry will go from here is a more difficult question, but it most certainly will build on the trends we have seen in the last year. While we are not inclined to make predictions, here are some of the areas where we plan to focus our research and client support:


Convergence 102: While the last five years saw the convergence of land-based and online gaming, the next five should see integration of the platforms that support gaming into the emerging Omnichannel, gaming’s corner of the Metaverse. Thanks to our analytics team, we will be able to assist our clients as they enter all new gaming spaces.


Terms of engagement are changing: It will be much more tedious in the future to keep track of gaming and complimentary industry developments, and how they influence one another. Business development channels that historically ran clearly between industry lines now include online content providers, media companies, and real estate investment partners. Gaming businesses now exist in many different forms. We will continue to analyze with our clients which structures are most efficient and strategically potent.


Power shift in Indian Country: As tribal gaming enterprises become more self-sufficient, so does the road to self-determination. Capital soon will no longer be controlled mostly by third parties. We expect Tribes, as sovereign nations, to continue to look at expansive long-term economic development channels and strategic plans.   


Generational realities: Like all industries, ours has looked at generations as market segments with uniform behaviors. But we now are seeing that the whims and desires of younger players are fluid. Along with the amazing network of technology innovators in gaming, we look forward to working with industry partners to interpret physical and virtual gaming landscapes that are flexible and adaptable to changing demand. Meanwhile, moves to protect players through responsible gaming seem particularly well-suited to our emerging generation of industry leaders who already see this type of support as an obligation and good business. 

TIG Partners:

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Michael Soll


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Thomas Zitt, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President

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Michael Zhu

Senior Vice President

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Brian Wyman, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President

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Michael Vanaskie

Senior Vice President

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Christopher Irwin

Senior Vice President

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