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The Next Chapter

2021 has been a dichotomous year for gaming, presenting industry-shifting growth opportunities alongside a longer-than-anticipated and, for many jurisdictions, still ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. While the U.S. continues to expand and modernize gaming, some international markets are trending more toward restriction and delay. And while stateside operators lean in to opportunities like cashless wagering and sports betting, they struggle to find the workers they need to support their core operations. Further, as REITs and SPACs continue to shift the business landscape, The Innovation Group foresees not just a new normal, but a new chapter in the history of gaming.

2021 Highlights

Throughout the year, The Innovation Group has offered commentary and insights on the trends driving and resulting from these changes. In case you missed them, a few highlights from this work include:

We also were honored to be a part of the teams involved in significant industry ownership announcements made this year, including:

The Path Forward

Looking ahead to 2022, there are several themes unfolding. While recent and lasting trends that emerged or accelerated during the pandemic – the continued expansion of sports betting and online gaming, and new technologies supporting cashless play – will continue to be relevant, attention to the topics that were prominent going into the pandemic are returning. The diversification of real estate and amenities, the reshuffling of corporate structures, international emerging markets, attending to the preferences of millennials, anticipating the future of slot play, the popularity of electronic table games, the relevance of esports, tribal commercialism, and finding the next great thing in entertainment are re-emerging. In 2022, we expect the conventions of necessity born out of the pandemic to dovetail with these longer-term strategic opportunities to chart the future path of gaming.

As we close in on the new year, we look forward to reconnecting with European and Asian colleagues in person, becoming involved with the important work of the International Center for Responsible Gaming, and continuing to drive new and necessary business opportunities for our partners and clients.

To a healthy, happy and prosperous 2022,

The Innovation Group Team

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Michael Soll



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Thomas Zitt, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President


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Michael Zhu

SVP, Int'l Operations Planning & Analysis


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Brian Wyman, Ph.D.

SVP, Operations & Data Analytics


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