2019 Business Perspectives

Security

The Internet has certainly changed our lives and the ways we utilize technology. New devices and innovations have given us the power to connect with our guests and fellow team members in ways never imagined before. Now everyone has cellular devices and phones that they carry with them everywhere. In hotels, we can communicate with guests before arrival and they can book rooms, make reservations for outlets, check In and out, use their phone for a room key, call for service, and order room service right through their devices. Internally, we can communicate with our team members through text and social media. The greatest challenge to IT is the security of connected devices. If safeguards are not put in place to protect our data, it may undermine privacy and deepen surveillance. How we react to increasing cyberattacks and cybercrime will be our greatest challenge for the future of the Internet and our company.

Rod Luck, Sr. VP of IT, Grand Sierra Resort and Casino

Sports

As the gaming industry continues to evolve, I believe the dominant theme in 2019 will center around sports. Of course, with the legalization of sports wagering in the U.S., we will begin to see the further proliferation of sports betting beyond the handful of states which have currently legalized it. In addition, I believe e-sports will continue to see its exponential growth both domestically and internationally. Because these two growth areas do not necessarily translate into significant revenue opportunities for casino operators on a direct basis, gaming companies will have to think strategically and be creative on a means for monetizing the demand for these products.

Bobby Soper, President & CEO, Sun Gaming & Hospitality

F&B

In 2019, we will see explosion of growth in the sports betting market as more states approve this new revenue stream. I also believe that we will see more mobile food ordering technology deployed throughout our industry.

Jason Stump
Vice President of Information Technology
Westgate Resorts

Growth

At Mohegan, we will continue with our focus on international growth, as well as enhancements to our domestic property portfolio, in our push to become a leader in global gaming and entertainment. For information technology, that means bolstering our IT foundation to ensure we have the right people, partners, process, and tools in place to drive this global vision. In addition, we will continue to develop ways to utilize technology as both a differentiator and as a vehicle to further our guest and team member-centric culture. Last but certainly not least, we will be vigilant in protecting our organization in this ever-changing threat and compliance landscape. Of particular note on this front for 2019 will be data privacy. Given the quick ripple effect of GDPR and similar standards, we anticipate a continued spawn of new privacy rules and expectations.

Fred Brown
CIO & SVP of Information Technology
Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment

Millenial Market

Now that sports betting has become the final hurdle in getting gaming to the masses outside of Nevada, what is next? Let’s face it there are a few regulations and state hold outs that are making life tough for the gamers who want it, but eventually those hold outs will crumble.

So, what is next for us? I’ve heard millennials, but let’s face it, millennials don’t like our style of gaming, and attempts at trying to add skill to a slot machine have not panned out as well as we all thought they might. Our machines are not social, and they do not provide an experience even close to what a video game has. So, if adding skill will not do it, then what?

In the days of old, we tried to add amenities like nightclubs, bars, shows, and almost anything that would draw the younger crowd and make them feel comfortable in our slot/EGD environment. Nowadays it brings them in, but they gamble very little in comparison to the costs of the amenities. About 20 years ago we all decided if the amenities could not draw them to the gaming floor, then the amenities needed to become profitable to support the amenity that is supposed to draw them to the gaming floor…

So in my opinion, I think this year should not only be about sports betting, but combining sports betting, with amenities, and millennials…yes, I am talking about eSports betting. As a geek, even long before it was popular to be a geek, and at the edge of 50 years old, I still play video games and am fascinated with VR and eSports gaming. Therefore, I get the fascination, and I am excited about the future of the sport. ESports betting is becoming popular and many casinos are starting to add that to their inventory of weapons to capture the millennial market, and for once, I completely agree with this strategy.

It is my opinion that the casino or sportsbooks that embrace eSports betting will be some of the first gaming companies to capture the millennial market for the long term. It may not be hugely profitable out of the gate, but it will be a first real step towards a lasting relationship with millennials.

John Filippe
Director of IT
Quinault Beach Resort and Casino

Relationships

Wow, what a year! I just completed my first year with Calder Casino in Miami Gardens, FL – a Churchill Downs property. It has been non-stop…starting out with an Aristocrat system upgrade my first week on the job. We did another upgrade to the system again, 12 months later. At Calder, the team has also replaced the carpet on the gaming floor (if you have been through it, you understand what a task it is). We opened an area outside the main casino structure called Backyard Casino (smoking allowed). This was a great learning experience as far as understanding IT hardware planning for outdoor use.

Calder Casino runs a very lean IT team with a total of only 4 people. It has been a challenge to keep up with the demand for IT resources, but the silver lining is that it forces us to work smarter, prioritize, and reinforces the importance of solid communication between IT and the rest of the company. For the remainder of the year, we are focusing on upgrading our MGT system, moving from Micros 9700 to Micros Simphony 2.0, implementing a new Rubrik backup solution, and beginning the process of replacing some older Cisco hardware that services our gaming floor. The goal is to have all of this completed by the end of 2018, just in time to start on our new Jai Alai fronton opening in 2019. Calder also plans to migrate to a new SAN disk array solution bringing with it more speed and increased storage efficiencies. Another big focus for 2019, will be the optimization and strengthening our network and data security. We do a great job of this already, but as you all know, security threats are ever-evolving.

Relationships with other IT colleagues, that were built and strengthened at the G&L Roundtable events, continue to be of great value in regards to knowledge transfer. Best of luck to everyone for a safe and productive 2019!

Jamie Gliddon, Director of Information Technology, Calder Casino

Mobile Tech

Reality: 2019 will be another year that security is a focus with greater participation by all departments and not just the technology group. As security issues continue to rise and attacks are viewed in a greater light outside of technology I see a greater emphasis on training and awareness.

Goals: As technology changes and the consumer changes the casino industry must look outside our “common” vendors for solutions that help us reach our mobile customer better. Current systems are hung up with no roadmap to match the growing mobile community. Our goal is to look at systems and services that first will help engage our tech savvy customer and second to aid our BOH Operations with tools that aren’t limited to their desktop and drive efficiency in their operations. “Only through the use of mobile technology will our industry grow and reach the customer of tomorrow.”

Rob Kosier, Director of Information Technology Hollywood Casino Columbus

2019 Business Perspectives Videos

See what our G&L Board and Roundtable Colleagues have to say about our Industry in 2019 in these Video Perspectives

Beth Perlman,
SVP & CIO | Live! Casino & Hotel

Bobby Soper,
President & CEO of Sun Gaming & Hospitality

Fran Moore,
VP of IT, Cache Creek Casino Resort

John Enriquez,
VP of IT, PCI Gaming

Matt Kelley,
IT Manager, Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos

Matthew Boyd,
Dir. of IT, Pearl River Resort

Mike Essig,
PH.D, IT Dir., Tropicana Las Vegas

Patrick Tinklenberg,
Dir. IT, Sycuan Casino

Richard Radar,
CTO, Cow Creek

Rod Luck,
SVP of Innovation & Technology, Grand Sierra Resort

Tony Antalan,
CTO, Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa