The GGB Podcast features interviews with leaders in the global gaming industry.
The Robert L. Hunter International Problem Gambling Center has some of the highest success rates when treating problem gamblers. Using methods developed by Dr. Hunter prior to his death in 2018, the center is able to ease problem gamblers away from their afflictions and prepare them for further treatment. Stephanie Goodman, formerly a chief of staff for her ex-father in law, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, has become educated in the nuances of the gambling treatment world, and has developed a six-week program that gets them ready for the next chapters in their lives. She spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros at the center in Las Vegas in December.
Gaming in Ireland has been operating in a grey area since the early 2000s when British-style membership clubs began to be established. A new set of gaming regulations has been set up recently along with a new regulatory scheme. JJ Woods has been consulting on gaming projects around the world for more than 30 years and is the unqualified expert on gaming in Ireland. While he is optimistic that the new regulations will help grow the Irish gaming industry, he says specifics are few and far between because lots of issues need to be decided. He spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros from his office in Dublin in January. (Listen to podcast abv., or view the video at the bottom).
GGB: Why don’t you give us a little thumbnail of what gambling in Ireland looked like before the recent regulatory reforms were considered?
JJ Woods: Somewhere around the late ’90s or 2000, the law was circumvented when private members’ clubs started to open all over the country. This was the first time that live gaming was offered, largely blackjack and roulette. Prior to that was a large amount of slot machine arcades. And there’s a bit of a confusion there, because some of them were amusement arcades, which meant in the beginning they had to be almost like children’s games. But as things progressed, they amounted to having actual gaming. This dates back to the 1950s.
This was probably one of the biggest mistakes that hopefully the Irish government will now correct. Because for the last 60 years, we actually broke the first rule of any gaming legislation, which is to protect the young and the vulnerable.
Were these private member clubs similar to the to the private clubs in the U.K.?
Very much so. Some of them are awful. Some of them were actually quite beautiful. The ones I consulted on, they’re very much like gentlemen’s clubs with very good service, beautiful plush carpets, brass fixtures, lighting right over the pictures, that type of oak room style.
And how about the High Street bookmakers?
If we go back to the early 2000s, PaddyPower, which is now Flutter, basically became a monopoly. So they were allowed to proliferate. And it’s very important to remember as well, even though online sports betting dominates today, every single one of those companies in that space had a retail presence on the street.
What spurred the recent regulatory reforms?
Research into regulation started when they actually printed a research paper in July 2013. The truth of the matter is my first submission goes way back to Bertie O’Hearn, when he was the prime minister of this country. He requested that I do a submission on gambling to the government back in 2007.
But I can’t think of any one event that happened where they said, let’s get this done, except to say gambling grew exponentially during Covid, especially online gaming. So I think that’s probably one of the pushes that said we need to do something.
So what is possible under these new laws in terms of gambling expansion? Can they build an IR or a series of casinos?
The answer is, I’m really not sure. I’d love to be able to tell you but things are still up in the air. There are several issues that have to be worked out. There’s a strong belief still that the permission for a gaming club or casino should lie with local council. We have local councils all over the country. I’m against that myself for many, many reasons. That’s just one area that needs to be looked at.
They also need to know things like, will alcohol be allowed to be served in the casino? That has to be defined. Can you drink and gamble? That’s always been a law in this country. You could never drink and gamble. That’s a law that needs to be changed.
So when you ask me that question, where is the development; where’s the future, where are the improvements coming from? We’re going to need to know a lot more. We need to find out an awful lot more about how the government’s thinking about this.
When Hard Rock International bought the Mirage from MGM last year, they needed someone with Hard Rock and Las Vegas experience. They got it when Joe Lupo was named to lead the transition from the Mirage to Hard Rock Las Vegas. Lupo spent the formative years of his career in Las Vegas working for Boyd Gaming before heading to Atlantic City to help run the Borgata. When Boyd exited its relationship with MGM over the Borgata, Lupo signed on with Hard Rock, where he led their most successful casino in Tampa and then came to Atlantic City to open the new Hard Rock on the Boardwalk. He spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros at the Hard Rock offices in Las Vegas in December.
Everi has a long history in payment processing and currently owns Central Credit, a credit reporting agency for gaming used by casinos around the world. Therefore, Everi also processes more payments for gaming than any other firm and its dominance in that field currently extends to the recent cashless phenomenon sweeping the industry. But Everi is much more than just payments. It has a robust compliance program and after buying Multimedia Games more than 10 years ago, is a big player in the slot manufacturing field. Randy Taylor took over as president and CEO from Mike Rumbolz a year ago and hasn’t missed a beat. He spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros from the Everi office in Las Vegas in November.
The American Gaming Association has a long history with research. From the first annual “State of the States” report to the most recent survey focusing on illegal gaming and its costs to the industry, the data presents a valid picture of gaming in the 2020s. David Forman joined the AGA over five years ago and now, as the vice president of research, he’s responsible for all the studies released. He spoke with GGB Managing Editor Jess Marquez to talk about how research is conducted at the AGA, at G2E in Las Vegas in October.
One of the few states that really understood sports betting during the legalization process was Michigan. Brand Iden, now the vice president of government affairs for Fanatics Betting & Gaming, formerly in a similar position with Sportradar, was the state senator in Michigan who really drove the process. And by including iGaming in the package, Michigan immediately vaulted to the top of the list when it comes to states that are getting the most out of online gaming. Iden explains how the bill was handled and what hurdles he had to overcome to get it passed. He spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros at G2E in Las Vegas in October.
As someone relatively new to the gaming industry, this series (both current and archive) has been incredibly helpful in helping me understand the nuance and strategy and how different organizations view it.
Old school and terrible audio
98% of their guests are old white men. Terrible audio, old school and boring.
I so wanted to love this podcast. I very much enjoy, generally speaking, the topics that are being discussed by the guests on the podcast. However after listening to the three most recently posted podcasts, I just couldn’t put up with it any longer. The guest sound quality is so poor it sounds like a microphone might be placed in front of the interviewers computer speaker, and that’s how they’re getting the guest audio. If they could get the guests to use an external microphone on their computer, the sound quality would be 1000% better.