A Webinar Series

Presented by

The Innovation Group, Regulatory Management Counselors, and Global Gaming Business Magazine, have combined their gaming industry expertise and perspective to present a webinar series designed to help gaming companies, operators, manufacturers and suppliers, executives, employees, investors and customers navigate the "new normal" as the world struggles through and emerges from the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Throughout this period, the Gaming in Crisis webinars will analyze and chart the recovery path for each segment of the industry. A diverse range of experts and our own professionals will examine and identify impacts, mitigation measures, and best practices in their respective fields for making it through and moving forward. The webinars are free and open to all participants of the industry simply by registering to attend.

WEBINAR 6: Thursday, June 11, 2020 | 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT

Reopening Realities: Cautious Celebration & Planning for the Future

Now that more than half of the American casinos have reopened or have dates for reopening, it’s time to get a reality check. While some local and tribal casinos have experienced great business and long lines, questions still remain about the long-term recovery and the related tourism amenities that often drive a casino resort.

At this session, operators who already have reopened explain how they prepared and what they experienced, along with how they plan to retain and build new business going forward.

MODERATOR:

Robert Russell

Robert Russell

Gaming Analyst, Regulatory Management Counselors, PC

SPEAKERS:

Mark Birtha

Mark Birtha

President, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain

 

Kathy George

Kathy George

Chief Executive Officer, FireKeepers Casino Hotel

 

Luann Pappas

Luann Pappas

Chief Executive Officer, Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort

All webinars are free. Additional webinars to be announced.

WEBINAR 1: Thursday, April 16, 2020 | 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT

Beyond CARES: How the Relief Bill Helps the Industry and Employees and Where it May Fall Short

The CARES Act provides $2 trillion in aid and relief to American companies and workers, including assistance for the gaming industry, one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. But how relief applies to different properties and companies will vary. This session will review how funds can be distributed to large and small companies in gaming to assist and retain employees or furlough them with the least financial impact. HR, finance and legal experts will weigh in on this session.

TOPICS INCLUDE:

  • Who qualifies for assistance?
  • What constitutes a large vs. a small business?
  • What are the liability issues and mitigation?

MODERATOR:

Robert Russell

Robert Russell

Gaming Analyst,
Regulatory Management Counselors, PC

SPEAKERS:

Jennifer Martinez

Jennifer Martinez

President and CEO,
Consult HR Partners, LLC

 

Anthony Sanfilippo

Anthony Sanfilippo

Co-founder of Sorelle Capital, Sorelle Entertainment and Sorelle Hospitality

 

Matt Sodl

Matt Sodl

Founding Partner, President & Managing Director, Innovation Capital

WEBINAR 2: Thursday, April 23, 2020 | 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT

Taking Care of Business: Difficult Decisions Ahead

Re-opening is still a ways off. It's a hopeful time, but a stressful one as well. Each property is going to have to make difficult decisions about what the "new normal" will look like. In this session a variety of experts will cover the important issue of re-opening and how the corporate and employee structure will change and evolve.

TOPICS INCLUDE:

  • Who continues to work during the shutdown?
  • Who comes back early to prepare for reopening?
  • What about executive compensation?
  • Should you use debt to cover the costs of reopening and what are the regulatory implications?
  • How do you re-boot your systems and operations?
  • How do you restart your marketing programs and how will they change in the new environment?

MODERATOR:

Michael Soll

President, The Innovation Group

SPEAKERS:

Bobby Soper

President & CEO, Sun
Gaming & Hospitality

 

Ellen F. Whittemore

Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Wynn Resorts

 

Josh Swissman

Founding Partner, The Strategy Organization

WEBINAR 3: Thursday, April 30, 2020 | 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT

Tribal Troubles: How Indian Gaming Will Rebound

The coronavirus knows no boundaries so the impact on tribal gaming in the U.S. has been just as devastating as it has been in the commercial gaming sector.

But tribes are different. Shareholders might grumble about lower dividends or stock prices, but the slump in Indian Country impacts tribal members in much more dramatic ways. Whether it’s money to fund tribal government activities, employment at the casino or other benefits received by tribal members, the current situation has a massive impact.

At this session, tribal gaming executives and those familiar with Indian Country will examine how the tribal gaming industry can recover, what the steps will be, and how this crisis will change operations from now on.

MODERATOR:

Roger Gros

Roger Gros

Publisher, Global Gaming Business Magazine

SPEAKERS:

John J. James

John J. James

Former President and CEO, Foxwoods Resort Casino

 

Ray Pineault

Ray Pineault

President and General Manager, Mohegan Sun

 

Matt Sodl

Matthew Wesaw

Tribal Council Chairman, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians

WEBINAR 4: Thursday, May 14, 2020 | 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT

Moving Forward: iGaming in the Covid-19 Era

While most of the gaming industry has been devastated by the Covid-19 crisis, one part of the business is thriving. With players barred from casinos, online gaming has taken a giant leap forward. Not only does it provide continuing revenue for casino companies in times such as these, but states collect taxes where none existed before.

But will the bloom fade when the crisis is over, or will states and jurisdictions rush to fill the void left by the continued absence of iGaming?

Experts will discuss the long-term viability of online gaming and how the Covid-19 crisis has awakened some of its most subtle critics.

MODERATOR:

Roger Gros

Roger Gros

Publisher, Global Gaming Business Magazine

SPEAKERS:

Sue Schneider

Sue Schneider

VP, Growth & Strategy, Americas, Sports Betting Community (SBC)

 

Dermot Smurfit

Dermot Smurfit

CEO, GAN

 

Kresimir Spajic

Kresimir Spajic

Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Online Gaming and Sports Betting, Hard Rock International

WEBINAR 5: Thursday, May 28, 2020 | 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT

Design Changes: What Will a Casino Resort Look Like in the Wake of Covid-19?

We’ve already seen Plexiglas partitions, more space between slot machines, limited number of players at table games and every other slot machine deactivated.

So what’s next? How will restaurants survive and thrive? Will lounges be the center of entertainment for a casino resort? How will showrooms be re-started in the wake of social distancing? What will the meetings & conventions space look like?

At this session, visionary architects and designers will interact with casino operators to discuss what might work and how customers may respond.

MODERATOR:

Michael Soll

President, The Innovation Group

SPEAKERS:

Frank Freedman

COO, Four Winds Casinos

 

Robert Gdowski

Principal | Director of Hospitality Design,
JCJ Architecture

 

Nathan Peak

Principal / Partner,
HBG Design

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SPEAKERS

Robert Russell is a governmental and business consultant whose practice primarily focuses on the casino gaming industry. Robert assists in developing compliance systems to ensure that companies remain compliant. His expertise includes casino supplier licensing, licensing transfers, non-compliance appeals, Internet trademark licensing agreements, issue management, association management, legislative monitoring, and lobbying.


Mark Birtha is President of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain. Prior to coming to Fire Mountain, Birtha was president of Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park.

A highly regarded gaming and hospitality executive with over 25 years of experience, Birtha’ s career has spanned operations and development, and he has held senior positions in leading organizations including Station Casinos, Sol Casinos and the AVA Amphitheater in Tucson, Mirage Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Marriott International and Starwood.

In 2011, Birtha was appointed president of the national executive board of the Cornell Hotel Society. He is a trustee of the Cornell Hotel Society Foundation and also serves on the Cornell Hotel School Dean’s Advisory Board.


Kathy George is Chief Executive Officer for FireKeepers Casino Hotel. She was appointed CEO in 2017, after serving as General Manager and Vice President of Hotel Operations for FireKeepers for more than 5 years.

George began her career with Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, spending 13 years in all areas of the hotel operations, including seven years as a General Manager. She spent more than four years in New York with the Seneca Gaming Corporation owned and operated by the Seneca Nation of Indians, where she served in several management roles including General Manager for the Casino and Hotel at Seneca Niagara as well as their Buffalo Creek Casino.

George’s commitment to service is not exclusive to her work, she is also very active in the local community. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, plays a large role in raising funds for S.A.F.E. Place, the area’s domestic violence shelter, and has served as the Tournament Director for the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship, a stop on the Symetra Tour—Road to The LPGA.

George holds a Bachelors degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.


Luann Pappas is Chief Executive Officer of Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in Mississippi. Prior to joining Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, Pappas was a 30-year veteran of Harrah’s/Caesars Entertainment, with her last position being Regional Vice President of Casino Marketing - Bally’s, Caesars and Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City for Caesar’s Entertainment.

With over 35 years of experience in the gaming industry, Pappas is one of only two female casino CEOs on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She attributes much of her success as a leader to the influence and advice of her father, who emphasized fairness, firmness, discipline, and a never-quit attitude.

Pappas has been distinguished with awards and designations from the Mississippi Business Journal, Global Gaming Women, New Orleans Magazine, the American Red Cross and Gulf Coast Woman. She was named “One of 25 People to Watch 2017” by Global Gaming Business Magazine.