As a "by the industry and for the industry" event, the G2E Conference Program is led by top gaming executives to create relevant content for new and loyal attendees alike. In collaboration with the Conference Advisory Board, G2E has established itself as the preeminent resource for gaming education.
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Courtney Muller is a senior vice president at Reed Exhibitions. Her portfolio includes gaming events: Global Gaming Expo, G2E Asia; as well as BookExpoAmerica, the North American book publishing convention and the Vision Expos, North Americas leading eye-care events. Muller has worked in the trade show and event industry for 16 years, spending 13 of those years at Reed Exhibitions. Muller has earned numerous accolades and awards in her years in the exhibit industry, including both the President's Award and the Chairman's Award at Reed Exhibitions.
Judy L. Patterson is senior vice president and executive director of the American Gaming Association (AGA). In this capacity, Patterson administers the association's day-to-day activities and has set up industry task forces to study issues as diverse as taxes, bank secrecy act provisions, communications and responsible gaming. She was instrumental in the organization of the National Center for Responsible Gaming, an independent, nonprofit organization that administers the nation's only peer-reviewed research grants program focused exclusively on problem and underage gambling. She also was a key player in the creation of Global Gaming Expo (G2E), and has led the development of the event into the largest and most successful gaming industry conference and trade show in the world. In addition, she has shepherded the expansion of the G2E family of events to include G2E Institute and G2E Asia. Patterson also works with consultants, academic institutions and state gaming associations to develop independent studies of gaming issues.
Marcus Prater is the executive director for the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM), a trade organization comprised of top gaming industry suppliers. Prater most recently served as senior vice president of marketing for Bally Technologies, Inc., where he spent nine years directing Bally's global advertising, trade show, machine and systems sales support, media relations and special event functions. Prior to joining Bally in 1999, Prater served as director of marketing for Las Vegas-based slot supplier Sigma Game, Inc. He earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.
Ernie Stevens is the chairman and national spokesman for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) in Washington, DC . Reelected by acclamation in 2005, Stevens is now serving his third two-year term as the organization's leader. NIGA, established in 1985, is a non-profit organization of 184 Indian Nations with other non-voting associate members representing tribes and businesses engaged in tribal gaming enterprises from around the country. From 1993 to 1999 Stevens was an elected councilman for the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. He is a former first vice-president of the National Congress of American Indians. As a respected leader in Indian country, Stevens also serves on the Native American Rights Fund National Support Committee, is a board member of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, serves on the Native American Advisory Board of the Boys and Girls Club of America, the National Indian Telecommunications Institute, and is honorary chair of the Institute of American Indian Arts, National Support Committee. Stevens is a staunch advocate for all tribal colleges and is currently leading a campaign to garner financial and corporate support for Haskell Indian Nations University. Stevens has earned an Associate's degree from Haskell Indian Nations University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Mount Senario College . He is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin.
Keli Elkins is director of special projects for the American Gaming Association (AGA). In this capacity, Elkins serves as the association's primary liaison for all Global Gaming Expo (G2E) events, and organizes the annual Gaming Hall of Fame dinner and National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) Conference on Gambling and Addiction. Additionally, she coordinates or serves as the member liaison for such association activities as diversity, government affairs and state relations, various federal issues and the association's works as it relates to the NCRG. Elkins has worked for the AGA since June 2002. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications and psychology from Vanderbilt University.
Roger Gros is publisher of Global Gaming Business magazine, the leading trade publication for the gaming industry, published by Casino Connection International (CCI). Global Gaming Business also publishes Global Gaming Business Weekly, the industry's only weekly e-magazine, and Casino Connection, the national magazine for casino employees. Before joining CCI, Gros was president of Inlet Communications, an independent consulting firm. He was vice president of Casino Journal Publishing Group from 1984-2000 and has served as editor of Casino Journal, the National Gaming Summary and Casino Player magazines. Gros was a co-founder of the American Gaming Summit and the Southern Gaming Summit conferences and trade shows. He was named "Businessman of the Year" for 1998 by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce and is the author of How to Win at Casino Gambling, published in 1998 by Carlton Books.
Mike Johnson is industry vice president for Global Gaming Expo (G2E) events at Reed Exhibitions, encompassing the casino gaming portfolio for the world’s leading events organizer. In this capacity he is responsible for full strategic management of G2E and G2E Asia, the largest international casino gaming tradeshows and conferences on either side of the world. Each year the G2E brand accounts for nearly 30,000 gaming industry professionals who gather to network and conduct business across both events in Las Vegas and Macau respectively. During his time with Reed, Johnson has managed a diverse portfolio of business across the United States and Asia, ranging from security to eyecare, spas, and medical aesthetics. He is a certified audiovisual technician and lighting designer, having worked previously at Scholastic, Inc. and the law offices of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP. He is also a regular moderator of industry webinars, and a guest lecturer at various universities on the development of the MICE industry (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) as a business and tourism driver throughout the world.
Dike Bacon is a principal and director of planning and development at Hnedak Bobo Group, Inc., a planning, architecture, and interior design firm. In this role, Bacon is focused on influencing and aligning the firm's expertise, disciplines and national presence with client vision. His professional practice experience spans 32 years and supports his leadership philosophy of balancing programmatic development objectives with market-focused economics. Bacon's project experience includes major commercial and Indian gaming, hospitality and entertainment resorts throughout the U.S. Bacon is an active sponsor and associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association, a frequent speaker at national conventions and an editorial contributor to numerous gaming and hospitality publications.
D. Kirk Harman is president and managing principal of The Harman Group, a structural engineering firm offering services to gaming, hospitality and entertainment facilities worldwide. The firm also has an in-house design group that provides comprehensive parking facility design services. Harman is licensed in more than 30 jurisdictions, including California, Nevada and Illinois. He earned his bachelor`s degree in civil engineering from Lafayette College and his master`s degree in structural engineering from Drexel University.
Paul Heretakis is vice president of WESTAR Architects, where he brings more than 15 years of experience overseeing hospitality design and mixed-use master planning projects around the world to the position. Heretakis' focus and direction have established WESTAR Architects as a key player in hospitality design as he continues to work with many of the largest gaming companies in the industry. His portfolio includes more than a thousand casino, restaurant, retail and hotel projects in the U.S., Europe and Southeast Asia. Heretakis has spoken at numerous hospitality seminars and written articles for magazines around the world. He has designed an award-winning textile line and is currently developing lighting, carpeting and wall covering collections. Heretakis was named one of the top 25 people to meet in 2009 by Global Gaming Business magazine.
Dick Rizzo is vice chairman for Perini Building Company. With over 40 years of experience, he has extensive knowledge of the construction industry. His role has been crucial in helping Perini become a leader in this hospitality and gaming.
Mark Lerner is senior vice president for law and government, and general counsel at Bally Technologies Inc., where he began in 1996 as assistant general counsel. Lerner has served as deputy attorney general for the Nevada Gaming Commission and State Gaming Control Board. He was also general counsel to Becker Gaming, Inc., a Las Vegas gaming company, and an attorney at Jones, Jones, Close & Brown, a Las Vegas commercial and litigation law firm. Lerner is a past chairman of the Nevada State Bar ethics committee, president of the Nevada Gaming Lawyers Association, a member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors and the International Masters of Gaming Law, and an officer of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers.
Lloyd D. Levenson
Lloyd D. Levenson is the chairman of the casino law department and chief executive officer of Cooper Levenson law firm. An accomplished trial attorney and recognized expert in complex casino regulatory matters, Levenson is also a well-published author and frequent speaker on a broad range of industry legal issues, with a client list that includes casinos, sovereign governments, casino professionals and suppliers to the casino industry. Levenson has received numerous awards and holds several key positions in vital organizations that set worldwide standards, both nationally and internationally. He has twice served as chairman of the casino law section of the New Jersey Bar Association and also has served as chairman of the Gaming Law Committee of the American Bar Association. He earned his bachelor's degree from Lafayette College and his law degree from Georgetown University.
Thomas Peterman is senior vice president and chief compliance officer of MGM Resorts International, where he administers the compliance plan and ensures compliance with federal, state, local and foreign laws. Peterman previously held the positions of vice president, senior vice president and general counsel at MGM Grand Hotel. A former associate with Lionel, Sawyer & Collins, Peterman is a member of the Nevada and Wisconsin bar associations and enrolled to practice before the Nevada Gaming Commission. He represented the American Gaming Association on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Bank Secrecy Act advisory group from 2006 until 2013 and co-authored an article, “AML Programs and Nevada’s Casino Industry –Training and the Methods Used for Detection of Money Laundering and Fraud” in 2010. Peterman graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s degree and from the University of Wisconsin Law School.
Jeffrey R. Rodefer
Jeffrey R. Rodefer is vice president of legal affairs, assistant general counsel and corporate compliance officer for Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD). Previously, Jeff served more than 13 years in the Nevada Attorney General's Ofrfice, including eight years as counsel to the Nevada Gaming Commission and Nevada State Gaming Control Board. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Nevada, Reno and law degree from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He is a member of the state bars of Nevada, California, Colorado and Oregon. Jeff is the Chairman of the State Bar of Nevada-Gaming Law Section (2000-present) and Vice Chairman of the State Bar of Nevada's Committee on Functional Equivalency. In 2010, he was the first recipient of the State Bar of Nevada's "Volunteer Lawyer of the Year" award.
Robert Russell is a gaming analyst at Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. In this role, Russell focuses primarily on the gaming industry where he assists in developing 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.
Martha Sabol is a shareholder based in the Chicago office of Greenberg Traurig, a law firm with more than 1,500 attorneys and government affairs professionals in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Sabol focuses her practice on gaming regulatory, licensing and compliance matters. Sabol also co-chairs Greenberg Traurig's national gaming practice, a multi-discliplarny team of attorneys representing owners, operators and developers of gaming facilities, manufacturers of gaming devices, investment banks and lenders on gaming related matters. Prior to joining Greenberg Traurig, she was vice president and general counsel for Hyatt Gaming Management, Inc., in Chicago.
Sabol is a member of the board of trustees of the International Association of Gaming Advisors.
Melissa Lurie is the full time Executive Director of the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL). In this capacity, Triplett administers the association's day-to-day operations, publishing and event planning around the world. She has been working with the IMGL on a part time basis since 2006. The IMGL, an 11 – year old association, is the preeminent gaming law networking and educational organization in the world with over 300 members in 38 countries.
Lurie began her career in the gaming industry 20 years ago when she formed Meeting interFACE. Along with her partners, she developed and served as Conference Director for the American Gaming Summit, Southern Gaming Summit and the Northern Gaming Summit. Triplett also produced the National Center for Responsible Gaming conference for the American Gaming Association for many years.
Prior to Meeting interFACE, she worked with the American Bar Association where she planned their Annual and Mid Year meetings. Before becoming a meeting planner Triplett worked for Marriott and Hilton Hotels in sales and convention services.
Triplett is a member of the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) and Global Gaming Women Advisory Boards. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Cornell University in the School of Hotel Administration and is a board membership of the Colorado Chapter. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her son and daughter.
Neil Davidson is the chief financial officer, senior vice president and corporate treasurer at Bally Technologies, where he has led a number of initiatives to enhance management reporting, reduce costs, improve external reporting and strengthen investor confidence. Before his promotion in 2012, Davidson served as the company’s chief accounting officer; he also served as vice president of corporate accounting from 2006 to 2008. Prior to joining Bally Technologies, Davidson was vice president of finance for Multimedia Games, Inc., a gaming and systems company. He is a certified public accountant who began his career in the Houston office of global audit, tax and advisory services firm KPMG.
Rochanne L. Hackett
Rochanne L. Hackett is Managing Director, National Gaming Development, in the Gaming Division at Wells Fargo Bank. In this role, Hackett is responsible for developing relationships and providing innovative financing solutions for Native American and commercial gaming operators across the country. She has been involved in providing more than $10 billion of capital for at least 30 tribes and commercial gaming companies, and has 30 years of banking and finance experience.
Robert Heller is co-founder, president and CEO of Spectrum Gaming Capital, an advisory firm to the global gaming industry. The former president of Heller Gaming & Leisure, a boutique investment banking and advisory firm specializing in casinos, hotels and resorts, Heller joined SGC from UBS Investment Bank, where he was responsible for coordinating the bank’s global gaming franchise. Heller previously established and managed teams as a managing director of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, and Salomon Brothers. He began his career as a certified public accountant with Price Waterhouse & Company. A frequent speaker at global industry events, Heller has addressed gaming-industry conferences in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. A former board member of the American Gaming Association, Heller has lectured at the NYU Real Estate Institute and the Cornell Hotel School. He is a graduate of the City University of New York.
William Newby is the former global head of gaming investment banking with Jefferies & Company, where he played a lead role in Station Casinos’ purchase of Green Valley Ranch Station Casino and Downstream Development Authority’s senior notes issue in 2011. He previously served as head of Americas gaming and leisure investment banking for UBS and as senior client manager with the gaming and leisure industries group of Banc of America Securities LLC, where he led a team in raising capital for casinos and tribal gaming ventures across the country. Bank of America under Newby was the U.S. and global gaming industry’s largest and most successful capital-raising source. Newby has been a member of the board of directors of the American Gaming Association for the past 10 years. He graduated magna cum laude from UCLA, where he earned a degree in history as well as an MBA.
Adam Rosenberg is a managing director and global head of the gaming group at Goldman Sachs. In these roles, Rosenberg provides strategic and financial advice to the firm's clients, including gaming operators such as Las Vegas Sands, Kerzner International, Caesars Entertainment and Station Casinos, as well as gaming technology and equipment manufacturers like International Game Technology, Bally Technologies, GTECH Corporation and Scientific Games. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Rosenberg was an attorney with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Harvard University.
Andrew S. Zarnett, managing director of Deutsche Bank Securities, currently serves as the company's gaming, lodging and leisure high-yield debt analyst, co-head of high-yield research, and as a member of the executive committee of the leverage debt group. Zarnett previously held the position of senior gaming equity analyst at Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc., where he also served as a member of the board of directors. Before joining Ladenburg Thalmann, Zarnett was assistant to the chairman of Furman Selz LLC. He holds a bachelor's degree from York University, a master's degree in business administration from Babson College and is a member of the board of directors of the National Center for Responsible Gaming.
Christie Eickelman is the senior director of worldwide marketing for Gaming Laboratories International, Inc. (GLI). In her position Eickelman is responsible for the coordination and implementation of all GLI marketing programs globally. Her responsibilities include developing the corporate theme and establishing and coordinating the marketing function in accordance with GLI's policies, regulations, and sound business practices. Previously, Eickelman worked as the marketing manager for Sodak Gaming, Inc. now IGT. She also worked for Wolf Gaming, LLC. as vice president of marketing and public relations.
Michelle Olesiejuk is the Executive Director of the Gaming Standards Association (GSA), a non-profit trade association created to benefit its members and the gaming industry. She oversees the administrative management of the organization, ensuring that the Board of Directors and President is advised on the implementation of its bylaws and policies, creating open standards and maintaining its position of neutrality in the industry. Olesiejuk has extensive experience in managing technical standards development organizations and previously managed the Mobile Wireless Internet Forum and the Frame Relay Forum.
Bruce Rowe is the senior vice president of business development for Bally Technologies. He is also president of Renaissance Casino Solutions, Inc., a Nevada-based consulting company offering services to several sectors of the gaming industry. Rowe has held key positions at Harrah's and the GTECH Corporation. Rowe also has participated in the openings of 16 domestic and international casinos during his career. He is a member of the International Gaming Advisory Board.
Deana Scott is the founder and CEO of TOD Gaming, a tribal economic development company, where she is currently working with the Yurok Tribe in California to launch a new casino. Scott has spent 19 years in casino resort executive management focusing on tribal gaming marketing, communication and project planning and has held critical strategic positions in the startup and expansion of various business ventures, She previously served as the chief marketing officer for Acres 4.0. A noted gaming industry speaker, Scott has been honored with several marketing and public relations awards. She holds certificates in gaming management and executive development from the University of Nevada, Reno, as well as a B.A. in communications with a public relations emphasis from Marylhurst University.
Kent Young is the general manager and executive vice president of Aruze Gaming America, Inc. Formerly, Young was the CEO and president of True Blue Gaming, an independent game content development and intellectual property license company. He also spent ten years at Aristocrat Technologies, where he held various sales, executive marketing and development roles. Young holds a bachelor of commerce degree in strategic management from James Cook University.
Fred Gushin is founder of Spectrum Gaming, for which he has worked with a variety of private sector and governmental clients. He has advised private casino developers on operational and management issues and provided gaming expertise to a number of gaming jurisdictions over the years. Gushin worked for many years with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement where he was promoted to assistant director and assistant attorney general. During his thirteen-year career with the division, he oversaw the openings of twelve Atlantic City casino hotels and managed civil and administrative litigation before the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. He has personally argued more than fifty cases before the commission. Gushin also serves as a member of the Oneida Indian Nation Gaming Commission, which regulates the highly successful Turning Stone Resort Casino near Syracuse , Ny.
Per Jaldung has been in the Casino business for over 10 years and has been the CEO of Casino Cosmopol since 2008. Casino Cosmopol operates four casinos in Sweden and is a subsidiary company of AB Svenska Spel.
Ben Lee is the managing partner of IGamiX Management & Consulting, based in Macau. Previously, Lee served as vice president of casino marketing for the Venetian Macau. Lee has extensive gaming marketing experience in Asia and Australia, and has spent the last six years covering new gaming projects throughout the region. His clients include Harrah's Entertainment, Asian Coast Development Ltd., Intercity and the 7Luck group of casinos in South Korea.
Lloyd C. Nathan
As CEO of Asian Coast Development Ltd (ACDL), Lloyd Nathan was responsible for raising the funding for, and overseeing the construction of, The Grand Ho Tram, Vietnam’s first luxury integrated resort that opened in July 2013. Nathan also secured a first of its kind gaming license from the Government of Vietnam and oversaw the hiring and training of a 2,000 strong resort team. Previously, Nathan was president of MGM MIRAGE Global Gaming Development, where he was responsible for worldwide gaming expansion as well as the company's footprint in Asia. Nathan spent the first 10 years of his career as a dual-qualified U.S. and U.K. lawyer working in London for Slaughter and May and in Los Angeles for both Glaser Weil and Loeb & Loeb. His experience also includes five years running the corporate development divisions for two New York-based companies, expanding their leisure and technology businesses globally. He graduated with honors from the London School of Economics and The Law Society of England's College of Law. He is an attorney at law of the State Bar of California and a solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales.
Cristina Romero is a partner in charge of the international department at LOYRA Abogados y Asesores, a law firm dedicated to gaming and leisure in Latin America and Spain. Romero previously served as senior associate at Clifford Chance and as a financial analyst at Credit Suisse Securities in London. She has spoken at various gaming conferences and regularly writes for Gambling Compliance, the WOGLR, Diario Jurídico, Actualidad Jurídica Aranzadi and SNL Financial. Romero also wrote the chapter on Infringements and Sanctions in in “The New Gaming Law 13/2011.” She is a professor and academic director of the masters programme on the gaming sector for the Instituto de Empresa. Romero is a member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors, Global Gaming Women of the American Gaming Association, the conference advisory board of G2E, and the International Masters of Gaming Law.
Nakia Jackson-Hale has served as the director of programs at the UNLV International Gaming Institute since 2005, which involves running daily operations, managing budgets, strategy, seminars and regulator training, as well as working with clients to design and implement customized programs. Jackson-Hale brings valuable experience from her previous career at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, as well as four years managing facilities and events at the International Gaming Institute. In her position at the IGI, she has a particular interest in expanding offerings in the Australian, South American, and South African markets. She also enjoys working with regulatory bodies, and sits on the committee for Global Gaming Women.
Bo Bernhard holds an assistant professorship in the department of hotel management in the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He also serves as director of gambling research at UNLV's International Gaming Institute. During his career, Bernhard has delivered over two dozen keynote addresses on six continents and has provided testimony in front of a number of state and federal bodies. Bernhard is a graduate of Harvard University.
Israel Posner is executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Richard Stockton College in New Jersey. Posner earned his doctorate from Temple Unversity and has more than 35 years of experience as a college professor and administrator as well as a researcher, author and consultant. Posner recently edited Casino Gaming in Atlantic City: A Thirty Year Retrospective.
Kate Spilde, Ph.D.
Katherine A. Spilde, Ph.D., is endowed chair of the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming at San Diego State University, where she is also an associate professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Previously, Spilde was executive director of the Center for California Native Nations at UC- Riverside and was also a senior research associate at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Prior to her appointment at Harvard, she was the director of research for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA). In addition, Spilde was a policy analyst and writer for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, a federal commission that produced a comprehensive study of U.S. gambling policy for Congress in 1999. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Hawaii, a master's degree from George Washington University, a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California in Santa Cruz and an M.B.A. from UCR.
Clinton Ford Billups, Jr. is president of CFB Productions Inc, where he serves as a personal manager and television producer. He has more than 30 years of experience in entertainment, broadcasting and marketing communications. Billups also is a founder and producer of EventPro Forum, the annual Las Vegas conference for live event producers. A frequent participant at entertainment industry trade events, he has been quoted in publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal to The New Yorker and Amusement Business. Billups was elected in 2002 as the national president of the National Conference of Personal Managers. He is a graduate of Lafayette College and studied business management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also is a graduate of the Connecticut Police Academy and served as both a municipal and state law enforcement officer.
Mark Birtha is currently Vice President and General Manager with Station Casinos, the leading provider of gaming and entertainment in the greater Las Vegas area, where they own and operate nine major hotel casino properties. These are regional entertainment destinations and include various amenities beyond casinos including numerous restaurants, entertainment venues, movie theaters, bowling, hotels, spas and convention/banquet space. Prior to this, Birtha was President of Sol Casinos and the AVA Amphitheater in Tucson, AZ where he focused on the strategic vision for the organization and had general management responsibilities for the operations of Casino Del Sol, Casino of the Sun, and the 5,000 seat AVA Amphitheater. In addition, he oversaw the design, construction and operations of Casino Del Sol’s $130M 4 Star / 4 Diamond hotel resort expansion development.
A highly regarded gaming and hospitality executive with over 19 years of experience, Birtha’s career has spanned both operations and development at the leading casino and hotel companies including Mirage Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Marriott International and Starwood. Birtha graduated from The Hotel School at Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science Degree and as a Merrill Presidential Scholar. In 2011, he was appointed President of the national executive board of The Cornell Hotel Society, the 85 year old alumni association that represents 14,000 Hotel School graduates from around the world. Birtha has been a regular lecturer in The Cornell Hotel School’s Casino Operations and Marketing classes and a featured speaker at multiple gaming, Native American, condo/real estate, hospitality research, and hotel conferences. The American Gaming Association invited him to be the 2011 Keynote Speaker on Native American Gaming operations at G2E.
In 2006, he was recognized as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” business executives in Las Vegas by In Business Las Vegas Magazine. He is also managing editor of the Retail, Dining and Entertainment publication, and has written editorial pieces for Global Gaming Business, Casino Design, Retail, Dining & Entertainment, Casino and Gaming International, Hotel Yearbook 2010, the Morowitz Quarterly, Urbino.net, and other publications. He sits on the advisory boards of The Cornell Hotel School, Internet Marketing, Inc., SuiteLinq, and is a commissioner for the Henderson, NV. Board of Cultural Arts and Tourism.
Jason Gastwirth is senior vice president of marketing and entertainment at Caesars Entertainment, where he is responsible for managing global brands including Caesars, Harrah’s and Horseshoe, the company-wide media and PR strategies and the entertainment programming across the company's 40+ venues nationwide. Caesars is the world’s largest gaming entertainment company, hosting over 100 million guests annually at its more than 50 resorts across five continents. Gastwirth joined Caesars Entertainment Corporation as its Vice President and Executive Associate to the Chairman, President & CEO.
Prior to joining Caesars, Gastwirth served as the Chief Marketing Officer of the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas where he oversaw property marketing, hotel sales, revenue management, e-commerce, public relations, entertainment, sponsorship and call center operations. Gastwirth also worked at Las Vegas Sands Corp. and was a member of the Executive Team at The Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas, most recently as Vice President of Casino Marketing and Corporate Entertainment. In this role, he was responsible for expanding the VIP gaming customer base while negotiating entertainment deals for LVS’ properties in Las Vegas, Macao and Singapore.
Before joining the gaming industry, Gastwirth held strategy positions in San Francisco and New York at Gap Inc. and management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Gastwirth earned his bachelor’s degree in government with honors at Harvard University and his MBA at Stanford University.
David Rittvo is director of The Innovation Group's food and beverage division, which he joined in 2009 to formalize a specialty discipline providing consulting, marketing, development, financial, operational and management advisory services to the entertainment and hospitality industries. With more than 14 years of operational restaurant experience, Rittvo has worked in facilities from San Francisco to London and managed multiple food service amenities within a single casino. He uses his expertise to help owners, operators and management entities adjust their operations to reflect recent changes in economic conditions. Rittvo holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Denver.
Steven Shapiro is an adjunct professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, where he teaches courses in construction management, real estate development and contract drafting. He previously worked as a project manager at The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. Shapiro began his career as an attorney representing small business owners in matters related to commercial real estate law. He holds a master’s degree in engineering fro the University of Maryland.
Melissa Blau is a director of iGaming Capital, a consulting and financial advisory company dedicated to the online gaming sector in the U.S. and Europe. Blau has been in the online gaming sector for more than nince years as both an operator and advisor. In addition to her current job, she also is the finance editor and a regular columnist for iGaming Business magazine. Previously, Blau worked in the media technology sector for 15 years, mainly as a general partner at Constellation Ventures, a Bear Stearns venture capital fund. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a MBA from Harvard University. Blau is from New York and resides in London.
Michael Caselli is the founder and managing editor of iGaming Business and Bluff Europe magazines. Caselli has been involved in the gaming industry since 1996 when he completed his graduate degree work, studying the viability of gaming on the Internet, at the University of London. Since then, he has helped to successfully launch several online and print gaming publications. Caselli has chaired dozens of major international gaming conferences and has appeared on such media outlets as CNBC and the BBC as an Internet gaming expert.
Michael Lipton Q.C.
Michael Lipton is a senior partner of Dickinson Wright LLP, leading the Canadian gaming law group. For more than 20 years, he has served as senior counsel on several gaming law matters, including advising on requests for proposals from government to operate casinos and applicants seeking registration with Canadian regulatory authorities. He regularly represents governments, lottery corporations and gaming equipment suppliers and manufacturers, and counsels licensees throughout North America on gaming compliance issues. Since 2008, Lipton has been recognized by his peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in Canada and by Chambers Global for his expertise in gaming law. He is an editor of Canadian Gaming Lawyer, has authored many articles on gaming law and delivered papers at gaming law conferences around the world. Lipton is a founding member and past president of the International Masters of Gaming Law.
Frank Pracukowski, director of administration for Foxwoods Development Company (FDC), coordinates operational support and serves as the primary liaison between FDC and essential departments of Foxwoods Resort Casino (FRC) and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. Pracukowski previously worked as software development manager and director of gaming systems at FRC with primary oversight for all gaming facility computer systems. Pracukowski has overseen all FRC casino expansions and serves as COO for Velocity Gaming, a joint venture between FDC and Goodson Gaming. He has spent 20 years in the information technology arena and co-leads the strategic effort for Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nations' online gaming operations initiative. Pracukowski holds a degree in business operations, casino management, from Gibbs College.
Steve Rittvo is chairman of The Innovation Group of Companies. He has contributed to thousands of financial management, planning projects, and development throughout his 40 years as a professional. His clients include the world's most successful online and land-based gaming operators-public, private and Native American financial institutions private equity firms and government agencies. Rittvo's experience and depth of understanding of the industry have been shared in such diverse roles as a financial and economic advisor investment banker expert witness legislative consultant board member published author and conference speaker. In 2009, Rittvo's achievements and broad sphere of influence were recognized by Global Gaming Business magazine with his inclusion among the "Top Ten Most Influential People in the Gaming Industry". He has recently led the expansion of the Innovation Group of Companies into the areas of Internet Gaming, Food & Beverage, and Sports and Entertainment. Additionally, he has hands on experience in the industry as an owner/partner in 3 casinos, a Route Operation, a Full Service Hotel and numerous Food & Beverage Outlets.
Sue Schneider is the founder of eGaming Brokerage. One of the world's leading experts on the Internet gaming industry, Schneider began as owner of a gaming consumer portal and moved on to launch River City Group and key industry trade publications, including igamingnews.com and the Internet Gambling Report. After River City Group was purchased by Clarion Events in 2006, Schneider remained as CEO until July 2008. She is the principal of egamingbrokerage.com and consults on a variety of other independent projects in the industry. Schneider is a founder and former chairwoman of the Interactive Gaming Council. She is a frequent speaker at international gaming conferences and has testified before the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. She serves as editor-at-large of Gaming Law Review and Economics.
Jason Giles is a tribal citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation located in Oklahoma and deputy executive director/general counsel for the National Indian Gaming Association. Giles attended the United States Military Academy and law school at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Upon graduating from law school in 2000, Giles began his legal career as an associate attorney at a labor law firm in Honolulu , Hawaii., where he focused on labor law, real estate law, and bankruptcy issues. He is currently a member of the Wisconsin , Hawaii and Oklahoma bar associations.
Kristi Jackson is CEO of Tribal Financial Advisors, an investment banking firm she co-founded in 2009 to assist tribes with financing-related issues. In a prior role, Jackson served as managing director at Banc of America Securities, leading the tribal finance effort and raising more than $15 billion of capital for more than 30 tribes, including syndicated bank debt and high-yield and tax-exempt bonds. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Irvine, and an MBA from the Anderson School at the University of California, Las Vegas.
Jana McKeag is president of Lowry Strategies and a partner in The Franklin Partnership. She is a former member of the National Indian Gaming Commission and has worked on Indian issues for more than 30 years. McKeag also writes a political column for Casino Journal and sits on the G2E conference advisory board. She is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a graduate of Gettysburg College and Harvard University.
Sheila Morago is executive director of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association. She previously served as vice president of national relations for Initial Impressions in Tempe, Ariz.; executive director for the Arizona Indian Gaming Association; tribal liaison for Arizonans for Fair Gaming and Indian Self-Reliance, where she managed outreach for Prop 202; and director of public relations for the National Indian Gaming Association. Morago began her career in tribal gaming as director of marketing for the Gila River Casinos. She was inducted into the Indian Gaming Hall of Fame and awarded Indian Gaming Magazine’s Eagle Visionary Award; she has also been listed among Global Gaming Business magazine’s 25 People to Watch and Casino Enterprise Management magazine’s Great Women of Gaming. A member of the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, Morago studied business and public administration at the University of Arizona.
Linda J. Roe
Linda J. Roe is vice president of business development and client relations for Thalden-Boyd-Emery Architects, a leading architectural firm specializing in casino and hotel design. She has worked with architects, contractors, developers and clients in the design and construction industry for more than 35 years. Her unique experience, along with her dedicated involvement in the National Indian Gaming Association, gives Roe an in-depth understanding of the needs of Native American tribes. Roe earned her bachelor's degree in business from Maryville University in Missouri.
Ernie Stebbins has served as executive director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association since April 2003. He began his non-profit management career as the executive director of the National Hardwood Lumber Association in Memphis and was the founding executive vice president of the Hardwood Forest Foundation, a non-profit public educational foundation. In 1997, he was recruited by the nearby Mississippi casino industry to start up and establish the Mississippi Gaming Association, where he served as executive director before going to work for the Washington Tribes.
Nehme E. Abouzeid
Nehme E. Abouzeid is the Executive Director of Brand Marketing & Advertising for Wynn and Encore Las Vegas, where he oversees the resort branding, advertising, and entertainment marketing efforts.
Previously, he spent nine years with Las Vegas Sands Corporation (LVSC) in a number of key operational, business development, and strategic roles. Mostly recently, he was LVSC’s Director of Partnership Marketing, where, among other initiatives, he launched the Venetian and Palazzo’s high-profile partnership with Intercontinental Hotel Group. Earlier in his career with LVSC, he led entertainment business development for the company’s properties. He was also the first to complete LVSC’s management training program in integrated resort operations. Before entering the casino industry, Abouzeid spent five years in editorial media as a writer, editor, and radio producer in U.S. and international markets. He holds a bachelor’s degree from The George Washington University and an MBA from Babson College.
Michael J. Broderick is the former director of marketing for Lake of the Torches Resort Casino in Lac du Flambeau, Wis., where he was responsible for creating, developing and implementing all of the resort-casino's marketing, promotional advertising and entertainment programs. Apart from his success at Lake of the Torches, he is considered an expert in the field of behavioral marketing and casino promotions, and has written extensively on the subject in several industry trade magazines. Broderick was named by Central Wisconsin Business Magazine one of Wisconsin's "Young Business Leaders to Watch in 2010."
Rick Campbell is the Vice President of Casino Marketing and the Managing Director for CMS Group, Inc. Rick had the great fortune to begin his career touring with national musical artists as a sound and lighting engineer. As the touring schedules came to a close, Rick transferred his sound and lighting experience into a similar position in the casino industry. During his tenure as a sound and lighting expert, Rick became involved in creating marketing strategies in these establishments. With his education in marketing, he secured a position in the marketing field of the casino industry. As a result of that decision, Rick now has nearly 20 years of experience with both Native American and commercial gaming organizations as an innovative casino marketing executive. Rick has held senior level executive positions in marketing at the corporate and property levels of organizations such as Herbst Gaming, Tropicana Entertainment, Caesars Entertainment and Isle of Capri Casinos. Rick Campbell possesses expertise in creating and executing marketing tools with a proven track record of profitability in developing comprehensive marketing strategies. He has also executed successful marketing programs for both land-based casinos and online gaming operations, including development of CRM bridge platforms between social gaming and land-based player systems. Throughout his career, Rick has had the privilege of being invited to conduct seminars and to be a guest speaker at various conferences throughout the United States and Europe on topics of Casino Marketing and Management and shares thrilling anecdotes of his journey on the road that lead him to where he is today. Besides being a successful casino marketing executive, Rick has also been involved as a Producer for several television projects.
Bio Coming Soon.
Alex Calderone serves as the leader of FPG’s casino finance practice and is also responsible for overseeing the firm’s business development and strategic growth initiatives.
Alex’s first job servicing the casino industry dates back nearly a decade where, as a member of KPMG’s assurance and advisory services practice, he provided quarterly financial statement and internal control audits to two of the three commercial casinos in Detroit, Michigan. After leaving KPMG, Alex joined the financial advisory and restructuring firm of Conway MacKenzie, where he spent seven years providing turnaround, valuation, and expert witness services to clients across a number of different industries, with a special focus on gaming and hospitality business companies. In this role, Alex worked closely with a number of gaming operators spanning across the Midwestern and Northeastern United States.
Alex is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified Turnaround Professional, and is Accredited in Business Valuation by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is also a former visiting professor of accounting at Michigan State University and holds a Master of Science and Bachelor of Arts in Accounting with High Honors from Michigan State University.
Derk Boss is director of security for Casino Aztar in Evansville, Ind., and a respected author, instructor and speaker who specializes in surveillance training and methodology, games protection, loss prevention, internal and external theft, and fraud detection. Boss has appeared as an expert on several television networks and his technical articles have appeared in dozens of professional journals, including Security Management magazine. As a speaker, he has been featured at several international conferences, including G2E, the Gaming Operations Summit and the Biometrics Summit. Boss serves on the Gaming & Wagering Protection Council for ASIS International and is president of the International Association of Certified Surveillance.
Alan W. Zajic is an independent Nevada licensed security consultant with more than 30 years of practical experience in the security industry, primarily in the gaming environment. He has worked from entry level to administrative executive management, including hotel operations and corporate security. Zajic started his career in the contract security field where he conducted security surveys audits and performed security services for all types of businesses and venues. He is a member of ASIS International, serving as vice chairman of the gaming and wagering council. He also is an advisory board for the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Conference, where he leads the security & surveillance program. Zajic is a nationally recognized speaker in the areas of security and surveillance and is frequently requested to testify as an expert in gaming related lawsuits.
Rosemarie Cook is the Vice President of Gaming for SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, PA. In her role, Rose is responsible for all gaming operations, including the research, selection, installation, maintenance, and performance analysis of the property's 1,602 slot machines and 55 table games.
A 34 year veteran of the gaming industry, Cook has experience in the New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania markets encompassing all aspects of casino operations. Immediately prior to joining SugarHouse Casino, Cook was the Director of Training and Development for Casino Operations at Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ.
In 2007 she became part of Stockton College's Institute for Gaming Management, developing and teaching a course in Table Games Management. Most recently, Cook has been awarded Casino Enterprise Management's "Top in Ops" Award for having demonstrated exceptional achievement and commitment to mentoring and caring for her staff and contributions to the industry as a whole.
C.J. Graham is general manager of Thunder Valley Resort. He is a 22-year veteran of the casino/hotel industry and brings multiple levels of executive experience to his current role. Graham previously served as vice president of table games at the Palms Resort. He has been recognized as an outstanding senior level leader and industry advisor with proven ability to conceptualize, develop and implement a multi-faceted business plan encapsulating numerous fiscal, operational and service objectives.
Mike May is the vice president of table operations, poker and player development at Pechanga Resort & Casino. He previously rose through the ranks from dealer to vice president of table operations at Bally. May is a graduate of Penn State University.
Debi Nutton is executive vice president of casino operations for Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas, where she is responsible for table games, race and sports book, slot operations. She began her career in hospitality and hotel operations before entering the gaming industry as one of the first female craps dealers in Las Vegas. Debi joined MGM Grand Resorts in 1989 as a pit manager at The Mirage, where she was part of the pre-opening team. In 2010, Nutton took part in Leadership Las Vegas, an intensive program sponsored by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce devoted to strengthening and educating community leaders. She holds an associate degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a bachelor’s degree from Bellevue University.
Max Rubin, president of Max Rubin Enterprises, is a gaming industry veteran, author, consultant, gambling humorist and former professional gambler. The award-winning author of the “Comp City” book series as well as countless consumer and trade articles, Rubin is a member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame and the perennial host and game master of the Blackjack Ball, a top-secret gala featuring the world’s best blackjack players. Ruben, who has been a speaker at numerous gaming and marketing symposiums, has also been featured on scores of television programs, including 48 Hours, Casino Diaries and Breaking Vegas. He has served as the host and color commentator on several successful tournament-style gaming series, including the “World Series of Blackjack” and “Ultimate Blackjack Tour.” Rubin is a graduate of the College of Hotel Administration at UNLV.
Donald Hoover is a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University's International School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. In addition, he is a vice president of placement consulting with Gaming Hospitality Experts and has more than 20 years of experience recruiting talent in the gaming sector. Hoover holds a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in organizational leadership.
Wendy L. Nutt is the vice president of labor relations at MGM MIRAGE. Nutt previously held the positions of general counsel for labor and employment for MGM MIRAGE and associate general counsel for labor and employment matters for Mandalay Resort Group. Prior to her employment with the gaming industry, Nutt was a partner in the labor and employment law group at Schiff Hardin & Waite in Chicago. Nutt is a member of the American Bar Association, served as an adjunct professor in labor law at Valparaiso University, and has been a frequent lecturer and trainer on various labor and employment law topics. She earned her bachelor's degree from Bethany College and her J.D. from Valparaiso University.
Geoff Freeman is president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA). In his role as chief executive of the AGA, Freeman is the leading advocate for the commercial gaming industry and is responsible for positioning the association to address regulatory, political and educational challenges and opportunities.
Prior to joining the AGA, Freeman was chief operating officer and executive vice president for the U.S. Travel Association, the nation’s leading voice for increasing travel to and within the United States. Under his strategic leadership, the travel industry enacted the Travel Promotion Act, derailed an assault on corporate meetings and events, and began the march to building an army of one million employee activists. During his tenure, U.S. Travel doubled its resources.
Freeman has led a variety of complex and successful issue campaigns during his more than fifteen years in Washington. Previously, Freeman was a vice president with APCO Worldwide, a global public affairs firm, where he led the highly visible Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA). The PPA, supported by America’s pharmaceutical companies, was the largest effort ever created to connect uninsured Americans with free prescription medicines.
Previously, Freeman was the Director of Government Relations and Strategic Outreach for Freddie Mac and Director of Strategic Initiatives for the American Association of Health Plans, the leading representative of the managed care industry.
Freeman is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He resides in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and two children.