With the annual International Gaming Summit 2016 now just weeks away, Chris Webster speaks to IAGA’s executive director Kirsten Clark about what lies in store for those casino executives making the trip to Malta.
ICR: Can you tell our readers a little more about the programme for the Summit? Which speakers do you think will particularly appeal to casino stakeholders?
Kirsten Clark: This year’s International Gaming Summit features a compelling line-up of both keynote presentations and moderated panel discussions. On Wednesday, June 1, Caesar’s CEO and president Mark Frissora will join Tim Donovan, the company’s EVP and general counsel and chief regulatory and compliance officer in opening the Summit by sharing how they are applying the knowledge and experience gained from working outside the industry to lead Caesars Entertainment. Wednesday’s agenda also includes an in-depth look into where player data privacy and data protection issues intersect with omni-commerce efficiencies, a candid discussion on how new online gaming markets can learn from established ones, a review of how investing and financing in the gaming industry has changed because of consolidations, governmental policies, changing consumer expectations and other issues, as well as several other topics.
Thursday’s sessions will begin with a keynote presentation evaluating how gaming and politics intersect, and what this means for such a rapidly changing and highly regulated industry. Presented by IGT global solutions chairman Donald Sweitzer, this insightful keynote discussion will blend Sweitzer’s extensive gaming industry experience with his likewise extensive political depth – and promises to be both informative and thought-provoking. His keynote will be followed by moderated discussions again covering an impressive range of critical issues including the current state of daily fantasy and e-sports, a look at what the future holds for the globe’s lotteries, a comprehensive review of recent AML initiatives and compliance practices, as well as a discussion about convergence and its impact on global gaming.
ICR: This month’s issue focuses on the coming G2E Asia event. What kind of traction do you think the summit will have with Asian gaming stakeholders?
KC: When we’re preparing the Summit’s agenda, our planning committee takes great care to identify current topics that have global relevance – so we’re fortunate that it draws delegates from all over the world. This year’s Summit participants and audience includes delegates from Hong Kong, Macau, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and beyond, as well as a wide range of participants from Europe, Africa and North America. Equally significant is that the International Gaming Summit brings together senior executives from all gaming industry segments, providing its attendees with the opportunity to benefit from the diverse viewpoints of operators, manufacturers, regulators, legal and financial advisors, and more.
ICR: Malta’s largest casino, Casino Malta, opened in February. Will delegates be heading out to view this property? What kind of other external events are planned throughout the summit?
KC: We’ve got a nice range of events planned during the Summit to provide our delegates with an opportunity to network with their global colleagues while enjoying the local area. Although the agenda doesn’t include scheduled visits to the area’s land-based casinos, it is being held adjacent to the Dragonara Casino – and I imagine that many delegates will take the time to visit both this property as well as the area’s other casinos. After Tuesday’s half-day GLI Regulator’s Seminar, we’ll kick off the Summit with an informal dinner and cocktail reception at the Westin Dragonara’s Palio Terraces located right on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. Of particular note will be our President’s Dinner being held on Wednesday, June 1: this event will be held at the Upper Barrakka Saluting Battery, a multi-tiered artillery platform built in 1566 by the Order of St. John. This historic venue features stunning views of Malta’s Grand Harbour and Fort St. Angelo and is surrounded by beautiful commemorative gardens. With the venue’s endless picture-perfect views of Malta’s historic port, the President’s Dinner and cocktails will be an evening to remember and will be attended by numerous Maltese government dignitaries.
ICR: As you’ve previously highlighted, this year’s summit will see issues such as e-sports and online gaming discussed at some length. What kind of cross-over learnings/opportunities do you think these sessions will present landed casino executives?
KC: With the emergence and growing significance of new gaming options like e- and daily fantasy sports, social gaming and the expanding online gaming segment, better understanding these new gaming options, their modes of operation, market appeal and performance, challenges and regulatory hurdles is critical to traditional bricks and mortar operators.