Isaacs to tell Southern Gaming Summit the Internet is the industry’s future

Gavin Isaacs said there’s misinformation about the gaming industry. But there is one thing he’s sure about: The Internet is the key to the future of gaming.

Isaacs, who in January became the non-executive chairman of SBTech, a sports betting and gaming technology supplier, will provide the keynote address at the Southern Gaming Summit, May 7-9 at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Isaacs, the former vice chairman of Scientific Games, said he plans to “give my views on the state of the industry, where it’s going and what the opportunities are.”

While Issacs said people falsely get the impression that casino revenues aren’t growing, the Internet, he added, is the “key to the future” with online gaming and regulation.

“It has been proven around the world that it can be done properly and effectively,” Isaacs said. “America has to get on board with that. If we’re going to grow well into the 21st century, we have to adopt technology. The fact that mobile phones don’t play a big part in gaming is mistake but also an opportunity.”

Isaacs said one of his biggest concerns is that the industry’s losing touch with players. Machines are “getting way too tight in some respect” and customer services aren’t where they used to be, he said.

Isaacs also said the industry’s categorizing every young person as a millennial is a mistake. There are “young people who like to play slots and young people who like to bet on sports,” he said.

“As long as I have been in the industry, we’ve never really focused on going after young people,” Issacs said.

Issacs will provide the keynote address on May 8. Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs with the American Gaming Association, will provide the keynote address on May 9.

The summit kicks off May 7 with a golf tournament at the Fallen Oak Golf Course in Biloxi. There will also be a responsible gaming training session and welcome reception at the Hard Rock Biloxi.

A panel discussion on Internet sports betting in Mississippi, which only allows sports betting on casino properties, will be held on May 8. The discussion will also cover amending Mississippi’s to Gaming Control Act to allow Internet sports betting. Panel discussions are also planned on using sports betting to enhance land-based and mobile offerings; leveraging electronic table games for increased profitability; and eSports.

The final day of the conference will also feature discussions on using artificial intelligence to enhance guest and player experiences; how a diverse workforce reinvigorates a team; active shooter preparedness; anti-money laundering compliance; and technology and its impact on the gaming floor.

Duncan McKenzie, general manager of the IP Casino Resort Spa and a board member of the Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association, said the conference cover the future of the gaming industry.

“We’re trying to stay abreast of what’s coming down the line and prepare the best we can,” McKenzie said. “We have a great regional outreach to different states. Everybody is in a different place, but this gets us tuned in for what’s coming in each of our jurisdictions from sports betting on the internet to regulatory reform, the current state of anti-money laundering and on technology.”

Mississippi Gaming Hall of Fame

The second class of the Mississippi Gaming Hall of Fame will be inducted to close out the summit. The Hall of Fame dinner will be hosted by the Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association.

The Hall of Fame honors those responsible for bringing the progressive style of casino development and gaming regulation to Mississippi. This year’s inductees include:

  • William Yates Jr., founder of W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company as an industry pioneer. His company developed a method to offset tidal surge fluctuations. The largest was the 32-story Beau Rivage that opened in 1999, Yates rebuilt the property following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The casino is supported by a semi-submersible barge that floats 20 feet above sea level on top of five barrages anchored by steel piles 110 feet deep.
  • Timothy Wilmott, CEO of Penn National Gaming, will be inducted under the commercial gaming category. He’s also chairman of the American Gaming Association.
  • Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association, will be inducted under the regulatory category. He’s the former executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission and the International Masters of Gaming Law named Gregory “Regulator of the Year in 2005.
  • The late Roy Anderson Jr., founder of Roy Anderson Corp., will be inducted as an industry influencer. His company has worked on 29 gaming properties to construct more than $3 billion in assets, including 20 new ground-up casinos.
  • The late William Si Redd, a Mississippi native and the founder of International Game Technology, will be inducted under the manufacturing category.

“They’ve all made contributions in their own way,” McKenzie said. “It was a big effort to bring gaming into this region, and a lot of people have done a lot of great things.”

An exhibit hall with manufacturers and suppliers will be open May 8th and 9th. That list includes:

For more information on the conference agenda: