Of course, as with so many other things this year, the event was entirely virtual
Last week, I was able to attend the 3-day Sports Betting Community Virtual Conference. The Sports Betting Community (SBC) is a media and events company that works with industry leaders to help the gaming and wagering industry develop. Of course, as with so many other things this year, the event was entirely virtual.
One of the notable participants in the conference was Zach Leonsis, the Vice President of strategic initiatives for Monumental Sports and Entertainment. He was interviewed by Howard Stutz, the executive editor for CDC Gaming Reports. Leonsis is helping lead the NBA toward allowing wagering from inside the venues where the team plays. One of the first teams who will do so, The Washington Wizards, are going to have a facility that other teams in professional sports will emulate.
Seth Schorr, the CEO of 5th Street Gaming and one of the people involved with the development of the Ocean Casino in Atlantic City was spoke on a panel that addressed the future of sports betting. He was quoted saying “From a brick and mortar perspective, I don’t think that we should look at mobile versus brick and mortar, they’re a symbiotic relationship. I also believe in human nature, people wanting to be with other like-minded sports fans – [it’s an experience] that you don’t get betting at home on your iPad.”
The conference hit a crescendo with the Hall of Fame inductions during the 2nd day of the event. The inductees were Vic Salerno. Sara Slane, Roxy Roxborough, Jay Rood and Raymond Lesniak. Salerno is the President of US Bookmaking and US Fantasy. Slane is the former VP of the American Gaming Association. Roxborough was the “Man” and a renowned Las Vegas oddsmaker. Rood is COO at Bet Works, and Lesniak is a former State Senator in New Jersey. Lesniak helped push the legislation for sports betting in NJ.
I have had the pleasure of interacting with each member of this group. Salerno has been extremely helpful to me acquiring knowledge about sports betting. Roxborough addressed the Race and Sports Management Class I took at Clark County Community College in Las Vegas. Lesniak allowed me to interview him when during the PASPA court battle. Slane and I have been at several conferences in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Rood was the Director of Race and Sports at MGM Grand during the time I worked for the organization.
This conference is an example of how business is going to be conducted across the board — at least through 2020. Conversation via Zoom will be the norm. If you are at a physical conference, there will be no drinks and networking at the bar. A Twitter account to follow a potential business connection will be necessary. Email will not be enough. The SBC did a good job in making the new normal work.
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