President and CEO, American Gaming Association
Currently in his 5th year as President and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), Geoff Freeman is pioneering a more active, engaged, entrepreneurial model for representing industries in Washington, DC and in state capitals across America. Freeman’s approach to leading associations for industries facing complex issues centers around inclusivity, uniting members behind a common set of priorities and aggressively pursuing policy opportunities through strategic communications, modern-day government relations and compelling research campaigns.
Prior to joining AGA, Freeman served as Chief Operating Officer of 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 and doubled its resources. Freeman is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He resides in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children.
Phyliss J. Anderson
Tribal Chief, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Phyliss J. Anderson, a native of the Red Water community, serves her people as Tribal Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Chief Anderson was officially sworn in as the first woman chief in Choctaw history during an inauguration ceremony on October 4, 2011. She is currently serving her second term in office.
Chief Anderson, fluent in the Choctaw language, has more than 30 years of experience with tribal government management. Over the years she has shown a strong commitment to financial responsibility; operating an accountable and transparent government; and building the quality of life on the reservation.
Chief Anderson has been featured in numerous national publications as a rising leader in the Southeast and in Indian Country. She has been honored and recognized with various awards and accolades including the Mississippi Top 50 Most Influential Elected/Appointed Government Officials. On December 2, 2011, Chief Anderson also had the distinct honor to introduce U.S. President Barack Obama at the 3rd Annual Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, D.C. President Obama appointed Chief Anderson to serve on the National Advisory Council on Indian Education.
Chief Anderson draws on a wide variety of experience. She is a graduate of East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss. She has served on a number of governing boards and committees for multi-million dollar enterprises including those in the tribal manufacturing, tribal government contracting, and the gaming and hospitality industry.
CEO, Hard Rock International
Responsible for gaming operations at the Seminole Tribe of Florida since 2001, James F. Allen has guided the development of Seminole Gaming into one of the world’s most profitable gaming entities. Allen led the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s 2007 acquisition of Hard Rock International, the first acquisition of a major international company by a North American Indian Tribe. He also guided successful Gaming Compact negotiations between the Seminole Tribe, the State of Florida and the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Chairman of Hard Rock International, Allen oversees all operations of one of the most globally-recognized brands, with venues in 74 countries, including 177 cafes, 24 hotels and 11 casinos, plus Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Allen led the development team for the highly successful Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla., which opened in 2004, and he has directed Hard Rock International’s aggressive expansion program in the hotel and hotel-casino sectors. In addition to Tampa and Hollywood, Hard Rock hotels or hotel-casinos are located in exciting locations including Bali, Chicago, Cancun, Ibiza, Las Vegas, Macau and San Diego. New Hard Rock Hotel or hotel-casino projects include Abu Dhabi, Atlanta, Berlin, Dubai, London, Los Cabos, New York City, and Shenzhen, Dalian and Haikou in China.
Allen is a gaming industry veteran with 37 years of experience and he has held executive positions with the Trump Organization, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hemmeter Companies, Park Place Entertainment and Sun International Resorts. A former member of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission Task Force on Gaming Regulation, Allen has lectured on countless casino industry topics at many professional conferences, governmental programs and college campuses, including the New Jersey Governor’s Business Development Conference and both Harvard and Cornell Universities.
Partner, Balch & Bingham
Chris Anulewicz is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer who focuses on defense of financial institutions, professional service providers and healthcare organizations in class action litigation. He also represents businesses and individuals in disputes against government entities. With a record of success counseling clients in jury and bench trials, on appeal and in alternative dispute resolution proceedings, Chris provides comprehensive litigation capabilities to handle even the most complex and sophisticated matters. He regularly undertakes appellate briefing and oral argument as needed for cases where, as trial counsel, he effectively laid the foundation for review on appeal. Chris is frequently brought in as appellate counsel for cases that other lawyers have tried, using his litigation insight to examine the trial record and quickly grasp the key issues on which to base an appeal. He serves as chair of Balch’s Business Litigation Practice.
Chief Executive Officer, William Hill US
Joe Asher has been CEO of William Hill US since 2012, when William Hill acquired Brandywine Bookmaking, a company Asher created. Brandywine was a pure startup, which Asher launched in 2008 under the brand name Lucky’s Race & Sports Books after he relocated to Las Vegas from New York. Asher has a long background in the gaming industry and a lifelong passion for the race and sports betting business. Asher held management positions at several racetracks. Previously, Asher was an attorney with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Asher is a graduate of the University of Delaware and the Delaware Law School of Widener University, magna cum laude, served a judicial clerkship with the Supreme Court of Delaware and was admitted to the bar in Delaware and New York. Asher has testified on sports betting issues in state legislatures, spoken at numerous gaming industry seminars and guest lectures on race and sports betting at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law.
Senator, Georgia State Senate
Republican State Senator Brandon Beach was elected to the Senate in 2013. He represents Georgia’s District 21, which includes portions of Cherokee and Fulton counties. Senator Beach is the Chairman of the Transportation Committee, as well as a member of the Economic Development, Higher Education and Science and Technology committees.
Senator Beach currently serves as the President and CEO of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, leading the fourth largest chamber in the metro area. In his 24-plus years in Atlanta, he has played an integral role in helping North Fulton grow and prosper. During his tenure with the Chamber of Commerce, membership of top level executives and CEO’s (Chairman’s Circle) increased by 60 percent, and commerce retention developed from 67 to 82 percent annually.
In 2001, Governor Sonny Perdue appointed Sen. Beach to the board of Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA). In 2008, he was selected to chair one of GRTA’s most important committees—The Land Development Committee. In this role, Sen. Beach is responsible for leading a review of every significant development brought before the 16-county area that GRTA serves.
President, The Hartmann Group
For the past 23 years, Mike Bean has served in senior management positions at the largest and most reputable gaming operations in the country, including Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Harrah’s Entertainment and Boyd Gaming. Over the course of the past decade, Bean played an integral role in the successful opening, operation and development of Mohegan Sun Pocono, Pennsylvania’s first casino and Mohegan Sun’s first commercial casino. As President of Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs, Bean developed and executed an intricate company strategy, establishing a guest experience centric organization while maintaining focus on financial performance, leadership and positive mentoring of team members. Originally an aged racetrack, Mohegan Sun Pocono became a dynamic casino and hotel operation. Mike works closely with local business leaders and non-profit organizations and has served on various Boards of Directors. Bean holds a Juris Doctorate from Vermont Law School and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bryant College.
Vice President, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming
Phil Bernard joined Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, LLC in April 2014 to support the Gaming Equipment vertical. In his time with EK Gaming, Mr. Bernard has been instrumental in the analysis and preparation of the gaming industry’s leading market research reports, including the Eilers-Fantini Quarterly Slot Survey. He has also been a key contributor to various strategic and targeted market research consulting agreements with partners in the gaming industry. Prior to joining EK Gaming, Mr. Bernard held various management positions at the Disneyland Resort and was selected for their Emerging Leader management training program. Prior to joining Disney and during his undergraduate studies, Mr. Bernard was a Budget Analyst for California Real Estate Receiverships. Mr. Bernard also earned his MBA from The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine and graduated with honors in the top 10% of his class.
Vice President-General Counsel, Island View Casino Resort
Bruffey serves as Vice President-General Counsel for Island View Casino Resort. His career in the gaming industry began in 2000 with Isle of Capri Casinos. In 2009, Bruffey joined IP Casino Resort Spa as Vice President–General Counsel where he served until 2013. Prior to joining Island View, he served as Legal Counsel & Deputy Director for the Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association (2013-2018). He continues to support the association, coordinating for the association the planning and execution of the Southern Gaming Summit. Bruffey is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and of the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Account Executive, Gamblit Gaming, LLC
Caroline Byne is an 8-year accomplished manufacturing and technology representative, now responsible for opening new markets for Gamblit Gaming by working with licensed casino operators. She came to Gamblit after 4 years as an Account Manager specializing in casino floor optimization and casino equipment sales. Prior to moving to Gamblit she was responsible for account management for all of Florida and worldwide cruise lines for International Game Technology (IGT). She received her BS in Management from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Justin J. Carter
Board Chair, Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association
General Manager, Hollywood Casino Tunica | Resorts Casino Tunica | 1st Jackpot Casino Tunica
A native of New Orleans, Justin spent 10 years with Caesars Entertainment prior to joining Penn National Gaming in 2015. He began his career at Harrah’s St. Louis as a “President’s Associate” and eventually moved up to operational leadership roles with the company’s Bahamian project and at Caesars casinos in Atlantic City and Kansas City. Justin also served as Operations Executive at Caesars’ South African Emerald Resort and Casino. He later went on to serve as GM of Manchester 235 Casino in Manchester, England, and as Regional Director of Caesars United Kingdom’s provincial casinos. After returning to the USA Justin served as AGM of the Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati prior to joining PNG and serving as AGM of the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, WV. Currently, Justin serves as General Manager for the Hollywood, Resorts and 1st Jackpot Casinos in Tunica, MS. Justin received bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biology from Dartmouth College and obtained an MBA from Purdue University. Before entering the gaming industry, he worked for seven years as a chemist and later drug manufacturing supervisor for Abbott Laboratories in Chicago.
Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri
Chairman, National Indian Gaming Commission
Chairman Chaudhuri brings to the NIGC extensive policy, legal, and judicial experience and a lifelong commitment to serving the Native American community. His varied experiences each stem from his understanding of the connection between the development of strong governmental institutions and Native American self-determination. Prior to his designation as Acting Chairman by President Obama in October 2013, he served as Associate Commissioner and Vice Chair. Chairman Chaudhuri was initially appointed to the Commission by the Secretary of Interior in September of 2013. Prior to joining the NIGC, Chairman Chaudhuri was Senior Counselor to the Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. He has practiced law for over a decade, primarily in private practice serving tribes and tribal entities. Additionally, Chairman Chaudhuri has served as a judge on five different tribal courts. Chairman Chaudhuri’s professional background also includes work as a community organizer, adjunct professor, and author. Chairman Chaudhuri graduated with a Bachelors’ of Arts degree from Dartmouth College, N.H. and a J.D. from Cornell Law School, N.Y.
Sr. VP of Finance & CFO, Gaming and Leisure Properties
Bill Clifford has been Senior Vice President of Finance and CFO for Gaming and Leisure Properties since the company was formed as part of the tax free spin of Penn National Gaming’s tax free spin into a REIT which was completed in November of 2013. Served as Penn National Gaming’s CFO from 2001 through 2013 and previously held operational finance rolls within the gaming industry in the Bahamas for four years and Las Vegas for 13 years. Graduate of the University of Nevada in 1980 and obtained a CPA while employed with the Nevada Gaming Control board in the Audit Division.
Vice President, Casino & Gaming Sales, Rainmaker
Angie Dobney, VP of Casino & Gaming Sales, is an industry veteran with more than two decades of experience in revenue management and hospitality operations, she provides hands-on optimization of total resort profit to Rainmaker’s industry-leading gaming and hospitality clients. As a former Rainmaker customer who turned the tables and joined the market leader in 2014, Dobney brings to her role a user’s perspective on the product. Having worked in both manual and automated environments, she knows firsthand the challenges customers face and draws from her personal experience to guide her clients in best practices.
A recognized expert in total asset and portfolio optimization, and as enthusiastic as she is knowledgeable, Dobney is frequently tapped to speak at conferences around the globe. She is a guest lecturer on hotel and hospitality asset and revenue management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, her alma mater, where she was named Mentor of the Year in 2007. She continues to seek out opportunities to get involved in other university programs in her quest to inspire and motivate the next generation of revenue managers.
Vice President Global Marketing, GLI
Christie Eickelman is Vice President of Global Marketing for GLI. In her position, she directs and implements all marketing programs for GLI’s 20 worldwide locations. Her responsibilities include building the corporate brand and establishing and directing marketing functions in accordance with GLI’s policies, regulations and sound business practices. She joined the company in 1999 as Marketing Manager, shaping GLI’s branding in North America. In 2001, she was promoted to Director of Marketing and Development, overseeing the North American development team in their daily responsibilities. In June 2007, she was promoted to Senior Director of Global Marketing, and in September 2012, she was promoted to Vice President of Global Marketing. Eickelman has a long history in the gaming industry. In 2005, she was selected as a Great Woman in Gaming by Casino Enterprise Management, and in 2008, Global Gaming Business named her one of the 25 People to Watch in Gaming. Eickelman is one of the founding members on the Global Gaming Women board, she’s also a member on the Andson Foundation board and for the past three years she has served on the Executive Leadership Committee of the American Heart Association-Go Red for Women Luncheon of Southern Nevada.
Principal, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, LLC
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, LLC, was created in December 2012 by Todd Eilers, who is the firm’s majority owner. Mr. Eilers has over 15 years of market and equity research experience primarily covering equipment and technology providers within the casino gaming industry. In 2011, he was ranked the #1 stock picker for the Hotel & Leisure sector according to the 2012 Financial Times / StarMine Awards. Mr. Eilers also created and developed the gaming industry’s largest slot survey in partnership with Fantini Research, which serves as highly valuable and actionable tool for both gaming investors and industry professionals.
Prior to starting Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, LLC, Mr. Eilers was a Senior Research Analyst at ROTH Capital Partners, a boutique investment bank headquarted in Newport Beach, CA. Mr. Eilers also graduated from the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) with a B.S. in Management and earned his M.B.A. from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA.
CEO, Fantini Research
Frank Fantini is CEO of Fantini Research and Publisher of Fantini’s Gaming Report, the industry’s leading daily source of information for institutional investors and corporate level executives. Mr. Fantini has been a gaming investor for more than 20 years and publisher and consultant for 17 years. He is sought out for his industry expertise by the nation’s leading news media, including CNBC, Bloomberg TV and print services, the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Detroit Free Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, Associated Press and others. He has spoken at numerous conferences, including the Southern Gaming Summit, G2E, G2E Asia, International Association of Gaming Advisors and International Masters of Gaming Law. In addition to the daily Fantini’s Gaming Report, Mr. Fantini publishes the weekly Fantini’s Public Policy Review, the monthly Fantini’s National Revenue Report, co-publishes the industry-leading EILERS-FANTINI Slot Survey, and co-publishes revenue analyses with Spectrum Gaming Group under the Spectrumetrix-Fantini brand. In addition, Fantini Research publishes proprietary research both for premium clients and upon request.
Executive Director, Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association
Larry Gregory is the executive director of the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association. Gregory is a long-term veteran in the gaming industry management profession. Prior to joining MGHA in 2011, his experience included all facets in government. Gregory was the executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) from 2001 – 2011 a position he was promoted to from chief of staff. Gregory also held leadership positions with the Mississippi State Personnel Board, Department of Transportation and the Mississippi State Legislature. Gregory received a Degree in Political Science from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from Mississippi State University. He also received a Certificate of Paralegal Studies from Mississippi College. The International Masters of Gaming Law named Gregory 2005 Regulator of the Year. Gregory has served as a board member for the American Gaming Association.
Executive Director, Mississippi Gaming Commission
Allen Godfrey is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, which is responsible for regulating the gaming industry in the State of Mississippi. He has been with the MGC since 2003, serving as the Director of the Compliance Division, and most recently, as Deputy Director. Allen’s twenty years of public service began at the Mississippi State Tax Commission, now known as the Department of Revenue. While at the Tax Commission, he assisted in collecting the taxes, developing internal controls, and auditing gaming before the MGC became an independent agency in 1993. He served as Deputy Director for the Alcohol Beverage Control division of the Tax Commission before coming to the MGC.
Publisher, GGB Magazine
Roger Gros is publisher of Global Gaming Business (GGB) magazine, the leading trade publication for the gaming industry. He has also been president of Casino Connection International (CCI), the magazines’ parent company since 2001. Gros was the conference consultant to G2E, the world’s largest gaming trade show, from 2001 to 2017.
Prior to joining CCI, Gros was vice president of Casino Journal Publishing Group from 1984-2000, and was editor of Casino Journal, the National Gaming Summary and founding editor of Casino Player magazine. He was a co-founder of the American Gaming Summit (1995) and the Southern Gaming Summit (1994) conferences and trade shows.
Gros was named “Businessman of the Year” for 1998 by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce and was presented with the “Lifetime Achievement” honor at the 2012 G2E by the American Gaming Association. Gros received the Peter Mead Award from the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers in 2017 for excellence in gaming trade journalism.
General Manager, Golden Nugget Biloxi
Chett Harrison is General Manager of Golden Nugget Biloxi, a position he has held since June 2014. Prior to joining Golden Nugget, Harrison was Vice President and General Manager at Hollywood Casino Bay St. Louis for four years. Before that, he spent 9 years at Boomtown Casino as General Manager.
Chairman, Louisiana Gaming Control Board
Chairman Jones is in his 43rd year of public service in Louisiana. His previous experience includes a 32-year career in the Louisiana State Police where he served as the agency’s Deputy Superintendent and managed legislation which originally legalized gambling in Louisiana. As a senior policy advisor to the Superintendent, he played a key role in creating the initial gaming regulatory structure. He also has extensive experience in the academic sector in both public and private universities. He was appointed Chairman of the Gaming Control Board in 2013.
Director of Casino Services, Duetto
Daniel Lofton joined Duetto in 2016 in the role of Director of Casino Services where he serves as a revenue management consultant to a portfolio of casino resorts (primarily in regional markets) that have adopted the Duetto Platform. From 2009 to 2016, he served as Director of Revenue Management for Landry’s Inc, most recently having opened the Golden Nugget Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 2014. Currently, he works with casino properties on creating efficiencies in their hotel yield both strategically and technically to ultimately increase profitability per available room.
General Manager, IP Casino Resort
Duncan McKenzie is general manager and vice president at IP Casino Resort in Biloxi, Mississippi. Most recently McKenzie was general manager at Hard Rock Casino Biloxi. A 30-year casino industry veteran, he has served as general manager at casinos in Biloxi, Gulfport, New Orleans and Kansas City.
McKenzie is past president of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau and past chairman of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic. He serves on the executive committee of the Gulf Coast Business Council and is a member of the Mississippi Economic Council.
Prof. Dr. Laila Mintas, Ph.D
Deputy President, Sportradar US
Prof. Dr. Laila Mintas, Ph.D., joined Sportradar in 2016 and manages operations for all of the company’s US offices in New York, San Francisco, Menlo Park and Minneapolis. One of her main roles is as the senior liaison with key, high-profile partnerships in the US, including the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS and NASCAR and enterprise customers such as Google, Twitter and Facebook. Laila oversees collaboration in exploring, creating and exploiting opportunities to realize the full power of sports data and ensuring that the respective sets of fans worldwide get the best level of insight and engagement possible, whichever platform or channel they choose to use.
Being a lawyer by trade, Laila previously worked several years at the international law firm White & Case LLP in Berlin. In her Ph.D., she examined online betting in Europe and received a lot of praise from within the research field and from the industry. She was also the Director of Sports Integrity at CONCACAF, the governing body for Soccer – responsible for all 41-member countries where she used data to prevent, detect and investigate match manipulations in sports that are related to the betting market.
Laila has published a significant number of law articles and has lectured at the Humboldt University of Berlin, St John`s University and at Columbia University in New York where she is currently Professor for Global Sports Law in the ISDE Program. Laila is board member of the well-known law journal ‘World Sports Advocate’ and has her own Sports Law Column at InsideWorldFootball.com.
Property Manager, Wind Creek Casino & Hotel
As General Manager of Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Atmore, Timothy Ramer brings to the table more than a decade of Class II tribal gaming experience, ranging from gaming operations and guest services to player loyalty and property management. As a member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Atmore, AL, Tim has served on the Tribal Council and also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for a technology-based tribal enterprise. With his cumulative background in dealing with tribal government, tribal commissions, and vendors, Tim brings a unique, holistic perspective to tribal gaming issues. He was involved in the Tribe’s transition from traditional bingo to electronic bingo and witnessed the impact of economic growth on the local community. Tribal gaming has created opportunities for Tim to further explore business diversification, management contracts, business loans with other Tribes, family entertainment, and online engagement. Tim has a special interest in the idea of player retention through better understanding the guest. The more we understand what drives guest actions, the better we can serve them at every touch point.
As Regional President-South of Caesars Entertainment, Dan Real oversees Caesars’ properties in Northwest Louisiana, New Orleans and Biloxi, Miss. He began his career with Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corp. in 1995 as a marketing intern at Harrah’s Joliet in Illinois. During his time at the property, Real gained experience in a number of marketing and player-development roles before transferring to Harrah’s Council Bluffs in Iowa to take on the position of Director of Casino Marketing.
In 2006, he helped oversee the successful re-branding of Horseshoe Council Bluffs. He was later promoted to Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Operations for Horseshoe Council Bluffs. In August 2010, he joined Harrah’s New Orleans as Senior Vice President and General Manager.
A Chicago native, Dan received a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University and an MBA from the University of Nebraska, Omaha. He is active in the community, serving on the boards of the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation, the Fore!Kids Foundation, the New Orleans Business Council, the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and the Committee of 100.
Richard Schuetz is a regulatory consultant with a long and distinguished career in the gaming industry. He served as the first executive director of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, a position he held from September 2015 through the end of 2017. Prior to that, Schuetz served for nearly four years as a commissioner with the California Gambling Control Commission in Sacramento.
Schuetz has held a wide variety of casino industry positions, from blackjack and dice dealer to executive vice president, president and chief executive officer at casino resorts in several jurisdictions. Schuetz was a senior executive at casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno/Tahoe, Laughlin, Minnesota, Mississippi and Louisiana. In addition, as a consultant, Schuetz helped the city of Detroit and the state of Kansas introduce casino gambling.
Thomas B. Shepherd III
Partner, Jones Walker
Thomas B. Shepherd III is a partner in the Jackson, Mississippi office of the law firm of Jones Walker LLP. Shepherd received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Mississippi in 1980 and graduated from the Washington & Lee School of Law in 1984. He assists gaming operators, manufacturers and distributors, and investors in and lenders to the gaming industry, through the Mississippi Gaming Commission regulatory process, and he also works with Native America tribes. Shepherd has been selected for listing in multiple editions of The Best Lawyers in America and was named its Jackson, Mississippi Gaming Law Lawyer of the Year for 2011 and 2017. Shepherd is also listed by Chambers USA as one of America’s Leading Business Lawyers. He has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Association of Gaming Advisors and completed a term as IAGA’s President in 2014. He has also served as Chairman of The Mississippi Bar’s Section on Gaming Law and its Section on Business Law.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Boyd Gaming Corporation
As President and Chief Executive Officer of Boyd Gaming Corporation, Keith Smith leads one of the largest and most respected casino entertainment companies in the United States. An industry veteran with 30 years of gaming experience, Smith first joined Boyd Gaming Corporation in 1990.
As CEO, Smith successfully navigated Boyd Gaming through the global financial crisis and its aftermath before leading the company through a period of rapid growth and diversification. Smith spearheaded Boyd Gaming’s acquisitions of the IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi in 2011; Peninsula Gaming’s five properties in late 2012; Aliante Casino Hotel + Spa in North Las Vegas in September 2016, and the Las Vegas Assets of Cannery Casinos in December 2016. These transactions increased Boyd Gaming’s size by 50%, giving the company 24 casino properties in seven U.S. states.
Smith currently serves on the Board of Directors of regional airline operator SkyWest Inc. He previously served as Chairman of the American Gaming Association; Chairman of the Nevada Resort Association; and Vice Chairman of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Chief, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Richard G. Sneed is the 28th Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Sneed began his services as an elected tribal leader after winning election as principal vice-chief in September 2015 and assumed office in October 2015. Sneed began service as principal chief in May 2017.
Sneed is a graduate of Cherokee High School in Cherokee, North Carolina. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and a graduate of Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, and Southwestern Community College in Sylva, North Carolina. He holds a North Carolina teaching license in industrial arts. Sneed taught vocational classes at Cherokee High School where he was recognized as National Classroom Teacher of the Year by the National Indian Education Association. He has also served as the senior pastor of the Christ Fellowship Church of Cherokee. Sneed and his wife Trina reside in the Birdtown Community of the Qualla Boundary where they raised their five children.
Director of Governmental Affairs, Boyd Gaming Corporation
Ryan Soultz is Director of Governmental Affairs for Boyd Gaming Corporation, a leading diversified owner and operator of 24 gaming entertainment properties located in Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. In this role, he interacts with the members and staff of state legislatures and Congress on issues pertaining to the gaming industry, including general tax and regulatory matters, Native American gaming, Internet gaming, and sports betting. Ryan is also leading the Company’s governmental affairs efforts in Georgia as policymakers consider proposals to permit the development and operation of casino entertainment facilities in the state.
He has been with Boyd Gaming since August 2002. Prior to joining Boyd Gaming, Ryan served in various capacities in state and local government, including as Corporation Counsel to the City of Marion, Indiana; Policy Analyst for the Indiana Senate Minority Caucus; Director of Public Information for the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission; and as a Governor’s Fellow. Ryan is a graduate of Ball State University and the Indiana University McKinney School of Law.
Representative, Georgia House of Representatives
State Representative Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) has represented the 164th District in the Georgia House of Representatives for the past twenty-one years. Representative Stephens is the Chairman of the House Economic Development & Tourism Committee and is a member of the Appropriations, Rules, and Ways and Means Committees. Chairman Stephens was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to the Georgia Tourism Foundation in 2013.
Representative Stephens graduated from Armstrong State and Mercer University with a degree in Pharmacy. He spent thirty-eight years as an active pharmacist. Before being elected to the House, Representative Stephens served in Garden City, GA. as a City Councilman.
Representative Stephens is passionate about protecting and strengthening Georgia’s tourism business as well as working to ensure that Georgia is a welcome state for businesses to operate and that residents can benefit. He has won numerous awards including the Leadership Award for efforts to bring non-traditional tourism industries over to the tourism side. Representative Stephens currently resides in Savannah with his wife, Janice.
Shareholder, Becker & Poliakoff
Daniel Wallach is a shareholder in the gaming and litigation practice groups at Becker & Poliakoff, where he has counseled professional sports teams, sports betting operators, fantasy sports companies, sports integrity firms, casinos and racetracks in navigating the complexities of U.S. gambling laws and regulations. He is considered one of the nation’s premier and most sought after legal voices on issues related to sports law and sports gambling. He has appeared as an expert panelist at dozens of gaming industry conferences, and speaks regularly to lawmakers seeking expert advice, including most recently at the National Conference of State Legislatures from Gaming States.
Described as a “gaming law guru” by Michael McCann, the legal analyst for Sports Illustrated, and named as one of the “Top 50 Must-Follow Sports Business Twitter Accounts,” by Forbes for the past three years, Mr. Wallach can often be found sharing his legal insights on Twitter (@WALLACHLEGAL). Mr. Wallach is also the co-host of “Conduct Detrimental,” a weekly podcast examining the intersection of sports, gambling and the law. He is Board Certified in Appellate Practice by the Florida Bar, and is AV-Rated (the highest level attainable) by Martindale-Hubbell. He is a 1991 graduate of Hofstra University School of Law, where he graduated with distinction and was the Notes and Comments Editor of the Hofstra Law Review. Mr. Wallach is also a general member of the International Masters of Gaming Law, an invitation-only organization for attorneys who have distinguished themselves through demonstrated performance and publishing in gaming law, significant gaming clientele and substantial participation in the gaming industry.
VP of Casino Operations, Harrah’s Cherokee Resort
Adam West has worked for over 20 years at Harrah’s Cherokee Resort and is the Vice President of casino operations. He is a graduate of Western Carolina University, where he received his MBA in 2007.
Director of Industry Consulting, VizExplorer
Based in Las Vegas, Jordan Whitten is the Director of Industry Consulting for VizExplorer. In this capacity, he oversees all aspects of VizExplorer’s consulting engagements from the sales cycle through successful completion of all engagement objectives. Jordan also serves as the Industry Product Owner for floorViz, the company’s slot floor optimization solution. He is the advanced-level trainer and subject-matter expert for floorViz having worked with over 70 properties worldwide ranging in size from less than 300 to over 5,000 slot machines. Jordan spent his formative gaming years in the slot operations departments of casinos in Colorado, Nevada, and Mississippi. It is there where he developed his interest and expertise in slot analytics, location optimization and strategic game mix decision-making.
CEO, Penn National Gaming
Tim Wilmott was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Penn National in 2013 after having served as the Company’s President and Chief Operating Officer since February 2008. During his tenure at Penn National, the Company has aggressively expanded its operating base with the opening of new full service casinos in Maryland, Kansas and Ohio (2 facilities), the acquisition of existing gaming facilities in Nevada and Missouri, and the addition of pari-mutuel operations in Texas, Maryland and Ohio. In November 2013, Penn National completed the tax-free spin-off to its shareholders of Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. which owns the real estate associated with 21 casino facilities.
Wilmott joined Penn National with over 20 years of experience managing and developing gaming operations in diverse regulated jurisdictions including Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey and North Carolina, as well as internationally. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer of Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment Corp.), a position he held for approximately four years. In this position, he oversaw the operations of all of Harrah’s revenue-generating businesses, including 48 casinos. During his tenure, Wilmott was credited with advancing Harrah’s player tracking and customer rewards programs, increasing its customer acquisition and marketing efforts and developing and introducing analytical tools aimed at driving growth and customer satisfaction. Prior to his appointment as COO, Wilmott served from 1997 to 2002 as Division President of Harrah’s Eastern Division with responsibility for the operations of eight Harrah’s properties. Since his appointment as CEO, Penn National has opened two new casino operations in Ohio, the first casino in Massachusetts and acquired the Tropicana Las Vegas. Wilmott resides in Princeton, NJ with his wife and daughter.
Brian Wyman, PH.D.
Principal, Innovation Analytics
Dr. Brian Wyman, Principal Consultant at Innovation Analytics, is an analytics and data science executive with over a decade of experience transforming data into actionable intelligence, insights, and ultimately bottom-line results. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Michigan and specializes in advanced modeling and predictive methods, which he uses to develop creative and innovative ways to improve financial performance. Brian’s career has spanned industries ranging from hospitality to finance, most recently overseeing marketing and gaming analytics for Pinnacle Entertainment.
Executive Director of Online Gaming, Foxwoods Casino Resort
Seth Young is Executive Director of Online Gaming at Foxwoods Casino Resort. Before joining Foxwoods in August 2016, he was COO and Vice President at Flower City Gaming LLC for 3 years. Prior to that, Young was president of SY Ventures LLC based in Las Vegas, NV. Young served as Director of Strategy for Texasholdem.com from 2005 to 2009.
Young holds a B.A. degree in Political Science, Legal Studies and Internet Studies from Brandeis University. He received his Doctor of Law from St. John’s University on 2006.
Managing Director, Duetsche Bank
Andrew Zarnett currently serves as Deutsche Bank’s Gaming, Lodging and Leisure High Yield Debt Analyst, Co-Head of High Yield Research and a member of the Executive Committee of Leverage Debt Group. Previously, from 1996 to 1999 he was the Senior Gaming Equity Analyst, Gaming, Lodging and Leisure at Ladenburg Thalmann & Co., Inc. where he also served as a member of the Board of Directors. Before joining Ladenburg Thalmann, Zarnett was the Assistant to the Chairman, Equity Research for Furman Selz, LLC. Andrew is frequently quoted in both the trade and national press, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Las Vegas Sun and The Las Vegas Review Journal.