VP GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
Las Vegas Sands
Every good story needs a villain and in the seemingly unstoppable rollout of online gaming in the US, the villain is Sheldon Adelson. The LVS owner will do everything he can to stop US citizens from gambling on the internet and Andy Abboud will direct his campaign. Abboud did not cover himself in glory at a recent Senate hearing but he will be a key voice as the debate moves forward.
When New Jersey sent out an RFP searching for a former regulator to shepherd them through the hazardous rollout of online gaming in the state, many thought they were asking for an impossible skillset. But Mario Galea, the former chairman of Malta’s Lotteries and Gaming Authority, fitted the brief perfectly. Galea can take a healthy share of the credit for ensuring New Jersey’s launch went smoothly and will be an influential voice in the Department of Gaming Enforcement as the regulator looks at how to transfer all those transactional waivers to full licences.
Katie Lever, the former legal chief of SHFL, managed the acquisition of SHFL by Bally so effectively she was rewarded with the role of general counsel for the expanded company. Her new bosses at Bally will also have been impressed with her fierce defence of SHFL’s intellectual property as the company moved into online gaming in Europe. Her feel for online gaming is second to none. With IP a vital battleground in the US, Lever’s legal acumen will be tested but is unlikely to come unstuck.
While it is debatable whether Stephen Mullin fits our criteria of working full-time in gaming, his groundbreaking report on the economic impact of online gaming in New Jersey ensures much of his time will be spent in the sector in 2014. His research was key in convincing New Jersey’s politicians of the benefits of online casino, poker and sports betting. Mullin has worked in numerous public policy areas for government and states considering online gaming legislation are sure to draw on his thorough research. The likes of Illinois, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts will likely knock on his door in 2014 – if they haven’t already. Mullin’s team will be hugely influential in the development of US online gaming.