2022 in Gaming: Industry executives, workers, observers select the most important stories

January 2, 2023 7:37 PM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
January 2, 2023 7:37 PM

From the continued growth of sports betting and its less mentioned online partner, igaming, to deals, mergers and acquisitions, it was a busy year in the gaming industry.

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We also were busy at CDC Gaming Reports, keeping abreast of the latest developments, attending industry conferences, talking to thought leaders and tracking trends, in efforts to bring you the best gaming coverage anywhere.

As part of our year-end coverage, we asked industry personnel to select their most important stories of 2022.

Here’s what they had to say:

Kelly Brooks, Quarter4.io CEO and co-founder: Gaming revenue sets quarterly record, on pace to exceed 2021: AGA report

“Although global economic conditions are unsettled, these numbers demonstrate that the gaming sector continues to evolve and surpass expectations, including sports betting, a category that investors and others have shied away from in the past months.

Korbi Carrison, G2E Reed Exhibitions Event Vice President: Bowen to lead new Aristocrat igaming division; Fernandez CEO of Aristocrat Gaming

For me, the story about Aristocrat’s leadership from February 2022 was highly impactful.  The story reported quickly Aristocrat’s clear leadership decisions in the adjacent spaces of online and traditional gaming divisions.  It is inspirational to the industry to see Aristocrat place two highly-respected and proven leaders in these positions.  In the bigger picture, this story demonstrates the interplay between the iGaming and traditional gaming spaces that will be instrumental in shaping the future for stakeholders in this corporate organization and beyond.

Jonathan Michaels, Sightline Payments SVP Strategic Development & Government Affairs: Both dueling California ballot propositions to legalize sports betting lose

The California ballot initiative was the most expensive state ballot initiative in the history of American politics – and yet both were resoundingly defeated, marking a massive change from the overwhelming success of prior sports betting ballot initiatives. The loss will resonate in the market for years to come, with other new states looking closely at the results and pushing any potential California legalize back dramatically.

John Acres, Acres Manufacturing: G2E: Upwards of 25,000 attend the gaming industry’s Las Vegas showcase

“Casino industry optimism is back! G2E attendance of 25,000 shows that casino management is optimistic about the future of casino gaming and are working to choose the products and technology that will power the next phase of casino growth.”

Dan Kustelski, Chalkline CEO and Co-founder: Gaming revenue sets quarterly record, on pace to exceed 2021: AGA report

The casino industry having a record year in 2022 is massive. Sports betting and icasino were major contributors to the increase of gaming as casino operators folded in additional forms of retail and online gaming.

Charlie Skinner, Marker Trax COO: New committee looks at expanding e-sports wagering in Nevada

“In order to stay relevant, you have to both adapt to changing technology and be willing to collaborate for the sake of real change. The formation of this is a testament to that collaboration in action, and an indication of just how important a growth area esports is proving to be.”

Will Hill, Sightline Payments VP, Business Development — Canada: Ontario: New Internet gambling market open

To date, Ontario is the only Canadian province to open its doors to private online gaming operators.  But if it succeeds in terms of metrics like incremental revenue to the provincial coffers, economic development and new job creation – particularly well-paying high-tech jobs – it’s hard to see how this won’t be a transformative triggering event for most of the rest of Canada.

Chris Moyer, Moyer Strategies President: Casino floor employee group expands nonsmoking campaign beyond New Jersey

One that sticks out: the expansion of the worker-led movement to end indoor smoking from New Jersey, where CEASE grew legislative support from a handful of co-sponsors to more than half of all legislators and has set up the bill to pass in 2023, to other states like Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. Of the stories on your list, this one is significant: for the first time, independent research shows ending indoor smoking doesn’t harm revenue – in fact, smokefree casinos performed better than their smoking counterparts in the same market.

Dave Kubajak, JCM Global SVP of Sales, Marketing & Operations: Nevada approves remote registration for cashless gaming accounts

 With all the attention on cashless gaming this year and its importance to the industry in the coming years, it is good to see the Nevada Gaming Control Board make progressive strides to improve a player’s cashless experience by making it easier to register for a new way to fund gaming play.

Josh Swissman, The Strategy Organization Founding Partner: Las Vegas Strip hotel room rates boosted by events and optimism

Buck Wargo’s story about Las Vegas Strip room rates and optimism is my top story pick for 2022 because this was really the point in time where we started to see the convention business start to bounce back in a meaningful way, and at the same time it was becoming clear that Vegas was going to weather the current negative macroeconomic climate relatively well.  Anybody that knows me knows that I am bullish on the Las Vegas gaming market, so it felt really good to hear others feel that way too.

Katie Kohler, BetMGM iGaming Communications Manager: New York launches sports betting

It became the largest state by population with legalized sports betting. I think it will remain the biggest story in sports betting until California, Texas and Florida legalize.

Steve McAllister, Gaming News Canada, Editor-in-Chief: Ontario: New Internet gambling market open

As mentioned on our podcast last week, there are now 70 registered brands in the province, which I believe makes it the largest North American jurisdiction in terms of online sports wagering and casino operators.

Gary Larkin, Marker Trax Chief Strategy Officer: Online gaming operators collaborate for responsible gaming standards

“This responsible gaming collaboration is beneficial for all parties and it’s great to see industry leaders that embrace the future of online gaming taking an active role in defining these standards.

Caroline Ponseti, The Herald Group Senior Director: Both dueling California ballot propositions to legalize sports betting lose, after more than $400M spent

California’s failed attempts to legalize sports betting show us that legalizing sports betting isn’t a sure bet when it’s in the hands of voters. The $400 million campaign tab shows how much the airwaves were crowded with negative messages that resonated with Californians—not just stakeholders against legalization full stop but also the two campaigns trying to knock down each other.

Lauren Notaro, PayNearMe Marketing Manager, Gaming: FanDuel to become first sports betting company to launch own broadcast network

One of the most unique stories of the year was FanDuel’s launch of their broadcast network to provide 24/7 sports wagering content and live sports programming to the masses. It will be interesting to see the impact this has on the future of the sports betting industry as a whole, since consumer sentiment towards sports betting will evolve as it becomes more mainstream. It’s also fascinating to see the evolution of gaming brands in general, and how their reach can grow.