Top gaming executives from around the world with gather in Lake Tahoe next week to sharpen their management skills, discuss current topics relevant to the gaming industry and hear from industry experts. They will also spend time all week preparing to face off against one another in teams at the end of week, in a competition where each team has to address a hypothetical, gaming-related management challenge – a battle of the best in gaming.
It’s all part of the annual Executive Development Program, now in its 22nd year, sponsored by the University of Nevada, Reno Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming. The program, offered through the University’s College of Business and Extended Studies, is the only program of its kind offered in the world. It is designed and co-moderated by internationally recognized gaming expert Bill Eadington, economics professor and director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University.
“The competition has become more and more of an obsession each year, with the groups now often working late into the night,” Eadington said. “It’s a great bonding experience for the participants. Many of the alums end up staying in contact with each other throughout the years.”
The program begins Oct. 8 at Harveys Lake Tahoe and winds up Oct. 16, with the teams making their final presentations the afternoon of Oct. 15. The program’s emphasis this year is “Confronting Challenges and Embracing Opportunities – Strategic Leadership in the Gaming Industry.” Eadington said the program is rigorous, with sessions beginning at 8:30 a.m. each day and activities continuing into the evening.
Thirty to 40 percent of this year’s approximately 60 participants are from the United States, with the balance coming from countries such as Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Columbia, Latvia, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Singapore and Macau. Throughout the program’s 21 years, it has graduated 1,087 executives from gaming companies and regulatory agencies representing 49 countries and regions around the world. Many participants go back to their establishments and pattern their own internal training programs after this program, Eadington said.
Along with Eadington, who has been at the University since 1969 and was inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame last November, Richard Schuetz will co-moderate the program this year. Schuetz, who was a student of Eadington’s and is an alumnus of the University of Nevada, Reno College of Business, is the commissioner of the California Gambling Control Commission and former CEO of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. Eadington and Schuetz will give several presentations throughout the program, as will several other prominent names in the gaming community, including:
- Phil Satre, chairman of the board, International Game Technology; former CEO and chairman, Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment)
- Harry Curtis, a leading analyst on Wall Street with Nomjura Securities Co. Ltd, New York
- Mark Lipparelli, former chairman, Nevada Gaming Control Board, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Scott Butera, president and CEO, Foxwood’s Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, the largest casino in the United States
- Andrew Zarnett, managing director, Deutsche Bank, New York
- Kevin McCauley, M.D., The Institute for Addiction Study, Sandy, Utah