The world’s only organization dedicated to the study of regulations and their development for the land-based and online casino gaming industries, the International Center for Gaming Regulation, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has chosen four Distinguished Fellows to further advance the Center’s impact on the gaming industry. These executives are Joe Bertolone (Distinguished Fellow of Sports Wagering); Melanie Gross (Distinguished Fellow of Casino and iGaming); Steven Light (Senior Distinguished Fellow of Tribal Gaming Policy), and Kathryn Rand (Senior Distinguished Fellow of Tribal Gaming Policy).
The Center’s Fellowship program encourages the development of research, educational programs and content, and thought-leadership opportunities. In addition, Fellows serve in an advisory role for the Center, providing expertise regarding the development of the Center and services for clients. The annual appointments support the Center’s continued overarching mission of examining, addressing, and identifying emerging and best practices in domestic and international gaming policy and regulation.
Craig Ferreira, Executive Director of the Center, commented: “We are thrilled to have these industry professionals as part of the ICGR team. Their expertise and insights will be invaluable as we expand our educational and advisory services. As experts in their fields, our Distinguished Fellows ensure the Center remains up to date, relevant, and connected to the modern gaming industry.”
Distinguished Fellow Joe Bertolone is Vice President of Sports Betting at IGT PlaySports. He previously served as the Executive Director of the Center from early 2020 through late 2021, and is continuing his relationship with the Center through the Fellowship program. Bertolone has more than 25 years of broad-based experience as a gaming operator, manufacturer, and regulator across public, private, and startup companies of the industry. His gaming manufacturing roles include serving as the President, North America for global slot machine manufacturer Ainsworth Game Technology and as President & CEO of DEQ Systems, a global, publicly traded provider of table games progressives and content. As an industry sports betting operator, Bertolone was the Director of Operations for William Hill US. Besides, occupying a regulator position, he served as the Chief of the Technology and Administration Divisions at the Nevada Gaming Control Board during expansion and technological change in the industry.
For her part, Distinguished Fellow Melanie Gross is a 20-year online casino industry veteran, and currently serves as a strategic advisor and executive consultant across social and real money gaming verticals. Gross most recently was the Vice President of Online Casino & Sportsbook for Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE). She held P&L ownership and oversight within the functional areas of marketing, product management, game content, VIP, and service operations. Moreover, she transitioned to that role in 2018 from CIE’s Head of Online Casino, after successfully launching the first iGaming sites in New Jersey in 2013, managing live operations and third-party supplier relationships. Previously, Gross held management roles at CIDC/Everest Gaming, overseeing the global product and associated P&L of seven casinos, and at Zynga, driving product features for top game titles, including FarmVille and Indiana Jones Adventure World. Gross is a 2021 recipient of iGaming Business’s “10 Most Influential Women in iGaming” and a 2017 recipient of Global Gaming Business’s “40 under 40” Emerging Leaders.
Finally, Senior Distinguished Fellows Kathryn Rand and Steven Light are cofounders and codirectors of the Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy at the University of North Dakota. Rand is Floyd B. Sperry Professor and former Dean of UND’s School of Law, and Light is Professor of Political Science and Public Administration and former Dean of UND’s College of Business & Public Administration. They are the authors of three books widely considered the standards in the field, including Indian Gaming and Tribal Sovereignty: The Casino Compromise, and some 60 other publications. These documents have been exploring why tribally owned casinos came to be and how they have remade the legal, political, and regulatory landscape for gaming and socioeconomic development across the U.S. Rand and Light have testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and have been featured speakers at numerous university and gaming industry events throughout the world. They are frequent commentators on tribal gaming, and have been quoted in different media.
Beyond these announcements, the Center does a strong educational and academic work for the formation and training of gaming executives. Thus, the next seminars of this entity will be the following: 1) Best Practices in Tribal Business Diversification (May 3rd); 2) Financial & Background Investigative Techniques (June 22nd), and 3) Casino Audit: Revenue, Casino Floor, AML & KYC Concepts (July 19th).