March has been a very busy month for me, starting with a trip to Phoenix, Ariz., to attend the annual NIGA conference and trade show and capped a couple of weeks later with a visit to Las Vegas to participate in Empower, the Scientific Games user conference. That is a lot of flying and, to borrow an old trope attributed to Bob Hope, boy are my arms tired… so tired, in fact, that coverage from both these events has been pushed into the May and June issues of Casino Journal. (I kid of course; it was the vagaries of monthly magazine scheduling and production that forced these stories into later issues, but it’s rare when I get a chance to take advantage of a good one-liner.)
Attending the excellent keynotes and sessions provided at each of these conferences did provide me with a number of new observations about the gaming industry, perhaps none more forceful than the realization that marketing and its position within the casino enterprise operation hierarchy has truly reached its ascendency. Through all the speeches and conversations, you come to realize that no major economic initiative on either the operator or manufacturer side of the business is made with input and approval from the marketing team.