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US – AGA to induct three to Gaming Hall of Fame

By - 16 September 2015

The American Gaming Association (AGA) will induct three honorees into the Gaming Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015: Victor Salerno of William Hill US, Lynn Valbuena of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and Navegante Group founder Larry J. Woolf.

The inductees will be honored at an invitation-only ceremony Wednesday, September 30 at MGM Grand as part of the annual Global Gaming Expo (G2E), presented by the AGA.

“Victor, Lynn and Larry are pioneers in the gaming industry and worthy of induction into a very special fraternity,” said American Gaming Association CEO Geoff Freeman. “Victor has been on the cutting edge of the sports gaming industry for decades, Lynn has been a staunch advocate for tribal rights and Larry’s business acumen has been the driving force for the success of several renowned properties.”
Salerno, originally a dentist by trade, moved to Las Vegas in 1978 to take the reins of Leroy’s Horse & Sports Place from his father-in-law, Leroy Merillat. Over the next three-plus decades, he became one of sports gaming’s great innovators and the pioneer in satellite race and sports books statewide. In 1984, he replaced handwritten betting tickets with a computerized betting system called Computerized Bookmaking Systems, allowing sports books to eliminate fraud while expediting the betting process.

Salerno was one of the first sports book operators to offer telephone account wagering and developed the first self-service sports wagering kiosk in 2002. In 2010, he was the mastermind behind LEROY’s App, Nevada’s first mobile sports betting app. Salerno currently serves as chairman of the board of William Hill US.

Sports Betting at G2E: The future of sports betting will be a hot-button topic at G2E, with seminars ranging from the ongoing debate surrounding daily fantasy sports and how to tap into the millennial market.

Valbuena is Chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and is in her 20th year as the Chairwoman of the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN). In her role with TASIN, she works tirelessly to advance tribal sovereign governmental rights, cultural identity and the interests of those tribes located in the Central District of California. As executive secretary of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) from 1997-2011, Valbuena was the liaison for the largest organization of gaming tribes in the country.

Tribal Gaming at G2E: Tribal gaming will be a key focus at this year’s expo. “State Incursions into Tribal Government Gaming: Recent Developments” will focus on the recent increase of state taxation and regulatory threats, while “Council Considerations: Tribal Roundtable” will be a wide-ranging discussion centered on ensuring a successful casino operation. In addition, Valbuena will be a featured speaker at the Global Gaming Women (GGW) seminar, “Women in Gaming: State of the Industry.”

Woolf’s 40 plus-year’s gaming industry career includes many firsts that changed and improved the industry nationwide. As President of Caesars Tahoe, he initiated the first companywide drug hair-testing program, which has become a standard that has improved not only the industry, but the communities they serve. As Chairman, CEO and President of MGM Grand, his input was integral in the design, planning and construction of the first billion-dollar integrated resort, which opened in 1993 with more than 5,000 guest rooms and 9,000 employees. Woolf broke new ground at MGM Grand by being the first to open a Las Vegas casino with a roster of celebrity chefs, a trend that exploded and is now the norm. He also introduced TITO, another first and now an industry standard. Woolf founded the Navegante Group in 1995, which provides development, management and consulting services for casinos worldwide. He is also an investor/owner in several casinos.

Integrated Resort Experience at G2E: Casino development will be prominent at G2E this year with the debut of the Integrated Resort Experience (IRE), where approximately 20,000 square feet of floor space will be devoted to non-gaming amenities offered by casino-resorts. The “Smart Trends: Technological Touch to Integrated Resorts” seminar will emphasize how technology drives customer behavior, while “Inside the Integrated Resort: IR’s Meaning to Jurisdictions and Companies” will provide attendees with an all-encompassing overview of the integrated resort.

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