CA Online Poker Likely To Be The Golden Topic At The ICO Conference

Written By Steve Ruddock on May 29, 2015 - Last Updated on March 24, 2021

California’s dreams of online poker have reached a pivotal moment.

Assemblyman Adam Gray’s online poker bill, AB 431, has passed through the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, but several highly contentious issues are still threatening to poison the well and derail any online poker legislation the California legislature considers.

These issues – whether the legislation should contain some form of “bad actor” clause and the role of the racing industry – will need to be hashed out if a bill is going to pass in the Golden State this year.

One place where these issues will certainly receive plenty of attention is at the Indian Country Online Conference.

ICO is slated to take place at the Pala Casino on June 11. Registration will be open on Wednesday, June 10, followed by a welcome reception from 6 PM to 8 PM prior to Thursday’s numerous panels and keynote addresses.

ICO to cover a wide range of topics

ICO will cover a number of topics (six in total) covering everything from identifying the highly coveted online player to the onset of skill-based social gaming, to fantasy sports.

Here is a look at the agenda for Thursday, June 11 at Indian Country Online.

Morning keynote

The ICO conference will kick off Thursday morning with an early-bird keynote address, also known as the hangover time slot at gaming conferences, from Adam Krejcik of Eilers Research.

Krejcik is widely considered one of the best analysts in the iGaming industry, and is peerless when it comes to DFS analytics.

Panel #1: iPlayer

Gene Johnson, the Senior Vice President of Market Research and Online Studies for Spectrum Gaming Group, will lead the first panel discussion which will attempt to answer the question, “Who is the customer for casino, social, and fantasy games on the Internet?”

Johnson will pose this question and many others to:

  • Brett Abarbanel, Head, Social & Recreational Gambling, UCLA Gambling Studies Program
  • Melissa Blau, Director, iGaming Capital
  • Roberto Coppola, Global Director of Market Research, YWS Design & Architecture
  • Buddy Frank, Vice President of Slot Operations, Pechanga
  • Dana Takrudtong, Vice President of Sales, North America, GameAccount Network

Panel #2: iMobile

The second panel will take on the increasingly popular mobile gambling sector, as four speakers discuss the trends and new verticals the mobile era has ushered in.

The panel will feature:

  • David Briggs, Non-Executive Chairman, Geocomply
  • Anika Howard, Senior Director of Interactive, IGT
  • Michael Jabara, Founder and CEO, oneLIVE inc.
  • Danielle Parsons, Director of Field Operations, JOINGO

Panel #3: iSkill and iSocial

The third panel of the day will delve into the interesting topic of the meteoric rise of skill-based social games, and how the nascent industry has become one of the biggest revenue generators in the iGaming industry.

Art Shectman, the President of Elephant Ventures, will lead a panel that includes:

  • Charles Harper, Senior Consultant, Partis Solutions
  • Allistair James, Head of Business Development, DoubleDown Interactive
  • Marcus Yoder, Vice President, Regulated Markets Business Development, Gamblit Gaming

Lunch keynote

A second keynote address will be given during the lunch hour by DraftKings CEO Jason Robbins.

Robbins will likely be speaking to a packed room even though his speech will coincide with lunch, considering the rumored deal between DraftKings and ESPN/Disney.

Panel #4: iFantasy and iSports

Since it’s now apparently illegal to have a gaming conference without devoting at least one panel to Daily Fantasy Sports, ICO will host a DFS panel following Robbins’ keynote address, giving conference goers a full two hours plus of DFS talk.

The panel will be moderated by Adam Steinberg, the Senior Vice President at Spectrum Gaming Capital, and panelists include:

  • Martin de Knijff, Head of Business and Product Development, Metric Gaming
  • Rich Roberts, President of Digital, Sportech
  • Robert Traversa, CFO, MGT Capital Investments
  • Dan Wallach, Shareholder, Becker & Poliakoff
  • Seth Young, Chief Operating Officer, Star Fantasy Leagues

Panel #5: iStrategy

The penultimate panel is set to be one of the more intriguing, as longtime industry insiders, led by Andy Caras-Altas, the CEO of Traffic Generation Limited, discuss how tribes can incorporate comprehensive iGaming strategies.

Anyone showing up for this provocative discussion will get to hear from a diverse group of iGaming representatives:

  • Joseph Colebut, Chairman, Foxwoods Development Company
  • Gary Davis, President and CEO, National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development
  • Jon Friedberg, CEO, Overlay Gaming
  • Jim Ryan, CEO, Pala Interactive

Panel #6: iPolitics

As interesting as the iStrategies panel will be, the most relevant and anticipated topic will be tackled during  the final roundtable discussion at ICO, when online gambling legalization at both the federal and state level is broached.

The panel will be moderated by founder and editor Victor Rocha, and features three extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful speakers:

  1. Jonodev Chaudhuri, Chairman, National Indian Gaming Commission
  2. Jana McKeag, President, Lowry Strategies
  3. Ernest L. Stevens, Jr., Chairman, National Indian Gaming Association
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Steve Ruddock

Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.

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