The ICGR's Fellowship program encourages the development of research, educational programs and content, and thought-leadership opportunities. In addition, Fellows serve in an advisory role, providing expertise regarding the development of the center and services provided to clients.
"We are thrilled to have these industry professionals as part of the ICGR team," said Craig Ferreira, Executive Director of the ICGR. "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."
Joe Bertolone is Vice President of Sports Betting at IGT. Bertolone previously served as the Executive Director of the Center 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 across the industry. Bertolone is currently Vice President, Sports Betting at IGT PlaySports. His gaming manufacturing roles include serving as the President, of 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. As an industry regulator, 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.
"I'm grateful to have the opportunity to continue to work with the ICGR and contribute to its efforts in a new and exciting way," said Bertolone, who was the Executive Director of the center from early 2020 through later 2021.
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 served as the Vice President of Online Casino & Sportsbook for Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE). Gross held P&L ownership and oversight within the functional areas of marketing, product management, game content, VIP, and service operations. 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.
"It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be a member of UNLV ICGR's Core Faculty, and I am honored to become more deeply connected as a Distinguished Fellow," stated Gross. "The ICGR's programming provided unparalleled education, resulting in thoughtful cross-functional discussion across a variety of important iGaming topics including compliance, operations, and market expansion."
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's Professor and former Dean of UND’s School of Law. Light is a 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 exploring why tribally owned casinos came to be and how they have remade the legal, political, and regulatory landscape for gaming and socio-economic 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 the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Bloomberg, NPR, and Indian Country Today.
"It's an honor to continue our roles as Senior Distinguished Fellows for the ICGR," noted Rand and Light, who served as Fellows in 2021. “We are excited to expand on our research on tribal gaming and its impact on both tribal communities and the wider gaming industry.”