Casino World Magazine

What does a typical day of work look like for you? Does it involve a desk?

Office? 100+ phone calls, texts & emails? Is there a large amount of travel that goes hand-in-hand with your position?

At the end of the work day where do you call home?

What are your hobbies or something in particular that stands out to you that you do to let loose?

Do you have any vices or things you can’t do without in your daily routine?

Cigarettes? Phone? Laptop? Drink at the end of the day?

Most memorable moment of 2015?

I don’t have really typical days except for the fact that I speak to a lot of people everyday. The internet has made life in a way much easier for me, so that the world is your desk, even though I am in the office at a desk a lot of the time. At the same time, the volume of emails, texts, and requests/demands is probably in the hundreds per day, so trying to answer all the important ones while not making the less important ones feel disrespected is how I try to manage the day.

I am home in Montreal almost always at a reason able hour and for dinner.

I work out almost everyday and that’s mainly to stay healthy. I love wake surfing, which is incompatible to living in one of the coldest metropolitan cities in the world!

I think the phone has become a vice. It’s been in my hand for 99% of my waking hours since 1999. I like wine with dinner. I drink coffee during the day. I’m not that exciting during the work week.

The acquisition of the Cirque Du Soleil is a big deal for a Montrealer.

Where do you see the world of gaming and casinos evolving to over the next 5-10 years?

It’s a question everyone is asking. It’s no secret that slot play and land-based play in general is suffering somewhat and that the next generation of customers are very different than the last generation. The split of non-gaming revenue vs. gaming revenue has inverted over the last ten years so catering to a generation fixated with Netflix, games, Snapchat, Instagram, etc… is challenging, but between online and offline offerings I think we’re doing a good job. I continue to be bullish on the widespread legalization of online gaming in the United States.

For all the “WOULD BE” entrepreneurs out there, where do you see the biggest void or hole in the market of gaming and casinos?

It is so hard. Look at how many companies missed social games. Look at what Daily Fantasy Sports turned into. I think more legalized and regulated gaming is the opportunity.

If you were to pursue one new path starting tomorrow what would it be? And why?

Personally, I would go to medical school. I’ve lived as a lawyer and businessman and have always had more respect for Doctors than for what I do.

How do you manage family time and friendships in your very demanding work & philanthropic commitments?

Family is first. I spend a lot of time with my family so friendships suffer, and I go out for dinner for business much much less than say 5/10/15 years ago.

When you close your eyes and think of happiness what kind of pictures do you see?

It’s cliché but if you have a healthy family and the respect of the people around you, you have to be happy.

What are some of your personal and professional goals for 2016?

I want to keep growing our business. We’ve been very fortunate to date. I am also chairing one of the largest charitable campaigns in Canada this year, raising close to 55 million dollars, so I want to be successful there.

What are your top 5 secrets/suggestions for anyone wanting to succeed in the game of life?

• Resilience

• Opportunism

• Tenacity

• Know your business better than anyone else

• Promote the people around you. Let them be great.

• Be nice to people. It pays.

… That’s 6

Did you ever have a mentor or do you currently have a mentor?

I have been surrounded by so many people who were either much smarter, much wealthier, much more experienced or all three, that I can’t name them all.

Do you have someone that you are grooming as a protégé?

He’s beyond a protégé. Our President Craig Abrahams can probably today be the CEO of any Fortune 500 company. But he better not!

What is your favorite book?

I read non-fiction and watch documentaries. I just read My Promised Land by Ari Shavit and Start Up Nation which are books about Israel. Then I read a book about Islam to understand it better. I recently read a book of Gore Vidal essays which was great, and I’m breaking the non-fiction rule reading Rosie’s Project because Bill Gates recommended it.

What are you currently listening to on your iPod?

My iPod is 70’s classic and EDM…and then more EDM and more 70’s.

What is your favorite color?


What is your favorite food?

Shrimp and Tuna Tartare

What is your favorite movie?

Field of Dreams

What is your favorite travel destination?

I love South Africa, India, Maldives, London and Greece

If you could choose 5 poker players (living or dead) to join you for a private poker game, who would you select and why?

Stu Ungar (I wish I had met him). Doyle Brunson (for the stories), Phil Hellmuth (because he’d be so pissed to not be on any list of 5), Daniel Negreanu (he’s awesome, and Canadian!), Antonio Esfandiari (I would like to take his money), and if there’s another 3 seats to make nine: Liv Boeree, Brian Rast, and Phil Laak.

Favorite drink (can be alcoholic or non)? If someone wanted to send you a drink to delight your senses what would it be?

Any vintage of Lynch Bages!

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