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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Executive snapshot: Rob Bone vice president of North American sales, WMS Gaming

16 April 2012

Rob Bone came to Las Vegas to play football for UNLV.

But the Dallas native also received an education outside the classroom and Sam Boyd Stadium.

Bone is the senior vice president of North American sales for slot machine giant WMS Gaming, which has its corporate headquarters in Waukegan, Ill., and a sales office in Las Vegas. He gained exposure to the casino business during internships and in summer and between football seasons.

Following graduation, Bone worked as a senior financial analyst at Harrah's Entertainment.

But he eventually found his way into the slot machine business. He began his career with WMS in various sales capacities between 2000 and 2004. During that time, Bone helped launch the company slot machine products with its major corporate customers.

In June 2005, he became the vice president of marketing, overseeing market research, public relations, promotional campaigns, online communications, product marketing and messaging activities.

Bone then went back into a primary sales position overseeing the Western U.S. gaming markets. Today he leads the sales efforts in the U.S. and Canada and oversees the operational aspects of WMS's offices in Las Vegas and Reno.

Bone realized early on he might not be destined to quarterback the Dallas Cowboys.

He lettered in football at UNLV between 1995 to 1997. He was a reserve quarterback but did not have any passing statistics. Bone also was a backup quarterback as a freshman on the 1994 UNLV football team that defeated Central Michigan, 52-24 in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Bone spent his UNLV career on special teams as the holder for extra points and field goals. He also was in on the punting and kick-off return teams, rushing for 45 yards on fake punts in 1995.

Bone was a three-time academic all-conference honoree while earning his degree in finance. He later earned an MBA from UNLV.

What attracted you to Las Vegas?

I had a lot of success in high school football and coming to UNLV was a great opportunity to get my education. I never had much exposure to the casino business until I came here. The great thing about working with Harrah's was that being a financial analyst, you weren't department specific. One day you might be in slots and one day you might be in food and beverage. It was a great way to build a foundation.

What brought you into slot machine sales?

I had never done sales before. I actually avoided it. My passion has always been to work face-to-face with people, so without knowing it, sales was always in my blood. Sales is a great pressure situation and I don't think there is a better job. You can come up with ways to help you customers resolve any issues.

How do you keep up with the ever-changing slot technology?

That's what keeps me up at night. The rate of technology changes and increases every 18 months. We have to help the customer understand the technology and the value it brings. The games we are selling now are far different than the games we were selling a year ago. Online gaming and network gaming were technologies we never discussed eight to 10 years ago. It's a different market.

Are slot machine sales improving overall?

The market seems to be coming back. You also have new markets opening, such as Ohio. My job is to also keep pulse of the political environment because things could change overnight. When a new jurisdiction opens, you get the benefit two or three years out.

How has WMS changed in the 12 years you have been there?

We were small when I started out. We now have a market capitalization of around $1.3 billion. WMS has done a good job concentrating on its core business.

Do you still follow UNLV football?

Absolutely. I donate to the program and it has a special place in heart. I get back to games as often as I can. I'm excited to see what Coach (Bobby) Hauck will bring to the program. There is a lot more history and nostalgia with the program than people give it credit.

Executive snapshot: Rob Bone vice president of North American sales, WMS Gaming is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.