An Interview with IGT's Marco Sala
In 2014, GTECH, the world’s largest lottery business, announced that it would be merging with IGT (NYSE: IGT), a leading global provider of gaming equipment. The company states that the merger places it in an ideal position to serve both the commercial and public gaming industries through its comprehensive suite of products and services. The New York Stock Exchange sat down with CEO Marco Sala to get his perspective on the merger, the company’s global operations, and the evolution of gaming.
Thank you for speaking with us, Mr. Sala. Can you give us some background on your career and experience?
Marco Sala: I have a deep history with IGT's predecessor companies. I joined the largest lottery operator in the world, Lottomatica, in 2003 as General Manager. In 2006, I became Managing Director for the company's Italian operations and other European activities. During that same year Lottomatica acquired GTECH. I was appointed Chief Executive Officer of GTECH S.p.A. (formerly known as Lottomatica Group) in 2009 where I was responsible for overseeing all of our business segments. Prior to Lottomatica, I was briefly at Buffetti and prior to that I led the Italian Business Directories Division for SEAT Pagine Gialle, where I was later named Head of Business Directories with responsibility for a number of international companies.
Earlier in my career, I managed the spare parts division at Magneti Marelli, a Fiat Group company. I also held various marketing and sales positions at Kraft Foods.
I graduated from Bocconi University in Milan, majoring in Business and Economics.
There are lots of gaming companies out there, but what was it about IGT's products, services and other factors that made them the right company to join with GTECH?
MS: When I look at the future, I see two drivers in the gaming market: content and technology. Players want to be able to play any game on any platform. If you are a fan of Wheel of Fortune®, you want to be able to buy the scratch card, play it at a machine in the casino, or play it on your mobile phone. Our customers need us to provide best-in-class content across multiple platforms. This merger puts us in the forefront of both. Our gaming library includes the world's best-selling games, and our technology – from gaming machines, lottery, interactive, and sports betting – is second-to-none.
The new IGT is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the trends in gaming. One key trend is that governments around the world are looking for new sources of revenue and regulated gaming is an attractive solution. IGT is a go-to partner in this space. We already partner with governments in more than 100 countries around the world. We have a diverse revenue mix of stable contracts through lottery and gaming machine operations, as well as an industry-leading position in the growth area of interactive, where DoubleDown Casino™ is the top seller. In addition, we are seeing a convergence in the industry, meaning that players want to play their favorite content across all platforms – machines, lottery, social, and mobile. This transaction allows us to grow by serving this need.
The gaming industry is subject to quite a lot of regulation, and it varies from country to country. How do you navigate those regulatory considerations across the different territories in which your company operates?
MS: To begin, we only operate in regulated jurisdictions. As the preferred gaming and lottery partner to jurisdictions in more than 100 countries, IGT is uniquely positioned to leverage its geographical reach, deep relationships with governments, critical mass, and scale. These countries and states see IGT as a trusted, reliable, responsible partner — one that helps them create a stable revenue base to fund projects supporting the public good, while remaining committed to responsible, regulated gaming.
How has the rise of social and mobile affected the gaming industry as a whole? How do you see these channels evolving in the future?
MS: We are seeing a convergence in the industry, meaning that players want to play their favorite content across all available platforms. We see demand for interactive gaming, and we are excited about these opportunities. The rise of social and mobile gaming opens up a wide range of new opportunities for IGT, particularly because we have an industry-leading position with the aforementioned DoubleDown Casino, one of the largest social casinos.