The integrated resort (IR) casino sector is getting its own awards program. The IR Academy Awards are coming for the first time next month, hosted by the Academy of Integrated Resorts and Gaming Executives in Asia. The Academy was formed by Inside Asian Gaming (IAG) at the beginning of this year, and was created to “advance professionalism within the land-based industry and to recognize industry executives and their contributions to the industry.” The inaugural event will be held next month in Macau.
The First-ever Awards Program for IRs
IAG decided that it was time that operators in the IR sector be recognized specifically for their achievements, leading to the creation of the IR Academy Awards. The organization also has other initiatives being considered, some of which could be introduced at a later date. According to IAG CEO Andrew W. Scott, “The idea for the IR Academy Awards grew out of a desire to recognize the valuable and meaningful contribution to our industry of many industry executives, from young up-and-coming Senior Managers and Assistant Directors right up to Senior Vice Presidents and even some C-level executives. Typically, such executives fall through the gaps, given that to make the Asian Gaming Power 50 list each year you now pretty much must be an owner or CEO of a gaming operator, and that the G2E Asia Awards focus on companies rather than individuals.”
The inaugural awards program will be held at The Londoner Macao in Macau on October 12. It is sponsored by Sands China Ltd., the latest property to be added to the city by the Las Vegas Sands subsidiary. Only Academy members will be in attendance, but membership in the group is free. Anyone who has worked in the Asian gaming space for two years or more is eligible to apply for membership.
Only Two Categories to Have Winners
The IR Academy Awards are getting off to a slow start, despite having been discussed for years. Academy members can nominate themselves or other members to receive the award in the Industry Rising Star or Industry Icons categories. The former refers to those individuals whose year of birth is 1981 or later, and there are five awards in each category. Nominations are being accepted now through September 14, with the final nominees to be announced on September 27. Voting will then take place on the Academy’s website until the day before the event. All winners are chosen by popular vote.
Adds Scott, “We’ve been thinking about launching this initiative for years, and we didn’t want to wait until the industry returned to normal after the pandemic, but the last thing we wanted to do right now was to ask our clients to put their hands in their pockets for a new initiative, so the event will be completely free of charge. Despite being quite a low-key affair this year, we hope to steadily grow the stature of the IR Academy Awards in the future, just as we have done with the Power 50 over the past 14 years.”