Reel Lives: SBC’s Sue Schneider On The Interactive Gaming Council, Mentoring, And The Mississippi River

Brett Smiley

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slot machine reel lives

Every gambler has a story to tell. And so does every person who chooses to make a living in this unique industry.

In our “Reel Lives” series, Casino Reports shines a spotlight on people working in the gaming business, from executives, to analysts, to media members, and all points in between.

The subject in this interview: Sue Schneider, an industry legend and iGaming expert who currently serves as VP, Growth & Strategy, Americas at Sports Betting Community (SBC).

Who better for the debut? Now let’s get to it.

Casino Reports (CR): Where are you from originally and in what city are you based now?

Sue Schneider (SS): Born and currently live in St. Charles, Missouri.  We escaped for a few years to San Francisco in the early ’70s (very fun!), but, even then, real estate was too expensive to get into so we moved back where my husband started a family firm.

CR: What was your first job in the gambling industry?

SS: Oddly enough, I became a bingo operator when I was executive director of a youth services agency (’76-’84). We raised a lot of funds for our non-profit at the time but I hated it. I was a “caller,” and if you ever messed up, those little old ladies would hunt you down in the parking lot.

Sue Schneider

CR: What do you view as your signature accomplishment/achievement in this industry? Or put another way, what thing are you most proud about?

SS: I had the opportunity to found and chair the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) from ’96-’04 and loved that. It was the beginning of the industry and we spent a lot of time trying to stave off the ban that some in Congress were shooting for. They were finally successful in ’06 with the UIGEA.  I’m a policy wonk at heart so the advocacy work was very rewarding. The IGC peaked at 120 member companies and it was like herding cats … especially in our meetings where there were four women in a room of 70-100 members in attendance. More recently, I’ve really enjoyed working with Global Gaming Women (GGW) and with our “SheEO” group of female CEOs, founders, presidents, GMs, MDs, and board members. We’ve grown that group up to 110 women so far.

CR: I’ve heard you say before your “dirty little secret” is that you don’t gamble. Why is that, and if you were forced to play some game, what would it be?

SS: It’s true (and it’s really out there now). As entertainment options go, I’d rather spend my time and money listening to live music. And countless folks have wanted to teach me about sports odds and I always tell them that I don’t really care. My gambles are on business ventures. When I have time to kill in Las Vegas, I might play a little video poker … and I know enough to take the money and run if I win.

CR: What’s your biggest remaining career goal, either inside or outside the gaming space?

SS: I was asked about my “career goals”  in an evaluation recently and I laughed. I just turned 73 so that train has passed. But, I really do enjoy mentoring some of the great startups that are coming into the industry, especially female-owned or managed. That gives me great pleasure. Having experienced exits with my own companies, I can offer some tidbits of advice.

CR: What’s the most memorable conference you’ve attended? 

SS: Hmmm. I’d have to say the GIGSE conferences that our own River City Group produced. We bounced between Toronto and Montreal and they were in the era before the industry was corporate so it was super fun. We’d do a fundraiser for problem gambling non-profits with, for example, sumo wrestling between competitor companies with celebrity bookies taking action on those. I was blessed with a great staff at River City Group.

CR:  How do you like to spend free time away from work? Any interesting hobbies or secret talents?

SS: Well, I retired from indoor recreational soccer two years ago. Didn’t start til I was 30 (no Title IX in my day), but played for almost 40 years. I miss it. I live on (and sometimes in) the Mississippi River, so boating, hanging out at the marina pool is a big part of my summer. Traveling (and adding days on to work trips to explore) is another passion. And, as I mentioned, live music and especially blues. I’ve been on the Blues Cruise about six times. And haven’t missed a French Quarter Fest since ’08.

Lightning Round

Another person in gaming who has my utmost admiration is:

Kelly Kehn, co-founder of All In Diversity Project

If you close your eyes and picture a casino the first one that comes to mind is:

Circa’s Stadium Swim (it’s not in the casino, but I love that place).

First word or phrase that comes to mind when you hear “cannibalization debate”:

Look at the numbers.

Best airport?

Was just in Austin for SXSW with live music in the airport. Hands down the best.

Worst job I ever had was …

Right out of high school, working for a flight simulator manufacturer moving around trays of punch cards for their computer room. We’ve come a long way.

Favorite TV sitcom:

Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Favorite alcoholic beverage:

Any kind of “bubbles” (cava, prosecco) or Captain Morgan and Diet Coke (but many of you already know that).

First vehicle I drove was:

’63 Plymouth Belvedere with a Mopar engine. I started out with a lead foot and still have it. 

You can find Sue on ‘X’ and on LinkedIn, and if you see her on the road, watch out.