CEO of AYS Global Consults, Ann-Dawn Young Sang discusses the growing igaming industry and how states in the US have to adapt to the market.

 

Video from Ann-Dawn Young Sang Interview

Show notes from Ann-Dawn Young Sang Interview

Ryan Knuppel: All right, welcome back to another episode of the Knup Sports Show, I’m your host, Ryan Knuppel, here with you each and every time. Welcome to another one. We appreciate you taking a little bit of time, listening to our show, letting us talk iGaming, whatever we feel like talking about in this space. It’s always appreciated that you give us a little bit of your time. Today I have another guest, as always, but today I have Ann-Dawn Young Sang. She’s the founder and CEO, at AYS Global Consults, Senior Executive, Transformational Leader. And, Don, I’m so glad you’re here. Thanks for being here. What’s going on?

Ann-Dawn Young San: Thank you for Ryan for having me. I am excited about being here and thanks for the invite to join you and your listeners today.

Ryan Knuppel: Oh, absolutely. It’s my pleasure. You know, I’ve been wanting to have you on for quite a while, and so I appreciate you taking a few minutes here. And if we produce this video, I apologize in advance. I’m not on video, but Ann-Dawn is. So, nobody wants to see me anyway. I’m behind the scenes. You can just look at my picture. But technical difficulties have kept me away from video today. So, I guess they didn’t want me looking so good today but thank you for being here. Hey, give us the thousand-foot view of your career. Where have you been? How did you get started in this gaming space? And just give us a little bit of background about yourself.

Ann-Dawn Young Sang: Ok, how did I get started? I actually got started by working with G Tech, it’s now called IGT, the world’s largest gaming technology provider. I started there actually as the finance manager, but I wasn’t the statistical finance manager and I was, oh, I want to understand how the entire business works. So, I would be out with the guys, the technicians at the high sites, on the setting, the tower, be with the marketing guys in the central control room.

So, I spent my career in the gaming industry moving from Jamaica and then including Barbados and then the entire Caribbean have a responsibility for that. And during that time, I was able to lead a very wonderful and productive team and we saw our business just grow exponentially to becoming, in all of my Caribbean sites at the time being in the top 10 of all of the accounts or whether it was just over 70 countries. So that was a big movement there. I see the gaming industry in terms of understanding consumers because it’s consumers that buy the gaming products and it provides a choice of entertainment in a different way in which to spend that consumer dollar. So, I spent a lot of time in terms of marketing analysis, coming up with game designs, looking at different products. From there, I became the head of the Supreme Gaming, a gaming company in Jamaica that has, in all gaming space, sports betting, have gaming lounges,  machines, in terms of horse racing, and of course, the luxury and mobile gaming, and then from there decide it was time to branch out on my own and get into consulting services where I provide consulting services, oversight in terms of strategic planning, building a business from idea to an actual tangible end result as well as a quite a bit of individuals, entrepreneurs, etc. Always have the idea stuck in their head. But being able to translate it becomes a challenge.

So, I work with companies and individuals there and even with the none for profit organization I’m partnering with now in terms of driving education, paying attention to the teachers. So, I understand the gaming industry. I’m there, but I go beyond just the gaming industry and can offer even more insight there. My start there was, as you can see, climbing through the letters in terms of the different roles and positions that I have.

Ryan Knuppel: That’s super cool. And congrats on the success in your career already and surely more to come as well. I love hearing stories of that. And then I know what you’re doing currently with the consulting side of things. I mean, it’s such a needed space right now because the world is transforming, right? I mean, we’ve kind of been going through this transformation over the last five or so years. But this this need for entrepreneurship and the demand for helping startups and helping entrepreneurs is so important right now because there’s a lot of people that want to be a part of that. And I was one of them back when I started five years ago.

I wanted it and I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I took the path, I’m just going to go down the path or go for it. But looking back, it’s like I could have got a lot more done if I would have brought someone on that’s been there, done that and minimize my mistakes from a startup side of things. And so, I commend you. I think that’s a great space to be in. I’m assuming you’re seeing kind of a, I don’t know if it’s a spike, but like an increase in demand of just entrepreneurs and startups. Correct?

Ann-Dawn Young Sang: There really is. And especially because of the changes that COVID has brought. It has also highlighted the opportunities that are out there and individuals with great ideas in terms of transitioning. And so, the emphasis is in terms of small micro businesses, startups being one of them, but also even within companies. And so far, what I’ve noticed is that they have to take a look in terms of how their organizational structure is and be able to pivot. So, I’m also offering advice in terms of how to be able to prepare, how to air that idea, restructure your company so that you’re able to take advantage of, and also at the same time, being able to engage and motivate your staff. So, it’s happening across the different segments, across different industries, smart startups that there is a need for them in terms of holding their hands, as you see, understanding those different nuances, helping them to avoid some of the pitfalls and helping them in terms of formulating it more so there has been increased and also in terms of regular business for the changes that they want to do and put in place. So, it’s been interesting. It’s been an interesting a couple of months.

Ryan Knuppel: Well, yeah. I mean, because we’re at this point, you know, right now we’re recording this. We’re right in the middle or hopefully ending soon, the COVID pandemic and all of this. And so, there’s really, if there’s a time for change in business, it’s right now there’s so much change going on in everyone’s business. And I love that word pivot. I’ve used that word several times on this show and other discussions. You have to be willing to pivot in business. You just have to if you’re too stubborn or too set in what you’re doing, you may may fail.

Ann-Dawn Young Sang: You’re going to have a problem. Houston, there is a problem here.

Ryan Knuppel: Yeah. You just have to be willing to. And it’s more clear now than ever that if you’re not willing to pivot, you’re going to go below some other companies. And so, I love that word and I love that you help people do that. Talk about that in a whole other show. But today, I really want to try to focus a little bit on the iGaming space. And so, give me a little bit of your viewpoints on, maybe focused kind of on the US and what they’re doing in the legalized gambling space and some of this area. Just what are you seeing? Are you seeing this moving forward as quickly as you thought or what?

Ann-Dawn Young Sang: I think what has happened since this year is going to I think, I’m hoping it will force regulators to take a look at it and truly look at moving forward with it. I’m hoping to see more legalized online gaming in more and more states. And let’s hope that we can have a few more states added before the end of the year. I think in terms of the sports betting arena for online, that is a reality. I think one of the things that that’s going to force more states to take a look (inaudible). And even as we get out of the whole COVID era, the appetite for online gaming has already begun, the more and more consumers are forced to use everything that you want to do online. And so, you’re going to find out ease of transition. It’s there, and you’re going to have that demand increase. So, I know that there are a couple of states already, you know, online gaming and being included. But I’m hoping to see an increase in that because otherwise what you’re going to find is that persons are going to go to look to see where they can get an access point. But it provides such an additional revenue stream. And I think the quicker that states are able to look on it, put in place a regulatory structure to make sure that you’re able to monitor it effectively, to make sure that you’re able to ensure that you’re able to protect consumer rights. There are tons of models that are out there as it pertains to online gaming, and regulators can pick and choose and edit it to fit their state’s need. But I think you’ll see an increase and already a lot of states have predicted hundreds of percentages increases in terms of their online gaming product. And so that trend, I believe, will increase, especially since consumers appetite and familiarization with online has heightened.

You’re forced to do quite a lot of stuff, more remote and online. And so that need is here. This is a time whereby the consumer demands and trends that we’re hoping that the regulatory framework will now catch up with it and have more of those approval and licensing being being given to the different operators. So that’s what I’m hoping will take place, because, as you know, the US is one of the last left large frontiers that’s left there for online gaming to truly open up. And you see what has happened in terms of other markets. When you look over, I think the period 2003 to 2017, for online gaming have had over 800% increase. It’s a $15 billion, $15 to $20 billion market. It’s estimated to grow on average eight percent per annum, and whereas regular gaming is roughly three percent. So, it shows you in terms of the direction for the future as it pertains to online gaming. And I’m hoping more states will now come on board and be able to adopt the necessary legislative and regulatory requirements to be able to promote it.

Ryan Knuppel: Amen to all of that. Preach.

Ann-Dawn Young Sang: It’s quite a mouthful, right? You know I’m passionate about it.

Ryan Knuppel: Ann-Dawn, when you talk about it in that terms and you make it very clear that, look, you know, this is growing, this is good. Like, other areas that have implemented a lot of this, have had success, these states all need revenue, that’s very clear. This is one way of doing it. What is the hold up in some of these states? I mean, why? Look, from an outsider’s perspective, I mean, I have my opinions on this, but, you know, somebody listening, maybe hearing you talk and thinking, well, why isn’t my state moving forward quicker? Like, why aren’t we moving forward quicker? What’s the hold up? And what I guess is all that I know there’s a lot that goes into this, but what kind of things are these states, you know, why are they dragging their feet on this or is it just part of the process?

Ann-Dawn Young Sang: I think it’s a part of the process. I think it may be multifaceted. Part of it is fear of the unknown, in terms of how do you regulate. And some of it may be preconceived notions that you are going to make things get crazy and out of control because of not being able to properly regulate in terms of what’s happening. To me, those are all myth. Those are all things, and as you and I know, everything can be regulated even far more better and more tightly via online, whereby you can know exactly what took place in terms of knowing if consumers are on the product too long, whereby you can have a force, whereby they take a break away from it. You can know in terms of what the operator’s activities are, the level of spend that is happening, you’re better able to have far more restrictions and control over what is happening. But better yet, I think all of the states are missing in is that this is in terms of disposable income, in terms of discretionary income that consumers have. And I know there are a lot of argument that can be made against it. But consumers at the end of the day have a finite amount of resources and they can choose where they want to spend that. If they are not given that ability in which to have freedom of to spend within a controlled environment, then that dollar is going to go elsewhere.

You as regulators, you’re literally going to be driving yourself out of business, also because it is a consumer driven world. It is a consumer driven product to, how you execute it, how you put in place your controls and restrictions. That is what is required. And you can’t have a fear of technology. Technology can, in fact, aid you to achieve your objectives. So, I mean, in my humble opinion, if they identify where the concerns are, where the issues are, and then you can find the different strategies to overcome it because there’s a solution for it. The greatest fear that exists, there is a solution for. I also know that the regulatory process is very time consuming and it’s in terms of having a meeting of the minds. And so, the best bet you can take is to take the best practices, take the best practices for the states that have implemented it, take the best practices from the countries that have implemented it. There are quite a few countries throughout the world that have very tough online regulations and you can adapt to fit your state, to fit within your requirement. And I think it’s a matter of burying your head in the sand. If you fail to take a look at what’s coming down the road, it’s here. It’s here. And it’s not going anywhere. And you can see from the increase that has taken on esports, for example, it has been tremendous. And for those states that offer their product online, they are reporting record increase. I remember, I can’t remember specifically, some of the states have had like 300 or 400% increase just in terms of their online product. You know, so, it’s an opportunity that exists. And I think states just have to look in terms of how do they step in front of this and leave this transition, and pivot their administration in terms of putting in place the necessary mechanism and requirements to make it happen.

Ryan Knuppel: Very, very good points. And when Michael Jordan becomes an adviser of a big company in this space, everyone’s going to follow. So that was a checkmark in our favor when I saw him get on board, that opened my eyes. Right? Everybody knows.

Ann-Dawn Young Sang: Exactly. Exactly. So, we can keep on hoping that we’ll start to see some changes and some implementation taking place soon. Very soon, I’m hoping

Ryan Knuppel: Sure. So, what’s to come for your consultancy? What’s what kind of plans do you have? What are your goals and ambitions? I mean, are you always looking for new people to work with in the space or what’s your goal plan?

Ann-Dawn Young Sang: Always looking for new people to work with in my space. Right now, I have a couple of projects that I’m working on. But the aim is to come in and help individuals, whether it is in terms of transition, building out their business back or even in a particular segment within their organization for which we have a pool of individuals that we also partner with that, for example, if you need to pivot and you’re going into a space, you’re not sure if we can bring in the persons in, temporarily hold that space or help you in terms of recruiting and finding the right person and enabling you to transition. So, we are about trying to find the solution wherever you think that there is no solution, we will find a solution because we will sit, we’ll brainstorm, we’ll pull the ideas from you and will translate it in terms of a tangible plan to be able to execute. So, that’s our mantra. It’s like from idea creation down to the actual execution, we can provide anything along that value-added chain element for what is needed.

Ryan Knuppel: Very cool. Very cool. I urge you, if you’re listening, any listeners out there that are listening to this and maybe you’re stuck on something, you’re just stuck in some phase of your business. Ann-Dawn has seen it all and can definitely help with that and how would they get a hold of you? Ccontact you? What’s the best method to get a hold of you if someone just wanted to chat about some of this?

Ann-Dawn Young Sang: Sure, so we have different points of contact, you can get a hold of me by www. Aysglobal.co. We are also via [email protected] You can send us email, shoot us whatever you want. And, of course, their contact numbers that you can use 876-477-1296,

Ryan Knuppel: Amazing. We’ll put all those in the show notes of this as well, so people don’t have to hurry and write them down. The links and things will be there. So, no worries on that. But I know for sake of time, we typically keep these 15, 20 minutes. So, I appreciate your time.

Ann-Dawn Young Sang: Thank you for taking the time.

Ryan Knuppel: I could hear you talk all day. I mean, I literally have about five more questions I wanted to ask, so maybe we’ll do this again. Maybe we can five months down the road, we’ll get together again, and we will see what we’ll be able to speak about.

Ann-Dawn Young Sang: I’llbe able to talk about more states opening up. Right, Ryan? That’s the hope.

Ryan Knuppel: Right. So, any last words in this space? Anything you want to tell the listeners or predictions you might want to make in this space? Any last words?

Ann-Dawn Young Sang: Ok, well, for me, first of all, aysglobal.com. Feel free to reach out to us. And it’s about listeners being a safe keeping healthy during this time. I believe that online is the way to go so it’s a huge growth opportunity that exists and taking advantage of the technology that exists. A lot of technology companies are further adopting and building their software to meet that increased demand. So, get yourself tech savvy, be alert as to the changing trends and the consumer trends. Let’s keep an eye on that to continue watching it.

Ryan Knuppel: 100%. Ann-Dawn thank you for being here. Really appreciate your time.

Ann-Dawn Young Sang: Thank you again for having me.

Ryan Knuppel: No problem. All right, listeners, thank you for tuning in. That was Ann-Dawn Young Sang, the senior executive transformational leader of AYS Global Consults. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you guys for tuning in. We’ll be back with more later this week. We’ll probably have some more. And stay safe where you’re at, as always. If you need anything, you can reach out to me. I’m Ryan Knuppel, the host of this. We just appreciate all of you guys. The numbers of these podcast listeners are increasing. We appreciate it. So, go subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, wherever you can and spread the word about this show. It really helps us. All right. Have a great day and we’ll talk to you all very soon. Bye-bye.

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