A Career and a Half

Thirty years after co-founding the Spectrum Gaming Group, Fred Gushin’s role in the gaming industry can’t be underestimated, according to his partner, Michael Pollock.

A Career and a Half

When states impose post-employment restrictions on regulatory agencies, the goal is to prevent a revolving door between the regulated and the regulators, helping to ensure the integrity of the process. While hoping to close one revolving door, however, sometimes the state manages to open another door.

That is what happened 30 years ago to my friend and partner, Fredric Gushin. After a distinguished career at the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, where he rose to the position of assistant director and assistant attorney general, Fred decided to test the frigid waters of the private sector.

Like so many others before and since, he thought that, after spending more than a year as an advisor to the government of Tinian, following his work in New Jersey, hanging a shingle as a “consultant” would be a good parking spot. He received advice from some other former regulators who suggested the name “Spectrum.” Catchy? Memorable? Who knew? It was certainly worth a try.

Like another Fred (Flintstone), Mr. Gushin had not earned a reputation as a tech geek, but he bravely learned how to navigate the waters of new technologies, and advertised his very own email address: fgspectrum@aol.com (Send him a note; it still works.)

This “temporary” launch relied on two essential assets (three, if you count the spare room that served as a home office):

  • His vast experience overseeing compliance for the casino industry in Atlantic City.
  • His commitment to the principles of integrity in gaming.

That combination seems both trite and obvious. Turns out, however, that the combination is powerful when the commitment to integrity is real. For three decades and counting, not a moment has gone by in which Fred has compromised on that commitment.

The result is that such a commitment has evolved into a not-so-secret recipe for longevity and success. That is why, to this day, I consider Fred to be more than a partner and friend. He is also a mentor.

I took a different path, starting as a journalist and author who focused on gaming policy and practice in Atlantic City (building friendships with knowledgeable experts such as Fred) and later served as a regulator at the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. I ultimately rode out my post-employment restrictions by starting a newsletter that analyzed the gaming industry, which evolved into, ahem, a consultancy.

Fred and I merged our businesses in 2003 (yes, we are celebrating two anniversaries this year) and formed a new company that retained a name that had already become a noteworthy brand: Spectrum Gaming Group. We have never looked back, nor have we regretted our respective decisions.

Spectrum is hardly the only gaming consultancy, nor is it the only one launched by former regulators. But we proudly note that we have now worked in 43 US states and territories and in 48 countries on 6 continents (we are watching you, Antarctica). Our clients include 24 U.S. state and territory governments, 8 national governments, 25 Native American entities, and numerous gaming companies (national and international), suppliers, lotteries, financial institutions, developers and other gaming-related entities.

That commitment to integrity (and its cousin, transparency) has not cost us business (although you could arguably operate one or more successful consultancies by doing the work we turn down), but rather has fueled our growth, and has added another extraordinary, competitive asset that we deploy: A team made up of staff members, sister companies such as NFC Global and Spectrum Gaming Capital, and third-party contractors who are all best in class. We operate in every gaming vertical, and will be around for decades to come, continuing to rely on that trite, obvious commitment to integrity.

I have a closing note to my mentor, friend and partner, Fredric Gushin: I checked. Your post-employment restrictions are over. You can now do whatever you want.

Articles by Author: Michael Pollock

Michael Pollock is managing director of Spectrum Gaming Group, an independent research and professional services firm that also serves as executive director of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States. He has served as an expert witness in multiple states on the issue of unregulated slot machines. He previously served as a senior regulator with the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.