At G2E last week, the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) honored Sebastian Salat with the 2021 Jens Halle Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Commercial Gaming Professionalism. It also selected Alan Feldman as the recipient of the 2021 Peter Mead Memorial Award Honoring Excellence in Gaming Media & Communications.
AGEM previously announced the creation of this unique annual awards program to acknowledge the lasting impacts on gaming by Halle and Mead, two distinctive industry veterans who died unexpectedly in 2015. Honorees are announced each year at G2E in Las Vegas.
Born in Barcelona in 1958, Salat is regarded as one of the most successful electronic gaming machine salesmen in industry history, with more than 35 years of experience in gaming, beginning in 1985 at Unidesa Gaming, the flagship company of the Spanish CIRSA Group, where he spent 15 years, and the last 12 as managing director. He joined WMS Gaming in 2000 as international managing director and was ultimately promoted to international president, boosting WMS’ global prominence and serving in that role until 2015. He then joined Zitro as CEO, with a focus on the worldwide video bingo and video slot markets.
“Sebastian Salat has been traveling the world selling gaming machines for decades and was one of the few who could give Jens Halle serious competition over the years for international customer engagement and the placement of machines in casinos throughout world,” said AGEM President David Lucchese, who also serves as executive vice president of sales, marketing and digital at Everi. “We have always let the nominating criteria guide the selection of these AGEM Memorial Awards and I can’t think of a more deserving winner whose European base, global reach and overall career path mirrored those of Jens. They were fierce competitors back in the day, but their mutual respect was evident then and lives on today.”
Feldman has been a leading voice and informed advocate for the gaming industry dating back to 1989, when the Mirage opened in Las Vegas and changed the dynamics of the world-famous Strip forever. Feldman served in various executive communications and public-affairs positions for Mirage Resorts and MGM Resorts International for nearly 30 years, including leading the communications strategies for the launches of Treasure Island, Bellagio, CityCenter, and other resorts in Las Vegas and around the country.
He’s been called upon to represent the industry during numerous crises as well, including labor and customer issues, economic downturns and the impacts of both 9/11 and the Las Vegas mass shooting on October 1, 2017. His commitment to responsible gaming is well known and he currently serves as chairman of the International Center for Responsible Gaming and as distinguished fellow in Responsible Gaming for the UNLV International Gaming Institute.
“Alan has been ‘the voice’ of the industry for as long as I can remember and the reason is he has earned the respect of industry peers and the media alike with his professionalism and honesty through good times and bad,” AGEM Executive Director Marcus Prater said. “It’s a delicate balance to walk a tightrope of the enthusiastic hype our industry creates as well as the reasoned approach to business and Wall Street and our industry’s responsibility to problem gamblers. And yet Alan has been doing all of that with aplomb for decades. He continues to be a force for good and he meets and exceeds the nominating criteria for this award named for Peter Mead and his legacy.”
Halle, a longtime Bally and Novomatic executive in Europe who was most recently CEO of Gauselmann Group’s Merkur Gaming based in Florida, died suddenly on May 20, 2015, at the age of 57. Mead, the founder and publisher of Casino Enterprise Management magazine, died suddenly in Las Vegas on June 24, 2015, at the age of 54.