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Volume 22 No. 19
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Forty Under 40: Sara Slane

Photo: raphael talisman

Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, American Gaming Association

Age: 39

Born: Toledo, Ohio

Education: Ohio University, B.A., political science

Family: Children, Preston (9), Jackson (7)

What gets you fired up? I love a good challenge. I like being the underdog. I definitely have always been very headstrong, so I like people underestimating my ability.

You wish you knew 10 years ago: That you don’t have to make decisions about everything right away. Sometimes if you let things percolate it becomes clear what direction you have to head in.

Profession you’d most like to attempt: Anything that would be a life of service would be admirable. 

Guilty pleasure: I love, love, love traveling. I can do a beach very well.

Something your friends would consider “so you”: My leather pants.

Could not go a day without: My hair dryer.

Person in the industry you’d most like to meet: Roger Goodell. He’s the one [commissioner] that we haven’t had the ability to face-to-face interact with and talk about how we operate. It would be interesting to get his perspective.

Ideal day off: Spending time at the beach with my kids.


As she stumped for the legalization of sports betting, Sara Slane often argued that doing so would both capture money bet illegally so it could be taxed by the states, and create and expand revenue streams for leagues, teams and even networks.

 

Now that sports betting has been blessed by legislatures in eight states and is under consideration in 21 more, Slane often finds herself trying to dampen the expectations that a gold rush has begun.

“My word of caution now is patience,” said Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association, the leading casino industry trade group. “Everyone has got to be patient. There’s this irrational over-exuberance around some of these big handle numbers, but this is still a low-margin business.”

Slane points to the numbers produced in New Jersey, where sportsbooks handled $385 million in wagers in January alone. That generated $18.7 million in revenue for the sportsbooks. “And you keep boiling that down to get to profit,” Slane said.

“We’re still early in the process of working with the sports industry to understand how the gaming industry works,” she said. “The good news is that so many leagues and teams and team owners want to be a part of this. So now we’re putting together the pieces of how reliant we are on each other. Having a successful sport betting model that works for everyone is becoming more present in the conversations we’re all having now.”

First Look podcast from April 1. Our conversation with Sara Slane starts at the 11:48 mark: