Kelly Trask: “Sometimes Women Are Not Heard”

Kelly Trask knows that women are not heard and the only way to succeed in this industry is to be yourself. Find out her winning formula

This week, we’re rolling up our sleeves and diving headfirst into the wild world of gaming and slot strategy with Kelly Trask, a seasoned pro who’s slinging innovation like it’s going out of style (spoiler alert: it’s not!).

About: Kelly Trask spent nearly a decade working in land-based slots product management at Aristocrat Gaming, one of the most successful slot manufacturers in the world, before moving into their social gaming division, Pixel United, where she led strategic slot portfolio planning, and content growth opportunities.

She now serves as Director of Slot Performance & Strategy at SciPlay, operator of top performing social games Jackpot Party Casino, Quick Hit Casino, Goldfish Casino, and several others. Kelly currently leads all slot portfolio planning efforts, slot performance, and the cross-channel testing program with the larger division of Light and Wonder.

Your career journey in the gaming industry sounds fascinating. Can you take us through some of the standout moments that have shaped your path to leading slot strategy for SciPlay?

Kelly: When I first began my gaming career, I knew very little about this industry. From my young point of view, people just enjoyed spending money on games within the Casino. Later, I built the understanding around all the regulatory complexities during my time at BMM Testlabs, diverse product offerings, corporate landscape, and various types of players across the globe. One random day, a headhunter called me out of nowhere and I ended up with a table games company called DEQ as Director of Product Management & Marketing. It was truly an incredible experience scaling a product portfolio and seeing the industry from the inside. DEQ was acquired a few short years later by Scientific Games.

After the acquisition, I then landed at Aristocrat focusing on building slot content, road mapping and go to market planning.  So many people influenced my career there, Siobhan Lane, Nathan Drane, Rich Schneider, to name a few. I’ve been blessed to find several mentors who encouraged me to keep growing early on. Every day at Aristocrat I craved a new challenge, but nothing prepared me for new motherhood and covid all at once.

During that time, I was working with Product Madness and Big Fish building their slot commercial plans – but I needed something fresh. The social gaming space is uniquely different, and I fell in love with it. It’s fast paced, ever changing, full of raw player data with no creative boundaries (well, mostly).

I’ve now been at SciPlay just over 2 years, and during that time we’ve won multiple EKG Awards, set record revenue numbers, and operate the top performing mobile slot games in the world.

Being a woman in the Igaming industry must come with its own set of challenges. Can you share some of the hurdles you’ve faced along the way?

Kelly: You must be yourself. It took me a long time to learn to be my authentic self in business. I am an East Coaster from New Jersey, and I am opinionated, and speak my mind often.

Sometimes we don’t, as women, get the same opportunities if we aren’t heard. Make yourself be heard and understood in a big way. I’m also juggling being a mom, a wife, a great leader, a mentor, and more. The balance of work and family can feel heavy at times. It’s interesting.

My husband is in the industry too, and we do similar things. I don’t know if that makes it easier or harder. As you can imagine, G2E is a wild week in the Trask household.

Your role involves crafting strategies across different gaming platforms. How do you keep your finger on the pulse of industry trends?

Kelly: Never stop learning and diving into the details. If something doesn’t work, I want to know why and will keep digging.

Our industry has tons of resources available through EKG Reports, Liquid & Grit, Data AI, and many other outlets. One of the coolest things about social gaming, is all the DATA.

Internally, I’m able to see how long our players spend in our slot games, how they interact with content and get their feedback post launch.  I keep myself very connected to all the happenings in real money online, & land-based across the globe.

My biggest advantage is that I am a player. On apps. In the casino. On date nights with my husband. We both live and breathe slot games.

We’re competitors on paper but certainly having a passion for games at home really keeps it on your mind all the time. But as you can imagine, it can also be very challenging and annoying!

What do you think distinguishes your approach to slot strategy, and how do you ensure your products appeal to a diverse audience of players? do you have different approaches for men and women?

Kelly: The key here isn’t what I think – It’s what the players think. A huge part of my role is player testing, focus groups, and identifying different connection points to gain player feedback. This is how our slot strategy is crafted.

Our core audience is mostly the land-based casino player so building opportunities to create a similar experience, and our ability to celebrate our slot content is what separates us apart from our competitors.

With your experience spanning both land-based and digital gaming, how do you see the landscape evolving for women within the industry?

Kelly: It’s going to continue to grow, especially with some of the great initiatives out there in our industry. Over the last 10 years, I’ve personally seen more women take leadership positions and be a voice to enable more growth opportunities for other female leaders.  Personally, mentor and mentee programs inspire me – I’m always looking to have conversations, a coffee, and help others who are just learning the industry or need help navigating their path.

For other women aspiring to leadership roles in gaming, what wisdom or advice would you share based on your journey?

Kelly: Be yourself. I wish I learned that 10 years earlier. Also – you can be powerful in this arena, a mom, a wife and more. But you can’t always be all of it at once. Surround yourself with people who understand that.

What do women want (in Igaming)?

Kelly: An equal chance to be heard. Women naturally possess a different way of thinking, that should be celebrated not shushed. Any company who encourages diverse perspectives, gets a thumbs up in my book.

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