What are the IR Academy Awards?

The idea for the IR Academy Awards grew out of a need to recognize the valuable and meaningful contribution to our industry of many of our industry’s executives. Such contributions have been highlighted by the difficult times the industry is currently suffering with the global pandemic.

The Asian IR and gaming industry currently has two ceremonies which recognize industry excellence:

  • The Asian Gaming Power 50, which recognizes the 50 most powerful and influential individuals in the industry.
  • The G2E Asia Awards, which recognizes the very best in industry solutions, offerings and corporations.

The Power 50 (established in 2008) ranks the 50 most influential people of an industry in which an estimated 200,000 people participate. As such, it tends to honor the millionaire and even billionaire owners of Asian IRs, or the very top executives of those IRs such as CEOs and Property Presidents.

The G2E Asia Awards has a Rising Star category, which recognizes five executives under the age of 40 each year, but this is the only G2E Asia Awards category which recognizes individuals, out of a total of 12 categories.

This leaves a gap where many very senior industry executives, some with decades of experience working at operators, vendors or elsewhere, do not have an opportunity for encouragement or recognition by their peers.

This is why the IR Academy Awards were developed.

What categories does the IR Academy Awards have?

The IR Academy Awards will take place annually, starting in 2021. To begin with, the IR Academy has created three categories:

  • Industry Legends: This division will be awarded from 2022 onwards, with Industry Legends selected from the pool of Industry Icons (which will start in 2021).
  • Industry Icons: Executives who have demonstrated consistent contribution to the overall growth and success of the industry with lasting results, through great leadership, innovation and/or other activities, and who have gained the respect of their industry peers.
  • Industry Rising Stars: Industry executives under the age of 40 (year of birth 1981 or later) who have demonstrated consistent leadership, innovation and/or contributions to the industry, with great potential for more to come.

The precise Industry Rising Star eligibility rule is that the member’s year of birth must be no more than 40 years prior to the year of the Awards. Hence for members to be eligible for the Industry Rising Star category at the 2021 awards, their year of birth must be 1981 or later.

Other department-specific divisions and categories may be developed in the years ahead as the IR Academy grows. 

How are the awards determined?

Only members of the IR Academy are eligible to vote or to receive IR Academy Awards. Winners of the awards are determined by general election by all members of the IR Academy. All members have equal voting power.

The Awards process is as follows:

  • Call for Academy member nominations: During this stage, any Academy member may nominate any other Academy member for the Industry Icons division, and any Academy member may nominate any other Academy member under the age of 40 (as at the beginning of the calendar year) for the Industry Rising Stars division.
  • Determination of official nominees: The organizing committee selects the shortlisted official nominees for each award category from amongst the Academy members nominations received, to make an appropriately sized list of official nominees.
  • Voting period: All members of the IR Academy are eligible to vote. Voting is conducted through an online form while the voting member is logged in to the IR Academy website.
  • Winners determined: At the end of the voting period, the votes are tabulated and audited and winners announced in due course.

Given 2021 is the first year of the Awards, with the membership of the IR Academy still growing, the exact number of official nominees and award winners for each division is yet to be determined. We expect to announce these soon.

Will there be an actual awards ceremony?

Given that 2021 is the first year for the Awards, and the prevailing global pandemic, we are not yet sure whether we will have a formal induction ceremony. If we do, it will likely be a fairly low-key affair in this first year, probably a classy after-work cocktail party for perhaps two hours with no formal dinner. If we do not have a ceremony in this first year, the winners will be announced through various IAG channels and of course on the IR Academy website. We hope to grow the event as the years roll on.