Previously in Macau with Aristocrat when the heart of the industry was on the peninsula, Trevor Ross is back again as Regional Account Manager, Asia for SG Gaming. But despite the focus having shifted to Cotai, he says the industry itself hasn’t changed too much.
Oscar Guijarro: Could you tell us about your background – where you’re from and how your career began?
Trevor Ross: I’m a Melbournian and lived and worked there all my life except for a short stint in Sydney and my previous four-and-a-half years in Macau. As a youngster I had a strong interest in electronics and after finishing school, I got an apprenticeship as an electrician with a fire protection company. Before finishing the apprenticeship, I had already moved off the tools to run projects and was involved in sales and tendering. From there I had a few roles, the last one being as an operations manager for fire protection services. It was from there that I moved to work for Aristocrat managing their in-house service team at Crown Melbourne. That was 20 years ago.
OG: Did you always have an interest in working in gaming?
TR: No, never. But I was looking for a change in jobs and the job spec was a match, both in terms of the technical and people skills required.
OG: You are now in your second stint in Macau. How did you end up here the ﬁrst time?
TR: The first time round, Aristocrat was just setting up their office here and I was asked to come up and help set up the technical and operations side of the business.
OG: Was Macau different back then?
TR: Back then, when I first arrived, Wynn was just opening, StarWorld was near completion and Sands was here of course, so the big difference is the shift in gravity to Cotai. But take the casinos out of the equation and the place is still very similar.
OG: Why did you leave Macau back then?
TR: There wasn’t any real reason for going, not one in particular anyway, but back in 2010 there were a lot of our friends leaving and our children were entering a critical part of their schooling, so it was almost a now or never situation to get back home and have them finish school in Australia.
OG: And why did you return?
TR: Well I never said never and I kept in contact with a lot of people up here. One of them was Ken Jolly, who I’d worked for back in the day. Every time I’d catch up with Ken he’d ask when I was ready to come back up and eventually I ran out of excuses.
OG: What’s it like to be back?
TR: It’s great. There are so many friends and colleagues still here. I keep telling people that I did more man hugs in the first two weeks than I have done in the past 10 years.
OG: With almost 20 years at Aristocrat, what has the change to SG been like?
TR: I’m very grateful for my time at Aristocrat. I was there 20 years and had four career changes there, which is great. But it is good to be here at SG. One of the things that attracted me to SG was that we are not just a slots company, we are a complete one-stop shop. The SG sales team here doesn’t just sell slots, we do the table utilities – the shufflers and shoes – and we do electronic table games as well.
OG: You have been in sales and technical positions. What is the best and the worst of both sides?
TR: Well having worked in both, I must say I do prefer sales. We’re in the entertainment industry and it’s a very fun industry. I’d hate to be working in the medical equipment industry. There is nothing wrong with doctors or dentists, but it is not a fun industry I imagine.
OG: As an expat, what do you miss the most from Australia?
TR: It’s probably a no-brainer. It’s got to be the quality and the freshness of the food, the variety of the food.
OG: As a member of the industry, how do you see it evolving during the next 10 years?
TR: I think the biggest change is going to be in the technology space with phones and cashless technologies and with systems doing a lot more than giving points. Regulation is a big barrier, but the pace of change in these technologies outside of gaming is fast and it won’t be long before they are in casinos.
OG: What do you like to do in your spare time?
TR: What spare time? Its been very hectic settling back into Macau, but once that’s done I’d like to travel a lot more. My wife is going to divide her time between Melbourne and here and when she is up here, we’re going to travel. The direct flights out of Macau make it so easy to do. The last public holiday when she was up, we took off to Taipei for a few days. And Japan, Philippines and Vietnam are on the list coming up.
OG: Do you have some favorite spots in Macau for dinner or a drink?
TR: The old favourites would be A Petisqueira and Nga Tim, but there are so many new places now so its hard to pick a favourite, but I have been to Voyages at Morpheus a few times now.