The Innovation Group


    The Innovation Group is a provider of consulting services for the gaming, entertainment and hospitality industries. Services include feasibility studies, market assessments, economic impact studies, strategic and financial planning, economic diversification, legislative and government advisory, litigation and expert witness, and igaming strategy/research.


    David Rittvo

    David Rittvo, Executive Vice President of International Division for The Innovation Group, is leading a team to expand the company’s presence on an international level, with focus on the Asian Region. He joined The Innovation Group as a Senior Analyst in 2009 to provide gaming feasibility analysis and to help formalize a specialty advisory discipline within the organization that provides F&B-specific consulting, marketing, development, financial, operational and management advisory services to the firm’s gaming, entertainment and hospitality clients. Since joining the Innovation Group, Mr. Rittvo has been intimately involved with The Innovation Group’s international projects, particularly Asia. Mr. Rittvo started working on these projects as an analyst providing background research and support and has progressed to lead and manage the International Team while providing in-depth analytical and financial research for clients. The international studies have included feasibility, market assessments, financial pro forma projections and master planning for multiple clients in Vietnam, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Macau, Australia, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Clients have included Large Cap Casino Companies, International Developers and Financial Institutions. The reports and analysis that his team has completed have been responsible for multiple large scale Integrated Resort developments in Macau, China; Vladivostock, Russia; Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Vung Tau, Vietnam.

    Michael Zhu

    As Vice President of Operations Planning and Analysis at The Innovation Group, Michael Zhu has been applying a comprehensive analytical skill set, exploiting a unique cultural background, and leveraging his in-depth development and operational experience in the gaming, leisure, and hospitality industries. Michael was recognized in the “40 Under 40” feature by Global Gaming Business that represents the next generation of leaders in the gaming industry.Based in the firm’s Denver office, Michael is in charge of a diverse set of project initiatives, including feasibility studies, market assessments, business analysis, and operational optimization. His main focus is on large-scale integrated resort development and operations in the Asia-Pacific and Europe markets, with high profile assignments completed in Macau, Singapore, Australia, Korea, Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Georgia, Laos, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Vietnam, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and various locations in the United States.Michael started expanding his professional horizons within the United States at Las Vegas Sands Corporation (LVS), where he established his expertise in strategic planning, business analysis, financial modeling, and operational excellence in the full domain of casino, hotel, food and beverage, MICE, entertainment, retail, and cross-functional businesses at a global level. Prior to his years at LVS, Michael held various management positions for hospitality agencies and companies throughout the Asia-Pacific region.Michael holds an MBA degree in Hospitality Management from the prestigious School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, as well as a Bachelor degree in Philosophy from Peking University in China. He was a Fellow of the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the United States National Committee on U.S. – China Relations in Washington, DC. Michael speaks fluent Mandarin and Shanghai dialect.

    Related Articles

    Philippines’ gaming tax regime provides advantage

    The Philippines’ gaming tax regime puts it at an advantage over some Asian peers and makes the business commercially viable, according to gaming industry consulting firm The Innovation Group.

    Kitakyushu urged to make IR bid

    Kitakyushu Mayor Kenji Kitahashi met with a group of investors from Hong Kong and the United States on Tuesday who are urging his city to join the IR race.

    The Innovation Group names Michael Zhu as new partner

    The Innovation Group (TIG) is pleased to announce that Michael Zhu, senior vice president of the company’s international division, has become a partner in the firm. Zhu joined TIG in 2014 as an associate, responsible for operations planning and analysis, and development services in Asia. He has since taken overall responsibility for the company’s Asia […]

    Emerging leaders of gaming to be recognized at G2E

    The Innovation Group and Global Gaming Expo (G2E) announced today six individuals to be honored as the 2017 class of Emerging Leaders of Gaming (ELG): Amy Lawrence, senior director of regulatory affairs and associate general counsel, AGS Mattias Stetz, chief operating officer, Rush Street Interactive Murali Ganesan, vice president, sales – gaming, Scientific Games Seth […]

    Steve Rittvo moves to Innovation Project Development

    Innovation Group founder Steve Rittvo is departing from the company to become chairman and CEO of Innovation Project Development, a company born of The Innovation Group in 2005. “It’s a bittersweet transition, to be sure,” said Rittvo. “What began as a planning and research firm has diversified into a number of successful affiliate companies now […]

    The year ahead – Michael Zhu

    The continuous political climate in China could curb many casino resorts’ marketing efforts and focus on the VIP segment, especially the direct VIP channel. In this context, operators will need to overcome challenges to create some unique and exotic experience to attract a large base of mass guests, engaging the natural assets, cultural elements, and […]

    The Innovation Group to program Emerging Leaders education

    The Innovation Group and Global Gaming Expo (G2E) announced today six individuals to be honored as the 2016 class of Emerging Leaders of Gaming:   Aron Ezra, Chief Executive Officer, OfferCraft; Joanne Israel, General Manager, Seneca Buffalo Casino; Darion Lowenstein, Chief Marketing Officer, Gamblit; Patrick Nichols, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, The […]

    Innovation Group announces consortium in Brazil

    The Innovation Group has announced it is developing a national gaming forecast model for Brazil, as well as the formation of a consortium to bring clients comprehensive gaming regulatory and development services in Brazil. As its legislature prepares to vote on landmark gaming legislation as early as November, the consortium, which includes BetConsult and Federico […]

    Next generation of integrated resorts

    Tom Wucherer, CEO & Founder of YWS will speak on May 18th at the Venetian in Macau during the G2E Asia conference on the panel entitled – “Transformation in Changing Conditions:  What Do the New Integrated Resorts Look Like?”. Moderated by Andrew S. Zarnett, managing director of Deutsche Bank, with his fellow panelist Steve Rittvo, […]

    Last chance for Asia Gaming Award nominations

    The deadline for the Asia Gaming Awards nomination process is tonight, Friday 29 April. This is your final chance to nominate your favorite candidates for the Awards, which are designed to reward excellence and innovation in the Asian gaming industry. Nominations are being sought in ten categories spanning both the land-based and online industries. After […]

    Reed Exhibitions launches G2E Asia 2016 at press conference

    At a press conference yesterday at Pacha, Studio City, senior representatives of Reed Exhibitions and their partners launched the 2016 edition of G2E Asia. Being held from 17-19 May 2016 at the Venetian Macao, this year’s event marks the tenth anniversary of the show. With the 2015 show being the largest on record, with a total of 9,867 […]

    Innovation to advise team on casino resort legalization in Japan

    The Innovation Group has been selected as the industry advisor to the the team chosen by the Cabinet Secretariat of Japan tasked with studying changes to legislation that will allow integrated casino resorts to operate in Japan. The study led by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu will assess the social and economic impacts of legalizing integrated casino […]

    Japan clouds Korea’s IR-hub aspirations

    South Korea wants to turn the area near Incheon International Airport into a version of Manila’s Entertainment City, but its vision is at risk from competition from Japan.

    Rush Street bets on regional opportunities

    For Chicago-based operator Rush Street Gaming (RSG), building an IR in a smaller, regional location like Tomakomai or Nagasaki is not a consolation prize for missing out on one of the major Japanese urban markets, but is itself the main event. In an exclusive interview with Asia Gaming Brief, RSG Chairman Neil Bluhm and CFO Tim Drehkoff—as well as Steve Rittvo, CEO of Innovation Project Development, who the company has retained to help them win their bid in Japan—laid out their priorities and strategies. 

    Flying the kite?

    Melco Resorts and Entertainment’s decision to file for an initial public offering for its Studio City joint venture took analysts by surprise, with many speculating the proposed listing is being used to fish for a valuation for the resort. Melco owns the Hollywood-themed IR through a partnership with New Cotai Holdings. Analysts have long expected Melco to buy out its partner’s 40 percent stake to gain full ownership, giving it access to the full revenue stream and the potential for operational synergies. However, in August, it filed for an IPO in the U.S.

    Recovery, arrests and openings – 2016 in review

    To coin a popular phrase, 2016 really has been a year of two halves in the Asian gaming industry. To continue with the cliches, it’s also fair to say there have been a few curved balls along the route. Industry experts gave us their views of the year just passed, with the good, the bad and the ugly.

    Tribal ties

    U.S. tribal operators are increasingly tailoring their offerings towards the Asian market to attract both local ethnic communities and the increasingly adventurous Asian millennial, who may be  willing to travel beyond Las Vegas and other traditional destinations. Some of these U.S. operators are also looking back at Asia, counting on their mass-focused tourism offerings to give them an edge in entering the region. Genting and Mohegan Sun are currently the trail blazers, though others may follow if they find success.  

    Will small be beautiful for the millennial generation?

    Matching the size of the resort to market opportunities and appealing to the millennial generation have emerged as two key themes when it comes to integrated resort design.It has become especially relevant in Asia, where changing regulations and the decrease in the importance of the VIP sector are having a major impact on markets around the region.

    “One Belt, One Road” to drive tourism/casino growth

    While Beijing’s anti-corruption drive has often been blamed as a primary factor behind the slump in Macau’s gaming revenue, the same regime is also responsible for proposing and supporting another initiative that may have widespread implications for the development of the Asian gaming industry -- the “One Belt and One Road” project. The plan to develop the old Silk Road linking Asia to Europe is likely to provide a significant boost to tourism in tandem with the gaming industry.