The primary sponsors of the event, the American Gaming Association and Reed Exhibitions, have managed to maintain this lofty perch by constantly improving the event; primarily by adding conference and show floor elements to keep G2E both fresh and exciting. This year is no exception, with a new hotel and lodging-specific educational conference track and exclusive seminar keynotes delivered by industry heavy-hitters Sheldon G. Adelson and Stephen A. Wynn.
On the trade show front, G2E organizers claim this month’s event will feature the largest show floor in the past five years; with more than 450 exhibitors displaying the various products and services needed to maintain and improve both land-based and online gaming operations. Even with these added companies, chances are most trade show attendees will be concentrating on one facet of the industry—slot machines; perhaps even more so than usual given all the recent merger and acquisition activity within this space over recent months. With this backdrop, the editors of Slot Managerasked a cross-section of slot operators what slot products and technologies they will be looking for at this year’s Global Gaming Expo. Here are some of their answers.
Bart Algozzini, manager, slot operations, Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, Bethlehem, Pa.
While at G2E, we will be looking at all the new products from the following manufacturers: Bally, IGT, WMS, MGAM, GTECH, Lightning Gaming, Ainsworth, Konami and Aristocrat.
I will also be looking at self-dispatching systems for floor attendants (WRG, Bally and other companies); CDI/Global Suite, for floor tracking; and whatever else catches our eye while we are there.
Warren Davidson, slot director, Coushatta Casino Resort, Kinder, La.
This year I will be looking for new slot machines with cabinets that provide a visual impact and differentiation for the casino floor. Too often great new games are overlooked by players simply because the cabinet didn’t stand out from the crowd. I will also be looking for new mechanical reel games for my quarter, dollar, and higher denomination players. We’re finally starting to see great new products in this still important segment and our guests love them!
Larry Flynn, senior vice president, gaming, Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation
As operators of gaming facilities, we need and are looking at games that will take the customer experience to the next level; it doesn’t have to provide the big bang although that would be nice. We’re looking for products with longevity and player experience-focused math models that will keep our players engaged. We feel the specific game experience the player has when they choose to sit down at a game in one of our properties is extremely important to our future success. We’ll certainly be paying close attention to the products vendors show this year to see if they’ve captured the essence of what we’re looking for.
With the evolving customer we look to evolve as well, and always have our eyes out for the games that will bring new faces into our properties. One area we’ve seen considerable growth in is e-tables; they bring in the younger crowd and give them the look and feel of live card games. The games are fun, engaging and exciting whether its blackjack, baccarat or roulette.
When we look at games, we have come a long way from thinking, “it’s a pretty box, so let’s buy it.” We like to, and will continue to, challenge our vendors in bringing to the table the right games with the right math models for our market and, wherever possible, being first to market.
Chuck Hickey, vice president, slot operations, Barona Valley Ranch Casino, Lakeside, Calif.
I’m not looking for anything too specific. I try to keep an open mind for all the stuff out there. One thing I like to try and do is spend Thursday looking off the beaten path and try to find one of the next great ideas from some company trying to do something different. I’ve not been very successful at this, but perhaps this year!
From a technologies standpoint—I don’t have much of an idea. Barona is a bit of a throwback casino and believes in people more than technology. We look for ways to have fun with people. Anything that will help our staff make friends and have fun with them is a winner in my book.
Jaime Martinez, director of slots, Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, Gila River Gaming Enterprises, Chandler, Ariz.
I will be looking at product innovation and obviously the pricing to maximize my capital investment. These two categories are not the only things I use in making a determination in my manufacturers or game selections; it is the way the games play, look, sound as well as the hit frequencies, etc. There are many factors to consider and to review before committing to a selection or a particular product. Hopefully many manufacturers bring some innovative and exciting new products to G2E this year that will sway me to buy.
Michael Palmieri, vice president of slot operations, Empire City Casino, Yonkers, N.Y.
My main goal for G2E is to find the new innovative games or products that will provide entertainment and excitement for our guests. Last year, the manufacturers appeared to focus a little more on premium game content. I am interested in seeing the new premium themes, as well as the core themes that will resonate well with our guests and make sense to us operationally. With the landscape changing on the manufacturer side, this year’s show should be more interesting than ever to see what direction the manufacturers are heading and ultimately, how it affects the battle for floor space.
I am also hoping to find new products that enhance our guest’s overall experience while at our property. With our large casino floor and high amount of traffic, we are always looking for products that make us more efficient with all types of guest service transactions.