Southern Gaming Summit/Bingo World held here last week drew nearly 2,800 attendees and served as a showcase for the second largest commercial gaming market in the United States.
Capital investment in the Louisiana and Mississippi markets has exceeded $1.5 billion since 2011, and the results are beginning to bear fruit. The Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association (MGHA), which co-produces Southern Gaming Summit, forecasts an 8 percent increase in Gulf Coast gaming revenues this year, from $1.074 billion to $1.160 billon. The improved business climate was reflected in strong show floor traffic and all-time highs in conference attendance.
"We want to thank all of Southern Gaming Summit participants for helping to make this year's show such a success," said Larry Gregory, executive director, Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association. "We will continue to work with our casino member companies to produce an even better event next year. Among the steps we'll take is to encourage our members to make sure that, during show hours, casino employee interaction with gaming vendors is totally focused on Southern Gaming Summit exhibitors supporting this important event."
Southern Gaming Summit 2015 highlights included:
- A meet-and-greet between exhibitors and key executives from MGHA member companies was held at the show for the first time. The MGHA is composed of 17 companies operating 28 casinos in Mississippi; nine of those companies operate casinos in Louisiana and other southern states as well. Mississippi and Louisiana represent the second largest commercial gaming market in the U.S., operating a combined 47 casinos, more than 55,000 slot machines, over 1,500 table games and generating revenues of $4.54 billion annually.
- The MGHA's newly formed Southern Gaming Summit Executive Committee helped drive increased operator attendance to the show. Full conference registration nearly doubled to more than 500 attendees, reflecting strong increases in executive-level operator attendee participation which carried over to the show floor.
- Bingo World's strong conference program and exhibitor mix added breadth and depth to Summit's tribal gaming attendance. All told, 17 tribes from 11 states around the country were in attendance.
- Opening keynote speaker Keith Smith, President & CEO of Boyd Gaming, drew a standing-room-only crowd.
- The fourth annual Global Gaming Women Luncheon at Golden Nugget Biloxi drew 160 attendees, the largest ever crowd for this event.
- The first ever Regional Chefs Cooking Demonstration and Tasting, led by celebrity Chefs Kelly English, John Folse and Tom Ramsey, was held on the show floor to the culinary delight of hungry crowd. The demonstration was preceded by a packed conference session featuring the chefs.
- Approximately 50% of the tradeshow floor has already been reserved for SGS 2016. Among the key exhibitors that have already reserved exhibit space are Ainsworth Gaming, American Gaming Systems, Aristocrat Technologies, Aruze Gaming America, Konami Gaming and Incredible Technologies to name a few.
- The first-ever Best of Show Slot Competition Award went to IGT for Sphinx 3-D. Second place went to Aristocrat Technologies for Britney, and GCA's The Valkyries won third place. The games were voted on by qualified casino operator attendees on the show floor.
Southern Gaming Summit 2016 will be held next May 3-5, returning to its home at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center.