Usually in this space I relay my observations on news and events that impact the gaming industry as a whole. This time around, I’d like to turn this focus inward and discuss some recent improvements to a couple ofCasino Journal products.

Frequent visitors to the magazine’s website probably noticed that we’re continuously tinkering with the site to improve the user experience. The latest area of the site to undergo an improvement is our online Buyers Guide, which now features a new look and increased functionality. Visitors to the site can enjoy the following user-friendly features:

• An improved search engine that now helps a reader find a product using all keywords on a listing, not just company name and product.

• Product photos now appear in a slideshow format and video players are housed on the actual listing page vs. linking to an offsite URL.

• Less clicks for the visitor to get to company listings and products.

• Left rail product list on all pages so visitors can move around with ease to see different categories quickly and efficiently.

• RFP available for every company listed in the directory. The visitor can select single or multiple companies and request more information. Once the request is sent, the conversation is between the advertiser and buyer offline.

The updated Casino Journal online Buyers Guide also offers added benefits to sponsors, including better SEO functionality to improve sponsor web traffic and improved display options that allow logos and company descriptions to display on index pages to boost advertiser brand recognition.

Also improved for 2016 is Southern Gaming Summit and its companion event, Bingo World. The event, which is co-produced by the Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association and BNP Media Gaming Group, will be held at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center May 3-5, and will feature 25 breakout sessions, in-depth educational workshops and an opening keynote by Anthony Sanfilippo, chief executive officer, Pinnacle Entertainment.

The conference will kick off Tuesday, May 3, with the 5th annual Global Gaming Women Luncheon at Island View Casino Resort. Two full days of sessions covering a wide range of casino and bingo industry topics follow, starting with the opening keynote address by Sanfilippo on Wednesday, May 4.

The conference will revive some popular new additions to last year’s program, which for the first time featured topics such as fantasy sports, a casino chefs roundtable followed by a live cooking event on the show floor and marketing to Millennials, all of which will be revisited this May. New Southern Gaming Summit sessions will include, “Global Gaming Women: What is the Path to Executive-Level Equality?” “Skill-Based Slots,” “To Spend or Not to Spend: The CFO View,” and “New Gaming Opportunities in the South.”

On the Bingo World side, new additions include back-to-back sessions on Class II machines on both days; “The A to Z of Event Tickets and Pulltabs,” which is this year’s Bingo U workshop; and “Learn the Waste Walk,” which will identify eight areas of waste and how to eliminate them.

Full details on the program are now available at www.sgsummit.com.

We at Casino Journal are working on other upgrades and additions to our 360 degree media offerings which we will unveil throughout the year. After all, there is always something that needs improving at home.