It’s hard to be blasé about Global Gaming Expo (G2E), the gaming industry’s “show of shows,” which will take place this year at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas from October 2-5.

Sure, there are plenty of people in the casino business who have been to the event multiple times and try to put it down, claiming it’s the same “stuff” year after year. But truth be told, each edition of G2E brings something new, and often exciting, in the way of conference topics, speakers, events, exhibitors and, of course, products. How else to explain the 27,000 attendees G2E attracted in 2016, a 7 percent uptick over the previous year? It’s doubtful they came to see the same old same old.

The good news is that the 2017 version of G2E will also have plenty of new speakers to hear, sessions to attend, events to enjoy and tradeshow booths to visit. Read on to learn more…

OUTSIDE VOICES

G2E 2017 will feature four keynote presentations, two of which are from first time speakers whose areas of expertise actually lie outside the traditional gaming space.

One of these speakers is Roberta Perry, who will be kicking off the Global Gaming Women track on October 2. According to her bio, Perry—who is currently vice president business development for Edwards Technologies and president of Roberta Perry & Associates—is a renowned speaker, author and consultant turned big-business leader who has been a key personality in the development and growth of the themed and leisure entertainment industries for more than 25 years. Over her career, she has held executive positions at 20th Century Fox, Iwerks Entertainment and Mars World, and her roster of clients included some of the most recognizable brands in the world such as Cirque Du Soleil, The WOW Factor (Times Square New Year’s Eve, Coca-Cola and Pontiac) and Paramount Studios. Perry’s current clients through Edwards Technologies include LEGOLAND, SEGA Orbi theme parks, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, OWN and Disney Retail. Perry is a founding member and past president of the Themed Entertainment Association, and is also the author of the top-selling compilation book Women Who Rock.

Perry’s keynote, “The Power of Networking for Game-Changing Career Growth,” will focus on the fact that the end goal of networking is not collecting the most connections, but making the right moves to make meaningful connections that will last a lifetime. According to the session description, this super-charged interactive workshop will give new meaning to the networking hustle, with attendees learning how to build confidence and successfully network with a purpose.

The other new keynote speaker is Dee O’Neill, M.S., LPC and program manager SMART for the Brain Performance Institute at the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas. Through her 15 years in research and clinical neuroscience roles, O’Neill helps people maximize their cognitive potential by facilitating high-performance brain training through the Center for BrainHealth-developed SMART program.

O’Neill’s keynote, “Maximize Brainomics: The Economic Gains From Advancing Innovative Thinking,” will take place October 5 on the Special Events Stage. In it, O’Neill will show that neuroscience has proven that innovative thinking is pivotal to business success, with even small incremental improvements to innovative thinking contributing to your bottom line, helping you become an entrepreneur of creative, innovative ideas that will lead your company to additional success.

In addition to O’Neill and Perry, G2E has recruited a number of other leadership experts outside the gaming industry to address casino executive audiences. This list of speakers includes Bill Benjamin of the Institute for Health and Human Potential, who brings rare experience and a practical look at how the brain responds under pressure from his 25 years of real-world business experience; Phil Gwoke, a generational expert with Bridgeworks who has years of experience on how to effectively communicate and collaborate across generational divides; Jeff Hurt, executive vice president, education and engagement for Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, who is one of the leading authorities in the association and meetings industry on adult education, association governance, conference design, digital events, participation experience, strategic thinking and transformative learning; and Kelly McDonald, founder of McDonald Marketing, who is considered one of the nation’s top experts in consumer trends, generational differences and leveraging the customer experience.

MAKEOVER SESSIONS

The tracks and sessions at G2E 2017 will also feature a number of outside-the-gaming-box topics. For example, The Revenue Diversification track contains session such as “Extraordinary Customer Experience: There’s an App for That,” which will show how a mobile phone can be turned into a revenue generating device by leveraging mobile technology to provide an optimized customer experience worthy of daily active user status. The session “Hand-in-Hand: How Gaming and Non-Gaming Work Together” will explore how to establish the ideal relationship between gaming and non-gaming businesses within a casino enterprise, and how transparency and the elimination of internal silos can drive ROI for all. Meanwhile, “The Height of Gaming: A Successful Live eSport Event” will look into what’s on the horizon with the future of eSports arena development and the crossover of tournaments from the gaming side to the gambling space, and how to successfully scale and build integrated events to bring additional revenue streams to a property.

The track with the largest concentration of “non-traditional” gaming show topics is, surprisingly, Gaming Leadership. Some highlights include “How to Work With & Lead People Not Like You,” which will identify key ways to effectively communicate, guide and lead a diverse workforce; “Deeper Dive—When Generations Connect: Communicating Across Generational Divides,” which will look at generational differences in the modern workforce, the rationale behind those distinctions and  how to more effectively communicate and collaborate across generational divides; and “Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When it Matters Most,” which focuses on managing under pressure, providing attendees with techniques and tools to help overcome the sabotaging effects of pressure to think clearly and strategically, make decisions, perform complex tasks and lead others.

Those who prefer session topics that lean more toward technical and cutting-edge subjects will find all that and more in the Evolution of Game Play track. “Trending Tech: AI, VR, and New Developments in Casino Games Design” brings together some of the early adopters of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other emerging technologies for a view of the challenges, opportunities and predictions on how and when these forms of entertainment will make their way to the gaming floor. “The 21st Century Casino: Skill-based Gaming Innovations” provides an inside track on where market leaders and early adopters think skill-based gaming market currently stands and where it is headed for the future. “One Game, Many Devices: How an Omni-Channel Experience Can Boost Business” delves into the game developer, operator and marketer shift from cross-channel compatibility to omni-channel experiences that deliver big on personalization, engagement on-the-go and real-time analytics.

As one would expect, the Customer Intelligence track is also deep with technology-focused sessions. “Acquire, Retain, Engage, Repeat: New Techniques in Customer Loyalty” reveals techniques on how to convert a casual customer into a loyal fan or an influencer for a brand. “Level Up: Monetizing Your Social Casino Data” explores what to do with all the data collected from social casinos—where to focus efforts, which strategies have proven most successful in this space and where not to spend time and energy. And finally, Location, Location: Technology to Drive Customer Engagement” offers expert information on how to leverage the very latest technology to reach current customers and talk to prospects in ways never before considered.

ENTERTAINING OPTION

Although not new, G2E’s fifth annual Casino Entertainment Awards (CEA), which will take place October 4 in the Vinyl showroom at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, offers a new lineup of honorees and award winners.

Sponsored by G2E, the Casino Entertainment Awards are the only awards exclusively honoring outstanding artists, executives and venues in the casino industry, according to a press release. Comedienne Rita Rudner will be presented with a Casino Entertainment Legend Award at the event, and veteran casino entertainment executive Mark Prows, senior vice president, entertainment operations, MGM Resorts International, also will be honored with a Casino Entertainment Legend Award.

Actress, author, comedian, playwright, screenwriter and television host Rita Rudner holds the record for the longest running solo comedy show in Las Vegas history. Her 15-year run in Las Vegas sold almost two million tickets and grossed more than $100 million.

Mark Prows began his entertainment career in 1982 at University of Wyoming. After graduation he moved to different markets with every venue types and sizes while progressing from frontline positions to senior management. He moved back to Las Vegas when MGM opened in 1993 and has held graduating roles ever since. During his 35-year career, Prows has been instrumental in some of the highest grossing events in the casino entertainment industry’s history.

Casino Entertainment Awards also will be presented to artists, executives and venues in eight categories of casino entertainment. CEA finalist nominees, selected from more than 1,000 online nominations. Actor, comedian, director, producer and writer Paul Rodriguez will be the master of ceremonies for the event.

Complimentary tickets will be distributed to G2E attendees on a first-come, first-serve basis (subject to availability) on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 3-4, at the Casino Entertainment Awards booth.

TRADING UP

The always popular G2E tradeshow floor will also feature some new twists in the 2017 version of the event. One such example is the American Gaming Association’s Innovation Lab, a first-ever hub on the expo floor that encourages networking among attendees and informs innovation relevant to the gaming industry. The Innovation Lab will be home to fifteen minute TED-talk-style presentations on topics such as:

• Innovation in the integrated resort of the future;

• Robotics and drones in gaming and hospitality;

• News and emerging games from gaming students;

• eSports competitions;

• Gaming product tutorials;

• Insights on emerging technologies’ impact on gaming operations;

• Authoritative research studies; and

• Future opportunities with virtual reality, social gaming and more.

Back for a return engagement, but likely featuring additional exhibitors and new technologies, is the Integrated Resort Experience a dedicated section of the tradeshow floor featuring products and companies that help casino operators stay relevant and ahead of trends as customers seek the ultimate experience beyond the casino floor. This is an opportunity for visitors to source new products, technologies and services that drive revenue and value from non-gaming sources. New to this space is the Integrated Resort of the Future, which will serve as a unique space dedicated to showcase, promote and discuss the latest and upcoming trends in the gaming and resort industry.

Of course, those searching for something new on the tradeshow floor can peruse the first-time exhibitors to G2E offering cutting-edge products, of which there are quite a few this year, including the following:

Authentic Gaming, Booth 5243

Authentic Gaming, founded in 2015 and headquartered in Malta, is a provider of premium live casino systems to online and land-based gaming operators, according to the company website. All Authentic Gaming tables are broadcasted live from the floors of resort casinos across the world and delivered to players on mobile phones, tablets and desktops in wide-angle high-definition video. Player driven functionality and responsive user interfaces are added to create exceptional live table experiences.

Among the products the company will have on display at G2E are its Live Casino Platform, which delivers exceptional gaming experiences to online players while maximizing revenue for land-based operators by extending the reach of the gaming tables at their properties, according to press materials. The company also offers Intra Resort Gaming, a fully integrated solution that extends the reach of on-premises gaming tables to every corner of the casino, hotel and resort through television, mobile devices and desktop computers.

BlazeSoft, Booth 2611

BlazeSoft is a gaming company specializing in cross-platform social casino and sports betting applications with enterprise level back-end and CRM solutions, according to the company website.

At G2E, BlazeSoft will display its Social Casino A-Z Suite, which allows operators to capitalize on the social casino phenomenon by managing it all in one platform with 360 degrees of visibility on players, monetization, and retention. The system also allows real-time promotions, updates and issue management, which gives laser focus to marketing and customer initiatives. The company is also showcasing Play Anywhere, which takes a casino floor straight to the web and mobile with a fully-dynamic online experience featuring games, player management, Big Data analytics and much more, giving players a true omni-channel experience playing wherever and whenever they wish.

Database Dynamics, Booth 2410

Database Dynamics provides sports-based interactive kiosks and mobile tablets that are designed to increase daily traffic and cross-promote other casino products. The company offers monetary promotions as well as “Fantasy Sports” products that capture e-mail and cell phone data while adding new marketing tools to increase the customer base, according to company press materials.

At G2E, Database Dynamics will showcase its CFAN Kiosk, designed to bring the $7 billion Fantasy Sports market to the casino floor. The company offers both promotional play and pay-to-play platforms that will add a younger, male-dominated customer base to a property’s database. Its “Mega-Based” Prize Pool package offers large prize pools that will increase incremental visits and create a “buzz” at a casinos.

Eleetus, Booth 5026

Eleetus manufactures high-end, motion-based virtual reality attractions and simulators.

The company will be showcasing its full motion racing simulators at G2E, with both virtual reality and standard configurations available.

The Eleetus Racing Simulator is a full motion racing simulator used by both professional drivers for training and commercial establishments for entertainment purposes. The company’s simulators are virtual reality compatible, feature over 500 tracks and 1,500 cars, and can produce up to two gees of realistic gravitational force.

intelligentTag, Both 5348

intelligentTag enables real-time, high-performance, property analytics, using the world’s first graph-based analytical platform, according to company press information. intelligentTag employs a “connect-the-dots” approach, and the connections expose patterns throughout the gaming property. This lets the operator understand player loyalty and spend, to help optimize site planning and operations.

At G2E, intelligent Tag will demo Symmetry3, a role-based web solution that enables various analytical dimensions: hotel and floor maps, live parking data, trend analysis and more. Symmetry3 provides actionable user experience, through which every dimension can be linked, to uncover patterns—from the time guests arrive to the time they depart. This product provides total-property analytics today.

This is only a taste of what G2E 2017 has to offer in the way of new exhibitors, session content and speakers. To experience the whole smorgasbord, best make plans to attend.