There’s an old business philosophy that companies must move forward or otherwise risk stagnating and dying.  

It’s an adage that the American Gaming Association (AGA), sponsor of the Global Gaming Expo (G2E)—which will take place this year October 8-11 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center is Las Vegas—have evidently taken to heart. 

Now in its 17th year, G2E 2018 will include the usual array of items that have made it one of the most popular and best-attended of all casino gaming shows—intriguing keynote speakers, informative sessions, a myriad of networking and entertainment opportunities and a large and vibrant tradeshow floor. But as usual, G2E has added first-time speakers, sessions and events to keep the gathering lively, current and newsworthy. Read on to learn more…

 

GOOD SPORTS

Perhaps the biggest casino industry news event of the past year was the ruling by the Supreme Court striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, essentially clearing the way for individual states to legalize sports betting. In response, the AGA and event organizer Reed Exhibitions have created the Sports Betting Symposium which will take place at G2E.

According to press materials, the Sports Betting Symposium will provide gaming professionals with the tools they will need to consider business operations that best capitalize on the Supreme Court’s ruling decision to overturn the federal ban on sports betting. Sessions will cover the business and legislative aspects of sports betting and offer an interactive, guided tour of the G2E expo hall to connect attendees with the top suppliers of sports betting technologies.  

“As states and sovereign tribal nations consider whether or not to enact legalized sports betting, the Sports Betting Symposium at G2E will offer the world’s foremost experts, business leaders and operational solutions to build a thriving legal market in the U.S.,” said Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the AGA. 

Sports Betting Symposium session topics and speakers include:

• SCOTUS Decision: What the Ruling Actually Said and What It Means—Speakers include Jonathan Cohn, Supreme Court and Appellate law expert for Sidley Austin, who previously served as deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice and clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Clarence Thomas; and AGA’s senior vice president of public affairs, Sara Slane

• How States and Tribes Are Preparing for Legal Sports Betting—Speakers include Matthew Morgan, director of gaming affairs for the Chickasaw Nation, who also previously served two terms as the gaming commissioner, and David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, who was nominated by Chris Christie in 2011 and was confirmed by the New Jersey Senate in 2012.  

•The Business of Sports Betting—Following the morning keynote, Scott Van Pelt, anchor of ESPN’s SportsCenter, will moderate a session that includes diverse viewpoints on the business of sports betting from panelists Kenny Gersh, executive vice president of gaming and new business ventures for Major League Baseball; Stephen Master, managing director of Americas, Nielsen Sports and commercial director of Nielsen Esports; and AGA’s Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Sara Slane.

•How Sports Betting Works in a Regulated Market—Learn from the sports betting experiences of mature, regulated markets across the globe. Speakers include Khalid Ali, secretary general of ESSA (Sports Betting Integrity Association); A.G. Burnett, partner at McDonald Carano and former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board; and Chris Grove, gambling industry analyst and managing director at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.

• U.S. Sports Betting: Lessons Learned from Early Adopters—Speakers include Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US; Richard Carter, CEO of SBTech; and Charles Cohen, vice president of mobile, PlaySpot and North America sports betting at IGT. 

The Sports Betting Symposium is only one of 12 education seminar tracks that will be featured at G2E 2018. The other session tracks are:

  • Gaming Leadership & Career Development;
  • Global Gaming Women;
  • IAGA Best Practices Institute;
  • iGaming Congress;
  • Integrated Resort Development & Management;
  • Marketing & Analytics: Customer Acquisition & Retention;
  • Non-Gaming Growth Opportunities;
  • Non-Gaming Growth Opportunities in eSports;
  • Optimizing Gaming Operations: Guest Service & Experience;
  • Security, Surveillance & Compliance; and
  • Tribal Gaming.

In addition to these sessions, G2E also offers a slate of impressive keynote presentations. For example, WNBA President Lisa Borders will deliver the keynote address to kick off Global Gaming Women’s (GGW) Educational Track during G2E 2018.

Borders has nearly 30 years of experience in operations, marketing, government relations and public service. As president of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), Borders is responsible for setting the vision for the WNBA and overseeing the league’s day-to-day business and basketball operations.

Borders was instrumental in bringing the WNBA to Atlanta in 2008, when she served as vice mayor of Atlanta and president of the City Council. In her first year as president, the WNBA scored its highest attendance in five years and included record marks for digital, social media and retail.

She has worked and delivered results in all three sectors: public, private and non-profit. Prior to joining the WNBA, she served as vice president, global community affairs at The Coca-Cola Company and chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation.

Borders’ work in the community has focused primarily on family issues in the areas of education, healthcare and housing.

She has received numerous honors and consistent recognition for her corporate and civic work, including being named to Forbes.com’s 2018 list of The Most Powerful Women in U.S. Sports.

FROM THE FLOOR

In addition to new content and speakers for the education track at G2E 2018, the sponsors of the event also invested time and energy to make sure the event’s tradeshow floor reflects current gaming trends. 

“We’ve put a major focus on the evolution of G2E to ensure it is staying ahead of the curve as the gaming industry changes,” said Korbi Carrison, G2E event director for Reed Exhibitions. “The expo hall will feature highly anticipated offerings from across the core gaming sector, along with exhibitors presenting their products in sports betting technology, iGaming, integrated resort products and other non-gaming amenities.”

One of the ways G2E is highlighting the technology and concepts that could influence the future of gaming is through the debut of the Innovation Incubator. During this first-of-its-kind industry event, start-ups and students will take the main stage at G2E to pitch their greatest innovations in gaming and hospitality to a live audience and to two of the most dynamic investors in the business world; FUBU CEO and Founder Daymond John and The Pink Ceiling and Sprout CEO Cindy Eckert (Whitehead).

At Innovation Incubator, four finalists, chosen by a panel of gaming industry experts, will present their concepts to John and Eckert, followed by a fast-paced Q&A where the headlining guests will examine the potential business opportunity of each presentation.

The winning presentation, dubbed the Shark’s Choice, will be awarded a cash prize, as well as a complimentary booth at G2E 2019 to showcase their technology. The audience will vote for a second prize, the Customer’s Choice, which will also receive a complimentary booth at G2E 2019.

Throughout the remainder of the day at G2E, six runner-up presentations will earn their own dedicated time at AGA’s Innovation Lab (Booth #5833). The Innovation Lab is a centralized hub in the expo hall for TED-talk-style education. Innovation Lab sessions will address Big Data & Analytics and New Terrain & Emerging Markets (e.g. eSports) respectively.

“The gaming industry was built by entrepreneurs with innovation in their DNA. At G2E, we embrace and spotlight gaming innovation on the show floor, delivering a powerful platform to drive the industry forward,” said Allie Barth, vice president of industry relations at AGA. “Innovation Incubator at G2E is about giving all innovators—whether from gaming, hospitality or academia—the opportunity to bring their ideas to the forefront during one of gaming’s largest events of the year.”