Thanks largely to their portrayal on television and in the movies during my formative years, I had a somewhat skewed view of tradeshows and conventions when I officially entered the business world in the 1980s. In a nutshell, I thought these events were just an excuse to, well, drink and party, and therefore would be much like the college social scene I had just, regretfully, left.

To say I had somewhat of a rude awakening would be an understatement. At first I tried to live the dream—after all, end-of-day events and parties that usually include lots of free alcohol are common at every trade show—but I quickly learned that late nights with very little sleep and early mornings with vicious hangovers equated to poor work performance, especially when daily deadlines loomed. Fortunately, older and wiser heads quickly took me aside and advised me to slow down my pace of socializing; and to keep in mind that for the vast majority of attendees, the first order of business at a conference was business itself—they are there to make money. This became abundantly clear to me when I started to visit companies on tradeshow floors and heard about the enormous financial and logistical costs to obtain booth space and then populate it with ever evolving products and services.

To this day, I still keep this “business first” mindset whenever I attend an industry trade event. But what I consider important after that at these events has evolved a bit. While socializing/networking still has value, I now place it firmly behind educational opportunities. Granted, one reason for this re-ordering of tradeshow priorities involves my advancing years and more moderate lifestyle, but the primary cause for this change is my need to stay abreast of the technological advancements taking place in the gaming industry, something that is proving increasingly difficult given the current pace of communication systems evolution. So I see growing value in attending conferences, sessions, panel discussions, keynotes—anything that can increase my knowledge base.

Fortunately, the upcoming Global Gaming Expo (G2E) convention and tradeshow, which is taking place next month in Las Vegas, offers many such opportunities, especially for people looking to learn more about current gaming machine advancements. What follows are description of some G2E slot-oriented sessions I have my eye on: 

  • Artificial Intelligence on the Slot Floor—AI offers new tools for casino operators, allowing them to search millions of potential slot floor configurations to maximize predicted theoretical win. In this session, speakers will highlight the ways AI can be used as an effective tool on the slot floor and present a case study example using AI to optimize slot machine purchasing decisions for a tribal casino.
  • The Hidden Value of Secondary Play on the Casino Floor—Captured in the details of player data, and market research is a road map to the potential spend of a patron. A player, who in their stay, can be enticed to generate revenue, in a multitude of areas (for example) cards and slots, as well as any other facet of the casino. Their increased spend means increased revenues.
  • Casino Floor Innovation: The Slot Machine is still King—Let's face it, when you can project a win per unit per day and it is strong revenue per square foot, it takes a lot to take their floor space away. Keeping that space means driving innovation, and taking things to the next level, while remembering to take your player along with you.

Of course, this is only a taste of conference content at G2E. Visit www.globalgamingexpo.com to peruse a full list of sessions. Let’s learn a little before hitting the party circuit.