2017 Global Gaming Expo Open All Week on Las Vegas Strip

Alfred Hitchcock Presents Slots - IGT Debut 2017

IGT debuted Alfred Hitchcock Presents Slots in its showroom at the 2017 Global Gaming Expo.

The 2017 Global Gaming Expo takes place on the Las Vegas Strip from October 2 to October 5 at the Sands Convention Center. Despite the Mandalay Bay/concert shooting, gaming executives decided to keep the G2E open.

Global Gaming Expo is the largest convention of the year for casino companies, gaming machine manufacturers, and online gaming executives. The exhibit draws tens of thousands of visitors each year. All the manufacturers and operators debut their best new technology and their brightest new games.

Throughout the 3-day exposition, visitors attend speeches, workshops, seminars, and exhibitions. The state of the gaming world is discussed by the biggest names in the gambling business.

Every year at the Global Gaming Exposition, new technology makes a splash. Deals are made. Weighty matters are discussed. Industry changes are considered.

Games of Thrones, Westworld Slots

For instance, this year features the launch of glitzy licensed slot machines for franchises like Game of Thrones, Westworld, and Sex & The City. Many exhibitions involve the latest gaming technology and slot machines usually get the most attention.

Jackpot Digital Inc. of Vancouver is showing off Jackpot Blitz, an automatic dealer that could revolutionize how hands are dealt in Las Vegas. An innovative new “tobacco smoke and odor remediation” system is being shown.

Despite all the signs of what goes for normalcy on the Las Vegas Strip, those in attendance say there is a different mood this year, due to the heinous actions of Stephen Paddock during the Jason Aldean concert.

Ethan Nelson: “It Does Feel Strange”

Ethan Nelson of Steelman Partners, a casino architecture firm, has been to many Global Gaming Expo trade shows over the years, but he said this one has a different feel. Nelson said of the concert shooting, which seemed to be on everyone’s mind, “It is hard to be here since was it only Sunday night. It does feel strange.”

Normally, Geoff Freeman of the American Gaming Association (which organizes the event) launches the event with a 15-minute state-of-the-industry speech. This year, the AGA’s president wants to “make sure this event takes on the right tone and tenor“, due to the tragedy which happened three days ago down the street.

Ed Davis Compares Shooting to Boston Bombing

Instead, former Boston Police Department Commissioner Ed Davis spoke to open the expo. Davis compared the Boston Marathon bombing to the Mandalay Bay shooting, saying of the tragedy, “What struck me was the fear and chaos, the way people were running away and didn’t know where the threat was.”

“It’s exactly what we dealt with in Boston. People just dropped their things and ran, and then all of those things they dropped had to be cleared by bomb squads because nobody knew what might be there.”

Commissioner Davis’s words indicated the tone of the G2E’s first day, which included shock, a bit of disbelief, and inspirational words. Little discussion focused on the shooting’s impact on Las Vegas’s 40-million+ tourist industry or what a dropoff in tourism traffic might do to the local casino economy. Perhaps most of the industry leaders hoped that the shooting would be seen as an outlier, because (one hopes) steps would be taken to assure a venue of 22,000 concertgoers would not be so vulnerable in the future.

Michael Rumbolz Compares Shooting to MGM Grand Fire

Michael Rumbolz, CEO of Everi Holdings, whose financial-transaction equipment supports the casino industry, was the boldest in outlining how Las Vegas and the casino industry would respond to the challenge.

Rumbolz, whose company’s majority owner, BA Merchant Services, is majority-owned by Bank of America, spoke of the MGM Grand fire in 1980, which caused 85 deaths. He compared the two events, then said, “We’ve had other tragedies and we’ve changed laws, we’ve changed tactics, we’ve changed how operations work to make sure that our customers feel safe. I have no doubt we’ll do that this time.”

Howard Stutz Predicts Few Changes to Las Vegas

Howard Stutz of Golden Gaming, a regional casino company with an exhibit at the trade show, did not give a pat answer. Instead, Mr. Stutz played down the impact the shooting would have on the industry.

Perhaps sensing that casino high-rollers seldom become mass murderers, Stutz said, “This is an isolated incident. As sad as it is, it’ll be an event that happened, but I don’t think it will change much.”

“These are 3,000- to 5,000-room hotels. It’s just not feasible to check every bag coming into places like this.”

2017 Global Gaming Expo Special Events

Over the next several days, gaming executives are likely to settle into the usual routine. Annual events like the AGEM Awards, the Gaming Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, and the Casino Entertainment Awards will occur.

Those are only a handful of the key moments. Most of the big events involve industry leaders discussing the present state of the gambling business, along with the likeliest outcomes in the future.

2017 G2E Panel Discussions

Panel discussions by the dozens will happen, with a wide array of gambling industry luminaries. Land-based casino executives from a wide range of niches will appear, including Sid Greenfeig and Scott Howitt of MGM Resorts, Jennifer Weissman of Penn National Gaming, Jay Jaczynski of Rush Street Gaming, and Todd Hembree of the Cherokee Nation.

Game supplies like Danielle Rankin of Konami, Jennifer Welshons of Scientific Games, Roger Snow of Scientific Games, Dallas Orchard and Matteo Monteverdi of IGT, Siobhan Lane of Aristocrat, and Mike Dreitzer of Ainsworth Game Technology all plan to speak at G2E. Innovative new gambling executives who market to millennial gamblers, such as Marcus Yoder of Gamblit, Blaine Graboyes of GameCo, and Kingsley Edwards of Unikrn, will speak about their fields.

2017 Global Gaming Expo Keynote Speakers

Gaming regulators or from across the United States will be in attendance, including Susan Hensel of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and Paula Hart of the Office of Indian Gaming (US Interior Department). Lottery officials — who represent a unique private/public partnership — such as Scott Bowen (formerly) of the Michigan Lottery and Tony Presta of the Kansas Lottery, will speak about their experiences.

Non-gambling executives whose business knowledge might translate to the gaming world, such as Magic Johnson of Magic Johnson Enterprises, Stephen King of Dave and Buster’s, and Neil Doherty of Sysco, all will be in attendance.

Executives from industries associated with the gambling industry will speak, such as Luigi Mastropietro of Everi, Steve Ruddock of the marketing firm Catena Media, Bryan Wyman of the Innovation Group, Andrew Zarnett of Deutsche Bank, and Edward King of Morgan Stanley.