As the global gaming industry gathers in Macau this month for the inaugural Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia event, it causes me to reflect on just how diverse and truly global the gaming industry has become. It’s hard to believe that 50 years ago, legal gambling in the U.S. could only be found in Nevada. Now casino gambling has developed into a major component of my country’s entertainment culture, and the industry’s international growth has been exponential.
From Canada, South America and Europe to Russia, Australia, Asia and India, commercial gaming has expanded to nearly every continent of the globe. As the industry matures globally, it’s more important than ever for us to come together to share ideas and best practices to keep the industry moving forward.
Some have been skeptical about whether a global industry of fierce competitors representing such wildly diverse cultures can come together to develop real solutions to common concerns. And make no mistake – the gaming industry is as competitive an industry as any. But I think the competition exhibited in our industry is a healthy one. After all, the great innovations that have revolutionized gaming have all been borne out of a desire for one company to differentiate itself from its competitors, and these developments have in turn helped the entire industry succeed.
Our industry is still young enough that the achievements of one company or one market can boost the entire industry. There is no doubt that the tremendous publicity that has accompanied the explosive growth of gaming in Macau has caused other jurisdictions to take a fresh look at gaming and how they, too, might harness such opportunity. The success of Macau certainly has raised the interest in gaming in the U.S., and coverage of the area’s development has highlighted just how mainstream and economically viable gaming has become at the global level.
But if we all profit from our successes, the entire industry also is impacted by our failures. One bad actor can do serious damage to the perception of our whole industry—most notably in new jurisdictions where we still are working to prove ourselves as worthy additions to the community. No matter where in the world casinos operate, there is a small percentage of the population that will be opposed to our business on moral grounds, and the industry’s somewhat storied past often breeds a general skepticism about our businesses even among those would support us. So, our companies often have to work a little harder to prove themselves as legitimate businesses and worthy community and corporate partners.
One of the primary ways we can engender confidence in our industry is to maintain a high level of transparency in our operations. The strict regulation of gaming may appear burdensome at times, but it provides a strong layer of protection against those who might question us. With our every move well documented and laid bare, strong regulation truly becomes an ally in this respect, and vigilant compliance is essential.
Whether a gaming market is mature or just beginning to develop, the challenges and opportunities we all face are strikingly similar, and there is much to be learned from one another. This month’s G2E Asia event in Macau brings the global gaming community together to learn from our past and plan for our future. This continued collaboration will be vital for the future of this region and the entire global gaming entertainment industry. I look forward to getting the conversation started.