Years ago, the clang of coins cascading from slot machines and the image of casino customers toting buckets filled with their winnings were among the sights and sounds most widely associated with commercial gaming. But all that changed with the advent of a revolutionary new technology – ticket-in/ticket out (TITO) systems.
When Global Gaming Expo (G2E) debuted in Las Vegas in 2001, TITO technology was in its infancy; most slot machines still dispensed coins rather than printed tickets. G2E provided manufacturers with a crucial opportunity to showcase the new technology, which has since streamlined casino operations and reshaped the gaming industry.
During the past 10 years, many such innovations have been introduced at G2E. Year after year, the trade show has provided gaming professionals access to cutting-edge technology, valuable networking opportunities and unmatched educational programming. G2E has propelled the industry forward, helping operators and suppliers effectively meet the demands of consumers and improve their bottom lines.
For example, G2E recognized early the growing significance of nongaming amenities at casinos and developed F&B at G2E, a marketplace of culinary products and services. G2E also helped spark an industrywide movement to replace old gaming chips with those enabled with radio frequency identification technology. And it provided a platform for manufacturers to promote the next generation of slot machines – games linked through central server-based networks.
In 10 short years, G2E has become the largest and most successful gaming industry trade show in the world, annually bringing together tens of thousands of people from more than 90 countries. And it has expanded its brand overseas; in 2007, it launched G2E Asia, which provides region-specific content to Asian gaming professionals. Last year, it established a fruitful partnership with SAGSE, the trade show in Latin America – an area that holds great promise for many gaming companies.
G2E has long been described as a trade show developed “by the industry, for the industry.” The American Gaming Association (AGA) and Reed Exhibitions – co-creators of the G2E international family of events – take these words to heart. Developing shows that address the needs of attendees and exhibitors is our top priority. During the past 10 years, we have painstakingly reviewed the many suggestions we received and worked hard to incorporate them into our programming whenever possible.
So, it should come as no surprise that, as we prepare to commemorate G2E’s milestone 10th anniversary in November, we already are implementing a number of changes to ensure that its coming decade will be even more successful than the first.
Beginning next year, G2E will jump more than one month ahead on the calendar. G2E 2011 will take place Oct. 4-6; the following year, it will be held Oct. 2-4. In 2013, it will take place in late September to accommodate the Jewish holidays.
This change is one we have wanted to make for many years; it was made with both attendees and exhibitors in mind. First, the date change allows for more time between G2E and the January gaming show in Europe, giving our European colleagues and those exhibitors involved in both shows more breathing room and planning time between events.
Also, to this point, G2E has taken place after many companies have submitted their annual budgets for the coming year. Those responsible for purchasing are forced to make decisions before they can assess the new products and services offered at G2E. Adjusting the event calendar will enable gaming operators to plan for the coming year with greater ease and, ultimately, improve sales for G2E exhibitors.
The date changes have led to a venue change, as well. In order to lock in this date pattern for years to come, G2E will move to the Sands Expo and Convention Center beginning in 2011. In addition, Sands’ state-of-the-art facility will provide G2E exhibitors more space to promote their products and allow the show to grow.
I must take a moment to express my gratitude to the Las Vegas Convention Center, which has been G2E’s home for 10 wonderful years. It is perhaps an understatement to say that the Convention Center has been essential to the success of G2E during its inaugural decade. The staff at the facility deserves the thanks of the entire gaming industry for their continued support and hard work on our behalf.
Important changes also are happening to G2E’s events abroad. Beginning in 2012, G2E Asia will move to a new date pattern in late May. The 2012 show will take place May 22-24, several weeks earlier than in previous years. Because of these adjustments, future G2E Asia shows are far less likely to conflict with participants’ summer travel plans. SAGSE organizers also will move to a new permanent date pattern in mid-November, with the 2011 show taking place Nov. 9-11.
Together, these changes amount to a more evenly spaced calendar of events that accommodates the needs of our gaming industry partners around the globe. We are confident the revised dates will help fuel the success of the G2E family of events going forward.
But before G2E embarks on a new decade, we must celebrate the passage of its first 10 years. G2E 2010 will include a number of special events to mark the event’s 10-year anniversary. One such event is the posthumous induction of Tim Parrott, former CEO of Shuffle Master, Inc., into the Gaming Hall of Fame.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Tim while he served on the AGA board. He was one of the most beloved and respected figures in the gaming industry – and for very good reason. His colleagues remember him as a fair, smart and customer-centered executive. But, most of all, he was a caring human being. His passage dealt a significant blow to the industry.
One of G2E’s primary goals is to educate and nurture future gaming leaders. I believe Tim is someone young professionals in our industry should strive to emulate, both personally and professionally. Through the UNLV International Gaming Institute certificate program – as well as a new curriculum that provides college students an opportunity to attend G2E – we hope to cultivate a class of leaders that reflect Tim’s legacy, including his tremendous work ethic and good-natured spirit.
The coming decade of G2E is sure to bring with it many innovations that promise to reshape the gaming industry in ways we cannot yet imagine. And I look forward to sharing those exciting advancements with our colleagues overseas. After all, G2E is – at its core – about convening gaming professionals from all corners of the globe. Working together, the possibilities are virtually limitless.