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Best of Benjamin Spillman

Gaming Guru

Benjamin Spillman
 

Gaming heavyweights heading to G2E

3 November 2006



LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- If people lugging conference swag on Strip-area sidewalks soon look more at home than typical Nebraska tourists, it's because they are.

"Gambling heavyweights from around the world will make the annual pilgrimage to their industry Mecca for G2E, gaming's biggest insider conference and trade show, with nearly 30,000 participants expected from Nov. 13-16.

"That means the people with name tags and swag bags are more likely to be running casinos than gawking at them.

"It also makes Las Vegas the place to be for people trying to make money on the casinos' side of the tables and slots.

""This event, G2E, has really become the single-most important event for what is now the international gaming community," said Frank Fahrenkopf, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. "It encapsulates the latest trends in the gaming community, the newest products."

"Besides a trade show, the conference includes more than 350 speakers at more than 100 sessions discussing every aspect of the gaming industry, from security to food and beverage to Indian gaming and handling customer feedback.

"Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist Dave Barry will deliver the keynote address Nov. 14.

"The 2006 G2E, short for Global Gaming Expo, is the sixth edition of the event. Before 2002, the now defunct World Gaming Congress was the annual gathering of gambling bigwigs.

"With more than a week before the start date, registration for the upcoming G2E is already up 21 percent from last year's total of 26,603, according to organizers.

"And there will be about 323,000 square feet of exhibitor space for more than 750 companies, up 15 percent from the 2005 event.

"Exhibitors hawking the latest innovations, from playing cards embedded with tiny radio transmitters to slots made with software to customize the game for each gambler, will vie for attention on the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

""It is sensory overload," said Roger Gros, editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. "It is a huge trade show."

"Gros said some of the most recognizable games on casino floors made their debut as G2E exhibits. They include Monoply, Betty Boop and Wheel of Fortune slot machines.

"Innovations this year include playing cards outfitted with RFIT chips, short for radio frequency identification tag.

"Similar tags are already embedded in chips at Wynn Las Vegas to track betting more precisely and could do the same for watching cards, Gros said.

"He said the innovation would help casinos detect card counting quicker than with overhead cameras, especially at tables crowded with gamblers.

""(When) you have got seven people betting, even the eye-in-the-sky can't keep track of that," Gros said.

"Another innovation on display at G2E will be slot machines with server-based or downloadable gaming technology that allows casinos to customize games for each gambler.

"For example, when players plugs their slot club card into a machine, the software could call up their favorite game and set play based on the gambler's betting habits, Gros said.

""If you are getting high rollers in you can dial up the denomination of the machine," he said.

"But the trade show isn't all fun and games for companies selling innovation. Gros estimated that of the hundreds of new slot machine concepts created each year, only five to 10 have staying power on casino floors.

"And competition for the attention of gaming companies is intense at the show.

""You really have to have something special for them to stop and look at your product," he said. "That is why it is such an important time. If they don't sell it there they have a tough year coming up."

Gaming heavyweights heading to G2E is republished from GamingMeets.com.