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AGA Acquires World Gaming Congress & Expo

8 February 2002

by David Strow

LAS VEGAS – Feb. 8, 2002 --The American Gaming Association today said it acquired the World Gaming Congress & Expo, a move that spells the end of the gaming industry's longest-lived trade show.

Frank Fahrenkopf, chief executive of the AGA, declined to disclose the price the AGA paid privately-held GEM Communications for the World Gaming Congress.

However, he said the Las Vegas convention and trade show will be folded into the AGA's rival trade show -- the Global Gaming Expo (G2E), launched by the AGA last year.

"We are purchasing their name, their assets and folding their tent," Fahrenkopf said. "There will be a single show with our dates."

G2E is scheduled to be held Sept. 17-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The 16th World Gaming Congress was to have been held at the convention center Oct. 22-24.

The AGA and GEM were once partners in the World Gaming Congress, which became best known as the showcase for slot manufacturers to show off their new products.

Attendance for the show historically exceeded 20,000.

But the two sides were unable to agree to a renegotiation of their contract, and the AGA split with GEM after the 2000 show.

The AGA, saying the gaming industry needed more influence over the direction of the show, established G2E.

The rival shows came within two weeks of each other last October, and business split between the two -- G2E had 130,000 square feet of exhibit space booked, compared to 160,000 for the World Gaming Congress. Neither show exceeded attendance for the 2000 World Gaming Congress.

Fahrenkopf said the first G2E came in well ahead of expectations, as the organization had initially expected only 85,000 square feet of space booked. "We had them on the ropes," Fahrenkopf said.

"They came to us ... it was a good deal for us," Fahrenkopf said. "With them out of the way, the sky's the limit (for G2E in 2002)."

GEM officials could not be reached for immediate comment.

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