A look back at a subdued Gaming Expo
Organizers decide to ‘tone it down’ after mass shooting
IT’S a little hard to party when scores of people are dead or dying and a company in your industry is a part of the scene. The three-day Global Gaming Expo trade show and the days leading up to its opening were subdued compared with previous years after the tragic shootings of people attending the Route 91 Harvest country music festival Oct. 1 from a hotel suite at Mandalay Bay.
The American Gaming Association, operators of G2E, did all the right things, appropriately paying tribute to the fallen at the beginning of keynote speeches.
IGT, which had one of the largest booths on the trade show floor at G2E, had actress Kristin Davis onsite to promote the company’s “Sex and the City” slot machine. But her appearance was scaled back with a few pictures with customers and no media availability at her Monday appearance.
“It’s a little bit hard to celebrate and sell after what just happened,” an IGT official said. “We decided to just tone it down a little.”
Supreme Court decision eyed
Panelists addressing the global perspective on integrity, regulation and opportunities of legalized sports wagering nationwide discussed what will happen when the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
Panelist Daniel Wallach of Florida-based Becker & Poliakoff said if the high court determines that the law is partially unconstitutional, it would be a win for New Jersey, which has brought a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, but not other states if the law isn’t repealed.
If it’s deemed fully unconstitutional, it would be a win for every state, and it would open the floodgates to sports books all over the country.
But if New Jersey loses, PASPA would continue to be in effect — until lawmakers consider changing the law.
Wallach said he expects the court to hear arguments on the case Nov. 27 or 29 or Dec. 4 or 6.
What will the new environment look like? Panelist Quinton Singleton, vice president of corporate strategy and government affairs for the NYX Gaming Group, said kiosks, off-track wagering centers or mobile betting could pop up in states that permit sports betting.
Who would regulate it? Panelists recommend a federal agency and a national integrity platform so that companies that provide wagering don’t have to wade through potentially 50 different sets of rules.
But first, the court has to rule. After it does, things will get interesting and Las Vegas can expect to see businesses from all over the country visiting and potentially exporting local sports books’ best business practices.
Violence in the workplace
After what happened Oct. 1, one might have expected a full house for the G2E seminar titled “Active Shooter: Violence in the Workplace.”
The lightly attended session was directed at tribal casino managers and featured speakers from Southern California’s Sycuan Casino and the Virginia-based Center for Personal Protection and Safety.
The session dealt mostly with dealing with workplace disputes, domestic violence that spill over into the office and unruly casino customers.
But presenters spent some time discussing situations such as Oct. 1’s festival grounds massacre.
Speakers Eddie Ilko, Juan Baca and Jim Mattheis concurred that victims did exactly what they should have done — flee the area as quickly as possible. They said photographs of the scene showed that people bolted without regard to the personal belongings they left behind.
When confronted with a gunman in a closed area, the center recommends that people spread out and not group together for support, remain calm — which they admitted is extremely difficult in such circumstances — develop a plan if there’s time and, as a last resort, try to disarm the gunman.
The future of loyalty cards?
IGT demonstrated its Cardless Connect technology, a smartphone app that someday might replace all those casino loyalty cards people carry in casinos.
The technology soon will come to Station Casinos properties.
Cardless Connect enables customers to position their phones near the port where players normally insert their cards, wait for a signal from the slot machine that the player has logged on and then play with credits that can be converted from cash loaded on the account.
Winnings are likewise transferred to the account with each play on the machine.
Casino companies can calibrate the software to log off when the phone is a certain distance away from a machine so that a customer can simply log on again at a different machine.
IGT believes that as casino companies adapt to the technology, players can have multiple company-specific apps on their phone instead of carrying around a keychain or wallet full of loyalty cards.
Attendees arrive Thursday at the Global Gaming Expo at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.