A look back at a sub­dued Gam­ing Expo

Or­ga­niz­ers de­cide to ‘tone it down’ after mass shoot­ing

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - FROM THE COVER - By Richard N. Velotta Con­tact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@re­viewjour­nal.com or 702-4773893. Fol­low @Rick­Velotta on Twit­ter.

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.

Bizuayehu Tes­faye Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal @bizutes­faye

At­ten­dees ar­rive Thurs­day at the Global Gam­ing Expo at the Sands Expo and Con­ven­tion Cen­ter.

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