The Global Gam­ing Expo opens Mon­day in Las Ve­gas.

Gam­ing trade show opens Mon­day

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - By Richard N. Velotta

Sports book reg­u­lars might see some new faces in the crowd of 26,000 gam­ing in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives, front-line em­ploy­ees, reg­u­la­tors, pol­i­cy­mak­ers and oth­ers in town this week.

The Amer­i­can Gam­ing As­so­ci­a­tion’s 18th an­nual Global Gam­ing Expo opens Mon­day at the Sands Expo & Con­ven­tion Cen­ter and The Vene­tian and runs through Thurs­day.

With the fight to dis­man­tle the Pro­fes­sional and Ama­teur Sports Pro­tec­tion Act — which pro­hib­ited most states from le­gal­iz­ing sports bet­ting — a dis­tant mem­ory, gam­ing ex­ec­u­tives na­tion­wide are look­ing for ideas for their own sports books. The tim­ing of this year’s show co­in­cides with some of the busiest times in sports books with col­lege and NFL games, Ma­jor League Base­ball hit­ting the play­offs and the NBA and NHL start­ing their re­spec­tive new sea­sons.

The AGA, the na­tional trade group rep­re­sent­ing the $261 bil­lion U.S. casino in­dus­try with 1.8 mil­lion jobs in 40 states, had new sports books in mind when it planned G2E 2018: The as­so­ci­a­tion will host its first-ever sports bet­ting sym-

po­sium, a se­ries of panel dis­cus­sions and speak­ers on sports wager­ing.

Sports bet­ting growth

Since PASPA was over­turned by the U.S. Supreme Court in May, four states — New Jersey, Delaware, Mis­sis­sippi and West Vir­ginia — have joined Ne­vada in of­fer­ing le­gal­ized sports bet­ting. More than 20 states, in­clud­ing New York, are look­ing to le­gal­ize it when their leg­is­la­tures meet next year, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try an­a­lyst Chris Grove, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Cal­i­for­nia-based Eil­ers & Kre­j­cik Gam­ing.

Scott Van Pelt, a na­tion­ally broad­cast ESPN an­chor who ded­i­cates some of his show to gam­bling talk and “bad beats,” will be one of the show’s key­note speak­ers.

While the ed­u­ca­tional side and the tours are im­por­tant, gam­ing equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers are look­ing for­ward to G2E to demon­strate some of their sports bet­ting prod­ucts. Around 450 ex­hibitors from 32 coun­tries — about 120 of them ex­pected to be first-time pre­sen­ters — will cover the trade show floor, which opens for three days of the show start­ing 10 a.m. Tues­day.

Lon­don-based IGT, which has a huge man­u­fac­tur­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion pres­ence in Ne­vada, will be among them, de­but­ing a new sports bet­ting ter­mi­nal and kiosk at the show.

IGT’s Crys­tal ter­mi­nal can be placed in the sports book or on the main casino floor.

“Play­ers will be able to change chan­nels and watch the games and then bet on plays from the ter­mi­nal as the game oc­curs,” said Nick Khin, IGT’s chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer for gam­ing.

Watch and bet

Fast-mov­ing in-game bet­ting is a grow­ing por­tion of the sports book han­dle. Such bet­ting is tak­ing rev­enue be­yond the tra­di­tional wa­gers and par­lays that rely on the fi­nal out­come of a game or sea­son.

Khin said that thanks to its re­la­tion­ship with MGM Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional and new part­ner­ships with Boyd Gam­ing Corp., FanDuel and Wil­liam Hill, IGT al­ready op­er­ates sys­tems in Ne­vada and in new out­lets in New Jersey, Mis­sis­sippi, and West Vir­ginia.

“We’re a B2B and our ex­per­tise is in the plat­form so we work with our part­ners to take the prod­uct to the player,” Khin said.

Sports bet­ting prod­ucts aren’t the only tech­nolo­gies that will be on dis­play at G2E. The floor show is a dizzy­ing col­lec­tion of col­or­ful slot ma­chines, table games and other gam­ing de­vices with a sound­track as loud as any casino.

Most slots are placed in demon­stra­tion modes to show prospec­tive buy­ers what hap­pens when play­ers hit it big.

IGT, which is ex­pected to have the largest booth on the show floor at 25,000 square feet, will show in­no­va­tions to one of the world’s most suc­cess­ful slot games, “Wheel of For­tune.” The new­est “Wheel” ren­di­tion has four-di­men­sion con­tent — play­ers can spin a vir­tual wheel in midair — and a for­mat in an 11-foot tower.

Other line­ups

Las Ve­gas-based Sci­en­tific Games Corp. will show its col­lec­tion of James Bond-themed slot ma­chines and slots based on the pop­u­lar “Mo­nop­oly,” Wiz­ard of Oz and Willy Wonka fran­chises.

“At G2E, we’ll pre­miere new prod­ucts that re­flect the tech mega­trends of our time and show­case the world’s lead­ing sports bet­ting plat­forms,” Sci­en­tific Games Pres­i­dent and CEO Barry Cottle said.

Las Ve­gas-based ex­hibitor Everi Hold­ings will show a broad range of op­er­at­ing sys­tems, hard­ware plat­forms and game con­tent.

“Each year, we process more than 100 mil­lion trans­ac­tions across our se­cure net­work and drive al­most $27 bil­lion onto the floors of our casino part­ners,” said Michael Rum­bolz, pres­i­dent and CEO of Everi. “Our in­vest­ments over the last sev­eral years in de­vel­op­ing new gam­ing en­ter­tain­ment so­lu­tions and ex­pe­ri­ences for play­ers have sig­nif­i­cantly ex­panded the ar­eas of the slot floor we ad­dress.”

The com­pany has grown from be­ing fo­cused on casino fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tion tech­nol­ogy.

A col­lec­tion of in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies with Las Ve­gas of­fices also plan to show a col­lec­tion of cab­i­nets — the dis­play boxes slot ma­chines are pre­sented from. They’re big­ger, taller and nois­ier than ever. Some have curved screens, four-di­men­sion tech­nol­ogy that make images ap­pear to jump off the screen and mu­si­cal com­po­nents that turn a ma­chine into a juke­box with playlists a player can set.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers care­fully present the ma­chines to fo­cus groups and test au­di­ences be­fore tak­ing them to events such as G2E. IGT has a room with a two-way mir­ror so ex­ec­u­tives can watch, record and livestream player re­ac­tions to new prod­ucts.

Casino in­no­va­tions of­ten are dis­played first at G2E, and this year’s show is no ex­cep­tion. The AGA’s In­no­va­tion Lab, a cen­tral­ized hub on the show floor, will host 15-minute talks on gam­ing and en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try top­ics by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Mi­crosoft and Al­lied Es­ports.

G2E ‘Shark Tank’

The 2018 show also will have a first-ever “Shark Tank”- styled com­pe­ti­tion called the “In­no­va­tion In­cu­ba­tor.”

It will fea­ture four com­peti­tors, in­clud­ing two UNLV stu­dents, who will try to per­suade a panel of judges, led by “Shark Tank” star Kevin O’Leary to in­vest in prod­ucts. The top win­ner will get a $10,000 prize, and the top two will get a free booth at the 2019 show.

The trade show floor is G2E’s cen­ter­piece, but the more than 100 ed­u­ca­tional ses­sions on gam­ing top­ics will run the en­tire four days.

Ses­sions are planned on casino op­er­a­tions and mar­ket­ing, women’s roles in the in­dus­try, how the #Me­Too move­ment is af­fect­ing the in­dus­try, eS­ports and mo­bile gam­ing, and the role of cryp­tocur­rency and blockchain in the in­dus­try.

Richard N. Velotta Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal @Rick­Velotta

IGT’s Nick Khin checks out a slot ma­chine Sept. 28 at the com­pany’s Las Ve­gas show­room. Big curved-screen slots will be shown at the Global Gam­ing Expo.

Richard N. Velotta Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal @Rick­Velotta

Nick Khin, IGT’s chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer for gam­ing, checks out the Adam Levinethemed slot ma­chine at IGT’s Las Ve­gas show­room Sept. 28. The ma­chine of­fers a list of songs that gam­blers can choose from while they play.

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