With G2E Las Vegas around the corner, Yogonet talked with Korbi Carrison, Event Vice President G2E, RX USA, about the features and highlights for the upcoming edition. "Our expectation is to be reunited as an industry once again and to have the event look and feel so much more like the G2E that you've all become accustomed to," Carrison notes.
Scheduled for October 10-13 at The Venetian Expo, the new edition of the major global gambling event will feature a lineup of can't-miss education sessions, a stacked conference program, and a growing presence of new and exciting verticals. But for Carrison, the key is networking and face-to-face business.
"The business that you can do on the expo hall floor is second to none," she tells Yogonet in this exclusive video interview. "It's a very critical component of G2E, and it's what brings it all together."
What are your expectations for this upcoming edition in terms of attendance and interest from global companies?
We are really thrilled to be back this year and our biggest expectation is for G2E to look and feel a lot more like the G2E you remember from 2019. And even before that, we were really happy to be back in person last year, but it was just a little bit different because we still had some of those COVID restrictions in place.
Of course, there were a lot of international visitors who weren't able to make it last year due to travel restrictions. So our expectation is to be reunited as an industry once again and to have the event look and feel so much more like the G2E that you've all become accustomed to.
How are demand and registration advancing ahead of the new edition?
The demand for G2E is unbelievable. Exhibitors are excited to invite their customers back to G2E this year. Such a high demand, and I think that speaks a lot to how people really missed doing business together. We are social animals and people like to be together.
G2E is the perfect place for anybody with any interest in the gaming industry to gather, and this year is no different. We're seeing a lot of interest and I'm sure that you will all meet up with a lot of people to do good business with this year.
As we finally leave the worst days of the pandemic behind, do you expect this edition to further reflect the gaming industry's recovery from COVID?
We do expect to see a recovery from COVID and for the contents of G2E to reflect that as well. We've worked very hard on the conference programme, which provides a lot of thought leadership to those attending. The contents of that programme really reflect not only where the industry is today, but where it will be going in the future. And certainly, recovery is part of that.
Another highlight is also on the expo hall floor, and what we're seeing with participation from exhibiting companies also reflects a lot of recovery from COVID. A lot of "looking forward to the future and bright days ahead."
Would you say that there are any major changes that attendees should expect from these new additions?
The most important thing that people should be expecting is just a warm welcome from all of your friends and business associates that you haven't seen in a long while, and plenty of opportunities to meet up for networking, whether it's through formal channels like the kickoff reception at G2E that we're having on Monday evening, or a few special events that we have planned on the expo hall floor that will gather together people with similar interests.
Certainly one of the highlights at G2E is something that's not even on the formal agenda, and that is the opportunity to meet and connect with friends and business associates that you haven't seen in a while. And that happens all around the event, certainly before or after, all over the place.
How would you describe the profile of this year's exhibitors? Do you see any specific types of new companies coming for the first time to the event?
We are seeing a different expo hall floor than what we saw in last year's edition. It is looking more like 2019 as far as the size of the exhibition goes. There are some different segments that we are seeing participating in G2E this year. I think most notably, we've seen growth in the sports betting industry over the last few years and we are also seeing a lot of participation from the iGaming sector this year. We're seeing a few first-time exhibitors from iGaming, which is very exciting for us.
To bring all of that together, we're putting a new spin on a feature in our expo hall, and that's the Innovation Lab where we feature emerging tech, and some startup businesses. A lot of discussions will also be centered around iGaming and also sports betting. So look for a lot of conversation around those topics. We've had a lot of interest in those topics from our attendees, who are looking to connect with people who provide those services and technologies.
Bill Miller delivering keynote address in G2E 2021
What are some can't-miss highlights from the show floor and the education program that you would mention?
The can't-miss event is our Tuesday morning keynote address. That will start at about 8:30 on Tuesday morning. And the first speaker that you will hear from is Bill Miller, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. He will give his state of the industry address and that's always very highly anticipated. So don't miss that. For that, you will need to pick up your badge in advance, so make sure that you're pre-registered for the show.
That will be immediately followed by Contessa Brewer interviewing six extremely notable executives from the gaming operator segment. They will be discussing what they have going on in their businesses and where they see the industry going forward. That's going to be something absolutely not to be missed as well.
What do you see as some of the main industry issues and new developments that you expect attendees to be seeking to discuss and explore this time around?
Building on those areas of sports betting and iGaming, certainly financial technologies cover that entire segment. In both of those segments, we're hearing a lot of interest in cryptocurrencies and digital wallets; just different payment innovations that all seek to remain compliant with all of the laws. Financial technologies globally. A lot of discussion around that. There will be also a lot of discussions about how the investment community interacts with those new technologies.
I would encourage everyone to go to our website and check out the education program. There are three days of education Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, starting the 10th of October: three full days of sessions that range all the way from sports betting and iGaming, across financial technologies, investments and also core gaming. Also tribal gaming and new technologies that you could see across the casino floor and beyond the casino floor.
All of the sessions that you'll see in the education program will not only address where the industry is today, but where we expect that it will be going forward. And we've collaborated with several specialists in the gaming industry in order to come up with this content. But what I really would want to highlight is it's not just about going and sitting in a session: it's about networking with people.
Ultimately the highlight is coming together on the expo hall floor and seeing how these technologies can impact your operation today or see how you can make contact with others to move your business forward if you are a supplier. The business that you can do on the expo hall floor is second to none. It's a very critical component of G2E, and it's what brings it all together.