he Global Gaming Expo has returned as an in-person event to Las Vegas, with thousands of industry professionals showing up at The Venetian Expo on the Strip to check out all the latest products and innovations the sector has to offer.
While the four-day event kicked off on Monday, it was on Tuesday morning that the trade show opened. Casino industry leaders gathered after meeting virtually in last year’s edition, although as expected, amid strict coronavirus rules: mask and vaccination were mandatory.
“We are thrilled to be back here, live, in Las Vegas,” said American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller on Tuesday, as he greeted the crowd in an introductory speech. “I mean, there’s nothing like getting back together in person. A year ago, this hall was empty.”
Even if levels of attendees were down from previous years, as expected given travel restrictions worldwide and uncertainty due to the pandemic, an aura of optimism still seemed to reign over the largest gathering of the casino industry.
One of the highlights was seen on IGT’s booth, as “Wheel of Fortune” hostess Vanna White made a special appearance to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the popular slot machine celebrating the game show. At the stand, White oversaw a celebrity slot machine tournament to benefit local charities.
“Being here today, I feel so much hope and optimism about the recovery of our state with the return of conferences and trade shows in Nevada and the continued success and growth of the gaming industry,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak in the kickoff keynote session, also on Tuesday, in conversation with Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev, and Bill Miller.
As the casino industry in the state rebounds, with five consecutive months of gaming win above the $1 billion mark, Miller noted the resiliency of the sector following nationwide shutdowns last year.
An afternoon keynote panel that same day saw representatives of MGM Resorts International and Marriott International joining U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne Clark to discuss diversity within the industry. Throughout the education session, Apoorva Gandhi, Marriott International’s Senior VP, Multicultural Affairs, Social Impact and Business Councils visualized the differences among diversity, inclusion and belonging in corporate programs.
It was great to hit the floor at #G2E2021 and visit with @IGTNews, @Konami, @aristocratslots, @contessabrewer & so many hardworking Nevadans who help make our State the best location for conferences and trade shows. pic.twitter.com/ebCtmwjI8l— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) October 5, 2021
Non-smoking advocates of the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights group made use of the visibility of the event for a press conference outside of the G2E program, also at the Venetian Expo. Casino workers from Atlantic City, New Jersey, shared their experience with smoke at their jobs, claiming it is unsafe and a risk to their health. No Nevada casino workers spoke, allegedly due to working shifts at the time.
But of course, to most attendees, G2E is all about the game - and manufacturers lined up all their best offerings on Tuesday. Roulette tables with metal sensors that track who is placing which bets, games that can run automated dealer functions, and table games which change lighting depending on floor mood were among the highlights of the day.
On the third day of educational activities, Wednesday will also see a stacked line-up of events and exhibitions. One of the highlights is taking place at 9:00 a.m., with three top CEOs gathering to discuss the present and future of the industry: MGM Resorts International’s Bill Hornbuckle, Wynn Resorts’ Matt Maddox, and Hard Rock International’s Jim Allen will participate in "Raising the Stakes: Gaming Leaders Take on the Future of the Industry" panel.
Start your day with these gaming CEOs!🌐 Keynote at 9:00 AM in Ballroom F.— Global Gaming Expo (@G2Eshows) October 6, 2021
They'll be talking about the industry's recovery & what's next.
Feat. Jim Allen (@TeamSemGaming), @billhornbuckle (@MGMResortsIntl), Matt Maddox (@WynnLasVegas), & @contessabrewer (@CNBC)#G2E2021 pic.twitter.com/7uk65uj6IZ
Later the same day, Arizona Cardinals' owner and president Michael Bidwill will participate in a keynote called "Cards on the table", with Bill Miller, in which the NFL executive is set to discuss the convergence of legal sports betting and professional sports.
Moreover, sports betting startup pitch competition will take place at the Innovation Lab, Booth #1653, at 3 pm. AGEM Memorial Awards ceremony will be held at AGEM Booth #3700 at 4 pm, when Zitro's CEO Sebastian Salat and MGM's Senior Advisor Alan Feldman will be this year's recipients. At the same time, G2E Roundtables are scheduled at the Expo Hall, Booth #1850.