The 2018 Global Gaming Expo, otherwise known as G2E, got underway on October 8th, in Las Vegas. While the event opens with the Global Gaming Awards, which honors products, executives, suppliers and other industry notables who are making an impact, the week is also full of informational panels and other events. Participants can explore the floor of the Sands Expo and Convention Center where new games, slots and other casino management tools are being showcased. There is plenty to see and do and with the recent legalization of sports betting, you can be sure that it was a topic on everyone’s tongue. Here are some of the highlights from the first two days of the expo:
Are Casinos Ready for Blockchain?
There are a lot of blockchain enthusiasts around the world who want to explore the marriage of blockchain with gambling and casinos, but frankly, there is a significant knowledge gap about this technology. Businesses aren’t rushing to adopt a new technology that has not been tried and tested on a large scale. The idea of a decentralized banking system also makes some people nervous, but proponents like Jez San, the Founder of FunFair Technologies, thinks that there are huge benefits to be enjoyed for both players and casinos. His goal is to educate audiences at G2E and begin to convince some decision-makers that this avenue is worth exploring. It doesn’t look like casinos are quite ready, but the presence of blockchain discussion panels signals a certain amount of openness to the idea.
Millenials are Bringing Back Skills-Based Games
At Gamblit Gaming, they deal with a demographic where the average age is 36, which means that they have to adjust to the wants and needs of a younger audience who might not be drawn to traditional slot machines that require little interaction or skill. As a result, the G2E is filled with bright skills-based games that also tap into nostalgic childhood memories of playing early video games like Pac-Man. Designers are also using the popularity of classic games to create Pac-Man and Galaga slot machines, which combine the best of both worlds.
It looks like game designers are also turning to celebrity names, movies and popular TV games shows and mobile games to draw in audiences to their slot machines. Partnerships with names like Deal or no Deal, Mad Max and Doodle Jump all point to a gaming world that is pulling from other markets to bring players familiar content. This is a great way to tap into media that has an existing audience and provide them with a new, more interactive experience with their favorite brand names.
Rethinking Slot Booths
Manufacturers are even rethinking the classic slot booth design and experimenting with different cabinet shapes and sizes. The goal is to keep players in their seat for as long as possible and designers are interested to see what design elements draw in and retain players. As you might imagine seating also plays an important role and has been a focus of redesigns. New models feature ergonomic seats that can rumble and move in conjunction with events on the screen for a more immersive experience. While designers understand that these elements influence player’s behaviors, they are still working to pinpoint specifics. The G2E provides the perfect opportunity to gather valuable data and feedback.
Sports Betting Takes Center Stage
As expected, the big draw to this year’s expo is excitement around the new world of sports betting. Now that the Supreme Court has legalized sports betting, states are in the process of deciding how they want to handle this new revenue source and what kind of regulations need to be put in place. Educational panels, including a keynote address from ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt, have been attracting packed crowds as the experts weigh in on how the industry can and should address this major shift in the industry.
JCM Global used their booth to showcase their software that turns slot machines into a kiosk for sports betting. They are also pushing monitors that display betting odds to casinos and nightclubs. One of the big challenges is that the average person, who may not have any prior experience with sports betting, can be intimidated by the sportsbook and simply stay away because they aren’t sure how to interpret the numbers and place a bet. It is going to be to vendors and manufacturers to make sports betting as accessible as possible if they want to appeal to a larger audience.
A Global Reach
Vendors and manufacturers from around the world flock to Vegas each year for the G2E. It is the perfect opportunity to network, get a feel for where the industry is headed and try out new products. This year, companies from Osaka, Dusseldorf, Sydney and other places throughout the world have met to enjoy the sites and maybe close some deals. With over 400 booths on the expo floor and 26,000 attendees, there is sure to be a diverse crowd that represents a wide swath of the gaming and casino community.
Management Solutions on Display
In addition to games, the event is being used to highlight management software that allows casinos to operate more efficiently and handle a complicated set of needs. Casino Schedule Ease is just one example of how software innovations are helping casinos to reduce their labor costs while also producing better results. This program is designed to help casinos schedule employees throughout the hotels, restaurants and gaming floors that can make up a casino. With a 24/7 operating schedule, it is especially challenging to provide adequate coverage, provide the best possible service and keep employees content. Casino Schedule Ease makes this delicate balance possible, while also free up time for the scheduling manager.
While sports betting continues to dominate the gambling world, there are a lot of other exciting happenings at G2E. You can check out their website and watch videos of all the celebrities, performers and other special guests who are making appearances. In the meantime, we will continue to track new innovations spurred by the expo and bring you the latest news.