“Education at G2E this year will be like never before!”

Ed Several, senior vice president at Reed Exhibitions.

(Interview).- Ed Several talks about upcoming G2E 2016 Las Vegas.

Global Gaming Expo 2016 starts on Tuesday at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas with plenty expectations and the largest amount of exhibitors and visitors during gaming industry events. G2E will carry out essential educational sessions to assess the international markets and its regulations, latest technology exhibits and conferences, information about next business opportunities and upcoming gaming sectors and players. To pre-experience the show, Ed Several, senior vice president at Reed Exhibitions, organisers of the event, revealed the details of this year’s G2E.

We recently saw a nice increase in exhibit space and attendance at G2E Asia in Macau, which you also operate. Will G2E have a similar increase in 2016?

With more exhibiting companies and more exhibit space sold, G2E 2016 is already larger than it was in 2015. Our attendance is running ahead of last year and we are pleased to be attracting key decision-makers from every significant casino in the America at our event.

Last year, the establishment of the Integrated Resort Experience brought lots of non-gaming elements into the show. Tell us how this will be different and better this year.

We’ve listened to our customers and moved the Integrated Resort Experience directly on the show floor.  This will further combine non-gaming with traditional gaming and offer attendees new ways of driving revenue from alternate sources. Gaming will always be at the heart of our event and integrated resort experience, now located as part of the show floor, further reinforces how gaming and non-gaming can work together to grow a casino’s total revenue.

Sports betting seems to be a central theme in the show this year. Your partner, the American Gaming Association, has made it a central part of its goals. What can we expect out of G2E in this regard?

We applaud the effort the American Gaming Association has put forth to progress legalised sports betting in the United States. Our education sessions will cover this topic and we will have several networking sessions for the industry to discuss this very important initiative. Education session attendees will have the opportunity to discuss what types of wagering have generated the largest consumer demand, review its current impact and explore what the future holds for this growing market.

Gaming will always be at the heart of our event and integrated resort experience, now located as part of the show floor, further reinforces how gaming and non-gaming can work together to grow a casino’s total revenue.

eSports is also an important element of the casinos in 2016. Will G2E address this growing segment?

eSports may be the next big business opportunity for casinos. With it opens channels for new customers and revenue streams as well as challenges with compliance and responsible gaming.  Education attendees will learn how to stay ahead of this new wave by understanding the structure of eSports professional leagues, the demographics of players and spectators as well as insights into regulatory challenges. This is an exciting and growing area and to provide the G2E audience with an up-close and personal experience, we will not only have education sessions covering eSports, but an actual, live competition featuring some of the best eSports players in the world right on the show floor.  This means attendees will not only be able to learn in classrooms, but experience it live with the ability to ask questions and meet the players.

G2E’s conference has been rebranded to Elevated Education sessions. What has changed and what should conference attendees expect to experience when they arrive in September?

Education at G2E this year will be like never before! To better-serve the industry, we convened a panel of experts to share the challenges that many of us face today.  Some of these experts include speakers from outside of the industry who can teach casino operators new tactics and provide fresh insights.  We have also secured top industry specialists to address key business issues that keep casino and iGaming operators up at night.  Education attendees may participate in our very first professional development track as well as sessions that focus on addressing generational differences that are a particular struggle for the casino industry. In addition, we have redesigned each seminar room based on input from an education consultant with seating designed to improve the way you learn.  Each conference attendee will be sure to leave with the skills they need to advance their business.  Sessions begin September 26 and run through September 29.

Education attendees will learn how to stay ahead of this new wave by understanding the structure of eSports professional leagues, the demographics of players and spectators as well as insights into regulatory challenges.

Indian gaming is always a big part of the G2E conference programme. What are you doing to ensure that tribal government gaming remains a big part of the show?

Indian gaming is a vital part of the G2E family.  This year we are honored to have Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., the Chairman and national spokesperson for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), appear with the American Gaming Association CEO, Geoff Freeman in our opening keynote.  In addition, we have worked very closely with NIGA to expand and present critical Indian gaming education as part of the G2E seminar program.  Many of our exhibitors are focused on offering games, products and services for the Indian gaming market with even more coming on board this year.  Finally, NIGA will again host their exhibit and lounge space in a prime location on the G2E show floor.

Tell us about the interactive tools that G2E is offering to assist both exhibitors and attendees to get the most out of the show as they can.

We are excited to offer the most innovative mobile app in the history of G2E from the same company used by South by Southwest, the Olympics, Salesforce.com and many others.  We’ve customized this tool especially for G2E to ensure an efficient and interactive experience at the event.  This new and improved mobile app will make G2E a truly accessible event.  In addition, we have developed a customized matchmaking program for pairing exhibitors with attendees based on their shared interests of products and services.  This initiative will ensure that the right relationships are made and will help curate business for all.

The G2E show floor has been reconfigured this year in many ways. Tell us how that’s going to benefit the attendees and exhibitors.

Visitors to the 2016 G2E show will experience a more-efficient show floor.  Believe it or not, we went through a number of versions of floor plans before finalizing this year’s layout. Our new floor will feature a horseshoe-shaped aisle with clear cross aisles to maximize flow to all areas.  As mentioned before, we’ve added the Integrated Resort Experience to the main floor and enhanced our lounge areas to include charging stations and more areas for networking.  Based on feedback, we’ve added more healthy food choices and increased the variety of foods available.  In addition, we’ve placed food options in the main lobby as well as more within the main show floor.

We have worked very closely with NIGA to expand and present critical Indian gaming education as part of the G2E seminar program.  Many of our exhibitors are focused on offering games, products and services for the Indian gaming market with even more coming on board this year.

The floor is also home to many different areas devoted to special disciplines, like table games, iGaming, security & surveillance and more. Does this work for both exhibitors and attendees?

Our new floor plan has been designed to enable attendees to quickly and easily find exhibitors as they have been more closely-grouped within the category products that they offer.  With the combination of a new floor layout, mobile app with geolocation and mapping capabilities, this will be the most-efficient show floor to navigate in all of our show’s history.

With such a dynamic plan for this year’s G2E, what does this say about the growth and health of the casino industry and its largest trade show and conference?

G2E is an annual barometer of the industry and based on the fact that the event will be larger than last year and attendance is well-ahead, along with the many new games, products and services to be introduced, the industry is healthy and we look forward to a very prosperous year ahead.