G2E 2016 was still going strong on day three, with plenty of foot traffic throughout the expo floor and busy sessions during the day. Over the course of the event literally thousands of people are expected to walk through the doors and it certainly felt that way between yesterday and today’s activity.
There were several celeb appearances on the floor today, the return of The Soup Nazi in addition to Eugena Washington, 2016 Playmate of the Year and second runner-up on America’s Next Top Model, both on display at the Scientific Games booth promoting the Seinfeld and Playboy-themed slots respectively.
Gambling industry veteran Brooke Dunn, a charismatic professional who started working in the gambling industry at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1987, then for Shuffle Master and now with Big Bet Gaming with some podcasting in between, stopped through G2E and spoke with CalvinAyre.com.
Dunn described what it was like working in Vegas in ’87, the year after the mob gave up its control over the city. He spoke of the incredible entertainment available in the city at the time, such as tickets to A-list bands you could only see in Vegas and for a reasonable price. He said things are so different today and would love to see the price for tickets to concerts and other shows reduced so more people could enjoy the incredible entertainment Las Vegas has to offer other than gambling.
Dunn also questioned the gambling industry’s current obsession with focusing on millennials, saying they will eventually be those 50 year olds who love to play slots and their disposable income and free time is just not that of a middle-aged and older patron.
While exploring the expo floor CalvinAyre.com also enjoyed several demos of innovative products that are about to hit the market assuming the green light is delivered from the regulators.
Gili Lisani of Paraplay walked us through Eyeon, their new mobile gaming, on-premises platform allowing brick & mortar casinos to offer guests real-money and free-play casino games on mobile devices. Lisani’s intent is certainly not to sabotage the games offered across the casino floor but rather to provide guests with new games they can enjoy online while on-premises. Eyeon uses “ticket in, ticket out” technology at the moment, allowing guests to easily cash in and out in the same way the would on the casino floor.
Casino marketing expert Roberto Coppola is now involved with the new project in partnership with Mark Lipparelli, Chinesewar.com, an innovative twist on baccarat. Coppola designed the game with millenials in mind and a broader audience in general, as many people (especially young people) find traditional baccarat confusing and Chinese War is easier for the Westerner to understand. After walking us through the new game, Coppola confirmed G2E is the perfect venue to unveil his innovation and said the reception so far has been fantastic.
This afternoon’s eSports and Casinos session was absolutely jammed-packed, yet another sign the potential for eSports and gambling is immense. Today’s expert panel featured Chris Grove of Narus Advisors, Blaine Graboyes of GameCo, Seth Schorr of Fifth Street Gaming, Rahul Sood of UNIKRN and A.G. Burnett of Nevada Gaming Control Board.
Sood started off by saying eSports bettors want immediate responses and bragging rights and what really matters to this audience is authenticity. “You must really understand the audience and how to market to it”, he said.
Grove shared some numbers with the audience saying over three billion dollars were wagered on eSports in 2016 and the number is projected to be over twelve billion by 2020. He said the key trends to dominate the eSports betting product are as follows:
-development of in-play betting
-formalization of gaming integrity processes & partnerships
-Regulatory approach coming into focus
Barnett said like the eSports bettor, the NGCB is also concerned with authenticity and said eSports matches and tournaments must be based on legitimate, authentic activity.
“We want to be sure the game has integrity and cannot be tampered with before or during game play. We want to be sure participants are playing in a level playing ground”, he said. Barnett emphasized the NGCB’s core responsibility is to protect the patrons and to be able to prevent “bad actors”. He pointed out how self-regulation is starting to occur with eSports and he said he think’s it’s a good sign.
Sood went on to explain how the eSports audience tends to skew younger, 18-32 years old is the sweet spot. He said there is a massive bubble of a potential audience between the ages of 13 and 18, so the audience for eSports betting will be getting bigger in the next five years and therefore it’s a big opportunity to seize upon, especially in live betting.
Sood also said he would like to see Las Vegas become the eSports capital of the world. He said even though the return won’t be immediate, casinos must be forward thinking and recognize young people are currently walking straight through the casinos and into the night clubs, so its has to be about the vision of bringing people in, keeping them on the property, providing them a space to feel conformable in with high speed internet, lounges, etc.
Burnett added the regulatory scheme is already in place to allow eSports betting to occur in Nevada. He said if the NGCB deems eSports pros as athletes, casinos could start taking bets right away. Burnett hopes some decisions on eSports will be made on eSports by December 2016 but emphasized “our door is open” and said “before you take any first steps come meet with us” and “I don’t think you will encounter too many difficulties”, he said.