Canadian Gaming Summit 2017 highlights: Calvin Ayre makes first appearance in years

TAGs: Canada, canadian gaming summit, Canadian Gaming Summit 2017

Representing the growth of the gaming industry in Canada, the 21st Canadian Gaming Summit has taken off mighty and strong at the Vancouver Convention Center.

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Organized by Canada Gaming Association (CGA) and Media Edge Communications, the two-day summit aimed to provide an in-depth and quality education experience on the changing Canadian and global gaming landscape to attendees.

For years, the summit caters to mostly lottery and land-based casino businesses, but Chuck Nervick, senior vice president of Media Edge, said, “There is so much stuff going on in the gaming space right now, primarily with iGaming and online gaming and so our theme, Rapid Pace of Change. We thought, (it) made sense.”  

Developments in the industry, of course, come with challenges. In an interview with, CGA VP Paul Burns shared the current status of the Canadian gaming market. He also acknowledged the challenges it faces such as adaptation to the changing technologies and how operators can get new products quicker to the market.

The annual event for gaming professionals also showcased a bevy of new features. This year, the summit hosted three keynote sessions and conducted simultaneous educational tracks in various sectors – lottery, laws and regulations, food and beverage, and player development.

Kicking off the keynote sessions was James McQuivey, vice president and principal analyst of Forrester Analyst and the author of Digital Disruption, who shared his insights on digital disruption and the future of customer experience innovation.

McQuivey introduced the concept of consumer hyperadoption and how this leads to customer experience and relationships. He shared how organizations can develop a customer-driven innovation process by focusing on customers rather than product.

“You need to put the customer in the middle of your operations not your product. That changes your operations, that changes your culture as an organization,” McQuivey said. This, he said, will eventually allow the organization to think customer-first, give what the customers need, continue doing the process, and let the technology and its implications follow.

The keynote sessions also included discussions on the emergence of non-traditional and new forms of gaming in the modern casino such as the hospitality business and esports.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Gaming Industry Award, which also took place during the summit, recognized gaming professionals for their leadership and contribution to the industry. A lovely retirement tribute to Bill Rutsey, president and CEO of CGA, was also given at this year’s show.

The summit also featured an exhibition floor for both gaming and non-gaming companies and brands, which has become an avenue for valuable networking. The trade show has paved the way for new exhibitors like Golden Race and Jackpot Blitz, a one-of-a-kind electronic poker table, to showcase their products in the region.

Making a rare appearance in the summit is online gaming pioneer and Bodog founder Calvin Ayre, who gave his two cents on the future of provincial gaming monopolies in Canada. Ayre said the monopolies’ conflict of interest between regulatory oversight and the need to produce profits for government coffers means they fit the definition of an “unregulated operator.”

However, Ayre noted, “I think the (Canadian gaming) industry itself is going to be strong.”


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