The Global Gaming Expo or “G2E”, the largest expo dedicated to the American gambling industry and beyond, began today at the Sands Expo with a series of sessions and an awards ceremony. G2E’s infamous expo floor opens its doors tomorrow for three days and over 26,000 gambling professionals are expected to attend throughout the event’s duration.
Before we get started with our coverage of 2017, lets pause and take a moment to recognize the tragedy that occurred here in Vegas on Sunday evening, resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. The American Gaming Association has made a pledge to honor the victims of this tragic event as G2E pushes forward and their pledge can be viewed on the homepage of the G2E website and the American Gaming Association website.
AGA President & CEO Geoff Freeman issued an official statement, including:
“Today is a difficult day – and there are more questions than answers regarding this shocking tragedy. Las Vegas is the beating heart of our industry. AGA and the entire casino gaming industry is focused on helping the Las Vegas community recover.
One way we can begin to recover is by uniting as an industry. Global Gaming Expo (G2E) is the one time per year that the totality of our industry convenes.
Many of you have asked how you can help. The American Gaming Association is making a $100,000 contribution to The Las Vegas Victims’ Fund to support victims and their families, and we encourage you to donate as well. Other ways to help include:
• Donating blood: find a donation center;
• Contributing to the American Red Cross of Southern Nevada; or
• Making your own donation to The Las Vegas Victims’ Fund.
Our industry is strongest when we work together. Thank you for your support of G2E, the gaming industry – our employees, our customers and our communities – and the city of Las Vegas”.
As we unite as an industry to support all of those effected by the events on Sunday night, G2E’s Day 1 began with the Global Gaming Awards luncheon brought to us by Gambling Insider. As the Lead Sponsor of the awards, Vahe Baloulian of BetContruct kicked off the celebration and said the Awards and G2E in general are the perfect place to meet, learn and exchange ideas.
Following lunch, 12 awards were swiftly delivered and the recipients are as follows:
The Land Based Product of the Year: IGT- Cardless Connect
Digital Product of the Year: Evolution Gaming- Dream Catcher
Digital Acquisition Product of the Year: LeoVegas Affiliates
Customer Loyalty Program of the Year: MGM Resorts international – M Life Awards
Land-Based Industry Supplier of the Year: Scientific Games
Digital industry Supplier of the Year: NYX gaming Group
Land Based Gaming Innovation of the Year: IGT – SPHINX 4D
Digital Gaming Innovation of the Year: Betgenius – eSports Trading
Land Based Operator of the Year: Wynn Resorts
Digital Operator of the Year: Bet365
Responsible Business of the Year: Sportradar
European Executive of the Year: Mor Weizer
The iGaming Congress took place today and featured sessions dedicated to iGaming legislation in America, sports betting, eSports, technology and global iGaming in general. Ros Wade of Asia Gambling Brief (AGB) spoke on the latest in Asian iGaming, diving into the issues surrounding licensing in her home turf, the Philippines.
“The situation is that PAGCOR, for just over a year, has got into the online gaming regulation business. They originally offered 25 licenses and those were snapped up and now I think they’ve increased that to 50 and they’re saying they are going to cap it at 50. I believe they have 45 listed on their website at the moment and the first licensees are coming up for renewal so I guess we’ll see how many of them do renew”, Wade told CalvinAyre.com.
“In terms of First Cagayan, they do have licensees and they are still operating, they’re building out the Cagayan economic zone, so improving infrastructure and economic activity there and getting into other businesses as far as I understand as well”, she added.
When it comes to Asia in general, license or no license, how to get payments in and out of gambling sites are of upmost concern.
“Payments are certainly the biggest issue I would say in Asia you just don’t have the payment options available that there are in Europe, for example”, Wade shared.
“So a lot of it is the underground banking system and it works via the agency system, but with the increase of more cash-based operators now I think that situation is alleviating and I think there could be good potential for Bitcoin and crypto-currency sites which of course then will circumvent any of those issues”, she added.
When it comes to Nevada, some of the juiciest news for consumers is the recent legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use. The news is not as juicy for the casinos, however, seeing as the marijuana legalization law is a state law as opposed to a federal law. As a result, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has taken it upon themselves to advise their licensees on how to minimize risk when dealing with marijuana in the state.
Today’s marijuana legalization panel featured Terry Johnson of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) who confirmed the largest challenge the Board is facing today are the differing perspectives that they’re hearing from Washington.
“Its difficult to gauge what the policy will be, so we need to advise in a way that reduces risk”, he said.
The NCGB is currently advising executives to stay away from operating marijuana businesses so there are no federal prosecutions, no co-mingling of cash and no forfeiture of gaming assets in the event of a federal prosecution.
“All of our objectives are geared around maintaining the gaming industry in Nevada as a viable economic force”, he said.
Johnson said there are three general areas the Gaming Board is focusing on when it comes to the new law and these areas include patrons, employees and third party vendors.
“We have about 45 million people that come in and out of this state, gaming’s a large part of this state’s economy and so addressing policy questions about patrons and their use and maybe accepting delivery of marijuana on gaming premises, etc”, Johnson said.
“We have well over 120 thousand people who work as registered gaming employees so I’m sure there are going to be some issues on if they can use marijuana medicinally or recreationally or both and I think we have to deal with issues dealing with third parties such as vendors and contractors”, he added.