CalvinAyre.com’s annual coverage of the Global Gaming Expo, or “G2E”, has begun in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo, four consecutive days of learning, networking, revealing and discovering.
This event is regarded as the “Super Bowl” of the gambling industry, especially from the U.S. market perspective, with roughly 27,000 delegates parachuting in to scoop up the latest in product releases, innovation, C-level executive appearances and some of the top social gatherings of the year.
The expo hall has yet to open and Day One of G2E is just the warm up, featuring the Global Gaming Awards luncheon and several conference tracks open to education pass holders.
Now in its 6th year, Gambling Insider’s Global Gaming Awards are one of the anticipated side-events of G2E, recognizing the best and the brightest in the gambling industry in a casual lunchtime setting.
“The awards are very well respected, its 12 categories here in Vegas. But the fact that we’ve got 100 judges, that was a record this year, we were very pleased to have that, some of the biggest names in the industry”, Gambling Insider’s Editor, David Cook, shared with CalvinAyre.com in an exclusive interview after the ceremony.
“Winning a Global Gaming award is a true sign of excellence and a true sign that a company is doing very well”, he said.
David Lopez, CEO of AGS, was the recipient of this year’s “American Executive of the Year” award and shared with CalvinAyre.com his reaction to the prestigious recognition.
“I think it’s a great award for AGS and the company, we sort of joke around about how on earth I would have won the award so it must have been the employees and the great executive team around us that was really making it happen”, he said with a smile.
A full list of the awards, winners and more details on the event can be found on Gambling Insider’s site and a quick list of the 12 awards and their recipients are listed below:
Land-Based Operator Winner: Eldorado Resorts
Digital Operator Winner: DraftKings
Land-Based Product Winner: Interblock Gaming – Stadium
Digital Product Winner: Scientific Games – OpenSports
Land-Based Industry Supplier Winner: Aristocrat
Digital Industry Supplier Winner: Kambi
Customer Loyalty Program Winner: MGM Resorts International – M life
Property Winner: The Venetian Macao
Product Innovation Winner: Incredible Technologies – Infinity V55 Edge
Slot Winner: Aristocrat – Buffalo Diamond
Responsible Business Winner: Gaming Laboratories International
American Executive Winner: David Lopez – AGS
Following the awards ceremony, on today’s iGaming Congress track, the session on using new tools to help with responsible gambling featured Earle G. Hall of AXES.ai and GSA Blockchain. Hall spoke on how the gambling industry can use AI and blockchain to protect its customers from dangerous gambling behavior, comply with regulations and share information between jurisdictions.
If one jurisdiction, a mature jurisdiction, had a very good blockchain that had a responsible gaming policy sitting inside of it, they would be able to share the information with the next jurisdiction and actually adhere to any rules, like in Europe there’s the GDRP privacy rules”, explained Hall.
“So by sharing information you can protect people and at the same time detect if there’s a problem gaming. There is only one real technology out there that can do it that easy, cheap and fast and that’s blockchain”, he revealed.
With the repeal of PASPA well behind us, regulated sports betting across the U.S. is set to be a huge topic at G2E this year, already populating today’s session topics and watercooler chats. Daniel Kustelski, CEO and Co-founder of Chalkline Sports, has been in the sports betting industry for over a decade and spoke with CalvinAyre.com on the benefits of Free-to-Play (F2P) offerings for companies wishing to enter the U.S. sports betting market.
“What [FTP] allows is most of the operators to go into a state, offer some type of engagement and start to collect data, email addresses, mobile phone numbers, whatever that may be and that’s really what we tell all of the operators”, said Kustelski.
“But its not just the operators, it’s the media companies too. Because a lot of companies are trying to figure out, I’ve got eyeballs, how do I turn eyeballs into data and then data into dollars, maybe through affiliates”, he added.
“So there’s a lot of different companies that are trying to figure out, how do I wrap my arms around sports bettors or the sports fans and convert them into sports betting personas”, he said.
Opportunities for online gambling within the U.S. promise to be a hot topic at G2E this year as well, although Wes Ehrecke of the Iowa Gaming Association believes most operators will evaluate sports betting opportunities before venturing into iGaming.
Since the repeal of PASPA, Iowa has opened its doors to sports betting with the possibility of regulating online gambling in the future.
“I think the sense [at G2E] is still more towards sports wagering. There’s several states, we’ve got maybe 13, 14 states who have now legalized it, they are up and going, several states are going to be looking at sports wagering before the true overall iGaming”, Ehrecke shared.
“But that’s why you come to a global gaming expo like this, to determine what are the products that are available, what are the companies that are in this space, how does that work with regulation, what has New Jersey done, and other things”, he said.
“So that’s the beauty of this, to be able to talk to people as well as just seeing what’s out on the gaming floor for the companies that might be there, even if its going to be a few years down the road. Its always good to be looking out over the next hill and determining how this could be done and done well”, Ehrecke added.