The Global Gaming Expo (G2E) has been a part of my life since… well, since the beginning in 2001. And before that I attended the World Gaming Congress and the International Gaming Business Exposition (IGBE) going back to the 1980s. And let’s not leave out the International Casino Exposition (ICE) held every year in London (until 2025 when it moves to Barcelona).
I always enjoy meeting my colleagues and friends who I’ve connected with throughout my long career. But until this year, I didn’t really appreciate how important that is.
Some of our readers know that I had a health scare earlier this year. I had open heart surgery in early May and was on the operating table for more than seven hours.
That brush with death has made me appreciate G2E and every opportunity to network with people that I didn’t think I’d see again. And the older I get the more friends I lose. Unfortunately, several close friends have passed in the last year, giving me more appreciation to just be alive and well.
Like many who have gone through an incident like this, the world seems brighter, the air sweeter and you realize the very fact that life is to be lived with joy—and every aspect should be cherished.
Of course, I’m old enough to already have enjoyed life to its fullest. I’ve had several careers, from musician to editor to publisher, and I’ve learned much from each of them. And coming so close to the end has shown me that family, friends and relationships are to be treasured.
That’s why G2E and other gatherings of this sort are opportunities to renew relationships and friendships that bring you joy, that teach you things you may have forgotten because life moves so quickly. It may seem a bit trite, but if you take time to smell the roses, you won’t regret it.
As for G2E, I look back on what my small role had been in its growth. I like to think that the show’s commitment to education continues the imperative that I tried to include when I helped to put together the program. This year’s education program is as good as it ever was. The depth of the learning and the breadth of the subjects is awesome. If you can’t find something that interests you, something that piques your curiosity, you’re not really trying. And many of the speakers are new and fascinating, and truly worth your while to go out of your way to hear their views.
At the time of this writing, the Keynote Presentations have not been announced but it’s always standing-room-only when the speakers are finally announced. Don’t miss them.
And as I already pointed out, the networking opportunities are second to none. Most attendees will get invitations to private parties or receptions, but don’t miss the Welcome Reception on Monday evening. That’s always a way to connect with colleagues you may have missed over the years. But the highlight of G2E is always the show floor and the products and technology that are on display. And this year’s G2E is no different. Technology has been advancing more quickly every year, and much of that is in the payment processing space. To be able to seamlessly transfer money from your bank account to your gaming budget is not so unbelievable anymore. And the protections built into these systems to prevent problem gambling are also quite impressive.
But the stars of the show are, of course, the slot manufacturers who pour millions of dollars into their stands for the three days of the show. When you see some of the products that the slot manufacturers are displaying, you will truly have your mind blown. And of course, slot machines can mean many things these days—historic horse racing games, Class II games, skill games, and the list goes on.
And even if you’re not yet in the iGaming space, you have to witness the amazing displays offered in the special iGaming Zone at this year’s show. Ready or not, iGaming is coming and you must get up to speed or get left behind.
But once again, the value of G2E, at least to me, is the chance to renew old friendships, to catch up with career and personal changes in their lives, make new friends and to simply enjoy being alive!