For the first time since 2019, the gaming industry came out in full force for the annual Global Gaming Expo. Attendance and exhibitor numbers were just about back to pre-pandemic levels, and the biggest companies and figures from around the world converged in Las Vegas to see the latest and greatest that gaming has to offer.
The attendance for the 22nd edition of the global convention came in at just under 25,000, nearly doubling last year’s total of 13,000. Over 350 companies and exhibitors displayed the latest and greatest in gaming innovation, which is in an increase of over 40 percent from 2021.
Additionally, more than 80 keynotes and panels were conducted, with leaders from all sectors of the industry coming together to discuss gaming’s biggest trends and topics.
Bill Miller, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), the event’s presenting sponsor, said in a release that “G2E 2022’s pre-pandemic atmosphere is a milestone for our industry and a testament to our collective excitement around gaming’s future.
G2E’s Event Vice President Korbi Carrison added, “The energy and excitement at this year’s show announced that gaming is all the way back and made it the most impactful G2E yet.”
Always a staple at any G2E is the education program that stretched over three days this year. Topics ranged from cashless gaming to stopping illegal gaming to the potential for growth of gaming, both online and land based. Some highlights:
Emergence of Urban Design
Now that gaming is expanding like never before, space is starting to become limited, which means that architects and designers are tasked with doing more with less. On Monday, October 10, three of the most prominent figures in gaming architecture—Cuningham Principal Brett Ewing, JCJ Principal Bob Gdowski and MGM Resorts Vice President of Design Suzanne Couture—met to discuss the emergence of urban gaming, and how stacked development will become key for casinos in busy markets.
Growing the Game
Poker has long been considered to be a man’s game, but the number of female players is on the rise, thanks in part to Poker Power, a company that aims to teach women valuable leadership skills through the game of poker. Poker Power offers a female-focused app that teaches the game in 12 steps, with a life lesson to go along with each.
Through a partnership with the Women’s Poker Association, Poker Power also offers a list of rooms throughout the country that are considered to be female-friendly.
Integrity Above All
Sports betting is without a doubt the fastest-growing sector in the gaming industry, and with that comes added responsibilities in terms of regulation and game integrity. Representatives from all sides of the issue, including New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Deputy Attorney General Michael Golub, Kambi Senior Vice President of Risk and Compliance Oliver Lamb and Matt Fowler, director of integrity for the International Betting Integrity Association, met to discuss the ins and outs of identifying and preventing instances of match fixing and other integrity issues.
“Not Today, Colonizer”
The battle between California’s sports betting measures, Props 26 and 27, has reached legendary proportions, and it appears neither will pass in November, which would represent a huge victory for tribes and a huge loss for out-of-state operators.
Three tribal leaders—Jacob Mejia, director of public affairs for Pechanga Development Corp., James Siva, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association and vice chairman of the Morongo tribe, and Sara Dutschke, chairwoman for the Ione Band of Miwok Indians—discussed why the high-powered Prop 27 was not enough to defeat a united front of California’s tribes. The session was moderated by Pechanga.net’s Victor Rocha.
As is typical, the trade show floor was dominated by the slot manufacturers. In last month’s GGB, we offered detailed descriptions of most of the new games in our annual “Global Games” feature. However, many of the manufacturers saved products specifically for reveal and launch at the G2E show. Here are some highlights:
• Aristocrat launched NFL-themed video slots. All 32 NFL teams are included in multiple game types, including hold-and-spin, licensed themes and stepper games. The great feature here is that players pick their favorite team at the beginning of the game, and all symbols, bonuses and icons reflect that team, even as far as icons of the particular city, like the Philly cheese steak for the Eagles.
• Everi held its first charity slot tournament at its booth since 2019 on its TournEvent system, with members of the media joining several slot influencers to compete for prizes that went to their favorite charities.
On the game front, there were a variety of new entries in each of Everi’s categories, and on each cabinet. On the cinematic Empire DCX, the company launched Little Shop of Horrors Director’s Cut, with bonuses and reel symbols recalling the characters and situations of the 1986 comedy starring Rick Moranis. But this game went beyond that to include game features based on deleted scenes of the film, seen for the first time (in art-enhanced versions) on the new slot.
• IGT used the G2E show to introduce Let’s Make A Deal, a new high-denomination ($1, $2, $5, $10) premium slot on the large-format Peak65 cabinet. The game takes cues from the famous game show for all its bonus features. For instance, bonus features typically end when the player lands a “Zonk,” which is the word that has always signified a “bad deal” on the game show.
The main bonus is the “Big Deal of the Day,” a simple picking bonus—the player picks Door No. 1, Door No. 2 or Door No. 3. The game reveals the results behind the two doors not picked before revealing the player’s prize, which can be credits, multipliers or one of four jackpot “deals.” The Grand Deal returns a wide-area progressive resetting at $500,000.
• Incredible Technologies launched the first-ever electronic, multiplayer roulette game for Class II. The company is the first to calculate the math of the ETG to accommodate Class II rules. Class II Roulette includes an RNG-driven physical wheel, with each ball launch mapped to bingo cards visible in the corner of the player-station monitors. Other than the bingo cards on the player display, the progression of the roulette game is seamless to the player.
• Light & Wonder launched a new cabinet it had kept under wraps until the show, with great new games. The Cosmic cabinet features a 49-inch portrait screen on a 28-inch base—the same base and depth as the original Bally Alpha Pro Wave cabinet, allowing much flexibility for operators in placing the new giant-format presentation. Accenting the edges is a fused display of fiber optic tubes.
L&W showcased the first of two inaugural games on the cabinet, Frankenstein. (The follow-up will be Dracula.) Frankenstein uses that substantial real estate with great animation of the famous monster, complete with instantly recognizable sound effects. When “It’s alive!” covers the first reel and the wild monster symbol covers the fifth, credit awards zap in lighting to the monster. (His reaction to the zaps is priceless.)