With autumn upon us, I’m looking forward to our industry’s flagship tradeshow and conference event, Global Gaming Expo 2013, later this month. While this marks my first G2E as president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, the importance of this high-profile event is not lost on me. Having worked in the U.S. travel industry for seven years, I recognize the value in a business event that brings together well over 20,000 professionals—and showcases the best innovations and ideas—in an exciting destination like Las Vegas.
Since G2E made its debut in 2001, it has solidified itself as the premier event and opportunity to showcase our industry’s best products, trends and intelligence. But in addition to this role, G2E is an opportunity to examine and define who we are as an industry.
When we take a close look at what we do and who we are, we’ll see it’s a message worth spreading enthusiastically—and one that I hope to rally the industry around in the months to come.
• We help local and national economies thrive. As an economic engine that accounts for nearly 1 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, we generate revenue for local businesses, boost tourism for local areas, and are responsible for nearly 1 million American jobs.
• We are community partners. Due to our outstanding record of corporate social responsibility—including community service and corporate giving—we are part of the fabric of the communities where we operate. The opportunities we create locally expand to other supplier businesses and their employees; we invest in community development; and we partner with charitable organizations. All told, there are countless stories about how our companies’ impact has stretched beyond the casino floor and made communities stronger. An upcoming video from the AGA, titled “An Introduction to the Modern Gaming Industry,” will begin to illustrate this reality.
• We are technological innovators. The 13 years we’ve hosted G2E certainly prove this—and our customers can see it. Walk into any of our properties in any state and you’ll immediately see that our companies are constantly creating newer and better entertainment products and services. And in an industry that fosters healthy competition, our companies stay inventive and fresh when it comes to marketing to a growing and diverse customer base.
• We are multi-faceted entertainment centers. This is not just true in Las Vegas, where revenue from non-gaming amenities has been on the rise. Our industry provides a wealth of entertainment options across the country. And across the world in Macau, the largest gambling market on earth, our companies are helping the business environment evolve. Not only have Macau’s regulatory standards risen with our presence, but our companies have fostered a more diverse entertainment product there.
This dovetails with the Macanese government’s desire to attract a mass market by expanding their offerings beyond gambling. American gaming companies have made this effort a reality by bringing creative, multi-faceted properties that provide a variety of entertainment options.
Our industry has always exhibited confidence and leadership in sharing our story. I challenge all of us to do more of it. I encourage each and every one of us to spread the word early and often about who we are and why we love what we do. We are innovators. We are givers. We are economic engines. We are entertainers—and so much more.
It will be my challenge in the coming months to build a strategic plan to effectively spread this message in new and thought-provoking ways. But the story is already there. Let’s let the world know what the gaming industry has to offer.