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Issue Oriented

Issue Oriented

In my capacity as a consultant to Global Gaming Expo (G2E) on its conference program since its inception, I’ve seen a lot of proposals submitted to conduct seminars. Most are well thought-out and serious, but down through the years, there have been some doozies.

A few years ago, there was a submission to do a seminar on growing marijuana on reservations. Not sure what that had to do with gaming, but when the proposal mentioned the “next buffalo” for Native American tribes, I guess it made a little sense. But it was rejected.

And then there was the one that suggested refunding 100 percent of players’ losses just to create good will. There wasn’t any explanation about how casinos would pay their employees or service their debt, but apparently good will would be enough. Not sure we even responded to that one.

I thought this one was crazy. Someone had developed an algorithm to select players for fantasy sports teams. Now if DFS had been a reality back then, it would have been perfectly acceptable, but at that time, people were playing only season-long games, so it was a stretch.

But my favorite had to be the one that was going to teach casino executives meditation so that they wouldn’t “sweat” the money so much. It’s actually not such a bad idea, but I think if you combined the marijuana-growing proposal with this, it would have made more sense.

But that’s all in the past. We’ve just completed the Call for Papers process for this year’s G2E, and I have to say that I’ve been blown away with the quality of the suggested sessions. I was most interested in the diversity of the topics being addressed.

Top of the list, of course, are dissertations on millennials. Frankly, I’m pretty sick of hearing of this generation, mostly because it’s going to be quite a few years before they really make an impact. But when I read some of these proposals, I began to change my mind. There has been some solid research done on how exactly millennials feel about gambling and what they’re looking for in the casinos of the future. I’m confident that this year’s program will present some of this solid data.

Secondly, we’ll hear about skill games, or as my AGEM friends like to call them, variable payback games. We’re already light years away from the pinball-style games we saw previewed at last year’s G2E. And again, we’re seeing some solid research being conducted on how people—and casinos—will respond to this new generation of games.

And don’t forget social casinos. What casino can be without the play-for-fun sites these days, but how do you actually manage it and make sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck? Several proposals for the 2016 conference will point the way.

Big data is also a very popular issue. With myriad ways of contacting your customers or potential customers these days, how do you identify and focus on the most important ones? And how do you parse the data to make sure that you’re getting the maximum value from each customer?

I really liked some of the proposals surrounding direct mail versus mobile marketing. I don’t know about you, but my physical mailbox is still stuffed with offers from various companies that I’ve used in the past. So clearly, direct mail isn’t dead. But what if you can get an offer to an important customer while he’s close to your property? The possibilities are endless.

And the world of the regulator is changing quickly as well. We’ve got some interesting suggestions on how regulators can do their jobs better and with more efficiency, benefiting both the jurisdictions and the casinos they oversee.

So this is just a hint of what you’re going to see at G2E 2016. Sure, the products offered on the floor will get you excited, but when you see the conference that we’re going to present—this year it will be ready to go early so you can plan your trip and activities more completely—G2E will be the most important gaming event of the year—again. 

Roger Gros is publisher of Global Gaming Business, the industry's leading gaming trade publication, and all its related publications. Prior to joining Global Gaming Business, Gros was president of Inlet Communications, an independent consulting firm. He was vice president of Casino Journal Publishing Group from 1984-2000, and held virtually every editorial title during his tenure. Gros was editor of Casino Journal, the National Gaming Summary and the Atlantic City Insider, and was the founding editor of Casino Player magazine. He was a co-founder of the American Gaming Summit and the Southern Gaming Summit conferences and trade shows. He is the author of the best-selling book, How to Win at Casino Gambling (Carlton Books, 1995), now in its fourth edition. Gros was named "Businessman of the Year" for 1998 by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Gaming Association in 2012.

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