This September, I had the pleasure of witnessing the best minds and innovations our industry has to offer at Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. Needless to say, I was blown away by the energy and innovation on display throughout the event. This year’s show had our highest attendance and largest show floor in five years. The fact that this prime showcase keeps growing proves the strength and creativity of the global gaming industry.
I expect each of you came away from G2E with fresh ideas and new perspectives that you can apply to your business. My refrain throughout the week was that G2E is a reflection of all the great things our industry has to offer. With that in mind—after participating in several conference sessions and many productive meetings throughout the week—I want to talk about what we learned at G2E. Here are my key takeaways:
• Modernizing regulation is a top priority. Regulatory reform was a hot topic throughout the halls of G2E. A common theme that emerged is that operators and manufacturers of all types—as well as regulators—can benefit if we use technology in the right ways and increase efficiency in our regulatory systems. More efficient regulation enables the industry to be a more powerful economic engine: creating jobs, purchasing from suppliers and more. The AGA has taken some positive first steps in starting a conversation about these important issues. In the months ahead, we will lead collaboration between the industry and regulators to maintain the commitment to compliance that is a hallmark of our business while facilitating common-sense reforms that help us all.
• Our industry has a responsibility to help protect the financial system and national security. Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, spoke at G2E about the need for a cultural shift across the industry on money laundering issues. Some in the media have characterized her remarks as a warning, but I see them as an opportunity—an opportunity to be proactive and to strengthen an already fruitful partnership between our industry and FinCEN. The AGA and its members already are pursuing new strategies to address this issue, and I look forward to announcing these plans in the coming months.
• Women in gaming have new tools to lead. The AGA saw tremendous growth of its Global Gaming Women initiative during G2E. The organization has become a powerful tool for connecting and educating women in the industry, and is providing new tools to help women advance their careers. At G2E, GGW launched the Global Gaming Network, an online mentoring network designed to connect women to share their advice, experience and best practices. Women in the industry also raised more than $30,000 for the GGW Charitable Education Fund, which awards scholarships to female professionals in the gaming industry. Clearly, GGW is taking off, and more innovative programs are to come.
• The industry is strongest when we work together. We all share common ground. Finally, G2E is the perfect example of how the gaming industry can find strength through collaboration. Victor Rocha, owner and editor of Pechanga.net, said it best during his acceptance speech for the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award in Gaming Communications, when I heard him say, “We all speak the same language.” He hoped his award symbolized tribal and commercial gaming industries coming together, and I share the same vision. In fact, I think there are several areas where tribal, commercial, lottery, online and other gaming sectors can unite.
The show brought together suppliers and operators of every stripe with industry regulators, analysts, consultants and the media. We need to find more ways to come together—to set aside our competitive differences to coalesce around issues important to us all. We won’t agree on everything, but we can work together to pursue strategies to help our entire industry grow. We also need to find more ways to foster connections among various sectors of the industry. In the months ahead, the AGA will work to strengthen the community of gaming and educate, engage and empower industry executives to succeed.
These key takeaways only scratch the surface of what I gleaned from G2E. It points to the robust industry we are—and to what we can become. I look forward to pursuing all of these initiatives and finding new opportunities to lead the industry into its bright future.