As if this year couldn’t get any stranger, when the American Gaming Association announced last month that G2E 2020 would be canceled, I have to admit that reality finally hit home about how unusual this time has truly become.
I have been attending the largest gaming trade show every fall for the last 35 years, whether it was International Gaming Business Exposition (IGBE), World Gaming Congress (WGC) or Global Gaming Expo (G2E). Back in the IGBE days, the industry was small—maybe around 2,500 attendees, and most of us knew each other. Last year’s G2E had something in the neighborhood of 30,000 attendee, and I only knew a few of them.
So it will indeed be strange to be forgoing what has become an annual tradition.
There really was no choice. AGA President and CEO Bill Miller told me that there were many factors that influenced his decision, but of course, health and safety were at the top of the list. And if those were the only factors, they would have been enough, so it was the correct decision at the correct time.
Some of the things I’ll miss about G2E start with the people. Even though I don’t know most of the 30,000 people who walk by our booth, I do see many folks I’ve become friends with through the years—and some who have followed me since IGBE in the mid ’80s.
I won’t miss the roughly 10 miles I walked every day running from meeting to meeting, session to session, across a crowded show floor.
I’ll miss the in-person podcasts that I would do during much of the time at the show. Lots of the podcasts would be with people I don’t know very well who fly in from all over the world to attend G2E.
I’ll miss the excitement of the ribbon-cutting, the opportunity to hear from the leaders of our industry and the new products that always bring the “wow” factor to the show floor.
I won’t miss lugging the booth equipment out at the end of the show and waiting in traffic to exit the parking garage.
So, there has always been the good and bad of trade shows and conferences, and G2E was no exception.
At GGB, we can’t let the trade show season go by, however, without recognizing the factors that we like. During Covid-19, we’ve thought outside the box by producing daily updates to the crisis. You can subscribe for free at GGBNews.com by using the coupon code GGB180. We think it’s our service to the industry to keep everyone abreast of how the industry is dealing with the crisis so we can come out of it together as we went into it.
And losing G2E is painful, but we’re going to attempt to bring the best of G2E to you with podcasts, webinars and products that would ordinarily be highlighted at the show.
Instead of doing our G2E Preview publication this year, we’ve reimagined it as Progressive Products Preview (P3). This publication will feature the non-slot products and services that are always a big part of G2E. Whether it’s systems, platforms, bonusing options, hotel products, analytical services, payment processing, consulting groups, architects, designers, furniture makers or any other product or service, you can read about it in P3. And online you can actually see the product perform in videos or slide shows linked to the articles.
And as always, our GGB October issue will include the new games that would debut at G2E. The manufacturers did not stop developing new games simply because the casinos were closed. So this is the place to see all the new games from the major slot manufacturers. And like P3 non-slot products, our partners in the October GGB will be able to show you how the games play by links to videos and other interactive media.
One of the highlights of G2E for me has always been the Emerging Leaders program, where we recognize employees and executives of the industry who are under 40 years of age. It’s such a joy to see these young people with their enthusiasm and talent showcased at the show. We’re still going to hold this program, but it will be virtual this year instead. Along with our partners at The Innovation Group, nominations for the Emerging Leaders will remain open through mid-August. Visit ggbmagazine.com/40-under-40-nominations to honor your young talent.
And the GGB Podcasts I do at G2E will not go away either. In fact, we’ve already boosted our podcast schedule. At least one of our daily GGB News updates have been podcasts every week in addition to the one in the weekly GGB News e-magazine that comes out every week.
So while G2E might be absent for a year, the news and information we have always provided will not. Simply visit GGBMagazine.com for all the content that you’d find at G2E. We are in this together, and we are there for you.