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Q&A with Korbi Carrison

Event Director, G2E, Reed Exhibitions

Q&A with Korbi Carrison

Korbi Carrison is entering her second Global Gaming Expo (G2E) as event director. With a long history in the gaming industry, Carrison has been well received by exhibitors and attendees alike. G2E is presented by the American Gaming Association and organized by Reed Exhibitions. G2E 2019 returns to the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, October 14-17. Carrison spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros in August.

GGB: Now that you have a year under your belt, how have you been able to plan for G2E 2019 now that you’re familiar with all the exhibitors and processes?

Carrison: As you can imagine, the G2E team begins planning for the next event edition even before the current show ends. We hear feedback on-site and are always looking for ways to improve year-over-year. Following an amazing 2018 event and jackpot year for the commercial casino gaming industry, there has never been a more opportune time for G2E to keep growing and improving. G2E must continually deliver content and experiences that are relevant and exciting to our attendees. We strive to make G2E a better platform every year.

Sports betting has been front-and-center on the past two G2Es. Now that almost 20 states have legalized it, what are you planning to offer to attendees on that side of the business?

Sports betting continues to be important with many states still considering legalization, and for those that have legalized it, learning how to implement and regulate. States are deciding whether or not this opportunity is right for them and if it is, who the technology providers are that match well with for their particular jurisdictional needs. So we are looking to build on the education that we presented last year, and dig a little bit deeper into all of the different questions that the operators may have.

This will be the second G2E Sports Betting Symposium, and it has eight dedicated sessions, including a tour of several technology vendors that make products specifically designed for sports betting markets.

This must be an opportunity to attract exhibitors and attendees who have never been to G2E in the past. How are you reaching out to these people?

With the gaming industry always evolving and changing, there is always an opportunity to attract new exhibitors and attendees. A lot of international sports betting companies are bringing their technologies and programs to the U.S. market to help states implement sports betting in each area. Another growth area that is taking the gaming industry by storm is alternative payment applications. We’re focusing a lot on growing this segment with both exhibitor and attendees because those technologies are already used by consumers in their daily lives. Their casino gaming experience should be no different.

Tribal gaming has always played a large role in G2E. It looks like you’ve expanded the tribal gaming track. With Victor Rocha curating it, I’m sure it’s going to be very informative. What’s in store?

G2E will once again present a robust lineup of tribal gaming-related content for this year, including a Monday keynote speaker, D.J. Eagle Bear Vanas, the internationally acclaimed motivational storyteller, leadership speaker and member of the Odawa Nation of Michigan. Vanas, who is a celebrated author and former military officer, shows organizations how to practically apply the power of the warrior spirit to perform at their best, and stay resilient and thrive in tough, changing environments. He is a pioneer in the tribal community.

Tribal gaming education will again take place over all four days of G2E including feature sessions on sports betting, esports and tribal leadership.

It seems that technology is the byword of the year for G2E. Tell us how you’re stressing that in 2019.

We are not only stressing innovative technology, but disruptive technology. Attendees come to expect new technology across the expo hall floor, but it’s also a theme in this year’s Innovation Lab. Our theme in the Innovation Lab on Tuesday is Disruptive Technology, and Wednesday is New Uses for Existing Technology. Each day features a series of quick, 15-minute presentations and discussions that promise to really get outside the box with the thought processes related to technologies. Many of the concepts that will be discussed here are not yet ready for the expo hall floor, but we will be sure to see them there in years to come.

Speaking of technology, the G2E app is new and improved. How can you improve the attendee experience if they use the app?

The mobile app, once again sponsored by Konami, is the best resource to find all information G2E-related. It not only has the most up-to-date education sessions and exhibitor list, we’re launching new features designed to empower the attendee to personalize and maximize their experience at G2E.

This year, we’re launching direct messaging in our mobile app, where attendees will be able to reach out directly to exhibitors to set up appointments and begin conversations. We’ll also be building on the success of the G2E Recommendations Program, delivering a personalized list of exhibitors, education sessions and special events based on search activities within the app.

Attendees will also be able to look up booth-to-booth directions and have access to interactive show floor maps, or visit Ask G2E, for real-time answers to questions.

We recently did a survey on the GGB website asking our readers to tell us what trade show or conference they considered the most important in the industry. The winner was clearly G2E with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Other shows didn’t get half that much. To what do you attribute that?

The networking and business opportunities at G2E are second to none. The industry convergence on a single venue to meet up with current and former associates to conduct business and socialize is unparalleled. We continue to push the envelope, look at the current landscape and see how we can best activate G2E in a way that’s most valuable to the gaming industry.

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.