This has been an unprecedented time for the business of gaming. The annual Global Gaming Expo (G2E) recently concluded, with 26,000 gaming industry professionals gathering in Las Vegas only hours after the tragic event that took the lives of 58 innocent concertgoers, industry employees and first responders. I’ve always maintained that we are at our best when we are together, and that was certainly true having everyone in Las Vegas, the heartbeat of our industry, on the heels of this tragedy.
Like other attacks on public gatherings in London, Paris, Orlando and elsewhere, there are often more questions than answers, particularly in the days immediately following. But we’ve seen the resilience of Las Vegas shine through. As of now, there have been no notable meetings or conventions canceled, casino floors remain busy, entertainers are performing, and the dedicated employees of casinos, restaurants and entertainment venues have reported for work each and every day.
At G2E, we appropriately tailored our content to reflect on the shooting, including a discussion with former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, who shared commonalities between how Boston reacted and then recovered from the marathon bombing in 2013. Not surprisingly, he complimented the tremendous efforts by Las Vegas Metro Police, first responders and citizen-heroes who helped to mitigate even more horror, and the significant outpouring of support by people and organizations from near and far that committed financial resources, donated blood, and offered unique tributes to those affected.
I was struck by a couple of things: First was the perfectly executed security plan that had clearly been prepared in extensive detail. Each property activated its own protocols, while surrounding-area police departments dispatched immediately to assigned properties to ensure the safety of visitors and employees everywhere.
Second was the resilience of our community and customers. Not only did employees wake up and come back to the Strip the next day, so, too, did tens of thousands of Las Vegas visitors who refused to be deterred by a terrorist.
Like our colleagues up and down the Strip, we gradually pivoted, bringing the G2E program back on track. AGA members introduced innovative new games, and attended a robust program of educational sessions on everything from the pending Supreme Court hearing on legalized sports betting in December to responsible gaming initiatives and increased alignment between commercial and tribal gaming operators.
We will remember G2E 2017 for the highs and remarkably tragic lows. We will be proud of how our industry helped those in need, supported one another through a difficult time and rose to the occasion at our seminal event. And we will now always know that our industry is strongest when together, and that Las Vegas represents the very best our industry and country has to offer. #VegasStrong