November. Time once again for all of us to put on our nice little suits (though mine’s not quite as little as my cartoon image may suggest) and go to the Global Gaming Expo, to see new slot machines and new thermal printers and new casino-quality playing cards, and patented cameras and patented digital thingamabobs.
And lots of new “solutions.” In case you haven’t heard, there are no more computer systems, no more slot platforms, no cabinets, no marketing tools. Everything’s a “solution” now. Even if you don’t have a problem, I’ll bet someone is going to offer you a solution this month.
All these solutions, by the way, are also from the “next generation.” Everything’s the “next generation” now. It’s the “next-generation light bulb,” and the “next-generation casino buffet chicken-salad mixer,” and the “next-generation casino restroom toilet scrubber/fly-swatter/towel dispenser.”
That last one has an entire booth at the trade show, by the way.
Anyway, if everything is “next-generation,” what the heck are we living in now? Does the current generation really suck? Are we living in the past?
I only bring all this up because of the trade show. I’ve been covering these things for the past 25 years, and sometimes I feel like I can write the quotes ahead of time, and fill in the names later. Hey, maybe I’ll try that. It will save me a lot of work.
“(Insert name), vice president of marketing for (insert company), says the company’s G2E display represents a next-generation solution that will revolutionize the gaming industry.”
Oh, yeah-did I mention? Everything’s a revolution too. Producing a great new technology is just like toppling an oppressive regime, I always say.
I can probably write some boiler-plate stories on “roundtable discussions” at the conference too:
“(Insert name) told attendees that the synergies formed through the partnership will generate EBIDTA and cash flow which, at the end of the day, will form a lasting basis for prosperity in the (slot, or table-game, or donut-making) sector of the gaming industry.”
Roundtable discussions are always big on “synergies,” and panelists always say “at the end of the day.” I don’t think anything ever happens in this business before the end of the day. Maybe we should all just come in at 4 o’clock.
Yes, I know-this year the discussions will all revolve around what we can do to extricate ourselves from this steaming heap of an economy. And I was just kidding about the roundtable discussions. At the end of the day, there are going to be some great G2E panels. Like the one I’m moderating. I can guarantee there will be some synergies on that one.
There are other issues that no doubt will be dealt with at G2E. How about smoking bans? That issue’s always good for some throw-down, head-knocking, round-table smack-downs.
The issue’s back in the news in New Jersey, where some editorialists are blasting the Atlantic City Council for not passing a total smoking ban on casino floors. One South Jersey paper went as far as to say, “There’s a tobacco stain on New Jersey’s soul.”
Come on, now. Don’t you think that’s a bit harsh? I mean, I quit smoking some time ago, but I still think it’s part of the casino atmosphere. I was recently in Bulgaria, where more than half the adults still smoke. Walk around anywhere in that region and it’s like Turner Classic Movies.
They’re planning to ban smoking there next year. You want to talk panic? Picture a smoking ban in the U.S. being imposed in about 1955.
Personally, I like what Wales Bull Tail, manager of the Little Bighorn Casino in Lame Deer, Montana, said about the subject. The Little Bighorn, since it’s on the Northern Cheyenne reservation, is exempt from a statewide indoor smoking ban. When asked about it, Wales said:
“Gambling without smoking is like trying to eat meat without salt.”
I want this guy on my G2E panel. I love everything about that quote. And it’s not just the joy of combining meat, salt and smoking in a cavalcade of enjoyable unhealthy activities, all tied to the concept of “Little Bighorn.” I love the man’s name, Wales Bull Tail, and even the name of the town, Lame Deer, which usually means the meat will be available pretty easily.
Well, I must apologize. I seem to have strayed off of my original subject, which was the G2E show.
At the end of the day, does it really matter?