Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

My expectations for this year’s G2E were low—very low. I wasn’t at all happy about the new venue. While staying on the Strip as in previous years wasn’t going to make getting there any harder, I just had an uncomfortable feeling about it. As day one came and went, I was convinced my earlier assumptions were spot on. I had been late to four of my first eight appointments. I was never quite sure if they were on Fremont Street or aisle 4800. Why couldn’t it have been at the Las Vegas Convention Center where I pretty much knew the booth numbers by heart?

Day two came and went, and while sitting down for post-show cocktails with the CEM team, I found myself remarking that the second day had been a fairly good experience all in all. Several meetings I had were off-site. A five-minute walk had me sitting at The Venetian’s Grand Lux Café for brunch. That was a significantly better dining experience than the old convention center food court. The second lunch meeting was at Table 10, and it was the perfect setting.

By day three I was very comfortable with the new show site. I had finally figured out where everything was. My thoughts were now directed to next year. Do I stay at Harrah’s again or do I move my team to The Venetian or The Palazzo? Where will I have my post-show dinner party? What do I want to do about booth location for 2012? Most of the exhibitors I spoke with were feeling the same way. Day one grumblings on the floor had disappeared, replaced by optimism for what the venue would have to offer in coming years.

Oddly enough, the experience was akin to the experience of moving from college to graduate school or taking on a new job. It will be a new location, new faces, a new role and new ways of going about things, but just like those moves, which we’ve all done before, it was more likely than not a step up. It just took a couple of days getting used to it.

As far as products that wowed me on the show floor this year, there were plenty, but mobile products really grabbed me. An NFC Mobile Wager Wallet™ was on display at the JCM Global booth. As far as I’m concerned, this is the biggest thing to hit cashless wagering since TITO was debuted more than a decade ago. Another cool mobile tool was part of the Casino1 product suite by Agilysys. It gives InfoGenesis™ POS a complete portability solution. This is just a very smart way to use mobile technology. Also offering mobile technology was GLI with the new GLI Mobile app. This greatly enhances the communication capability from the regulator to the GLI lab, allowing floor personnel access to instant updates and advisory and the ability to interact directly with the lab. How cool is that! Not to ever be outdone, Bally Technologies offers a full mobile suite of applications for both players and casino employees. Players can now see show previews, book rooms, make reservations at a restaurant, view menus and see interactive maps, plus much more. IGT also offers a robust mobile gaming suite that allows casinos to deliver all aspects of a game directly to a customer’s mobile handset. New games can be selected from a menu and be downloaded to the player’s handset in just seconds. From there, the player’s financial transactions can all be managed via the handset, allowing them full access to their existing account funds.

There were simply too many great products to mention in the confined space of my publisher’s letter. For that, you’ll just have to read our G2E post-show review. What captures my imagination the most after this year’s G2E is the integration of the world’s existing gaming technologies (land, Internet and mobile). It’s happening. Even here in the states, where unenlightened political imagination has muddled the expansion of i-gaming for now, the robust strength of gaming’s many parts will undoubtedly yield to a very robust collective future.

Peter E. Mead
Casino Enterprise Management

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