The IGaming Conference Will Hold Court Prior To Official Start Of Global Gaming Expo
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G2E 2016: Online Gambling Gets Ample Representation, But Tight Scheduling Forces Attendees To Be Selective

The 2016 edition of the preeminent trade show in the gaming industry, Global Gaming Expo (G2E), now in its 16th year, will take place at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada over the course of three days, from September 27-29.

Those are the official days of G2E, when the expansive expo hall is open and countless vendors show off their latest products, games, and technology. Meanwhile, down an adjoining hallway, educational seminars and panel discussions will take place.

But G2E technically kicks off the day before, on September 26, with a jam-packed education and session schedule dubbed The iGaming Congress.

The iGaming Congress is a bit of a misnomer, as online gambling is only a singular theme discussed throughout the day, with other topics ranging from tribal gaming to casino security and beyond.

Removal of time slots increases emphasis on session selection

The schedule is front-loaded this year, as a plurality of the sessions will occur during the iGaming Congress. This creates tough scheduling decisions, as most of the time there will be four or five sessions running concurrently during the same time slot.

To put this into perspective, a total of 30 sessions will take place on Monday, whereas 39 sessions are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday combined — 20 on Tuesday and 19 on Wednesday.

Even though there are fewer total sessions, these days will be no less frenetic, as this year’s sessions during the main show have been shoehorned into a much tighter schedule than usual.

G2E has all but eliminated the 9:00 AM time slot on Tuesday and Wednesday, in addition to increasing the lunch break to two hours.

These scheduling tweaks have essentially shaved off two time slots that would have better spaced out the sessions, and allowed attendees to sit in on as many as five sessions per day in the past.

These scheduling changes have lead to as many as seven parallel sessions taking place during certain time slots on Tuesday and Wednesday, effectively limiting an attendee to three educational sessions per day.

Suffice it to say, carefully selecting which session you attend is now more important than ever.

Based on the current schedule (which is always subject to change as we get closer to G2E), here’s where you’ll find me.

Monday, September 26

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM timeslot

Steve’s spotlight session: Gathering Storm: Future of iGaming in the U.S.

G2E description:

Review of the activity of iGaming in the states that it’s legal, where legislation is pending and explore what the future may hold for this gaming segment.

  • Understand how identity, payment and geolocation technologies have improved;
  • Learn how to capitalize on this growing segment; and
  • Discuss potential paths to advance legalization.

Even though they are always informative and enlightening, I’m never sure what to expect from these iGaming themed sessions, as the commentary can range from milquetoast to fiery depending on the panelists.

That said, with so few iGaming panels on the agenda, I’ll certainly be in attendance for this one, and it could help the entire industry formulate consistent talking points for what is likely to be an action-packed 2017 on the legislative front.

Alternative session:

  • Evolving Ways to Play

G2E description:

With the increased attention to eSports, sports betting and skill-based gaming in the U.S., this session will compare the domestic emerging games to those in the U.K. and other international jurisdictions.

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM timeslot

Steve’s spotlight session: Interactive in Indian Country: iGaming, eSports and DFS

G2E description:

Learn how tribal sovereignty is an issue with interactive games and emerging product technologies. Gain better insight into the growth opportunity and potential with this new gaming segment.

Understand how eSports could work in Indian Country;

Learn the dynamics of Class II gaming in an online environment; and

Explore what’s on the horizon for iGaming. 

Over the years I’ve come to learn that Indian country plays its cards close to the vest, and the speakers are generally tight-lipped and not prone to dropping bombshells during these sessions, preferring instead to tout the benefits of tribal gaming and the continued need to preserve tribal sovereignty.

But with tribal gaming such an integral part of the complicated situation in California and beyond, it’s important to take note of the general mood and attitudes tribal leaders espouse.

Alternative session to consider:

  • Global Evolution in iGaming Regulation

G2E description:

Experts will address the evolving regulatory models for iGaming in Europe, Australia, Latin America and more.

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM timeslot

Steve’s spotlight session: Making the Market: Players, Participation, Promotions, Part 1

G2E description:

The first of this two-part session will explore the intersection of iGaming with brick-and mortar casinos, marketing opportunities and intelligence about iGaming customers to make the most of the available market.

  • Understand the intersection of iGaming with brick-and-mortar casinos;
  • Discuss iGaming player demographics, how they’re being acquired and at what cost; and
  • Explore the status of affiliates and what that means to online casinos.

Based on the description, this should be an interesting, and in-depth (considering it’s a two-part session) discussion that touches on several topics including the intersection of online and land-based gaming, and how affiliates fit into the mix.

Alternative session to consider:

  • How to Coexist: Proper Compliance and Compelling Marketing

G2E description:

The highly regulated environment within which casinos operate internationally includes restrictions that on promotions, marketing and advertising. While these vary widely across jurisdictions, they’re essential for maintaining compliance.

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM timeslot

Steve’s spotlight session: Making the Market: Players, Participation, Promotions, Part 2

G2E description:

The second of this two-part session will dive more deeply into iGaming marketing, promotions and player behaviors.

  • Explore what advertising method is most effective;
  • Discover what promotions deliver the strongest ROI; and
  • Consider the digital devices players use and their impacts – with particular emphasis on the role of mobile.

Part 2 of the Making the Market panels delves into marketing and promotions, including the emerging reliance on mobile devices and how casinos and gaming can use the new medium to connect to customers.

Alternative session to consider:

  • Impact of Technology on Ways to Pay to Play

G2E description:

Technology, especially in payments, is now available through a variety of forms: traditional credit and debit cards to bitcoin, Apple and Android Pay and more. This session will discuss how the payment industry’s technological revolution may change the way gaming customers pay to play.

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM timeslot

Steve’s spotlight session: Intersection of iGaming and Lottery

G2E description:

State lotteries are pushing the envelope into online ticket sales and multi-state player pools, despite the fact that online gaming is limited to a few number of jurisdictions in the U.S.

  • Explore the future of online gaming in the U.S.;
  • Discuss the intersection between online and lottery; and
  • Identify regulatory challenges and opportunities.

Online gambling legislation gets most of the headlines, but online lotteries have been popping up in the U.S. over the same time period. What’s interesting about iLottery is unlike online gambling, iLottery doesn’t always need legislative approval to be rolled out.

Alternative session to consider:

  • Mobile Sports Betting: U.S. and Around the World

G2E description:

A significant portion of iGaming revenue around the world comes from sports betting. Review its current impact and explore what the future holds for this growing market.

Tuesday, September 27

Keynote Address: 8:45 AM- 9:45 AM

Stronger Together: Gaming Ties that Bind

G2E description:

National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) represents Indian Nations. American Gaming Association (AGA) represents the gaming industry at large, including commercial and Tribal casino operators, suppliers and allies in the gaming industry – having shifted membership governance in 2015. Hear from NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens and AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman about how the associations work together.

  • Learn why membership with the AGA and NIGA are not mutually exclusive;
  • Gain insight into the issues facing gaming today; and
  • Understand how unity makes the entire gaming industry stronger.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM timeslot

Steve’s spotlight session: Elections Are Consequential: The Political and Legislative Landscape and What It All Means for Gaming

G2E description:

Quickly approaching the most consequential U.S. Presidential election in decades, this session will discuss the political impacts that lay ahead for gaming.

  • Discuss potential post-election scenarios;
  • Gain insight on gaming-specific legislation priorities; and
  • Identify the industry’s opportunities with the 2016 elections.

This has the potential to be one of the most educational panels of the conference. My hope is the panelists lay out the processes that have garnered success thus far, and explain why online gambling has stalled in other locales, and what can be done to shift the conversation to winning strategies.

Alternative session to consider:

  • Inside Intelligence: Regulators Evaluation of Technology

G2E description:

The regulatory review of new technology is time consuming and costly, but can have a major impact for casinos. In some jurisdictions, regulators have developed techniques to help streamline – and even encourage – the processes necessary for reviewing and approving new products. In this session, regulators will discuss how skill-based, iGaming and other new technologies are evaluated and ultimately approved.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM timeslot

Steve’s spotlight session: Millennial session

G2E description:

Information still to come.

What would a gaming conference be without discussing the polarizing topic of millennials? Fortunately, G2E’s session schedule is fairly light on the topic, with only a couple of panels focusing on the so-called “millennial problem.”

Alternative session to consider:

  • Counting Compacts: Tribal-State Relations

G2E description:

As compacts are expiring and being re-negotiated, states view Tribal gaming as an alternative source of revenue.

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM timeslot

Steve’s spotlight session: Evaluating, Building and Operating a Social Casino

G2E description:

In today’s connected society, play-for-fun sites are helpful tools for marketing, building customer loyalty and maintaining relevancy for brick-and-mortar casinos. However, the approach for getting one off the ground is not easy. From evaluation to execution, hear in a two-part panel from the experts who were the first to evaluate, build, launch, operate and market a B2B social casino.

  • Gain insight on evaluating social casino gaming platforms and strategic partners for the casino operator;
  • Discuss the importance of strategic business and market planning to ensure success; and
  • Explore the strengths, weakness, goals and expectations for social casino gaming.

Social casinos have proven to be very effective products for land-based casinos, offering them everything from marketing opportunities to a new revenue stream.

Alternative session to consider:

  • Managing in Moments of Tension – Awareness of Emotional Intelligence

G2E description:

Emotional intelligence (EI) is an awareness of what happens physiologically in the brain when you are under pressure. The awareness of how you are perceived by others in moments of tension creates a starting point to adjust behaviors that may not be serving you well. From supervisors to CEOs, emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of success accounting for 60% of overall job performance. We will give you an overview of tools to manage your interpretation of information and appropriate levels of reactions.

Wednesday, September 28

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM timeslot

Steve’s spotlight session: The Generational Disruption of Gaming (Part 1)

G2E description:

From one of the pioneers of generational studies, Chuck Underwood will present the first-of-two sessions to get us into the heads of the two generations, Gen X (currently aged 35 to 51) and the Millennials (ages 18 to 34), who are imperative to the business success of all industries, including gaming. These are the two generations whose core values and attitudes toward gaming have made changing direction, essential. The ability to understand the rationale behind their values and attitudes will impact the gaming industry’s future. Further, learn how other industries are thriving or dying based on reactions to these groups.

  • Debunk the misperceptions behind generational differences;
  • Explore each generation’s core values and why they’re important; and
  • Discover how to strategically serve multigenerational customers.

Another two part session on the 2016 G2E schedule, this is my pick for the must-attend sessions on Wednesday. Unlike previous millennial panels, it appears this session will contrast millennials with genration X’ers, and more importantly (in my mind) examine some of the false information that is currently floating around in the gaming ether.

Alternative sessions to consider:

  • Innovative Growth: Gaming’s Future Products and Locations

G2E description:

Gaming executives will discuss the future outlook and growth opportunities for gaming. The panel will explore potential jurisdictional expansion and how modernized regulations and policies impact gaming’s product offerings.

  • Sports Betting session

G2E description:

Information still to come.

1:30 PM – 2:30PM timeslot

Steve’s spotlight session: The Generational Disruption of Gaming: Deeper Dive – Gen X and Millennials (Part 2)

G2E description:

Continuing from his morning session, Chuck Underwood will take us deeper into the heads of the gaming industry’s future: Gen X and Millennials. Discuss what works and what doesn’t work when marketing to these two generations with regard to products, services, physical facilities, entertainment, partnerships with non-gaming service providers, and more. Further, discuss how can their expectations can be achieved without negatively impacting existing the experience of customers from other generations.

  • Explore how generational marketplace strategy is executed;
  • Discuss actionable steps to persuade and appeal to these two generations; and
  • Gain insight on the rationale behind X’ers and “Mils” motivations.

Part two of this panel discussion picks up after lunch, and it looks like it will simply be a continuation of the earlier session, which should help the speakers really flesh out the ideas and theories.

Alternative sessions to consider:

  • DFS Session

G2E description:

Information still to come.

  • eSports and Casinos: The Coming Collision

G2E description:

eSports, video game competitions, may be the next big business opportunity for casinos. With it opens channels into both opportunity, such as new customers and revenue streams as well as challenges with compliance and responsible gaming. eSports and casino industry professionals will address how to stay ahead of this new wave.

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM timeslot

Steve’s spotlight session: Regulatory Rundown: Impacts on Next Generation Gaming

G2E description:

During this speed session, gain a snapshot perspective of Tribal, commercial and international regulation. Each expert will then convene for a broader discussion on issues of common concern and a look into the future.

  • Gain insight into gaming’s various regulatory environments;
  • Discover differences and similarities across jurisdictions; and
  • Understand how regulatory history impacts gaming now and in the future.

The work and role of regulators is one of the overlooked aspects of the gaming industry, which is a shame because this is a particularly important topic to discuss as online gambling, DFS, and other new products are created.

Regulators have been at the forefront of creating regulations and adapting to these new products.

Alternative session to consider:

  • Skill-Based Games session

G2E description:

Information still to come.

Photo credit: G2E.

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Steve Ruddock
- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.