Global Gaming Expo 2018 will focus on sports betting

Pinpointing The Can’t-Miss Panels On The G2E 2018 Calendar

G2E pinpoint panels

Las Vegas is going to be a hot spot in October. First, there’s the Conor McGregor fight on Oct. 6 that’s sure to drive up visitation during the first week of the month.

Not to be outdone, the second week of October will see tens of thousands of people from across the gaming industry descend on Vegas for the Global Gaming Expo, or as it’s commonly referred to, G2E.

In a normal year, G2E falls into the “can’t miss” category of conferences and trade shows if you have any ties to the US gaming industry. And with the spread of sports betting, 2018 is far from a normal year, making this iteration of G2E one of the most significant in recent memory.

G2E will almost certainly see a surge in attendance numbers thanks to the new legal sports betting era in the US, and there’s a noticeable increase in the number of education panels (there are over 110 session in 2018) compared to last year’s show.

What is G2E?

As I explained in last year’s G2E preview, there are two sides to G2E.

There’s the three-day trade show (Oct. 9-11) that will feature around 30 sports betting exhibitors among the hundreds of booths on the expansive showroom floor at the Sands Convention Center.

There’s also the four-day conference (Oct. 8-11), and legal sports betting’s fingerprints are all over the education program. In addition to sports betting related panels throughout the show, there will be a six-session sports betting symposium integrated into the education track.

These panels are must-see TV

With over 100 options, there’s no shortage of panels to choose from. But when all is said and done, these are the five panels I’ll definitely be attending.

Sports Betting: A Way Forward in the U.S. and How iGaming Fits In?

When:

  • Oct. 8, 2018, 10-11 a.m.

Moderator:

  • Sue Schneider, Editor-in-Chief, Gaming Law Review

Speakers:

  • Randy Haynes, Senior Advisor, Miomni
  • David Henwood, Director, H2 Gambling Capital
  • Art Manteris, Vice President, Race & Sports Book Operations, Station Casinos, Inc.
  • Steven Ruddock, Senior Analyst, LegalSportsReport.com
  • Keith O’Loughlin, SVP, Sportsbook and Platforms , SG Digital (Division of Scientific Games Corp.)

Overview:

“We seem to be reaching critical mass on moving sports betting ahead in the US. This opening session will focus on the path forward and look at various implementation models that may be considered. It will explore how iGaming fits into the mix. The discussion will also cover how the US sports bettor may be different from their counterparts around the world.”

My thoughts:

The first panel (full disclosure: I’m a panelist) of G2E 2018 will not only take a look at the momentum of sports betting across the US, but where and how it’s being rolled out (and whether these differences are good or bad) compared to other jurisdictions.

As an added bonus, the panel will also discuss what, if any role online gaming will play from a legislative and operational standpoint.

Affiliate Marketing Grows Up: Implications for the U.S. Regulated Online Gambling Market

When:

  • Oct. 8, 2018, 3:30-4:15 p.m.

Moderator:

  • Gene Johnson, Executive Vice President, Victor-Strategies

Speakers:

  • Christopher Capra, Vice President Online and Internet Marketing, Tropicana Entertainment
  • Sarah Robertson, Head of Business Development, Income Access
  • Lee Terfloth, Director of Online Gaming Product , Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (AC)
  • Chris Grove, Acting Director US, Catena Media

Overview:

“Internationally, affiliates have secured a solid role in marketing and customer acquisition. In the US, affiliates have become involved in the New Jersey online gambling market as well as the online poker in Nevada and Michigan’s online lottery. Once largely a collection of independent marketing specialists, the gambling affiliate industry is rapidly consolidating into large, often publicly-traded, companies with global reach. This lively discussion will take a look at the relationship between operators and affiliates and explore what works and what doesn’t.”

My thoughts:

This afternoon panel is star-studded, and features some of the brightest minds (and people who will speak their mind) not only in the affiliate space, but in the gaming industry.

I anticipate a lot of food for thought coming from this group.

SCOTUS Decision: What the Ruling Actually Said and What it Means

When:

  • Oct. 9, 2018, 10:15-11:15 a.m.

Speakers:

  • Jonathan Cohn, Partner, Commercial Litigation & Disputes, Supreme Court and Appelate , Sidley
  • Aurene Martin, President, Spirit Rock Consulting
  • Sara Slane, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, American Gaming Association

Overview:

“Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling on Murphy v. NCAA, one of the most consequential cases for gaming in the United States in a generation. Learn more about the complexities of the Court’s decision and what it means for the gaming industry, the sports industry and beyond.”

My thoughts:

My hope is this panel avoids a top-level discussion (sports betting is legal!) and really drills down into the SCOTUS decision. Specifically, aspects like how state-level sports betting coexists with the Wire Act and other federal gaming laws.

Hacking and How to Prevent It

  • Oct. 9, 2018, 2-2:45 p.m.

Moderator:

  • Gus Fritschie, CTO, SeNet International Corporation

Speakers:

  • Ryan Jones, Managing Principal, Coalfire
  • Jason DeMarco, Director of Information Security, MGM Resorts International
  • Gary Prestage, Vice President of IT, Parx Casino and Racing
  • Mike Weber, Vice President, Coalfire Labs , Coalfire

Overview:

“Cybersecurity defense is a never-ending process. This session, designed to position you on the cutting-edge of securing your systems and remaining safe from hacking, will detail methods you can implement in order to test your defenses and address security gaps before malicious attackers do. Through the use of real-world examples, panelists will share the techniques hackers use; detail red team testing and how it can be used to improve security in gaming organizations; discuss how physical, social, and logical attacks can be leveraged and combined into high risk attacks; and explore the best means to avoid such attacks in the future.”

My thoughts:

Unfortunately, cyber attacks and hacking are a grim reality in the gaming industry.

There was an insider lottery scandal. DraftKings sportsbook was hit with a DDoS attack the day it launched. DDoS attacks are becoming commonplace in the online poker industry. And there’s always the very real threat of a data breach.

This type of panel is long overdue, and one that should be a staple at every gaming conference.

  • POKER
  • BONUS
  • DETAILS
  • PLAY

Evaluating Gaming vs. Non-Gaming Guest Spending

When:

  • October 10, 2018, 1:30-2:15 p.m.

Moderator:

  • Bill Friedman, President, Friedman Management Group

Speakers:

  • Rob Jacks, VP of Professional Services, Agilysys
  • Jason Stump, Vice President of Information Technology, Westgate Las Vegas
  • Kevin Zenishek, Executive Director of Casino Operations, Northern Quest Resort & Casino

Overview:

“During this panel discussion, we will examine how to get more wallet share from younger guests who are not as likely to sit at gaming tables. Discussion will focus on the shift in the industry, strategies and metrics to implement in order to analyze non-gaming spend, and increase the value proposition of the less-traditional gaming population. Case studies of how operators are effectively utilizing data from advantage systems and loyalty clubs to learn what customers are spending on non-gaming activities – and reward them for that spend – will be presented. Additionally, caveats of cumbersome systems; issues of cash, cards and credits; and other considerations when identifying methods of evaluating and increasing non-gaming spend will be addressed.”

My thoughts:

With numerous casinos shifting away from gaming and towards becoming comprehensive entertainment/resort venues, the coexistence of gaming and non-gaming revenue is an increasingly important topic.

Naysayers complaining about being nickel and dimed by casinos should pay close attention to how gaming and non-gaming revenues intersect, and what is causing the change in focus.

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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.