G2E 2023: Early responses positive as organizers start planning for 2024 expo

October 19, 2023 8:31 PM
Photo: CDC Gaming Reports
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
October 19, 2023 8:31 PM
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
  • United States

It’s been a week since the 2023 edition of the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas ended. But for many who attended, the afterglow of the gaming-industry’s biggest and most important conference still lingers.

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“This year’s G2E was one for the books,” said Aristocrat Director Global Games Lauren O’Brien Kruczynski, adding that her company’s booth featured nearly 200 machines, including the new portfolio of National Football League-themed slots. “Customers have provided overwhelmingly positive feedback, noting our continued investment in innovation showcased throughout our product portfolio.”

While it wasn’t quite the most attended G2E ever, approximately 25,000 attendees flocked to the education sessions, keynote addresses, and trade floor during the four-day event. Organizers said it was the highest attendance since the 2020 Expo took place virtually due to the pandemic.

“It was an amazing experience for me, seeing the type of companies and individuals in this space” said Bryan Price, co-founder and CEO of iProtekt, a provider of responsible-gaming software and programs. Price was attending his first G2E. “It is a small community and it is a really ambitious and driven community, one that I’m grateful to be a part of.”

According to G2E at RX USA Event Vice President Korbi Carrison, early reactions to this year’s event have been positive.

“Hearing the feedback that people experienced success at G2E is very gratifying,” Carrison said. “Certainly, we work all year long and our teams put in so much effort to make the show successful for everyone, whether it’s a visitor or an exhibitor. We do love to hear (positive responses) and look forward to hearing more of it in our post-show survey.”

For Maureen Beddis, the American Gaming Association’s Senior Vice President, Membership and Events, G2E 2023 was her first. She was especially pleased that a call for speakers that organizers issued in early 2023 was robustly received.

“We put a lot of effort this year … into reaching out to AGA members and the industry at large to get their input when we considered the conference and education programs,” Beddis said, noting the goal was to make G2E programming more industry driven. “We were very excited about the response we received. … Now that we’re on the other side of the show, to have received so much positive feedback to the revamped conference, it’s good to know that that effort paid off.”

Artificial intelligence was one of the buzzier topics featured at G2E 2023, with seven education sessions related to AI’s increasing presence in the gaming industry. Ashley Skeen Unga, Gaming Analytics’ Director of Customer Success & Marketing, was pleased that AI was prominently featured.

“It was the busiest G2E I can remember,” Skeen Unga said. “We expanded our booth this year and we still had to do demos on iPads in the aisles because we were just overflowing. We were jam-packed from when the doors opened until they closed and even Thursday, normally a lighter day, was still busy. Overall, I think we’re witnessing operators embrace the transformative mindset about AI and that’s exciting. It’s something that we’ve been really passionate about and nurtured for four years.”

Nick Patrick, co-founder and CEO of geofencing company Radar, this year attended his first G2E. Midway through the conference, he was happy to be part of the gaming-industry’s biggest event. “I don’t know whether it’s the flashiness or the scale of it, but everybody kind of seems like they’re having a great time. There’s a great sense of community here.”

In addition to the education sessions, keynote addresses, and expo floor, gaming-industry advocacy groups held events. Global Gaming Women hosted its Kick Up Your Heels fundraiser Wednesday evening and its Sip & Social breakfast, with Las Vegas Raiders’ President Sandra Douglass Morgan as guest speaker, Thursday morning. Both were well attended.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen events like Kick Up Your Heels and Sip & Social grow in size and popularity,” said O’Brien Kruczynski, a Global Gaming Women board member and mentorship committee chair. “We really took that up a notch this year by unveiling our new brand that really highlighted the fact that the time for change was yesterday. GGW’s collective is for every woman in this industry and our new brand invites all to join us in uplifting one another with the crucial connections that will empower us all to succeed. I’m so proud to be a part of this incredible movement.”

Even though the 2023 edition of G2E just ended, Carrison and Beddis are already in the early planning stages for next year’s Expo. They expect to draw from responses on this year’s event to make refinements in 2024.

“The need for (G2E) is growing,” Carrison said. “That’s why it’s so important for us to hear feedback from all representatives of the industry. We want to hear what they want to say, and again, this is all about being their platform. I’m certain that as time goes on, there will be elements of the industry that will be a little more represented. That’s something that we work on year-round along with the AGA.”