G2E shaping up to be largest industry gathering in years

October 4, 2022 8:43 AM
Photo: Courtesy Reed Exhibitions
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
October 4, 2022 8:43 AM

Only a month from the start of the Global Gaming Expo, Korbi Carrison was working feverishly on last-minute details. Getting ready for the gaming-industry’s premier event is a yearlong process, but there’s no rest once G2E’s final session takes place for Carrison, G2E event vice president for RX USA, and her staff.

Korbi Carrison, Event Vice President, G2E at RX USA

“I wish I could say that we get a bit of a break, but if I’m honest with you, we’re already out of the gate on planning for 2023,” Carrison says. “We operate at least 12 to 15 months in advance every year.”

G2E takes place Oct. 10-13 at the Venetian Expo in Las Vegas.

This year promises to be one of the largest gatherings of gaming-industry personnel in recent history. G2E was held virtually in 2020 and last year’s attendance was down because of residual concerns about the pandemic.

Interactions with attendees indicate a desire to return to Vegas and experience G2E in person.

“It’s been a challenge over the last couple of years for everyone to adapt to a different way of doing business,” Carrison says, “and what we’re hearing across the board from our attendees, our exhibitors, and other stakeholders is they can’t wait to be back face to face with everyone.

“The thing that is really driving a lot of excitement is being able to be together,” Carrison adds, “and to share thoughts and leadership together. It’s also really important to see in person what the new innovations are on the expo hall floor.”

Carrison expects a return of international exhibitors and attendees now that global travel restrictions have been eased. She’s also excited about more opportunities for in-person meetings, with a new networking lounge in the middle of the show floor.

“We have some special meetups and presentations planned for that area,” Carrison says.

For Steve Ruddock, an online-gaming consultant and editor-in-chief at Gaming Law Review, G2E is an invaluable resource and learning experience.

“You can learn by attending one of the numerous education sessions, wandering the showroom floor, or hanging out in the common areas and striking up conversations with complete strangers,” Ruddock says. “More seasoned attendees might attend one of the many networking events or schedule meetings. Still, in my experience, impromptu meetings are typically the most interesting, because you never know who you might run into or strike up a conversation with at G2E. Several chance encounters have led to great friendships.”

G2E will again feature education sessions covering nine tracks, including sports betting, igaming, and tribal gaming. Also back this year are G2E’s innovation lab, featuring emerging technologies, and a pitch competition for innovators.

One element that sets G2E apart is its ability to attract the most notable and influential people in the gaming industry. On opening day, American Gaming Association President Bill Miller will deliver the State of the Industry address.

On Tuesday Oct. 11, the keynote presentation “Executive Outlook: Leaders Shaping the Future” will feature Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings; FanDuel CEO Amy Howe; Soo Kim, chairman of Bally’s Corporation; DraftKings CEO Jason Robins; Jay Snowden, CEO of Penn Entertainment; and downtown Las Vegas entrepreneur Derek Stevens, owner of the D, Circa, and Golden Gate.

One of Carrison’s favorite G2E memories occurred in 2019 just before the conference started. The expo hall was a maze of trucks and freight and the herculean task of staging the show gave her pause: Was G2E really going to be ready to host visitors in less than 24 hours?

The next morning, Carrison arrived at the Venetian at 4:30 a.m. to do a live TV interview. The only person around, she walked toward the expo hall, amazed by what she found.

“Everything was clean and beautiful and perfect,” Carrison says. “It was almost like the chandeliers had an extra little sparkle. As I was walking down that hallway, it was perfectly quiet, and when I walked into the expo hall, all the lights were on, all of the booths were powered up, everything was sparkling clean, and it was a moment that I just stood there and really appreciated all the work our exhibitors put in to bringing their very best.”

Rege Behe is lead contributor to CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at rbehe@cdcgaming.com. Please follow @RegeBehe_exPTR on Twitter.