G2E’s planning in full swing months ahead of schedule

May 25, 2024 12:44 PM
Photo: CDC Gaming Reports
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
May 25, 2024 12:44 PM
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports

Chances are many gaming industry personnel attending the Global Gaming Expo in October have yet to make travel plans.

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But for the show’s planners and the exhibitors, G2E is an ongoing project that never really ends.

“I feel like we’re in the thick of it,” says American Gaming Association Senior Vice President, Membership and Events Maureen Beddis. “There’s meetings with everyone who’s in charge of every single thing behind the show, from the operations team at the show floor layout to the market teams and how the brand we introduced last year is going to be carried out on-site, and the messages that we’re going to be pushing out to the industry next month when registration opens.

“It’s really everything that you could imagine being underway is underway right now.”

G2E is scheduled for October 7-10 at the Venetian in Las Vegas.

When attendees enter the G2E tradeshow floor, they’ll be met by fantastic displays featuring the latest innovations, from slots to geolocation services to cashless payment providers. For IGT Vice President Global Communications, Events, and Sustainability Phil O’Shaughnessy, it’s a complex task to prep a booth that’s 19,700 square feet and features approximately 400 games, systems, and solutions, let alone getting ready for meetings with investors, partners, and media.

“We have several hundred employees participating in the show itself, and when it comes to this preparation months in advance, the number of employees is in the thousands who are invested in this show,” O’Shaughnessy says.

The preparation is so complex and time-consuming that IGT starts prepping for G2E “while we’re still standing in the booth at the previous year’s G2E,” O’Shaughnessy says. “We ask ourselves, while we are in the moment, what worked well, what can we improve upon.”

According to Light & Wonder Managing Director, Americas Niaz Nejad, preparation for this year’s G2E began the day after the 2023 event ended.

“G2E is a massive, all-hands on deck event involving a number of our employees,” Nejad told CDC Gaming Reports. “From booth design to setup, every detail is meticulously planned and executed. Our dedicated field services team works tirelessly in the lead-up to the show to ensure everything is perfect on day one. Their hard work and commitment are crucial to our success at G2E.”

This year’s G2E will be Korbi Carrison’s seventh as event vice president for RX USA. But in previous gaming industry roles, Carrison has attended each conference since G2E was launched in 2001.

Every year brings its own set of issues and possibilities.

“There are always new ways that we challenge ourselves to grow, to bring new experiences to our visitors,” Carrison says. “That’s what makes it fun for me, is there’s always a chance to do something new. We can always challenge ourselves and make sure that we are bringing a show that best represents the industry.”

Attendance for G2E 2023 was slightly above 25,000 attendees, a post-pandemic record, but shy of the record of 27,000 set in 2019. Carrison states attendance figures are not the ultimate measure of success.

“We want the right people to be G2E,” Carrison says, “and we want the people who come to G2E to be achieving their business goals when they are at our events.”

“It’s always nice to see those attendance figures creep up,” Beddis says. “But we are really focused on the quality of our attendees. We look for our measure of success to be more on the feedback we get from attendees and exhibitors. That’s where we learn whether or not we did our job right.”

For exhibitors, the importance of G2E cannot be understated. As North America’s largest gaming industry event, G2E provides opportunities that aren’t available at any other time of the year.

“It provides a unique opportunity to connect with our valued customers, both existing and potential, and to showcase the latest innovations we bring to the casino floor,” Nejad says. “It is an essential platform for launching new products and connecting with the gaming industry. … The best thing about G2E is the chance to interact with our customers and demonstrate the incredible work our team has done across our entire portfolio. It is a moment to showcase and celebrate the innovation we are bringing to casino floors.”

O’Shaughnessy notes that G2E “sets the table” for IGT’s business year, calling it “part Super Bowl, part New Year’s Eve.”

“We will launch new products and solutions at G2E, and I will find myself going around the world with those products at other trade shows,” O’Shaughnessy says. “Obviously, we deliver market-attuned content around the world, but G2E is truly the Global Gaming Expo, and we do, in fact, greet our operator partners from all over the world. So, it’s very appropriate that it is a major launch platform for us. And then we just continue with the rollout of those products and others throughout the course of the next calendar year.”