Global Gaming Expo kicks off four-month major event schedule in Las Vegas

October 7, 2023 11:24 AM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
October 7, 2023 11:24 AM

This week’s Global Gaming Expo kicks off an unprecedented four-month schedule of conventions, trade shows, and marquee sporting events on the Las Vegas Strip, highlighted by a Formula One race in November and the Super Bowl in February. All combined, they’re expected to generate as much as $15 billion in economic benefit and build on what’s shaping up to be another record-breaking year in gaming revenue.

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Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill met with reporters Friday, standing on a terrace of the Convention Center’s West Hall with the already iconic Sphere as part of the Strip landscape.

The LVCA and Hill’s message is this: Las Vegas will have eyes on it from around the world between October and February with “an unprecedented lineup of events that will drive visitation to and a staggering economic impact on southern Nevada.”

The Super Bowl and F1 race combined are projected to generate about $2 billion in economic benefit, with F1 making up about $1.3 billion and the Super Bowl $700 million. F1 is expected to generate $87.5 million in tax revenue and $25 million that will go to K-12 education, Hill said.

“It’s the work that people have put in for decades that allowed this to happen,” Hill said. “It’s a pinnacle from an event standpoint for Las Vegas and something we want to purposely continue. We’re the sports capital of the world and the eyes will be on Las Vegas for the next four months.”

Hill said the list is of events that make up nearly $15 billion in impact that have been in Las Vegas for 40 years, 20 years, 10 years, and others coming for the first time. Las Vegas is also working to attract the college football championship in the future.

“It’s a spectacular time of year to be here and we continue to bring more and more events that don’t want to leave once they come,” Hill said. “We have the venues and capacity to respond to all of the demand. We’re very fortunate that the city has built a platform for events and those who have come, including our professional sports teams, and the success of those events is known throughout the event world. The success we’re going to show in the next four months makes it easier to bring the next set of events.”

Hill touted the impending relocation of the Oakland A’s to Las Vegas and a planned $1.5 billion 30,000-seat stadium on the site of the Tropicana Las Vegas on the Strip that’s scheduled to open in 2028.

“It’s not only going to be used for baseball, but it’s another big venue we will have to offer for those who want to be in Las Vegas,” Hill said.

There’s still a lot of potential to grow the city’s visitor base, which is still slightly behind where it was prior to the pandemic, especially with F1 attracting foreign visitors, and the events will make a big difference, Hill said. Some 15% of Las Vegas’ visitors are international and convention attendance and overall visitation are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024.

“We feel like it’s our job to continue to drive demand for Las Vegas in order to allow this city to remain economically vibrant and continue to grow,” Hill said. “If we become stagnant, it’s very easy to start to slip. That growth opportunity and marketing value of these events internationally are important to Las Vegas.”

As for the cybersecurity breach at MGM Resorts International properties in Las Vegas in September, Hill said he wasn’t concerned about lingering impacts this fall. MGM announced Thursday that it faced a hit of $100 million in adjusted earnings in September, but expected a strong fourth quarter.

“By November, by the time Formula One comes, this will be the best November by far that Las Vegas has ever had,” Hill said. “These events are the reason.”

Kicking off the series events is G2E at the Venetian Convention & Expo Center, which starts Monday and runs through Thursday. About 25,000 people attended last year and an even greater number is expected this year. The SEMA auto-market show Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 had 135,000 a year ago. CES, set for Jan. 5-8, attracted 118,000 a year ago and the 2024 show is projected to generate $700 million in economic impact. World of Concrete, which returns Jan. 23-25, boasted 48,000 a year ago. The International Builders Show returns Feb. 27-28, having attracted more than 45,000 people a year ago.

Those are just the major conventions and tradeshows, but the following marquee events take place around the Las Vegas Grand Prix Nov. 16-18 and the Super Bowl the week of Feb. 5th to 11th.

The PBR Team championship for bull riders is scheduled for Oct. 20-22. The Naismith Hall of Fame series is four college basketball games, two men and two women, scheduled for Nov. 6. The Pac 12 football championship is taking place on Dec. 1 at Allegiant Stadium. The NBA will hold its inaugural in-season tournament Dec. 7-9 at T-Mobile Arena. The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo returns Dec. 7-16. The Las Vegas Bowl college football game will be held Dec. 23. And New Year’s Eve is a big celebration that brings 400,000 people to Las Vegas.

During the press event, Hill talked about the Sphere concert venue that has been a focal point in international media.

“It was very nice for the Sphere to build this backdrop for us for press conferences,” Hill joked. “It’s very hard to open a venue for the first time. The screens are so difficult to make work perfectly. It lived up to the hype. It’s a one-of-a-kind venue in a one-of-a-kind city. Vegas was completely recognizable before the Sphere. Now it’s just one more reason to dream about coming to Las Vegas and enjoying everything we have.”

There’s also buzz in Las Vegas about the $3.8 billion Fontainebleau Las Vegas casino-resort that will open Dec. 13. And Station Casinos’ Durango in southwest Las Vegas opens Nov. 20.

On the Fontainebleau and its opening, Hill said that gives some of the city’s biggest fans another reason to come back.

“The face that’s right next to the Convention Center is attractive to the upcoming shows,” Hill said. “It’s nice to know that the building is going to see its potential.”