Three casino operators to share COVID-19 reopening experiences for virtual G2E kick-off

September 16, 2020 4:58 PM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
September 16, 2020 4:58 PM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports

The virtual Global Gaming Expo will kick-off on Oct. 14 with a discussion involving three casino operators with first-hand experience reopening their regional and tribal gaming properties following the COVID-19 pandemic shut down this spring.

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Producers of G2E – the American Gaming Association and Reed Exhibitions – said the event is a prelude to the two-day virtual conference, scheduled for Oct. 27-28, with a program that includes keynote addresses, education sessions, pre-planned meetings, and networking opportunities.

In the Wednesday morning (8 a.m. PT, 11 a.m. ET) session, Justin Carter, general manager of Hollywood Casino Toledo in Ohio; Kathy George, CEO of Firekeepers Casino in Michigan; and Laura Stensgar, CEO of Coeur d’Alene resort in Idaho, will participate in the discussion on how the pandemic has impacted employees, communities, and business.

Nearly 1,000 commercial and tribal casinos in 43 states closed when governors, regulators, and tribal governments ordered the shutdown during the middle of March in an effort to slow the spreading coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 90% of the properties have reopened.

Brian Christopher, a social influencer for casinos and slot machines who publishes and two channels on YouTube, will lead the discussion on how the casino operators lead through the crisis and create strategies to move forward.

Christopher wrote a commentary for CDC Gaming Reports in August detailing his visit to 21 casinos in nine states following the more than two months of shutdowns.

“From the kickoff keynote to our last networking session, the goal for G2E 2020 is to provide insights, connections, and business opportunities that participants cannot find elsewhere and directly support our industry’s recovery,” Cait DeBaun, AGA’s senior director of strategic communications and responsibility, said in a statement.

The virtual G2E is replacing the annual three-day event in Las Vegas that was canceled by organizers in July due to global travel restrictions and currently unknown guidance on large public gatherings during the pandemic.

G2E’s two-day program will offer networking, business opportunities, and feature content from thought leaders to share perspectives on pressing gaming industry topics, including COVID-19 recovery, modernization of payments, tribal gaming, and the expansion of legalized sports betting in America.

G2E’s virtual platform will also enable exhibitors and buyers to conduct business through virtual showrooms, product demos, AI-driven matchmaking, and one-on-one meetings.

“Every year, G2E spotlights the latest trends through education and product discovery and facilitates personal connections that empower gaming companies and industry leaders for success,” said Korbi Carrison, G2E’s event director. “This year will be no exception. We’re excited for the opportunity G2E’s virtual format gives us to expand the universe of speakers and reach larger audiences worldwide.”

Additional details can be found at

G2E, the casino industry’s largest conference and tradeshow, was planned for October 5-8 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. Current Nevada state regulations ban public gatherings of 50 people or more and the state also saw a spike of COVID-19 infections during the summer.

G2E attracts nearly 30,000 attendees annually from across the globe, including top executives and managers from the industry’s largest manufacturers and gaming equipment providers. The world’s top casino operators, sports betting companies, and FinTech and digital payments facilitators, are often represented at G2E.

Organizers said they have scheduled the 2021 G2E from October 4-7 at the Sands Expo.

Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.