G2E is not only for the bigwigs
October 09, 2018 3:00 AM
by Elliot Frome
So, you’re going to the Global Gaming Expo this week with a table game idea. You can’t afford a booth, though, so I guess you’re out of luck? Nope, not at all. The G2E is still a great opportunity for a small inventor to get the word out about his game. But, to do it effectively, there are a variety of things you should do to maximize your chances of being seen and/or heard.
The first thing you need to do is to decide who is your target audience. Are you trying to market your game directly to the casinos or are you going to try to market your game to some of the other big gaming companies, hoping they’ll like your game and strike a deal to market it. There is no absolute right or wrong here, and you don’t necessarily have to pick one or the other at this point. If you decide to go it alone, then you’re going to have to do all the tough work to get in front of casino table game managers. Unless you know somebody, this could be your hardest task. Most table game managers are not going out of their way to put in new table games. They show up at G2E because they do get a shot at looking at some new stuff in a short time span as opposed to giving an inventor 30 to 60 minutes. The upside of going it alone is that the profits are all yours. You’re not sharing it with anyone. But, you will need to maintain the business relationship to keep the table in the casino long term.
If you decide to market to one of the gaming companies, then you will be giving up a fair amount of the revenue. If your game is not placed already in a casino, you’re not likely to get any upfront payments. But, you will in essence, be buying an entire sales and marketing force to get your game out there. There is no doubt that if you can get your game into several casinos and show some success that the deal you will get will more lucrative.
So, let’s cover some do’s and don’ts about both of these paths while at the G2E. Casinos don’t have booths for you to go to. This means you need a chance meeting to get yourself in front of them. But, you can increase your chances by being in the right place, using the right business skills and having the right tools. First of all, the G2E empties out a lot by day 3 (Thursday). If you want to meet casino table games managers, you’re going to need to do it on Tuesday or Wednesday. Where are you going to find these guys? They’re going to be at the other major game company’s booths. They are there to check out those games, so don’t interrupt them while they are trying to check out those booth’s games. But, when they have wrapped up one they are doing, it is a fair time to introduce yourself and explain why you might want some of their time.
Make sure you have a professional business card to give to them. It is possible, but a bit unlikely that they will stop everything to look at your game right then and there. First of all, there may not be anywhere for you to show the game. Second, they may have another place they are trying to get to by a certain time. So, be ready for both possibilities. The first is to who your game right then and there, somewhere. Make sure you have a deck of cards, either a felt or a printout of the betting area and some chips to demo the game. Whether you demo the game or not, make sure you have your math analysis printed out for them. Don’t be stingy with these. IF you’re talking to two guys, it’s okay to give each one of them a copy. You’re hoping to sell them on a $1000 (or more) per month table game. Now is the not the time to try and save yourself $2 in Staples printing costs. Lastly, be prepared to set up a time with them to meet after the show (not that night), but the following week. Obviously, this may have some proximity issues if you don’t live in Las Vegas and/or their casino is not here. Again, you are trying to strike up a business partnership with these people. DO NOT be someone that they wouldn’t ever want to be in business with.
With the alternative route, much is similar, but with one huge exception. These companies are going to be VERY, VERY busy on Tuesday and Wednesday. The G2E is a time for the to SELL their ideas as well and most of the effort is not on accumulating more ideas. By Thursday, however, things have quieted down and many of these people will be counting the hours (or minutes) until the show is over. So, this is your best day to make your pitch. The rules are pretty much the same as I mentioned earlier. Be prepared and be professional. Keep in mind that some of these companies might have some legal paperwork for you to sign before you can show your game and that paperwork may or may not be readily available. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t set up a time to meet in a couple of weeks or collect contact information of the person you will be pitching to. Make sure the rules of your game are clearly spelled out in your documents. Just like with the casinos, be someone that the gaming company will WANT to do business with.
Last but not least, I’ll be wondering around the convention hall mostly checking out the new table games as well. Feel free to stop me and I’ll be happy to help if I can. If you want to know what I look like, there’s a small headshot attached to this column. I have a little less hair nowadays, but I’ll likely be wearing a Snoopy baseball hat, so you’ll never notice!