In a move that shows Las Vegas gaming and tourism industry is a long way from its recovery from the coronavirus, the American Gaming Association announced Wednesday that it has canceled the annual Global Gaming Expo scheduled for Oct. 5-8 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
Instead, it will have a series of virtual events through the end of 2020.
The move isn’t unexpected given the rising coronavirus cases in the state and current limit on gatherings to 50 people. Last week, the World Gaming Protection Conference scheduled for the same week was canceled, and its organizer Willy Allison said he didn’t see how any conventions would be held the rest of 2020.
The Consumer Electronics Show that attracts more than 170,000 is still scheduled for January.
G2E attracts about 30,000 from across the globe, including executives representing the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, as well as the world’s top casino operators, sports betting companies, and FinTech and digital payments facilitators.
Conventions are vital to Las Vegas’ weekday hotel occupancy and spending and that’s been well down since the city’s reopening of its hotels and casinos on June 4. Resorts have been relying on weekend visitors instead and will have to continue to do so.
In releasing a statement today, the AGA and its partner Reed Exhibitions said they’re “committed to facilitating economic, education, and networking opportunities for the global gaming industry through a series of virtual G2E events throughout the rest of the year to better reflect the current environment.”
The statement said that the plan is to hold the next in-person edition of G2E Oct. 4-7, 2021 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
“In light of continued uncertainty around a viable marketplace at a physical G2E show, global travel restrictions, and currently unknown guidance on large public gatherings this fall, we have come to the unfortunate conclusion that we simply cannot hold an in-person G2E this year,” AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said in the statement. “Health and safety have always been our top priority and the uncertainty created by the ongoing pandemic makes this the prudent decision ahead of critical deadlines for exhibitors planning to participate.”
Hervé Sedky, Reed Exhibitions Americas President, said they made the decision after talking with national, state and local public health authorities as well as exhibitors and buyers.
“Ultimately, it became clear that proceeding with an in-person gathering simply was not feasible,” Sedky said. “It’s our commitment to use G2E’s platform, as the leading convener of the global gaming community, to continue to deliver unparalleled education content, inspiring collaboration, and innovative ideas as the industry readies for continued growth.”
The event organizers will announce plans for virtual events and education in the near future.
“As the country works to reopen, the American gaming industry continues to adapt and provide the safest possible experience for our employees and customers while continuing to support the communities in which we operate,” Miller said. “We look forward to the moment when we can convene together again with our colleagues from across the world and celebrate the resilience that our industry is known for.”