The proliferation of tribal gaming helped fuel sharp increases in attendance at last month’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas.
Native American attendance at G2E climbed 12 percent over 2004 totals, and international attendance jumped 7 percent, according to pre-audited numbers released last week by G2E organizers.
Total attendance at G2E exceeded last year’s figures by 6 percent, with 26,603 gaming industry professionals from across the United States and around the world participating in the event.
Illustrating heightened interest in non-gaming amenities within the gaming industry, the largest growth segment for the show took place within Food & Beverage (F&B) at G2E, the event’s culinary marketplace.
F&B exhibition square footage and the number of exhibitors both increased by 33 percent since last year, and attendance figures for F&B executives also outpaced 2004 totals by 33 percent.
"We are particularly proud of this fifth successive year of attendance growth at G2E," said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the AGA. "Our ability to produce across-the-board increases year after year indicates we are keeping pace with the changes in our industry and providing industry executives with exactly the products, educational opportunities and networking connections they need to succeed in today’s global marketplace."
Substantial growth was also evident in the G2E exhibit hall, with 711 companies showcasing their products and services in 278,715 square feet of exhibit space. This growth represents an 11 percent increase from 2004 and is double the exhibit space at G2E’s debut in 2001.
Reflecting tribal gaming’s dynamic growth as a presence in the gaming community, the 2,372 Native American casino attendees took advantage of expanded programming, including the first keynote focused on tribal gaming, an enhanced tribal government conference track and dedicated networking opportunities for tribal gaming officials.
G2E also attracted 4,656 attendees from 99 different countries including Aruba, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Korea, Latvia, Macao, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.
G2E’s exhibit floor also featured a more robust international flavor, with more than 100 companies — a full 20 percent of G2E exhibitors — from outside the United States, a 32 percent increase from last year.
G2E will move to its new, permanent November show dates beginning next year, with G2E 2006 taking place Nov. 14-16 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.