With very little fanfare, Nevada regulators in April approved IGT’s server-based gaming system following a successful field trial of 20 machines at Treasure Island in Las Vegas.
Server-based gaming, also called downloadable slots, is regarded as the next great advancement in electronic gaming. But it is expected that the replacement of traditional slots in most jurisdictions won’t begin in earnest until 2009, IGT officials said.
Server-based games are slot machines connected to a central computer system that is able to change the choice of games, denominations, payback percentages, bonuses, etc. — all from a central location.
Although the Nevada Gaming Commission’s approval of IGT’s system went virtually unnoticed, server-based gaming will be a hot topic at the Gaming Technology Summit, scheduled for May 22-24 at Green Valley Ranch.
Expected to report on the progress of the technology, IGT Chairman Thomas J. Matthews will provide one of the keynote presentations at the fifth annual Summit.
"IGT and other highly regarded gaming companies have made a lot of progress in the area of server-based gaming, which is clearly going to be a much talked-about topic at the Summit," said Saverio R. Scheri III, managing director at WhiteSand Consulting, co-producer of the Summit along with Ascend Media.
Although not as large as other gaming expos or conventions, in just a few years The Gaming Technology Summit has emerged as one of the most popular and well-regarded among industry-wide conclaves.
The Summit addresses the critical role of technology throughout all types of gaming facilities and the demands it places on gaming professionals to learn new skills, integrate systems and make hardware and software investment decisions.
More than 500 technology professionals and vendors from the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico and the United Kingdom attended the Summit last year.
Given the Summit’s popularity, the exhibit area has been expanded for 2007, providing even more opportunities for vendors to reach key customers.
Other highlights of the Summit include the return of the Project Management Forum, an expanded conference program and an outstanding lineup of presenters, including additional keynote speakers Felix Rappaport, president and chief operating officer of Luxor, and Jay Walker, chairman of Walker Digital LLC, entrepreneur and founder of Priceline.
Gaming Laboratories International will also play a key role at the Gaming Technology Summit, with GLI President James R. Maida scheduled to appear on a panel.
Maida will speak on the panel, "Technology Implementations in Emerging Markets." The discussion will focus on technology’s role in the expansion of markets like Macau, Latin America and Russia, and whether or not large operators with advanced technologies gain a strategic advantage in their efforts to acquire customer loyalty overseas.
"GLI has nine offices on five continents, and we serve more nearly 400 jurisdictions worldwide," Maida said. "That makes us very fortunate, because we are able to see technological advances and developments in markets across the world, and we are then able to help regulators across jurisdictions by sharing experiences from other jurisdictions."
As previously noted, the Project Management Forum returns after its debut last year. In its inaugural year, the Forum generated widespread acclaim and sell-out crowds.
The Forum is presented by Michael R. Wood, a nationally recognized expert in the field of business process improvement, former gaming CIO and author of The Helix Factor — the key to streamlining your business processes.
Presented in a workshop format, the Forum will provide proven tools, techniques and approaches related to streamlining the project portfolio management office function (PMO).
"The problem with most project management oversight efforts is that they create needless paperwork that adds nothing to the project outcome," said Wood. "The goal of this workshop is to provide the knowledge and tools needed to take the pain out of the portfolio management process. When done correctly, the PMO can become the project manager’s best friend."
The Forum is not included in the standard Gaming Technology Summit registration, and requires an additional fee. Attendees will receive a CD of the course, a selection of relevant articles and the PMO forms covered during the session.
Overall, dozens of speakers have been confirmed for the Gaming Technology Summit, and they will enlighten attendees with their presentations in 32 individual conference sessions over the two-day meeting. For complete information, a current speaker list, and to register, please visit www.gametechsummit.com.