Gaming Expos spread the wealth

Dec 4, 2001 8:42 AM

Putting some distance between themselves, the two top gaming industry conventions have scheduled their 2002 conferences more than a month apart.

Global Gaming Expo will hold its second annual show Sept. 17-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The World Gaming Congress & Expo will run Oct. 22-24, also at the convention center.

The shows ran just one week apart last October. That tight scheduling, along with the fallout from Terror Tuesday, dampened attendance. The WGCE convention had only about half the crowd it typically draws.

Bill Newman, president and CEO of WGCE host GEM Communications, said the real loser was the gaming industry.

“When the same city hosts two major shows just over two weeks apart targeting the same industry, you know that something has gone wrong,’’ he said.

So G2E, developed and sponsored by the American Gaming Association, and WGCE decided to spread out their itineraries.

“When we started G2E last year, we promised that we would always listen to buyers and sellers and incorporate their advice into our planning,’’ said AGA President and CEO Frank Fahrenkopf. “These dates reflect our interest in accommodating requests for expanded exhibit and conference space from our U.S. and international partners.’’

Lorenz Hassenstein, vice president of Reed Exhibitions, added, “These new dates align with industry buying cycles, which are mid- to late-September through early- to mid-October.’’

Although the G2E dates immediately follow Yom Kippur, Reed and the AGA pledged to work to accommodate religious observances and travel requirements.

Exhibit rentals indicate that the shows may be comparing notes. Both are priced around $25 per square foot. And WGCE is hopeful that its move from the Sands Expo to the Las Vegas Convention Center will boost attendance.

Newman is also optimistic that the September and October calendars will be an improvement for everyone.

“Any exhibitor that chose one show over the other (this year) lost the opportunity to sell its products to the broadest audience possible. Any attendee who chose one show over the other was unable to see the full range of new product available. Such attendees also missed an opportunity to enjoy conference programs that were fully supported by the industry’s many different constituencies,’’ he said.