G2E prepped for biggest conference ever

Aug 26, 2003 9:01 AM

With Global Gaming Expo (G2E) just three weeks away, anticipation is already building for what is expected to be the biggest G2E conference since its inception three years ago.

"We’re loaded for bear," said Shuffle Master’s Table Games Product Manager Roger Snow. "I can’t wait for the show to start."

Shuffle Master, which owns the wildly popular 3-Card Poker that is sweeping the nation, plans to showcase nine new table games at the annual G2E show, scheduled for Sept. 16-18 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Also planning a "breakout" exhibition is Aristocrat Technologies, which has been trying to make inroads against manufacturing leaders IGT and Bally Gaming in North America.

"We have never launched such a large portfolio of games and systems technology," said Gavin Isaacs, president of Aristocrat. "Our game development teams have outdone themselves this year with an array of exciting games, progressives, and a full portfolio of value-added products, much of it developed in the United States specifically for the American market."

Based in Australia, Aristocrat is the second largest gaming manufacturer in the world behind IGT, but has yet to make significant dents in the North American market.

In addition to its massive exhibit hall, the G2E conference will focus on topics of interest to gamers from around the world.

This year, the topic of security in the casino finds the spotlight. Helping to bring the message home will be Alfonso "Al" Martinez-Fonts, Jr., assistant secretary for private sector coordination at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), who will serve as a featured speaker at the conference.

Martinez-Fonts’ participation is part of G2E’s new focus on security and surveillance topics, featuring a separate conference track and exhibit area dealing with the myriad of security issues facing the gaming industry.

Martinez-Fonts will share his insight during the conference session "Homeland Security: What It Means To Gaming," a discussion of how the post-Sept. 11 world presents new challenges for American businesses, specifically the gaming industry.

A former chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Martinez-Fonts serves as the industry advocate to direct, instruct and advise the private sector on how to adjust to new security regulations and realities.

The session, scheduled for 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 17, will examine ways the gaming industry is responding to security challenges and how federal legislation and regulation will affect the future of gaming.

" G2E will give attendees insight into the latest regulations and issues facing the industry, as well as a roadmap for facilitating the effective partnerships that will result in cost-effective security solutions," said session moderator Tom Susman, a partner at Washington, D.C., law firm Ropes & Gray.

Other security-related discussions will focus on guarding the safety of casino customers, advanced surveillance systems and protecting the casino’s operations.

Overall, G2E has expanded its conference program this year to include more than 100 sessions, as well as 30 intensive sessions in the G2E Training & Development Institute.

Sessions will focus on a wide range of issues facing the modern gaming executive, including casino management and marketing, international expansion trends, the future of Native American gaming, emerging technologies, casino security and surveillance, legislative and regulatory issues, and responsible gaming.

"Over the past two years, G2E’s conference has gained a reputation for providing unprecedented insight into the issues that matter for today’s gaming executive," said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. "G2E puts attendees in direct contact with the industry leaders who have helped build the industry, as well as the experts who are working to shape its future."

Fahrenkopf said this year’s conference program goes even further to ensure attendees receive the tools and insight they need to stay on the cutting edge of the increasingly competitive gaming marketplace.

Highlights of this year’s conference program include such topics as Future Shock: The Slot Floor of 2020; That’s the Ticket: How Coinless Play Transforms the Modern Casino; Saving the Tracks: Is Gaming the Answer?; Research and Treatment: International Responsible Gaming Efforts; Congressional Issues: Gaming on Capitol Hill; British Bets: Prospects for Gaming in the U.K.; Reviewing Regulations: Casino Executives and Regulators Respond; Working Wall Street: Gaming Analyst Roundtable; Homeland Security: What it Means to Gaming; Indian National Sovereignty and Tribal Government Gaming; and Regulation and Control: A U.S. Internet Gambling Commission?

As in past years, G2E’s conference speakers and panelists include experts from a variety of sectors related to the gaming industry.

For instance, Alma Angotti, senior enforcement counsel for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) at the U.S. Department of Treasury, will review the new rules requiring gaming establishments to report suspicious cash transactions. And Peter Dean, chairman of the Gaming Board for Great Britain, will discuss the possible relaxation of gaming regulations in the United Kingdom.

Other noteworthy conference speakers include Jerry Keller, vice president of security at Wynn Resorts and former sheriff of Clark County; Deron Marquez, chairman of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians; and Richard Thalheimer, professor at the University of Louisville School of Equine Studies.

"G2E brings together the world’s experts on the issues that are important for our business," said Jan Jones, senior vice president for communications and government relations for Harrah’s Entertainment and the former mayor of Las Vegas. "It’s the best opportunity of the year for information sharing."

Jones will moderate Research and Public Policy: Shaping the Political Battleground, a panel of government relations experts aimed at exploring how the gaming industry can develop leading-edge strategies to define the terms of and win today’s public debates.

In addition to a stellar cast of gaming industry speakers, three of the nation’s most renowned media personalities will lend their unique perspectives to the issues of the day.

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will, Emmy Award-winning talk-show host Larry King and noted MSNBC pollster Frank Luntz will be featured at three keynote addresses during the conference.

"G2E has always centered on the vibrant exchange of ideas and information among the leaders of the gaming industry, and this trio of media personalities will bring fresh perspective on the issues." Fahrenkopf said. "The media are a powerful force in shaping public opinion, and this year’s keynote events will offer all G2E attendees a unique opportunity to view our industry through the lenses of two veteran journalists and a nationally renowned pollster."

Perhaps the most anticipated panel will be the State of the Industry roundtable discussion, which will feature a panel of leading gaming industry executives, such as G. Thomas Baker, president and CEO of International Game Technology; Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.; Gary Loveman, president and CEO of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc.; and Ernie Stevens, chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association.

Larry King will lead the panelists in a lively discussion of the top issues facing the casino industry, including economic issues affecting the overall travel and tourism industry as well as the future and growth of gaming.

New to G2E this year is the Signature Series keynote address. MSNBC pollster Luntz will host the event on the final day of G2E. In a departure from the other keynote events, the Signature Series is designed to give attendees a look at gaming from the perspective of the general public and casino patrons.

While conference sessions will give G2E attendees the tools to navigate the complex operational challenges related to the expanding gaming industry, the G2E exhibit floor will introduce them to the latest products and trends that will shape the industr’s future.

Every year, the show introduces a wide variety of new products, from new games and accounting systems to data storage options and biological weapon detection systems.

The exhibit floor will be open every day of the conference, and GamingToday will give an in-depth preview at its special G2E editions, scheduled for Sept. 9 & 16.

G2E is the international gaming trade show and conference "by the industry and for the industry." Organized by the American Gaming Association (AGA) and Reed Exhibitions, G2E made its debut in fall 2001, defining itself as the pre-eminent show for the gaming-entertainment industry.

For more information about G2E or to register and enjoy discounts to the show and conference, visit www.globalgamingexpo.com.