Allie Barth, VP of Industry Relations with the American Gaming Association, and Korbi Carrison, Event Director for Global Gaming Expo at Reed Exhibitions. By Damien Connelly
As the AGA’s Allie Barth commented: “There are elements of push and pull around Global Gaming Expo (G2E). Attendees ask for specific topics to be covered (that’s the pull) and the AGA pushes select topics to our industry.
Sports betting remains a major industry trend in the U.S. There’s also innovation, technology and disruption. “The legalisation of sports betting in the U.S. has created the impetus for a dialogue around different payment options. FinTech (financial technology) is a trend we’re seeing a focus on. This is predominantly payment methods, which is something the AGA and our industry have been working on for some time. FinTech fits nicely under the headings this year’s G2E is focusing on, namely innovation, technology and disruption. We are seeing increased interest on FinTech from both the attendee and exhibitor sides.
The impetus for FinTech has really been the mobile rollout of sports betting, which is requiring different payment methods than have been customary for our casino gaming industry.
“The overturning of PASPA changed so many things in our industry in relation to sports betting. What’s interesting is the fast-pace with which partnerships have been developed in sports betting. We have somewhere over 50 partnerships between sports leagues and teams right now.
I think we’re at the point where how we work together is evolving.
“Responsible gaming is so important and is a core tenet for our industry. The AGA wants to make sure that as we are working with these new entrants to our gaming industry — who typically weren’t involved or who were previously prohibited from being involved — that any advertising and marketing is being conducted in a thoughtful and responsible way. We at the AGA have been working very closely with our member companies to develop a marketing code of conduct and advertising regulations so we as an industry are responsibly self-regulating. We are working with our members and with relevant parties to ensure that when a partnership deal is struck with a league or a team, they have a shared language to start from when it comes to their advertising and marketing partnership activities.
“As we start all of these new partnerships with leagues and teams and continue to rollout sports betting throughout the U.S., we really rely on the regulators who have been doing this properly for a long time here in Nevada, but also on those regulators who are early entrants. The AGA works closely with regulators to ensure enforcement and oversight are happening positively in a way that provides the appropriate consumer protections are in place and secures the integrity of the games.
“These are important issues. We live and breathe these in our industry, but it’s all new to leagues, teams, owners, partners and players. So we are having those conversations and making sure those from the sports betting industry side who are brokering partnership deals — which we agree should be happening through contract and through individual negotiations and discussions — are really starting from a shared understanding when it comes to responsible gaming, advertising and marketing. They’ll sort out the business deals individually, as each will. We view the role of the AGA to be the convener, connector and educator on the importance of all of the main issues with key stakeholders: Regulators, Gaming Industry, Leagues, Teams, Owners, Partners and Players.
Image: Damien Connelly, Korbi Carrison, Allie Barth
“Responsible Gaming has always been a priority for our industry and the AGA. We will never take our foot off the pedal when it comes to responsible gaming. We want customers to go in, have a good time and come back. If customers go in to a casino and they are having a negative experience, that return visit is less likely to happen. In such a customer service industry as the casino gaming industry, we really want to make sure it is a positive experience and that customers are playing within their means.
“When it comes to the opportunity, we have to leverage G2E to facilitate some of these priority issues — responsible gaming is absolutely at the top of our agenda. We are pleased to have the NCRG (National Center for Responsible Gaming) co-locate its conference here with G2E. That has been happening for a number of years now.
As Korbi Carrison noted, “As show organisers, Reed Exhibitions maintains a keen eye on both the gaming industry as well as the trade show industry. We look for ways we can bring different technologies and ideas to improve G2E.
“Our G2E show recently won two awards from the trade show industry, which is the first time our show has won such awards. G2E won ‘Best Overseas Extension of a Show’ for G2E Asia and we also won the ‘Do-Gooder’ award. Our partnership with the NCRG was specifically highlighted in conjunction with that award. Some of the statistics we have relating to that award are that since 2012 there have been donations made by attendees to G2E which total over $360,000 cash and closer to $700,000 in-kind that G2E has given to NCRG as support.
“NCRG co-locates their annual conference with us and we provide for them meeting rooms that have a lot of value. We also do webinars for them in the lead-up to their conference, help them organise their conference and provide the NCRG with our registration system. It has been a really great partnership for many years and this emphasises how top-of-mind responsible gaming is for us and for our industry.”
A valuable point Korbi Carrison highlighted is, “The figure we are particularly excited about is that we are about 10% ahead of where we were this time last year with key attendees. Key attendees are attendees that are casino operators who are identified as buyers. Those are the people our exhibitors really, really want to spend time with at the show.”
In summing up, Allie Barth remarked, “One of the messages that changed for G2E a few years ago was our focus on quality. Our focus is making sure that we are creating the right business relationships and exchanges at G2E. It is important the AGA maintains our role as the convener, connector and educator on all of the main issues facing our casino gaming industry with key stakeholders.
G2E is a major event for our industry and we look forward to seeing our industry in Las Vegas for G2E 2020.”
This interview was originally published in November 2019 in issue 134 Casino Life Magazine