In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I consider the real significance of this year’s Global Gaming Expo:
The casino industry isn’t known for being introspective; the focus is usually strictly on the bottom line and the here and now. But the annual Global Gaming Expo, held late last month at the Sands Expo Center, is the gambling business’ chance to do some soul-searching. This year, that meant finally accepting that the status quo is gone.
via Forward to the Future at G2E | Vegas Seven.
Every year there are some changes, and this is what I thought stood out this year.
This is probably the last literary spinoff from G2E: a piece in today’s Vegas Seven about the man behind the music in many Las Vegas casinos:
Here’s the funny thing about music in public places: If it’s working the way it should, you don’t even notice it on a conscious level. There’s just an extra spring in your step or, if you’re in a casino, pep in your poke as you hit the “bet again” button on your favorite slot machine. It’s the backbeat to your night out, or day at the spa, pushing you along without getting in your face. And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
via Music to Your Ears | Vegas Seven.
I’ve been interested in the art and science of casino music programming for a while now, so it was great to be able to talk to Allen Klevens and learn all about how it’s done.
You really notice when it’s done wrong. I remember walking through MGM a while back when “Gold Dust Woman” by Fleetwood Mac came on. It was a bit disquieting, because that’s the kind of song that makes you think, “what am I doing with my life and what am I doing here?” rather than “let’s party!”
And I liked getting the peek behind the curtain, with Klevens revealing the three top tracks for casinos and three that won’t work. I’ve been listening to Brian Eno’s “This” a lot since then–but not in a casino.
I wrote up some of my thoughts on the new tech stuff at G2E for the Las Vegas Business Press. Take a look:
The official theme of the Global Gaming Expo, held Oct. 3-6 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, was “innovation,”; but it could have been, more specifically, “convergence.”
As always, there were plenty of new products on display on the exhibit floor. International Game Technology alone demonstrated 400 new games for potential casino clients (and the occasional industry rival), and the other large manufacturers boasted similarly large offerings. But the real story was how the casino industry is converging, on several axes, with popular culture the latest technology, and, in the end, itself.
via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Annual gaming expo all about convergence.
I’m mulling a piece right now that will consider the consequences of all that new tech. How will casinos use it, and how should they use it?
It may be Thanksgiving, but it’s still Thursday, so a new Vegas Seven has hit the streets with its usual Green Felt Journal adorning the local news section. This week, I look at the mayhem that was the Global Gaming Expo, with a focus on a smaller exhibitor:
The exhibitors are a diverse lot, as casino suppliers and potential casino suppliers go. For every heavyweight such as Global Cash Access or International Game Technology with a massive spread on the expo floor and private areas for salespeople and buyers to work out deals, there are smaller, almost mom-and-pop operations. The developer of Die Rich Craps, Ken Coleman, is one of them, demoing the game himself in his booth.The big exhibitors might be the heart of G2E, but the one- and two-person setups valiantly selling everything from chip-cleaning machines to name badges might be its soul.
via Tales from the Global Gaming Expo | Vegas Seven.
This was a fun story to write. I didn’t want to just rehash the usual reportage about the slot giants or echo what was going on in the conference sessions, so I decided to look for a small booth that exemplified what the show is all about. After ten G2Es, I’ve got a good feel for that.
Just think about the hope and courage it takes to cram a booth into your luggage somewhere in Budapest and fly out to Las Vegas, with no guarantee of making a single sale. To me, that’s what the conference is all about.
And if you want a neat flash-based intro to Kabala 6 (which didn’t work so well on my laptop, but YMMV), check this out: http://www.numbersplay.com/kabala6/.
It’s a busy week, but I still had time for a Vegas Seven column about G2E moving:
Over the course of a week, Las Vegas hosts conventions and trade expos for industries from baking to sheet metal. So it’s not surprising that the world’s premier casino industry trade show, the Global Gaming Expo, is held here each fall. A recently announced change of venue for the convention highlights the important role the meeting plays in the national casino landscape.
via Gaming show finds a new home | Vegas Seven.
It’s a huge show, and I agree that the move will reinvigorate it. For now I’m going to enjoy G2E’s swansong at the LV Convention Center. Look for me to cover this in greater depth as we get there. I’m planning to pick out one, and perhaps two, stories to focus on, which will trade clarity on a single subject for a more comprehensive view. I figure that since the dailies will be doing the big picture stories, I can use my column to zero in on a single subject that might otherwise be neglected.
I’ve got a new column in the Las Vegas Business Press about how food and beverage offerings (well, mostly food) can help or hurt a casino:
Napoleon once said that an army marches on its stomach. The same is true for the masses of gamblers, conventioneers, and tourists who visit hotel-casinos. With a generally similar product offering, casinos can look to food as one of their most flexible — and important — branding options.
via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Fastest way into casinogoers consciousness may be affordable food.
I run through some of the history of casino dining (going from 1638 to 1992 in six very short paragraphs) and conclude with a little bit of philosophizing about the role of value.
If you want to see more about this, go to G2E and check out my panel on F&B as a marketing tool.
I’m still not where I want to be with the book review I’m working on, but here’s something I can share. I’m going to be moderating a panel at G2E about F&B as a marketing tool. Here is the info:
Thursday, November 19, 2009: 9:15 AM – 10:15 AM
Role: PANEL MODERATOR
Creating Identity: Using F&B as a Marketing Tool
The modern food and beverage portfolio creates more than just a tool to feed your hungry guests.
Learn why F&B directors should work closely with casino operations executives to maximize
everyone’s revenue potential. Experts will reveal effective ways to strategically couple your product
offerings. Whether it is innovative comp programs, unique marketing opportunities, or creating
casino F&B events featuring celebrity chef book signings or VIP dinners, a well-aligned F&B
strategy will be a value-added proposition for the casino.
If you’ve got questions you think I should ask the experts, email me or add them to the comments.
I’m guessing the audience will be mostly f&b directors, with a few other executives attending as well.
I’ve finally gotten official word today: I’m moderating a panel at this year’s Global Gaming Expo. Here’s the session:
Gaming Expansion: Push and Pull Factors in 2008 and Beyond
Tuesday, November 11, 9:15 AM-10:15 AM
In recent years, gaming expansion has been inconsistent, with dramatic victories in Pennsylvania and Kansas, partial success in Florida, and rejection in Rhode Island. This panel will examine the factors that drive gaming expansion for suppliers, operators and states. In addition to handicapping the chances of continuing expansion, attendees will hear several viewpoints on the ongoing phenomenon.
Should be fun. Optimally, I’d like to have someone on the panel who’s opposed–or at least bearish–on continued expansion, but I’m not sure that someone against gambling expansion would go to a gambling industry conference. Still, I’m looking forward to it, and I encourage you to attend, if you’re going to G2E.