2014 Global Gaming Expo Focuses on New Slots and Old Issues
The 2014 Global Gaming Expo, otherwise known as G2E, was held in Las Vegas earlier this month. The expo is an annual trade show where members of the industry learn about new products and network with each other. Here are some of the products and topics that were highlighted at the G2E:
New Ellen DeGeneres Slot Machine
Ellen DeGeneres is an iconic American actress and comedienne who hosts a daily talk-variety television show, aptly titled The Ellen DeGeneres Show. At G2E, two new slot machines featuring the comedienne were unveiled by International Gaming Technology, or IGT. One of the slots is called “Ellen's Dance Party.” The other is called “12 Days of Giveaways.” The latter machine capitalizes on DeGeneres' annual, 12-day Christmastime giving spree, during which she has been known to give away gift cards, plane tickets, tablets, and much more.
New Wonder Woman Slot Machines
Actress Lynda Carter, now 63 years old, played the part of female super-heroine Wonder Woman in the 1970s. A new, 40-inch slot machine honoring that character was introduced at the G2E, and Carter was there to pose for pictures. The machine is produced by Bally and is endorsed by Carter, who up until this point has not engaged in much Wonder Woman self-promotion because she “wasn't inclined.” Carter still graces the stage, these days as a singer. She is scheduled to perform this Halloween at the Jazz at Lincoln Center venue.
Sons of Anarchy Game Introduced
A new slot modeled after the hit TV show Sons of Anarchy made its debut at G2E. Sons of Anarchy, which premiered in 2008, is a series about a man who struggles to find balance between his role as a father and his involvement with a motorcycle group. The show is currently in its last season, although it has been rumored that a prequel of the story could be made in the future.
In this slot game, players must accrue certain clusters of characters in order to win. The machine is produced by Aristocrat Technologies, manufacturer of the award-winning Walking Dead slot machine.
“Amazing” O Circle Slot Machine Draws Gamers In
Ortiz Gaming representatives introduced their newest gaming console, the O Circle. The 42-inch O Circle cabinet is curved in such a way that the console “wraps around the player,” using surround sound and intimate visuals to create an intense sensory experience for all who use it. Those who attended the expo touted the O Circle as an “amazing” product.
Video Poker with New Bonuses
Many casino patrons love video poker. At the expo, IGT introduced some new dice and wheel bonuses that will be attached to existing video poker games. Some of these bonuses have already been featured on IGT slots, such as the “Hot Roll” dice bonus. It is hoped that adding these bonuses to video poker will spice up the traditional game and keep patrons interested in the machines.
Profit Optimization Software
The Rainmaker Group is a gaming and hospitality-focused company that works to optimize the profits of hotels and casinos. At G2E, the company shared some of its newest, “customer-centric” software with members of the industry. The software is geared toward casinos that want to optimize profits via the well-researched business strategies. The Rainmaker Group has provided services to successful companies like Wynn Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment, and MGM Resorts.
Keynote Speaker Steve Wynn Minimizes Online Gambling
G2E kicked off with a keynote address delivered by casino mogul Steve Wynn. When asked for his opinion on the burgeoning online gaming industry, Wynn admitted that his advisers told him he would need to spend $30-40 million on the new industry. According to Wynn, the advisers warned him that if he didn't make the necessary investment in online gaming, he'd soon be “left behind" by the growing industry.
In his expo speech, Wynn made his opinion on the matter clear: The U.S. online gaming industry isn't the money-maker many industrialists hoped it would be. Furthermore, Wynn told his colleagues that “additional regulation or oversight for land-based gaming” could come as a result of the growing online gaming industry. For these reasons, Wynn said he opposes the expansion of online gaming in the states.
Wynn is not the only gambling magnate to oppose online gaming. Sheldon Adelson, founder of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, has vowed to use his accumulated wealth to fight the expansion of online betting in the U.S. Adelson cites moral and ethical reasons for his fight, saying that online gambling unfairly targets vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, and the poor (read the full article). Critics have questioned Adelson's true motives, asking why a man who spent his life building a gambling empire would suddenly be worried about hurting vulnerable individuals.
Social Gaming Generates Buzz
In addition to new slot machine models and the ongoing iGaming issue, guests at the G2E spent some time contemplating the concept of social gaming and how it affects the gambling industry. Union Gaming Group analyst Robert Shore pointed out that social gaming, over the past four years, has catapulted from a nonexistent entity to a $2 billion industry. For brick-and-mortar casino owners, Shore says that social gaming is about “brand extension” and is a way to “reconnect with lost customers.”
Not all social games are gambling-related, of course, but some of them are. By promoting gambling-themed games at social media sites like Facebook, casino operators can extend their influence and reach out to potential customers by enticing them with social media games.
G2E Coming to Asia in 2015
Las Vegas isn't the only site that hosts G2E conferences. Asia will host its own G2E in May of 2015 at the Venetian in Macau. Issues and products related to the Asian gaming industry will be explored there.