G2E 2017 Day 3 Recap

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Keynote Presentation from Dave & Buster's Entertainment CEO, Stephen King

Presented by Scientific Games

In an on-stage interview with radio and TV personality Carol Roth, Stephen King shared the details behind Dave & Buster's successful brand transition into a destination to eat, drink, play and watch sports. Dave & Buster's success story serves as a model for casinos and suppliers to innovate and think differently as they expand into the integrated resort experience business. A common theme throughout King's presentation was the importance of content. According to King, guests - both at Dave & Buster's and casinos - are looking for experiences they can't find at home, such as new, unique and proprietary content. Casual experiences and content are being introduced to appeal to the Generation Z audience who, according to research done by Dave & Buster's, is more chill than its older, millennial counterparts. In conclusion, King noted investing in new content - although it may not seem to have the highest return - is critically important to a brand's success.

Hosting a Successful Live Esports Event: The Height of Gaming

Integrating esports into casino programming can be a huge win for operators, but creating a truly authentic and seamless experience that appeals to the esports community can be a challenge. Panelists Sid Greenfeig, VP of arena booking for MGM Resorts International; Hai Ng, co-founder of Spawn Point; and Dan Kelly and Carson Knuth from Unikrn joined moderator Will Green from the American Gaming Association. They discussed how to measure success, what factors to consider and the background information attendees need to understand to host a successful event. To make sure operators are attracting the correct audience, they should understand the term "esports" serves as a collective noun with multiple game titles, just like the term "sports" encompasses hockey, football, soccer, etc. Each sport and each video game title has its own fan base and its own personality, preferences and culture. Not only does this apply to the players, but this is an important consideration for spectators. In terms of property benefit, tournament spectators are prime candidates for monetary conversion through food and beverage and room sales. Smooth tournament operation, exciting game play and off-floor activities help engage these spectators and keep them on property. All panelists agreed it is necessary to work with an experienced and knowledgeable tournament operations group to assist with all aspects of planning, from employee training to space dressing to impactful advertising. Every property has the potential to have something special in the esports space; it just depends on whether it is dedicated to putting in the effort.

The 21st-Century Casino: Skill-Based Gaming Innovations

The panel, moderated by Chris Grove, explored what's happening with skill-based games right now on the casino floor, challenges the vertical faces and what can be expected in the future. To kick off the session, Grove asked panelists Darion Lowenstein, CMO of Gamblit; Blaine Graboyes, CEO of GameCo Inc.; and Bryan Kelly, SVP for Scientific Games whether the term "skill-based games" still fits for the sector. Suggested alternatives included "video-game gambling" to "skill-influenced gaming," but all agreed the general consumer may not be as familiar with what the term entails. To combat this and any other sense of insecurity players may feel before playing these games, the companies represented have utilized recognizable brands such as Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Terminator 2. These widely known intellectual properties also help players understand how to play the games, as the panelists found that a simple approach to gameplay was the best practice to attract the varied types of people on the casino floor. All panelists agreed skill-based games are an attractive way to bring additional revenue to properties through consumers who would not have otherwise stepped foot in the casino, even if the machines did not reach the house average income. Because of this, skill-based games may serve as the cornerstone for a new section of future casino floors geared toward gamers with esports offerings, entertainment and even traditional casino games.

Innovation Lab: Slot Collector

Dr. Mark Yoseloff welcomed guests to the AGA Innovation Lab, where UNLV students Evan Thomas and Troy Pettie discussed the rising popularity of skill-based gaming and the defining qualities of the gaming sector, in addition to introducing their newest concept, Slot Collector. Thomas and Pettie created Guru Gaming during their senior year and have worked together to develop games that combine both features of skilled and risk choices. With help from AGA, the students are able to create new and exciting entertainment platforms, hone their entrepreneurial spirit with the guidance of industry professionals and develop and commercialize their innovative ideas.

Everi's 4th Annual TournEvent® for Charities

In an exciting battle royale, Las Vegas celebrities came together for a cause at Everi's annual charity slot TournEvent®. Competing in a skill-based game tied to the popular "Fruit Ninja" franchise, celebrities tested their skills to donate $40,000 to local charities across Nevada. Additionally, Everi pledged $20,000 to the National Compassion Fund for Las Vegas. Professional BMX rider Ricardo Laguna claimed the championship and donated $10,000 to Nevada SCPA. Other participants included entertainers Penn & Teller, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Absinthe Vegas' The Gazillionaire, STK Chef Steven Hopcraft, Magic Mike Live's Lyndsay Hailey and many more.

Trends in Interactive Gaming

Chris Bonini, vice president of interactive products at IGT, presented the upcoming trends in interactive gaming that leaders should consider in hospitality and beyond. Boni highlighted four major trends including attracting millennials; knowledge of new technology such as skill-based gaming and virtual reality; increasing land-based casinos' commitment to a unified loyalty program; and the rise in entertainment-focused gaming content. These trends will continue to merge gaming and social opportunities.

Color-Changing Gaming Objects

Associate Director of UNLV's Center for Gaming Innovation Dr. Dan Sahl demonstrated his color-changing gaming objects to a crowded show floor at G2E. Dr. Sahl's innovation unlocks a range of new bets and experiences for casino game players by adding an element of color into objects used for traditional games like craps and the Big 6 wheel. As the program's first patent-protected concept, these color-changing objects add degrees of freedom to the game, taking odds from 40:1 to 1000:1. It radically changes the gaming experience and makes it more appealing and fun for players.

Tribal Economic Diversification

In a seminar moderated by founder & principal of KlasRobinson Q.E.D., James Klas, tribal gaming leaders welcomed guests and discussed the ways in which a tribe can successfully diversify its casino offerings and embrace the integrated resort model. The panelists who joined Klas included Kristi Jackson, chairman for TFA Capital Partners; Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, owner of Red-Horse Financial Group; and Valerie Spicer, founding partner - Trilogy Group. These industry experts suggested casino developers spend time evaluating non-gaming attractions and decide which ones are most likely to bring the biggest return

Learning from the Lotto: How  Gaming Can Benefit a Shared Union

Top lottery leaders Andrew Crowe, VP of market development, lotteries at Vantiv Entertainment Solutions; Terry Pretesta, executive director of Kansas Lottery; and Scott Bowen, former director of Michigan Lottery sat with guests to discuss how the lotto and casino industries can align. The experts concluded that, although this partnership could provide obstacles such as politics or private company ownership, each industry will benefit from efficient technology and millennial marketing that will allow all parties to thrive.

Standing Out from the Crowd: Differentiating Your Customer Experience

With a panel consisting of developers, operators and suppliers, this workshop touched on the three main components that make up the hospitality industry to illustrate how they all come together to deliver authentic and unique customer experiences. The main topic focused on how to bring a vision into reality by understanding who the customer is and what he wants. By knowing what customers want and knowing what competitors are offering, businesses can find opportunities to craft one-of-a-kind experiences that will leave lasting impressions on their guests. At the end, the panelists agreed that the secret sauce to creating truly differentiating experiences isn't always about building new buildings or developing new projects, but rather using storytelling to create an emotional connection with guests. 

Cash Access: The Art and Science of Data to Fuel Marketing

In a $70-billion U.S. gaming market with $35 billion being dispensed on casino floors by cash-access providers, this workshop explored how new gaming metrics and data can track a player's cash journey to enhance the customer experience and boost marketing campaigns. Timothy Richards,  senior vice president of payments innovation at Everi, expressed the importance of how fees between cash-access transactions influence a player's decision in continuing to play on the casino floor. Chief Data Scientist and General Manager of Gaming & Strategy at VizExplorer Software Dr. Ralph Thomas demonstrated how to conduct direct in-casino test and control methods to track a player's cash journey with the use of K-Means Clustering. Through his experiment, he found that casinos can better attract and retain non-loyal players by stripping conventional programming and replacing them with earned play.

Cintas Fashion Show

Known for designing high-end staff uniforms, Cintas welcomed G2E guests to its 2017 Ultra-Lounge Fashion Show preview, where the company showcased new casino employee apparel offerings. The show included nine separate collections, with highly detailed pieces ranging from concierge uniforms to pool staff swimwear. Combining style with function and comfort, Cintas designs with the intention of bringing distinct energy to casinos through stylish fashion. 

Business/Financial News

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