The Final Day of G2E Concludes with Magic Johnson

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Magic of Playing to Win: Featuring Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Legendary Basketball Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson greeted guests on Day 4 of G2E with an inspiring message on achieving success in any field. As chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, Johnson detailed how he transitioned his skills on the court into becoming a champion business mogul who has transformed industries such as esports, professional sports, entertainment and more. Johnson shared that keys to success include over-delivering to customers, prioritizing analytics to find trends and always keeping up with changes in gaming and regulations.

Maximize Brainomics: The Economic Gains from Advancing Innovative Thinking

Neuroscientist Dee O'Neill -- program manager for corporate SMART, Brain Performance Institute at the Center for Brain Health -- spoke with guests on how innovative thinking is pivotal for business success. O'Neill challenged the audience to think about creating personal and professional healthy brain habits, including exercise, nutrition, sleep, cognitive engagement and social engagement. The leader encouraged guests to observe three strategies: "Brainpower of Infinite," listening to others and incorporating their ideas; "Brainpower of Paradox," reflecting personal success and failures; and "Brainpower of the Unknown," cultivating curiosity and challenging complacency by asking questions. These suggestions can help to create a positive work environment.

The Expansion of Innovation

Dr. Mark Yoseloff, executive director of UNLV's Center for Gaming Innovation, sees a big problem with the current state of casinos: the industry has not created any new categories of gaming in 15 years. While the offerings surrounding casinos have evolved and attracted new customers, Yoseloff noted the casino floor itself is stuck in a standstill due to a complete lack of innovation, resulting in millions of Las Vegas visitors never gambling one penny. The gaming industry needs to engage the underserved gamer. Yoseloff pointed out that everyone plays games -- such as dominoes, backgammon, mahjong and more -- and the gaming industry can begin to move the needle once again by accommodating and monetizing these already popular categories. The address to dozens of spectators at G2E's Innovation Lab concluded that Las Vegas must challenge itself to innovate and patent so the city can solidify itself as the intellectual capital of the world for gaming.

Acquire, Retain, Engage, Repeat: New Techniques in Customer Loyalty 

Customer acquisition and retention were the hot topics at the educational session. Wide Awake CEO Valerie Glenn moderated the session, featuring panelists Karen Gray, director of casino marketing & product management for BCLC; Jennifer Weissman, Penn National Gaming CMO; and Luigi Mastropietro, Everi's vice president of relationship marketing. The panel took a deep dive into discovering what modern customers want and how to continue attracting them back to a business. Weissman pointed out that occasion-based marketing is typically the most successful when it comes to attracting new guests, such as 21st birthday parties and anniversaries. She noted that the more personalized the marketing campaign is, the more likely it is to create a memorable experience for customers. The panel also debated millennial marketing. Gray took the stance that millennials are only important as long as they have the propensity to gamble. Weissman countered this sentiment by noting that it's still crucial for companies to pay attention to millennial needs and wants from an employment standpoint. However, the entire panel agreed that non-gaming amenities are truly driving millennials to the casino floor today.

Skill-Based Gaming Media Panel

Representatives from Konami, Gamblit, GameCo, MGM Resorts International, Gaming Laboratories International and more gathered to discuss the advent of skill-based gaming on the casino floor. Many manufacturers are developing and showing skill-based games at G2E this year as casino floors begin to open up space to them. Panelists discussed the keys to making these games successful in attracting traditional gamers and onboarding new net-revenue casino players. First, the crowd needs to be educated how to play the games. Second, they need to represent the original games on which they're based. Third, fairness and balance need to be established to deter sharks and entice unskilled players. Finally, and most importantly, panelists agreed that interactive tutorials showing players how to engage and win will be key. This is all critical as panelists agreed that putting differential products on the floor brings in incremental revenue to casinos.

Trending Technology: AI, VR and New Developments in Casino Games Design

Earlier this afternoon Marcus Yoder, vice president of business development at Gamblit, led a conversation with Brian Montano, senior client services manager at BMM Testlabs, and Mateo Monteverdi, senior vice president of Global Product at IGT, on the future of augmented reality and virtual reality in casinos. They discussed how virtual reality and augmented reality are formats that will bring in a different group of consumers looking for experiences they couldn't previously find in casinos. The technology will allow casinos to grow and diversify. Smaller, shorter and less expensive experiences will be the most successful, they said.

Business of Sports Betting: Global Perspective on Integrity, Regulation and Opportunity

The session examined the potential opportunity a legal, regulated, nationwide sports-betting market represents for the country, in addition to what integrity structures and systems need to be put in place to make it effective. Following a discussion about New Jersey's Supreme Court Case regarding PASPA, panelists segued into their thoughts on regulation. Some agreed that Nevada's model presents a gold standard and a starting point for other states to model, while one panelist argued there should be federal centralization of regulatory laws to prevent discrepancies between jurisdictions. Overall, the sports betting market is worth $3 trillion, and only 10% is regulated. The potential for billions of dollars and thousands of jobs marks a huge opportunity in the industry with the legal regulation of sports betting.

Casino Entertainment Awards

It was a start-studded affair as entertainers from near and far gathered to celebrate the 5th Annual Casino Entertainment Awards on Wednesday evening. The show went on as guests came together to support the Las Vegas community with commemorative #VegasStrong pins. In addition, the legendary Carlos Santana surprised the crowd with a memorable serenade to honor Sunday's victims. The biggest winners of the night included Clint Homes, entertainer of the year, and The Isley Brothers, musical artist of the year. The night also honored comedian Rita Rudner, in addition to Mark Prows, senior vice president of entertainment operations for MGM Resorts International. Other attendees included The Village People, Kevin Burke, The Ink Spots, Murray Sawchuck and more.


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