Global Gaming Expo 2016 Day 1 Recap

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The Power of Being Fearless: Frances Townsend 

Monday morning kicked off the highly anticipated Global Gaming Expo with The Power of Being Fearless, an inspiring keynote by notable Frances F. Townsend, former Homeland Security & Counterterrorism Advisor to the George W. Bush administration. Presented by Global Gaming Women, Townsend delivered a message of combating fear in career and life for women in the gaming industry. From her first day in the White House to her growth in leadership under Condoleezza Rice and George W. Bush, she discussed that the most important lessons she learned were by facing each new task with courage, passion and mentorship, and by stepping outside daily comfort zones. Currently serving on the Scientific Games' Board of Directors, she encouraged women to continuously serve others and go for higher positions and challenges in the gaming industry and beyond.

Is Your WiFi Secure?

This thought-provoking session provided vital information for IT, security and casino operators and had everyone in the room checking their Bluetooth and second-guessing their personal security. Experts Curtis Levinson, Director of Cyber Security for WhiteSand Gaming; Savario Scheri, CEO of WhiteSand Gaming; and Alan Tilles, Attorney at Shulman Rogers, kept the room transfixed while laying down hard facts on how easy it can be for malicious entities to access a casino's crucial information. It can be as simple as attaching an altered access point and battery pack under the ledge of a slot machine, where the "eye in the sky" surveillance would be unable to see. The panelists even pointed to the Bluetooth connection on cell phones, reminding how simple it is to connect maliciously to an employee's phone.

The most important aspect that needs to be guarded against these uncertain threats is not the casino's financial information, but the guests' personal data. Casinos have access to a myriad of vital information, including credit card numbers and even bank account numbers. Scheri proposes a solution to this would be to change the way casinos interact with guests and their information to potentially reduce the amount of risk.

Other things to keep in mind to protect not only a property but personal devices would be to conduct wireless site surveys, put a Written Internet Security Plan (WISP) in place, do an audit security and be aware of all the U.S. and International regulations regarding cyber security. 

Mobile Sports Betting

The sports betting industry has reached record revenue numbers every year for the past six years. At the marquee discussion of sports betting at G2E, ESPN's David Purdum stated that by far the main reason for the annual monetary increase in sports betting is its expansion in the mobile market - and the numbers from the operators confirmed that fact.  

William Hill Director of Business Development Dan Shapiro disclosed that mobile sports betting currently makes up more than 50 percent of their total business, compared to just 16 percent in 2012.

According to Ludovico Calvi, IGT Senior Vice President of Global Product Marketing Betting, a crucial reason why mobile betting has become a massive revenue generator is its capability to provide in-game wagers. The ability to place live bets during the game has significantly increased the frequency and engagement with the players.

The panel addressed how the innovation of mobile sports betting has deterred match fixing - crucial evidence against a major argument of opponents to sports betting. Calvi explored the different technology that's led to this development, including algorithms built into the mobile applications that can instantly detect suspicious activity, as well as geolocation that can pinpoint where these fraudulent bets are taking place. Shapiro detailed the amount of personal information needed to set up a mobile sports betting account, which has significantly discouraged criminal activity.

Sara Rayme, American Gaming Association (AGA) Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, informed the audience on the progress, challenges and opportunities to legalize sports betting nationwide. Rayme noted that while we are closer than we've ever been before, the United States is still at least three to five years away from legalized sports betting becoming a reality. In addition to working with Congress to progress the issue, AGA is speaking with sports leagues and players unions to draft legislation that would be beneficial to everyone.

Gathering Storm: Future of iGaming in the U.S.

Moderated by Lloyd Levenson, Chairman of the Casino and iGaming Law practice group, this panel of experts discussed the issues facing iGaming in the U.S. and the future of the industry. Panel members Susan Hensel, Director of Licensing for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board; Matthew Katz, CEO of CAMS, LLC; and Michael Choen, Caesars Interactive Entertainment began discussing the current legislation being considered by the Pennsylvania Senate as the state is poised to be the next to legalize internet gaming, along with daily fantasy sports and airport gaming. While Hensel was not 100% optimistic of House Bill 2150 being passed during the final nine session days, it is important legislation to spur momentum in the states where internet gaming remains illegal.

A common theme throughout the panel was the fact that the legislation affecting internet gaming tends to fall behind the advancements in the industry. Katz referred to recent legislation proposed in Massachusetts that looks beyond the current possibilities to encompass the potential beyond land-based casinos. This type of legislation, posed Katz, would allow states to be nimble and stay on top of regulating the latest trend before it becomes irrelevant.

According to the panel, the future of iGaming is tied to land-based casinos. As the facilities work to attract different types of players, they will look to different avenues to reach new markets. An example brought up was the Illinois Lottery going live online. Retailers were worried this would take away from their sales as people purchased tickets at home. However, studies conducted afterward showed the retailers were not affected as a brand new market emerged as first-time lottery players began purchasing tickets online while seasoned players continued to go to their favorite brick-and-mortar store.

Tribal Gaming

As Tribal gaming expands beyond a $29-billion industry, executives and stakeholders are finding new ways to attract and retain high-value patrons. Executive gaming leaders met to discuss the current market standing of Tribal gaming, while projecting future trends in the growing industry. The panel of experts examined the various growth opportunities, competitive strategies and the ability of Tribes to prosper through gaming and other forms of economic development. The rise of daily fantasy sports and suggestions for acclimating to online or social casinos were also widely debated, while panelists considered the popularity of eSports, which they agreed is one of the more ambiguous recent growth opportunities for Tribal gaming.

The panelists urged property owners and investors to discover emerging consumer markets across Indian Country by taking preemptive steps to understand their guests and creating pivotable business and customer retention plans based on tangible market data. Additionally, panelists considered effective ways for Tribal gaming organizations to reach the different types of millennial customers and gain their trust on a consumer level, which experts agreed is critical to the continued growth of Tribal gaming. Solutions include evaluating a property's opportunity for growth, integrating loyalty programming and engaging guests in new and exciting ways.

Power Panel: Up Close & Personal

Global Gaming Women's Power Panel: Up Close & Personal delivered an informative conversation between female leaders in the gaming industry to discuss different areas that empower career and life. Susan Cartwright, VP Marketing & Corporate Communication, opened the panel to speak on the power of negotiation. Cartwright says that many women may naturally avoid the process of negotiation due to conflict. Options to overcome this are to find collaborative ways to work with whom a professional is negotiating. Staci Alonso, VP of Innovation & Administration of Station Casinos, discussed the power of community and the importance of charitable giving in gaming and attracting millennial employees. Jean Venneman, Senior VP of Land Based Business of High 5 Games, revealed strategies to take advantage of the power of technology that include enhancing experiences by keeping technology succinct and providing a clear message. Lastly, Karla Perez, National Director of Gaming of Cintas, revealed the power of presentation and how clothes can correlate with professional performance. Perez listed four ways that presentation can positively affect a woman in gaming that include confidence, first impressions, influencing behavior and expressing personality. 

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