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Gaming Companies Look Toward The Future At The Global Gaming Expo

(AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

The Global Gaming Expo is taking place this week.

It's sort of like a trade show for the gaming industry.

They are taking in the latest technology for slots machines and table games.

Meanwhile, gaming honchos will talk about what’s coming down the road for gaming.


Last year, skilled based games were supposed to be the wave of the future. Have they arrived yet?

I think it is, because on the gaming floor there are companies like Gamblit Gaming, GameCo, these smaller firms that are actually announcing they’ve reached agreements to test games in casinos. GameCo in Atlantic City I think just came out on Monday. And now, they have these big exhibits.

For Gamblet Gaming, they’re exhibiting two new games off of some downloaded games like “Into the Dead” and “Catapult Kings.” “Into the Dead” has been downloaded some 60 million times and now they’re premiering gamblized versions of these games all in an effort to attract a new crowd into the casino.

On efforts to attract Millennials but keep Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers:

There is an effort to attract them but there is also an effort to please Baby Boomers and the Gen-X crowd. You have the “Seinfeld” game coming out as just one example of the industry trying to maneuver into attracting a new generation into the casino while not losing the people who gamble.

Do those themed slot machines actually work?

Yeah, I think so. They feel comfortable with it. They like the sound, the music, whatever. The voice. The games are designed to attract you to put money in, we all know this. I think these games do. Wheel of Fortune is one of the most successful slot machines ever.

E-Sports is another area that looks like it is growing. E-Sports is where people play video games and other people watch. People are already betting on those matchups just like they do Sunday football games. Is that section of the industry going to keep increasing?

I think it is going to keep increasing. The idea is to bring all these different leagues under one roof and have a commissioner or league office that oversees E-sports. So you’re not having one contest between three people or two teams playing… “Call of Duty” and they want to make it like the NBA.

Downtown Grand has made a huge effort. Seth Schorr, who runs that casino-hotel, has made a huge effort to attract people with games where you can win prizes. They haven’t really gamblified it yet here but I’m sure that’s coming down. There’s another place on Fremont Street that is going to be opening up for E-sports.

It’s early. It’s early in the U.S. for these games and forming a relationship and really making sure there are legitimate ways to bet on these that people aren’t going to be taken advantage of.

What is the future of daily fantasy sports?

You have so many companies spending so much money to try to attract more players. That’s what you have to do.

Set aside U.S. Fantasy from Draft Kings and Fan Duel, those are different. U.S. Fantasy you’re betting with odds. It’s a pari-mutuel system like when you go to the race track you bet the favorite two-to-one… It’s a different form than Draft Kings or Fan Duel.

In terms of U.S. Fantasy, they’re looking to bring it to other states. I know they’ve looked to bring it to casinos in Pennsylvania. There are other states they could go into like New Jersey.

Fantasy sports, you have the people playing it. It’s here. I think the push now from AGA, or American Gaming Association, is to legalize sports betting.   

Is accepting the fact that gambling and sports go hand in hand something that’s getting discussed this week?

I think David Stern [former NBA commissioner] is here to announce his support for legalized sports betting, following the current commissioner Adam Silver’s opinion piece in the New York Times about a year ago. I think they’re going to come out and say, ‘look we need to do this.’

If you talk to the AGA, the line is ‘it’s a $150 billion in illegal betting,’ and they say that’s a conservative market. It’s an ongoing subject. They’re waiting for the election to be over and start again to see if they can overturn the federal ban on sports betting.

On the new type of machine that takes bets in different currencies:

The company’s name is JCM Global and they have a product called Fusion. It’s like a little part of an ATM that goes into the slot machine where you put your card in. Say you’re here from Germany and you have a Euro and you don’t want to change it out, or there’s no place to change it out. You can put it into the machine and the machine will allow you to bet in dollars. You can make a sports bet from there. So you don’t have to get up and go to the sports book and make a bet.

This is all about convenience. This is all about getting you to stay at that machine to play longer. If you hit a jackpot, you put your card in. It has all your personal information and it shoots out your IRS forms. It’s a little Big Brother-ish but this is the way that they’re going.

Is it a big deal to see non-gaming revenue as a focus of a seminar at this conference?

When I was at the East Coast Gaming Conference, it was a big topic there. You have a lot of companies realizing, ‘oh wait, we gotta upgrade this, because this is a revenue source.’ Are there the traditional slot parlors where people can just come in and play? Yes. But you see a lot of focus on new restaurants, new bars and it is important. Every year at G2E there is a huge area set off for the latest food. What’s available for to serve in your casino. It is important.  

Chris Sieroty, U.S. editor, Gambling Compliance

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.
Casey Morell is the coordinating producer of Nevada Public Radio's flagship broadcast State of Nevada and one of the station's midday newscast announcers. (He's also been interviewed by Jimmy Fallon, whatever that's worth.)