What’s new, what’s coming and what is gaming betting on for Las Vegas' future?
Gaming, gambling, casinos, resorts, conventions—they remain the lifeblood of Nevada’s economy, the main source of tax revenue for our state.
So a convention that focuses on new technologies, philosophies and the future of gaming is of paramount importance.
And the full return of Global Gaming Expo, or G2E, this year was a welcome sight for those in the industry, and for the Las Vegas Strip.
So what’s new, what’s coming and what is gaming betting on for the future? Howard Stutz covers gaming for The Nevada Independent and joins State of Nevada host Joe Schoenmann to share the details.
This year, the convention saw about 25,000 attendees, fewer than 2019’s 27,000 –a sign that the convention industry is still working on getting people back to Las Vegas since the pandemic.
But for gaming, it’s been a good year-plus. Las Vegas casinos have had record revenue months.
“A couple of regional CEOs, they believe that the regional markets are still … there’s room to grow with the regional markers, the markets outside of Nevada.”
He said sports betting continues to be the “gorilla in the room,” with 31 other states having legalized sports bettings. But, “there’s a lot of optimism,” Stutz said.
On what buzzed this year
Scientific Games, now called Light & Wonder, sold off their lottery business and their sports betting management business. Aristocrat announced the deal earlier this year, … the only licensing deal with the NFL for a NFL-themed slot machine. And they had a prototype hidden, you had to be personally invited to go there. … It was behind this giant football helmet. There were actually representatives from the National Football League there, you know, attorneys, marketing people. It's just a prototype, it's going to come out next year, but there's buzz about a lot of the machines. Cashless gaming is still a huge topic … There was just a lot of buzz.
On responsible gaming
In his opening remarks, Bill Miller, the CEO of the American Gaming Association, said one of the three efforts they're going to be doing this year in the next 12 months is to try to modernize the responsible gaming platforms, and … cashless gaming, you know, people using mobile wallets on slot machines to gamble, that's part of that process. So I think there's gonna be you're gonna see more research. You see, you hear more about it. Alan Feldman, the former longtime spokesman with MGM Resorts, is very involved with responsible gaming for both the UNLV, still chairman of the big foundation that looks at research for responsible gaming. I think that's going to be an effort. I think more, we're going to hear about this year, not just a month or a week, I think it's going to be something that we're gonna see a lot more of.
On online gambling on Nevada
A year ago, at the Nevada Independent’s IndyFest, we had Bill Miller and Bill Hornbuckle, CEO of MGM Resorts on. I asked Bill Hornbuckle directly about internet gaming, Internet gaming, should we legalize it? And he said yes, that we should move beyond just poker and have online casino gambling in Nevada. He also agreed with a remote registration for sports betting but that's a whole different topic. … Boyd gaming operates online gaming, legal online gaming in Pennsylvania through the Valley Forge Casino, they have another in New Jersey and they operate it there. It's going to launch in Indiana. So it is a phenomenon that's gonna grow across the U.S. I don't know if it'll come here in Nevada. There's a lot of questions: Does it have to be approved again by the legislature? Or can the flip switch … by the Nevada Gaming Commission? A lot of questions about that. We're just gonna have to see where that goes. I just don't see it happening in Nevada anytime soon. It's also a very slow rollout in the U.S., despite all the buzz for it.
On casinos in Macau
Macau, for the most part right now, is dead. Macau tried to get reduced visa restrictions, you know, removing the visa restrictions for travelers coming in. China has a zero COVID policy, meaning if you've got one case of COVID, they shut down everything. That's what Macau has been suffering from. It's hard to get there. Singapore is open. There's other Asian gaming markets that are now open that the gamblers that would normally go to Macau are going to. I think it's a real challenge … the concessions, the gaming licenses are up for renewal this year. You have another entrant into the market now, Genting, which owns Resorts World, their six licenses, and now they're seven applicants. So does Genting steal one of the licenses that belong to one of the Nevada companies, either MGM, Sands? … There's a lot of questions about Macau, and I think Macau is going to have a very slow comeback.
Howard Stutz, gaming reporter, The Nevada Independent