While the kickoff day of the 2015 Global Gaming Expo was filled with conferences, the second day offered more of a variety. The Expo officially opened to offer attendees the chance to peruse the Sands Expo Convention Center floor and the offerings of vendors as far as the eye could see.
The first thing on the agenda for Tuesday was the State of Gaming Address from Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA). He spoke about the state of the gaming industry in America, noting that Moody recently raised its outlook on various markets and the fact that seven of the eight operators in downsized Atlantic City are now profitable. There was a focus on the four AGA initiatives, including the 2015 Bank Secrecy Act Conference held in June and the “Play It Safe” program to stop illegal gambling.
Jeffrey Ma followed with his keynote speech. The founder of the famous MIT blackjack team is also a well-known business strategist and data analysis expert, and his speech imparted many of the lessons he learned along the way. He discussed the need to embrace failure, make objective and well-investigated decisions, and keeping emotion out of that decision-making process. With the interjection of celebrity stories and blackjack analogies, attendees were entertained and informed.
There was also a charity tournament hosted by Everi Holdings to benefit charities like the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Animal Foundation. And Everi made a special $40K donation to Save a Warrior, a foundation supporting veterans and military members with PTSD.
The festivities were well-attended, and some of the celebrities who participated included Las Vegas performers like George Wallace and Carrot Top, as well as Robin Leach and many others. Approximately $80K was donated to the charities in total.
Sports Betting and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)
A number of the seminars on the agenda for Tuesday focused on sports betting and the new eSports and fantasy sports trends in the gaming industry.
One of the main topics covered throughout the day was the ability and future of casinos to work with online sites for social gaming, online casinos and poker, and lottery and sports offerings. Opportunities abound to connect those various factions, use them to build player loyalty, and use numerous forms of technology to create integrated resort experiences.
There was also an important discussion about regulations pertaining to sports betting and daily fantasy sports in the United States. Most laws on the state and federal level remain blurry about the new eSports industry, but that may change and open discussions with lawmakers on every level with regard to updating the laws to accommodate DFS. Speculation abounded about the future of such legislation, especially with consideration of the astounding number of players already participating in said games.
Some of the biggest names in sports betting and daily fantasy sports were on hand for the discussions, especially the afternoon session that examined whether these two entities were predominantly business threats or opportunities.
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins was on that particular panel, along with Chris Sheffield of Penn National Gaming and Jeff Burge of CG Technology. They discussed the fact that the crossover audience between sports betting and DFS is less than 15 percent, as well as the small percentage of sports bettors who actually do that betting in live sportsbooks. Rather, the mobile part of the industry is integral, and Nevada has led the way in the adoption of mobile sports betting as player alternatives.
There were some seminars that focused on Internet gambling, though not as many as the previous day. There was a look at grey markets in the morning session, which included an examination of offshore online gaming sites that take advantage of ambiguous regulations and the future of those companies.
An afternoon discussion offered the opportunity for open talks about the global view of online gambling. The recent developments in the UK with the new point-of-consumption tax and highly regulated market were of particular interest, as well as the struggles of Canadian provinces to regulate and create laws regarding online gambling there.
Asia was also on the table, as regulations have increased there and had a somewhat negative effect on places like Macau, which focuses on live gaming. The evolution of online gaming laws and regulations around the world were of particular interest to live and online executives, as their futures will be dictated as such.