Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Being Social in the Gaming Industry

By Holly Wetzel, Vice President of Communications, American Gaming Association (AGA)

This past weekend, I took some time to check out the September issue of Fast Company magazine, which is all about social media— how businesses can leverage the technology to boost their brands, as well as the reality that there are still a lot of questions about just how to maximize benefits from the ever-expanding array of social platforms. Rarely do I read a magazine cover to cover, but this one had me hooked.

It got me thinking about how social media has transformed marketing and communication in the gaming industry. Ours has always been a service-oriented business, and social media helps take our customer relationships to the next level. It gives us a direct 24-7 connectionallowing us to promote our products, respond to feedback and solicit customer input in real time like never before. 

The promise of social media holds endless potential, but to make it work for us, we have to work at it. Customer expectations have risen right along with our new opportunities to reach them. Authenticity and responsiveness are keys to the success of any social media endeavor, as is providing something of value to our customers, whether that’s information, special offers or something else they can’t get anywhere else. Developing strong relationships through social media can turn good customers into a community of influential advocates for our brands.

At the AGA, we use social media to share industry news and accomplishments, promote our position on key issues, announce new resources and programs, and develop relationships with those who care about our business. Our social media team will be out in force at G2E, live-tweeting key conference sessions and posting photos on Facebook from various events. We’ll be featuring exclusive content from G2E via AGA Smartbrief, our daily e-mail news brief. And, we’ll be checking out G2E’s Social Media Bootcamp , which is sure to give us (and you!) even more ideas about how to successfully leverage the latest social media tools.

Every day I’m inspired by the creativity and insight on display through industry social media efforts, and it’s exciting to think about all the new places this technology has yet to take us. I look forward to seeing you at G2E!

For all the latest industry news at the show and beyond, be sure to follow the AGA on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Show Specials and New Products—the #1 Reason Attendees Visit G2E

By Tom Loughran, Industry Vice President

My teammates have all shared a lot of information about the up and coming G2E but I want to focus on a topic that I’m pushing hard on this year—show specials and new products. Attendee research has told us that the number one reason attendees are coming to G2E is to see new products and benefit from exclusive show specials/deals from exhibitors. That’s why I’m enthusiastic about ensuring that our team delivers strong on both fronts to ensure we meet our customers’ needs. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen to my video below to learn more about what we have in store.

Related links:
G2E 2012 Show Specials

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Call To Action

By Judy Patterson, Senior Vice President and Executive Director, American Gaming Association (AGA)

As we’re busy gearing up for the largest meeting of the gaming industry in the world, I want to take this opportunity to call the industry’s attention to a growing threat of which we all must be mindful in the weeks and months ahead.

The relatively new phenomenon known as Internet sweepstakes cafes is growing rapidly in various states. Proprietors claim their businesses don’t constitute gambling, but in reality these are the latest in a long history of attempts to pass off a gambling product as non-gambling while putting consumers and our industry’s reputation at risk.

Internet sweepstakes cafes exist in a legal gray area and undermine existing state gambling policies. And, whether intentionally or not, they have the real potential to cannibalize the market for existing state-sponsored and regulated gambling, including lotteries and tribal and commercial casinos. 

Bloomberg Business Week recently estimated that national revenue for the cafes exceeded $10 billion in 2011. In all, sweepstakes cafes likely exist in well over two dozen states. By and large, law enforcement, courts and legislatures have not yet adequately addressed the legality of Internet sweepstakes cafes. In the meantime, new sweepstakes cafes continue to pop up in new states and localities at alarming rates.

The AGA is taking a number of steps to address the growth of Internet sweepstakes cafes. We are publishing a detailed white paper on the topic that will soon be distributed to industry leaders and key decision makers across the country.

We also plan to work with our member companies and state associations to educate state lawmakers and other stakeholders about this issue. We will encourage states where internet sweepstakes cafes are currently present to outlaw them and states where they are not currently present to enact laws and regulations preventing them from opening.

I call on all those working in the gaming industry to get educated about Internet sweepstakes cafes and join our efforts to stem the growth of these unregulated establishments. They threaten our business, lack consumer protections and potentially damage our industry’s reputation for integrity and compliance that we have worked so hard to earn.  Be on the lookout for our white paper coming soon, and we look forward to keeping you abreast of our activities as this coordinated effort continues.

For more information or to get involved, contact me at

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Opportunity in the Midst of Change

By Mike Johnson, Director of Sales & Industry Development

Over the past years, we've seen many of our customers, colleagues, and friends battle through one of the toughest economic times in the recent history. Yet, that hasn’t deterred our industry from working hard and pushing the envelope. That also holds true for our G2E team and that’s why I’m proud to say G2E IS larger than its been since 2009! The casino entertainment business is rebounding in light of some exciting changes and innovations. Check out my video where I talk a bit about this year’s conference and how convergence is king.   Enjoy. 

Related links:  
G2E 2012 Conference Program

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Q&A with G2E Conference Advisory Board Member Jason Giles, Executive Director, National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA)

As a member of G2E’s Conference Advisory Board for the Indian Gaming Conference Track, what was the biggest trend you wanted to make sure was addressed in this year’s Indian Gaming Conference Track?

Clearly the internet gaming issue is front and center for Indian Country as we head to G2E this year. G2E does a good job of covering this topic so the Indian Gaming Conference Advisory Board wanted to ensure that the Tribal viewpoint is represented at these sessions.  However, we really felt that internet by itself does not fully capture all the technological advancements that are taking place in our industry. So we included within the internet topic other areas of technological change being brought forth by the digital era. This includes regulation and Class II gaming.  We wanted to make sure those are covered as well.

What are the top two sessions that you think are most critical for a tribal gaming casino exec to attend during the Indian Gaming Conference Track?

There are two panels we are excited about: “Preparing for State Gaming Market Changes: The Potential Loss of Exclusivity” and “Presidential Election 2012: Impact on Indian Country.” These two panels are important if you want to try and look into the near future for Indian Gaming. We have some excellent speakers on these panels who spend their time preparing for changes in the political landscape.  

What speaker are you most excited about that will be speaking at the Indian Gaming Conference Track? 

Well, aside from myself (just kidding), I am excited to hear from Kristi Jackson at Tribal Financial Advisors.  She will be heading up the “Preparing for State Gaming Market Changes: The Potential Loss of Exclusivity” panel and this is an area Tribes need to focus more attention on. States are looking for revenue since the recession began in 2008, and we are seeing more and more states legalize gaming. Tribal gaming enterprises are doing a great job of marketing and branding their name, but they must see the challenges coming down the road.  Kristi Jackson and her company are analyzing and preparing Tribal gaming operations for these challenges. 

Related links:
National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA)
G2E 2012 Conference Program

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NCRG Conference Will Explore the Latest Trends in Responsible Gaming and More

By Amy Martin, NCRG Communications and Outreach Manager

Right before G2E will gather the biggest and brightest members of the gaming industry under one roof, the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) will examine the latest research and resources about gambling disorders and responsible gaming at the 13th annual NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction. From September 30 to October 2, the NCRG Conference will co-locate with G2E, and it’s a prime time for members of the gaming industry, research and treatment communities to collaborate and discuss some of the emerging issues that we currently face when addressing gambling disorders and responsible gaming.

Titled “Exploring New Trends in Recovery, Research and Responsible Gaming,” the three-day event will include some nationally renowned speakers, including Dr. Thomas McLellan, CEO of the Treatment Research Institute and former science advisor and deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Dr. H. Westley Clark, director of SAMHSA’s Center of Substance Abuse within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

One session that we’re greatly looking forward to includes a roundtable discussion about regulating responsible gaming on the Internet. The panel will feature Mark Lipparelli, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board; Mitch Garber, CEO of Caesars Interactive Entertainment; Simo Dragicevic, CEO of Bet Buddy; and Clive Hawkswood, CEO of the Remote Gaming Association. We’re sure that this session will spark some intriguing conversations about the direction that responsible gaming programs need to take for online gamblers.

We’re also excited about the discussions that will arise from each keynote presentation. The NCRG Conference provides a unique opportunity for casino operators and regulators to understand the science behind the best practices of responsible gaming programs. These conversations don’t end at the NCRG Conference – they continue at G2E and throughout the rest of the year.

We hope you’ll join us at the NCRG Conference from September 30 to October 2, just a few days before G2E. With the 4-day or 5-day All Access Pass, you can attend both the NCRG Conference and G2E for a lower price. For more information, visit the G2E registration page at

Monday, August 13, 2012

We are Energized and Gaining Momentum

By Mike Carlucci, Director of Strategic Accounts

For anyone that has me as their sales rep on G2E, you know I’m enthusiastic about my work and delivering the best experience for my customers. This year, I have to say the energy and momentum I'm seeing on the show floor with exhibit sales and over-the-top ideas my customers have for their booths, have me more excited about G2E than ever before.

My team asked me to give a quick recap on what's going on with the show floor, check out my video clip below.

See you on the Strip.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Getting Ready for G2E’s Annual Ultra Lounge Uniform Fashion Show

By Kimberlie I. Leon, Director of Marketing

It's getting hot in here!

Everyone knows the most sizzling highlight of G2E each year is the annual Ultra Lounge Uniform Fashion Show sponsored by Cintas. There’s no better place to be than in a front row at this year’s fashion show where you’ll be mesmerized by some of the sexiest, barely-there uniforms from the hottest ultra lounges in Vegas and beyond. You just have to attend the fashion show once to become a loyal visitor each and every year—just ask my team mates at G2E—they wouldn’t dare miss it and they have the photos to prove it!

Right now my team and I are in the midst of working with Cintas to recruit clubs to be represented on the catwalk this year. If you want to put your club up to be considered for participating, email me for more information.

In the meantime, sit back, relax and check out last year’s show below—warning, this is for adult eyes only—this is our industry and Vegas at it’s best!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Casinos Nationwide Come Together to Spread the Word about Responsible Gaming

By Brian Lehman, AGA Communications Manager

Last week, the American Gaming Association (AGA) joined with the National Center for Responsible Gaming and casinos and gaming companies across the country to commemorate the 15th annual Responsible Gaming Education Week (RGEW).  Responsible gaming is an issue that the gaming industry thinks about every day, but RGEW gives us the chance to augment the work we do daily to educate our employees, patrons and the public about how to keep gaming fun.

This year’s RGEW theme, “All In for Responsible Gaming,” was an extension of the AGA’s 2012 “All In” campaign, which highlights the industry’s corporate social responsibility efforts, and focused on the fact that responsible gaming is not just an important issue for casinos, but the community as a whole.  Furthermore, with all of the time and resources that gaming companies devote to training employees about the issue, employees are often the industry’s best responsible gaming ambassadors among their friends and neighbors.The AGA also worked with the NCRG to release a new research-based guidebook for human resources and employee assistanceprofessionals that answers frequently asked questions about gambling disorders and responsible gaming and serves as a useful resource for employees looking for more information.

Responsible gaming also is a personal issue, and as a part of RGEW, the AGA is sponsoring a contest allowing employees to share with their colleagues, community and the entire world what responsible gaming means to them.  They can produce a short video, write an essay or design a poster and submit it to the AGA, with the winners being featured on the AGA website.  The deadline for entering is Aug. 13, and contest details and submission requirements are available on the AGA website
In addition to taking part in AGA and NCRG activities, casinos used RGEW as an opportunity to find creative ways to educate their employees, patrons and the public about responsible gaming. They came up with so many fantastic ideas that there are too many to name here, but we would like to thank them for their participation.

Responsible gaming doesn’t stop when RGEW is over; remember to keep it fun all year long!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Breaking into the Blogosphere

By Kimberlie I. Leon, Director of Marketing

As Director of Marketing for G2E, I’m excited to kick off the first post of our new blog and share some new things we’re doing with G2E social media.

When the G2E brand was established on social through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube a few years ago, we were jumping into unknown territory because we weren’t sure how the industry would respond.

Since then, we’ve learned many interesting things as a result of analyzing our efforts and talking to our customers about how you want to engage with us digitally.

You told us you’d like to receive information on social that has to do with new products, exhibitors, show updates, and trends. You also said you wanted to see more “fun” in our messaging. So, we’re refining our messaging to provide the most relevant content to you and will be weaving in pop culture and retro Vegas posts because we too love the vibrant entertainment side of our industry.  

You also told us you’d like to see a blog from G2E to stay up to date on what’s going on with the show and read about the industry. We’re pleased to respond by unveiling this new blog where you’ll read posts from the G2E and AGA teams about what’s going on in the conference and on the show floor, to everything the AGA is doing around women in gaming and responsible gaming. We’ll also feature new products from our G2E exhibitors, as well as guest industry bloggers who will talk about the trends.

We invite you to engage with us on all our social sharing platforms and look forward to them becoming a valuable resource for you around news and information from the G2E brand.

See you in Vegas soon—we’ve got one helluva a show planned for you!