GBGC’s Review of G2E 2011 in Las Vegas
By Tihana Jurican
The overall mood at this year’s G2E in Las Vegas was a little gloomy, as the fear of a double-dip recession loomed large. A number of sessions dealt with the connection between the general economy and gaming and the economic forecasts are not that encouraging. The path to a US recovery is likely to be lengthy and bumpy, with relatively high unemployment persisting for at least three years and the consumer confidence remaining at low levels.
Wandering the Strip Las Vegas as a destination seemed busy which is confirmed by visitation figures which are close to 2006/07 peak values. But it is evident that consumers are spending less than before. Cheaper restaurants are busier than the high-end ones, more people are playing the cent machines than the dollar ones and outlets are busier that the high-fashion shops in casino resorts.
The need to diversify the sources of income was evident both in keynote presentations and pre-conference sessions. MGM’ CEO Jim Murren talked about his company diversifying its portfolio with non-casino investments in China and the Middle East.
There was also an interesting session on emerging US jurisdictions, where everybody seemed to agree that Massachusetts will finally get casinos and probably one racino.
Sessions on Asia and Latin America were well attended as usual. One of the most interesting sessions was one that compared the markets in Macau and Singapore. South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam were dubbed “markets of the future” as they look to expand their casino markets.
The expo floor was busy with companies from all segments of the industry, from casino design and food and beverage to magazines and machine and table producers. GBGC tried out some interesting machine and table games, such as IGT’ Twillight zone 3D and Brill Entertainment’ Scossa, a novel game that combines craps and roulette.
The new venue at the Sands worked well and GBGC looks forward to next year’ event when a measure of optimism may have returned.