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Sunday, September 18, 2005

opportunilty for all

This week the Global Gaming Expo ("G2E") is taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, with more than 25,000 industry professionals slated to attend. The annual G2E is a week-long event dedicated to bringing together the entire gaming industry. As this year's G2E takes shape, the United States gaming industry is also focused on how to rebuild the Gulf Coast casino market that was so badly impacted by Hurricane Katrina. In this regard, the American Gaming Association and many casino operators and vendors to the region have established relief funds to assist Hurricane Katrina victims. Individuals interested in contributing to the American Gaming Association Relief Fund can do so by visiting its website at www.americangaming.org.

This is the 5th anniversary of the G2E, which is organized by the American Gaming Association and Reed Exhibitions. In five short years the G2E has become the preeminent tradeshow and conference for the gaming-entertainment industry. Last year's G2E saw a 10 percent increase in conference participants over the 2003 figures. International attendance at the 2004 G2E experienced a jump of 29 percent over 2003 with representatives attending from 107 different countries.

The 2005 G2E began on Monday, September 12 with the Training and Development Institute. This Institute was developed to increase the number of educational programs offered in connection with the G2E. There were 35 one-hour programs that included a wide variety of topics such as: slot machine development, trends in guest service, developing jurisdictions, managing healthcare costs, and many others.

On Tuesday, the G2E officially started with additional conferences and the opening of the Exhibit Hall which included 700 leading gaming industry vendors taking up 283,000 square feet of exhibit space. The exhibitors at the conference showcase the latest in table games and slot machines, but also include industry-service vendors such as: carpet suppliers, accounting firms, colleges, and security providers. Gaming industry vendors are thus given the opportunity to showcase their products and services to casino executives, and to each other.

On Wednesday the conference will hold over 50 additional educational programs and the exhibitors will continue to network with potential customers. Also on Wednesday, the G2E will hold a Signature Series panel entitled "State of the States: Good News and How to Use It." This program will include a presentation by Peter Hart, director of Peter D. Hart Research Associates. Mr. Hart will discuss the findings of the American Gaming Association's annual "State of the States" survey, explain the "facts behind the facts," and share his predictions for the future. This survey will certainly be the subject of a future column.

The conference and exhibit hall conclude on Thursday. One of the anticipated programs will include leading gaming industry suppliers who will explore how they can gain competitive advantages and reward their shareholders in a panel entitled "Manufacturers CEO Roundtable." The moderator for this panel is Frank Fantini, editor and publisher of Gaming Morning Report, with panelists T. J. Matthews, COO of IGT, and Mark Yoseloff, chairman and CEO of Shuffle Master Gaming.

For people interested in expanding their knowledge of the gaming industry, the G2E is a must-attend event. The conference organizers have once again pulled out all the stops and made the 2005 G2E a truly spectacular show. It is exciting to listen to industry experts discuss the trends of the ever changing and evolving gaming industry. While it is heartbreaking to hear of the disruption and damage experienced in the Gulf Coast Region, the support that the casino operators and suppliers to the region have committed is truly amazing and sets a bench mark for other industries in the affected area to seek to achieve.