In-person casino industry trade shows would remain a staple of the sector as the world emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to executives from casino technology provider Scientific Games Corp. They were speaking in the “SG Summit + Virtual Experience” – a two-day online conference to showcase the group’s gaming products and segments via discussion sessions and virtual tours.
In prior years, May was typically the month that the in-person Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia trade show was held in Macau.
G2E Asia’s co-organisers will hold an online event on May 25, and are pledged to hold an in-person event in August. Whether the latter will be possible in the current phase of the pandemic, is unclear.
The Scientific Games Summit + Virtual Experience runs online on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a panel session on design of electronic games; as well as sessions on table games; and enhancement of player experience via the use of casino-floor management systems.
At the SG Summit opening session’s question and answer segment on Tuesday, Ken Kolly, Scientific Games’ vice president and managing director for Asia, said that virtual trade events were in his view, “something that can last for a couple of years, but at some point we are going to want to be face-to-face again”.
He added regarding in-person trade events: “Whether it will be as big and as large and as bold as it has been in the past, remains to be seen… the expense of those things is enormous.”
However, virtual events such as SG Summit were an “exciting way to go,” said Mr Jolly, adding: “It’s different, I think people are really excited to come on board… how long [this sort of thing] will last, we’ll wait and see.”
Adrian Halpenny, a senior vice president at Scientific Games, noted: “This virtual format will stay part of our ‘suite’ in engaging customers.”
He added that in terms of in-person events, “in Asia it’s one key trade show where we get to connect with customers.” The online format “gives us another connection point,” he observed.
Nathan Drane, vice president for global sales games, suggested that not only do in-person trade shows provide a “deadline for research and development to deliver product, they are also a way to get R&D into the market”.
He added that trade shows represent a time when everyone is together, “all the customers are there, and we can go out and engage with you guys [casino operators], get that live feedback, we can review the competition; so they are incredibly important for product-management life cycle.”
Rob Bone, senior vice president for global systems and tables, also noted during the opening session of the SG Summit, that the group was ensuring that in Covid-19 hit India, where Scientific Games has a support team for its global operations, there would be continuity of support for the whole group, with assessment on that done currently week-by-week.
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