Fall Is Here and G2E 2017 Is Just Around the CornerBy Ken Adams, CDC Gaming ReportsSeptember 27, 2017 at 8:31 amFor young people just starting out in gaming, eager to learn all they can about casinos and casino gaming and for experienced executives who want to catch up with friends and see the latest slot machines, Las Vegas is the place to be in the fall. Every autumn industry leaders and practitioners convene at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E). At G2E, the latest technologies and products are on display and the issues currently affecting gaming are discussed and debated. This year’s event will be held on October 3rd through October 5th.G2E is descended from a noble line of gaming conferences. Annual gatherings of casino executives, regulators, accountants and attorneys began in 1979 with the Laventhol & Horwath Annual Gaming Conference. L & W was a national accounting firm with several casino clients. The casino industry was still in an immature state and the firm felt it would benefit from exposure to leading experts in the fields of finance, accounting, management and law. Those conferences were followed in 1986 by the World Gaming Congress and Expo. Since 2001, G2E has been the gathering place of gaming, replacing the other two, while building on their legacy. The publication Exhibitor, named G2E one of the top and fastest growing trade shows in the country. In 2016 over 25,000 people attended, there were 600 exhibitors and 100 conference sessions.G2E is a far cry from its ancient ancestor, Laventhol and Horwath. In 1980, L & H was proud to have attracted 200 people. There were no slot machines available or products on display at those meetings, no lunches, dinners or late night parties. But there was always a very distinguished list of speakers bringing their unique perspective and knowledge to the attendees. For me as a newly minted casino executive those conferences were heady times indeed. I was privileged to see and hear the leaders in the casino industry and experts in law, accounting, finance and regulation. The four Laventhol & Horwath conference I attended were essential to my understanding of the industry and the issues that affected our business. They exposed me to people and ideas from a world much larger than the one I inhabited in Reno, Nevada, although at the time Reno was the third largest casino market in the country after Las Vegas and Atlantic City.The addition of the exposition and trade show made a major change in those annual gatherings. The number of people who attended began to increase significantly year by year, going from a few hundred to many thousands of interested people. At the time of the addition of a trade show to the conference, I worked at the Comstock Hotel and Casino in Reno. The Comstock was small potatoes compared to most casino companies, but still we took a team of eight to ten people to the conferences where the sessions were divided up among team members to avoid missing something important. The conferences were in the morning. In the afternoons the team walked the floor of the exhibit, eagerly looking at all the slot machines, new table game ideas and everything else on display. Each person carried a bag filled with brochures, just as our heads were being filled with new ideas.The educational sessions and the displays were only part of the reason we were in Las Vegas. From the time the show closed at five in the afternoon until we were too exhausted to walk another step we went from casino to casino and toured each property. We tried to soak up everything in Las Vegas in three or four days. Las Vegas has always led the gaming industry, the newest and best ideas were there for us to study and study them we did. When we got back home, we tried to digest everything we had seen and put as many of those new ideas and products as we could to good use on our floor. In a strategic sense those trips were more important in the planning process than the week spent every year doing an annual budget. Budgeting was always a struggle and boring, but those trips to Vegas were exciting. No one wanted to do budgets, but everyone wanted to go to Las Vegas.In 1990, I left the Comstock and began consulting, but I did not stop going to the annual show each year. My role changed several times in the next two decades. I was a vendor trying to sell the Nevada Gaming Almanac, a consultant to several slot machine companies and for the last few years, I have been an observer writing about my experiences for CDC. This is the fifteenth year that CDC has distributed my Adams Daily Report. And for most of those years I have been at G2E with the CDC team. This year I am staying in Reno and acting as support for the 16-member CDC team which will be producing a daily news and commentary publication from the floor of G2E.I will miss the excitement, the new technology and catching up with old friends, but will have enough to do in Reno to keep me busy. G2E and its predecessors have been the most important opportunities I have had in my career to study the gaming industry. I have heard all of the major figures in gaming speak over the years and learned far more from that experience than I could ever have learned staying home. The slot machines on the expo floor have been just as influential for me; before those shows the slot machine companies held small private showings that were more about food and drink than slot machines. But today a prospective slot machine buyer can walk from booth to booth comparing products and meet other operators and discuss individual experiences with particular games or companies. Just as it was for me in the 1980s, Las Vegas and G2E is the place to be for executives catching up on the developments in this very dynamic industry.