Global Gaming Expo 2017 Promises to Drive Industry ForwardBy Geoff Freeman, President, American Gaming AssociationSeptember 10, 2017 at 12:01 amThe casino gaming industry is in a state of growth and evolution, as a rebounding economy and new advancements in technology push our industry forward. Global Gaming Expo 2017 (G2E) will push the boundaries of the international gaming and hospitality trades even further when it returns to Las Vegas this October, delivering a flurry of cutting-edge gaming innovations and an army of esteemed experts.G2E 2017 will serve as a platform to prepare attendees for the rapidly growing and evolving casino gaming landscape – hitting on the industry’s hottest topics, including the legalization of sports betting, the evolution of game play and the integrated resort and casino floor of the future. Of all these topics, the one that’s driving the most buzz is the prospect of legalized sports betting across the country.On the heels of the United States Supreme Court’s decision to hear New Jersey’s appeal to the federal sports betting ban, G2E will again explore the benefits of a legal, regulated sports betting market. In June, AGA launched the American Sports Betting Coalition, bringing together law enforcement, states’ rights advocates, mayors, and others in support of a modern approach to sports betting that allows states to decide whether it is right for them.With an estimated $150 billion wagered illegally each year in the United States, attendees will get to hear how a legal, regulated market will open the door for new revenue opportunities for local communities across the country. Since the beginning of the year, eight states have introduced legislation to allow sports betting once the federal ban is lifted. These conversations and more will be at the forefront of G2E in 2017, as industry experts and leading voices within the professional sports community debate the benefits of legalized sports betting.Sports betting’s popularity has also given way to the rise of another emerging trend within our industry: esports. At this year’s G2E, attendees will be transported to the casino floor of the future, where they can explore what an esports arena will look like and what’s currently driving customer engagement. They’ll also be able to discover the proper methods of how to build a seamless customer experience.Whether esports becomes a widespread gambling product or not, it’s argued to be a key component of the integrated resort of the future. However, one area that is already a part of the integrated resort experience and the casino floor of the future is virtual reality and mobile technology. Casino games have evolved from their original designs to offer attractive new games to the industry’s next generation of players. Virtual reality and skill-based games offer new, dynamic ways for players to interact with games and compete against one another. In addition, emerging technology trends to make the customer experience more enjoyable and seamless will also be on display at this year’s show.Further enhancements to the slot machines and table games that have been a driving force behind our industry’s growth will also be on display this year. Attendees will see new games from some of the world’s most recognizable franchises, as gaming suppliers and equipment manufactures continue to drive innovation that appeals to a broad and ever-changing customer base.G2E 2017 promises to challenge our industry to think differently about the future. This year’s show will advance our industry by showcasing legalized sports betting, esports, skill-based gaming and other emerging trends that will grow casino gaming’s footprint from a $240 billion industry today to a $300 billion industry tomorrow. I look forward to seeing you in October.