GameOn: AGS credited with putting on a conference that is ‘different, fun and engaging’ Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · June 13, 2019 at 12:31 am THACKERVILLE, Oklahoma – Following an hour-long talk on negotiation tactics by former FBI hostage negotiator and best-selling author Chris Voss, AGS CEO David Lopez humorously told the gathering at the gaming equipment provider’s fourth annual GameOn conference he may have made a mistake. “We just told our customers how to better negotiate with us,” Lopez said to the audience – which included a large number of AGS sales executives.Lopez laughed Wednesday about the faux pas. The unique GameOn conference offers three days of interaction and education about both the Las Vegas-based company and other aspects of the gaming industry. Game sales, while the ultimate goal down the road, are not the primary reason for GameOn. WinStar World Casino“It’s about learning through inspiration and thought leadership,” Lopez said, crediting Julia Boguslawski, AGS’s chief marketing officer and executive vice president of investor relations, with coming up with “something different, a customer event that is fun and engaging.” Boguslawski is on maternity leave and did not attend the conference at WinStar World, which is located in southern Oklahoma, roughly 55 miles north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In addition to panel discussions on key gaming industry issues – American Gaming Association Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Sara Slane led a talk on sports betting with Matt Davey, CEO of Tekkorp Capital – AGS executives showcased the latest company products, discussed gaming industry trends, and offered various networking events spread out over three days. On Wednesday evening, conference attendees were bused to The Star, the Dallas Cowboys’ headquarters and training facility in Frisco, Texas, where they toured the facility, ate dinner and took photos with two members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading Squad and five-time Super Bowl champion Charles Haley, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Lopez said GameOn is more intimate and can be more informative than large-scale gaming shows, such as the Global Gaming Expo and the National Indian Gaming Association conference. Without divulging figures, Lopez said the company is willing to foot the cost for the event because of the one-on-one time utilized in developing customer relationships. AGS CEO David Lopez vists with Pro Football Hall of Fame member Charles Haley (Photo by Howard Stutz)“We will always be at G2E and other shows, but this is more intimate and different,” he said. AGS vendors, including the company’s technology providers and some smaller slot machine developers – such as Next Gaming – helped sponsor GameOn. “I can see a time when we have representatives from rival gaming equipment companies attend and even speak at our event,” Lopez said. “The idea is to be informative.” Gaming consultant Buddy Frank, a CDC Gaming Reports contributor, said other companies host customer events, but none to the extent offered by AGS. More than 90 of the 140 attendees to this year’s GameOn are AGS customers – the executives and managers who decide what gaming products ultimately find their way to casino floors. The audience also includes nearly a dozen gaming analysts and investors who get information about AGS they don’t find in the typical financial road show. Macquarie Capital gaming analyst Chad Beynon, who spoke at last year’s GameOn at the Pechanga Casino in Southern California and is attending this week’s event, said personal touches – along with solid game performance – will ultimately lead to financial growth. “AGS’ energy, culture and give-back remain core to their relationships with customers,” Beynon said Wednesday. “These types of events are rare, these days, particularly for public companies.” The first GameOn took place at the Seminole Hard Rock in South Florida in 2016. AGS took the show to MGM National Harbor in Maryland in 2017 and to Pechanga last year. In March, the Chickasaw Nation – which operates WinStar World – and AGS renewed a 14-year contract. The tribe operates roughly 20,000 slot machines in total at its more than 20 casinos across Oklahoma. WinStar World Casino is the country’s largest casino, with almost 8,500 slot machines and roughly 600,000 square feet of gaming space. In September, WinStar World Casino and the Dallas Cowboys – one of the National Football League’s storied franchises – announced a first-of-its-kind partnership deal. WinStar World General Manager Jack Parkinson said Wednesday having GameOn at the property brought many first-time visitors to a casino that has been in the headlines of late both because of its size and the deal with the Cowboys. “People attending the conference were able to see AGS’s games out on the floor being played by our customers,” Parkinson said. “This is good for all of us.” Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.