G2E Cancelled Due to Covid-19
With no end in sight to Covid-19, several gaming-related organizations have joined the throng who have cancelled their expos and conventions. Chief among them: the American Gaming Association, which last week announced that G2E in Las Vegas would not take place as scheduled.
The American Gaming Association (AGA) last week announced the cancellation of this year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E), the industry’s largest annual trade show and convention, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the travel restrictions that resulted. The organizers plan to hold a series of virtual G2E events throughout 2020.
The event had been planned for October 5-8 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. The next G2E is now scheduled for October 4-7, 2021 at the same location.
AGA President and CEO Bill Miller commented, “In light of continued uncertainty around a viable marketplace at a physical G2E show, global travel restrictions, and currently unknown guidance on large public gatherings this fall, we have come to the unfortunate conclusion that we simply cannot hold an in-person G2E this year.”
He added, “Health and safety have always been our top priority and the uncertainty created by the ongoing pandemic makes this the prudent decision ahead of critical deadlines for exhibitors planning to participate.”
Miller said it was also a financial decision.
“The timing of this decision is intentional, as show exhibitors and attendees alike were facing critical, and in some instances costly, deadlines related to their participation,” he said. “I hope this helps to alleviate that pressure.
“The past few months have shuttered our properties, brought significant hardships for every aspect of our industry, and tested our resolve. At every step, we met those challenges with a level of responsibility that is in-character for our resilient industry.”
Hervé Sedky, president of event organizer Reed Exhibitions Americas, said, “We arrived at this decision after thoughtfully engaging with national, state, and local public health authorities, as well as exhibitors and buyers who have shared industry observations and priorities. Ultimately, it became clear that proceeding with an in-person gathering simply was not feasible.”
Other deciding factors may have been Nevada’s current ban on gatherings of more than 50 people; typically, nearly 30,000 people from all over the world attend G2E. And with travel restricted to and from Las Vegas (some 16 states now order vistors from Nevada to self-quarantine for 14 days), as well as international transportation disruptions, there were many reasons to make this decision. s
Several other gaming conferences have also been cancelled this year, including the National Indian Gaming Association conference in San Diego, ICE North America in New Orleans and the International Center for Responsible Gaming’s (ICRG) Conference on Gambling and Addiction, which normally takes place concurrently with the G2E. The ICRG conference has been “reimagined” and will be offered in five separate online seminars between July and October.
ICRG has announced that it will revamp its conference as a virtual event to “focus on conveying meaningful program elements online so the world’s network of clinical, research, and industry experts can continue to collaborate virtually,” according to the organization.
ICRG made its decision based on feedback from attendees. Board Chairman Alan M. Feldman stated, “The virtual conference will continue the ICRG’s tradition of connecting stakeholders with cutting-edge research on gambling and addiction.”
Also cancelled is the World Game Protection Conference (WGPC), which had been postponed from March to October in the hopes of being rescheduled during the calendar year. The annual conference draws hundreds of attendees from around the world to discuss the latest security and surveillance technology, the evolution of slot cheating and other security threats to the industry.
Last week, conference founder Willy Allison announced in an email to attendees that the event will be scrapped for this year, and return in 2021.
“The bottom line is we are in the middle of a global pandemic and it is not safe for people to gather inside in large groups,” said Allison, who has criticized the casino industry’s Covid-19 response in the past—particularly in not requiring masks at initial reopening. “I didn’t consult with health experts or government authorities. I just feel it’s the right thing to do until this thing blows over.”
In his email, Allison assailed the response to the virus in the U.S., where he blames non-compliance with health safeguards for the fact that the crisis likely will still be present in October.
“With a lack of a coordinated national plan, rising infection rates and the ‘gone-wild’ crowd emerging from hibernation with cocktails blazing, I don’t see things getting back to normal this year,” Allison said. “Even if a vaccine were discovered tomorrow, it would not be ready for the public before October.”