Despite the worst mass shooting in modern American history, the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) went on, along with several other Las Vegas events.
The G2E, held at the Sands exhibition centre, commenced on October 3 with plenty of new product launches to coincide with gambling industry panels.
But the event, which is run by the American Gaming Association (AGA) and attracts around 26,000 people each year, didn’t ignore the horrific incident which occurred 36 hours earlier.
Prior to the gambling exhibition, the CEO of the AGA, Geoff Freeman, released a statement on the G2E website, stating it was “closely monitoring” the situation following the horrific mass shooting where 64-year-old Stephen Paddock killed 58 and injured more than 500 people at the Route 91 festival.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those that were affected, and with the people of Las Vegas and Nevada,” the statement says.
“The gaming industry is a tight-knit community and Las Vegas is the beating heart of our operations.
“The AGA and Reed Exhibitions (G2E partner) will offer our full assistance as the city recovers, and will honour the victims of this tragic event.”
The AGA also announced it is making a $USD100,000 contribution to The Las Vegas Victims’ Fund to help support those affected.
The incident didn’t deter gambling enthusiasts though, with many turning up to see the debut games, such as the new slot machine based on HBO’s Westworld, and unique innovations for land-based casinos around the world, like a cigarette smoke and odour remediation machine.
However, the former Boston police commissioner, Ed Davis, spoke to the uneasy crowd, instead of Mr Freeman who usually gives a 15-minute industry address. A “Pray for Las Vegas” sign joined the bright LED advertisements directing people to booths.
Mr Davis, who was in charge during the Boston Marathon bombing, said the Vegas shooting had a lot in common with that incident.
“What struck me was the fear and chaos, the way people were running away and didn’t know where the threat was,” Davis said.
“It’s exactly what we dealt with in Boston. People just dropped their things and ran, and then all of those things they dropped had to be cleared by bomb squads because nobody knew what might be there.”
Following the talk, Mr Freeman appeared alongside a set of industry leaders, who praised the first responders during the incident and offered their condolences to the victims.
Despite several plain-clothed security guards walking around the event, as well as a number to text if you noticed something suspicious, not everyone felt comfortable in being at the G2E.
“It is hard to be here since was it only Sunday night,” president of Steelman Partners, Ethan Nelson, told the New York magazine.
“It does feel strange.”
Still, the show went on and panels dedicated to American online casino gambling, sports betting, esports, and a range of other topics took place.
Asia Gambling Brief Managing Director, Rosalind Wade, spoke about online casino gambling in the Philippines, stating that PAGCOR has capped the number of licenses to 50 and several are coming up for renewal.
She told Calvin Ayre that online casino payment methods in Asia are a big issue since they don’t have the same options as Europe does.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) discussed the legalisation of marijuana in the state, with the regulator maintaining its position that federal law, which bans the drug, should be adhered to over state law.
The NGCB highlighted that more than 45 million people visit the state which blurs the line between state and federal policies and that it is better to be safe than sorry.
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