It took 720 days, American Gaming Association President Bill Miller noted on Tuesday, but the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) — the U.S. gaming industry’s largest event — is back.
Miller offered the opening keynote speech at the Venetian Resort Las Vegas (although the series of education panels began a day earlier), and he was followed by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and Rep. Dina Titus, who represents the city’s casino district in the U.S. House of Representatives.
And while mandatory mask-wearing and the absence of thousands of would-be international attendees was a reminder that the pandemic isn’t over, the event overall feels a lot like previous editions.
“There’s nothing like being back together, in person — it feels amazing,” Miller said. “Being here is a helluva lot better than being on a Zoom call. Having you all here today marks a milestone for this industry. The theme of this year’s G2E is resilience.”
Miller said that in the first seven months of 2021, commercial gaming revenue in the U.S. was $30 billion — roughly the same as the industry’s total revenue in 2020. And verticals from slots to sports betting to iGaming are on a pace well ahead of 2019’s record numbers.
The warning offered by Miller was about the volume of gambling advertising that keeps growing in the U.S., in spite of newly imposed severe restrictions on such ads in Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Sisolak said that “when times are hard, Nevada is often hit the hardest, because our economy is dependent on the kind of face-to-face, in-person gatherings that Las Vegas is known for.”
What happens in Vegas …
Titus said that her district is particularly “interesting.”
“While you are here, try and have a little fun,” she said. “You can try the world’s largest rollercoaster —