The annual G2E Asia, organised by the American Gaming Association, opened this week at the Venetian Macau on the gambling island off the Chinese mainland, drawing in 12.5 percent more delegates than previous events and showcasing both knowledge and products.
130 exhibitors from 20 countries are showing off their wares, whilst industry experts pass on their expertise and opinions to delegates.
The show features three educational seminars. A security and surveillance workshop by Vlado Damjanovski on the CCTV trend and how casino operators can take advantage of the latest technology, and a demonstrative session by Sal Piacente on training for casino workers against the latest cheating tricks.
This year the event also features the first Global Gaming Woman seminar that gathers female executives from across the international industry, in the form of a roundtable discussion on the global gaming business.
In addition there will be an interactive educational workshop designed to help casino workers in Asia develop the leadership skills necessary to succeed in the industry. This year the program will feature new topics focusing on operations, management and the future of the Macau market.
Among the more interesting events at the conference so far is a new game from equipment supplier TCS John Huxley, which launched its innovative BaccPo game, a dynamic hybrid of baccarat and poker as the title suggests, aimed at young Asian players. This is being made available for players to compete against the house, or in peer-to-peer style, and its demonstration attracted large crowds of delegates and visitors.
The major American gambling supplier International Game Technology served notice that it intends to be an important player in the Asian market, telling delegates that it has plans to double its 9 percent market share in Macau in the next 18 months.
The company revealed that it has invested in an in-depth study of the regional market that looked at gambling habits, styles and preferences and players, and that it will use the data amassed by the survey to design highly relevant games that will appeal to Asian punters. This will include language and cultural icons and math models suited to the preference of local gamblers.
Austrian operator Casino Austria also indicated that it has ambitions in the region, and especially in Vietnam, where it will be accompanying the Austrian president on a political and business tour later this (May) month. Richard Lehrner, senior adviser to the board, revealed that the company is focusing on the Vietnamese gaming market, but is awaiting new gaming legislation.
There has been widespread speculation among delegates regarding the possible legalisation of land casino gambling in Japan, with a representative from the pachinko industry asserting that it was one of the most active elements in lobbying government for legalisation and did not expect to be excluded from any legalisation that may evolve.
On a more negative note, some analysts predicted that Macau’s recording breaking run of growth in revenues will ease to around 11 percent by the back-end of this year due to a slowing in Chinese economic growth. The more pessimistic predicted that there could be a negative turn, with weaker revenues in 2013…but the industry has heard those unfulfilled predictions about Macau in previous years.