Interview with myself: Thoughts on G2E
I spent the last week of September at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, where 26,000 or so casino executives, slot manufacturers, Native American gambling leaders and anyone else connected to gambling gather each fall. Hours upon hours of hearing the ding-ding-ding of slots and new product pitches can make a guy a little loopy. I engaged in probably a hundred conversations, and to share all of them with you would provide you with so much detail your brain could explode.
So the way to best convey the information to South Floridians would be to have a conversation with someone with an eye out for all facets of gambling here.
Thankfully, I had a few minutes to interview myself.
Nick: So, each year there are new games. What might slot players see this year?
Well, there are all kinds of new themes based on TV shows, movies and personalities. “The Voice,” “Breaking Bad,” the campy sci-fi “Sharknado,” Tim McGraw and Betty White (?!). There’s even a machine based on the 1992 movie “My Cousin Vinny,” with symbols of the Southern judge, and Marissa Tomei. If that’s not enough, you’ll be seeing Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Mariah Carey and Downtown Abby
Nick: What’s new in table games?
Bonus bets abound. Blackjack players might be able to place side bets on “in between” — it’s a winner if, say, the player’s first two cards are a 2 and a 9 and the dealer gets a 7. There’s also a side “bust bet” that pays bigger money if the dealer uses five or more cards and hits 22 and above.
Nick: But the racetrack casinos have only electronic blackjack, roulette and craps, not the live stuff. What’s for them?
Electronic table games take up fewer than one percent of slot positions currently, but experts say it could grow to 5 to 10 percent. Beginning players like the solitude — there’s no pressure of taking another player’s 10 in blackjack, for example — and newer machines will offer similar side bets as mentioned above for the live table games.
Nick: How about the political side of things? That affects what we see in our casinos.
Well, Indian gaming experts say all Indian-state compacts are getting more complicated, and they used Florida as an example. How do you balance the wishes of the Seminoles, racetrack casinos and those opposed to gambling expansion? Everyone’s gotta give ground, but the problem is figuring out how much. The American Gaming Association president, Geoff Freeman, is leading a push for legal sports betting, but that’s likely five years away, at best.
Nick: Well, Nick, thanks for taking the time.
No problem. Anything for you.