As the pandemic continues to disrupt the lives of all across the globe, a certain level of normality was achieved at the recent Global Gambling Expo held in Nevada. After a two year break the Venetian Convention and Expo Center was crawling with excited individuals keen to get their hands on the latest trends and innovations the gambling world has to offer.

Over 233 exhibitors, 13,000 attendees, 46 educational sessions and some high-profile, keynote speakers, including Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill, saw plenty of attendance, bringing in a wealth of well-needed money to the state. By all accounts an extremely successful event that has seen tremendous growth in interest over the years. We look now at some of the key talking points from this year’s G2E and the impact had to the state of Nevada.

  • BetMGM and Draftkings Entain Battle continues.

Back in January of this year, MGM Resorts looked to buy out their sportsbook partners, Entain, who are joint partners in the BetMGM gambling brand. That $11 billion offer was promptly refused leaving further negotiations on the table. So, it was big news when reports were confirmed that Draftkings had made a very lucrative offer in the last months, which was upped from $20 billion to $22 billion for the UK-based company.

Speaking at the G2E, MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle shed some light on the offer that many were worried would taint the operation of BetMGM as the company moves forward. Hornbuckle assured the G2E spectators that any takeover would not harm any operations and that on the contrary, the approval of MGM is required to operate in the US, under their current deal with Entain.

But with sports betting here in the US growing with such rapid speed over the previous years, it was certainly under hot debate. With the number of States that have legalised sports betting doubling to 26 since the last G2E, it is estimated that a staggering 18% of Americans will look to wager on the NFL this season. That’s over 45 million punters and an increase of 36% from the 2020 season.

  • Cardinal’s Cash-in on Sportsbooks

With Arizona Governor Doug Ducey finally jumping on the sports betting band wagon back in April, Arizona Cardinal’s owner Michael Bidwill has confirmed his intentions for the NFL team at G2E last month. Speaking in front of an excited audience with AGA president and CEO Bill Miller, the BetMGM deal will see a sportbook opened inside State Farm Stadium, the first sports betting operation to be located on the inside of an NFL stadium.

This is part of a wider deal that will see the expansion of BetMGM into Arizona, with partnerships agreed with Gila River Hotels & Casinos to open three retail locations at Gila River properties around Arizona.

It follows the heels of other sporting areas embracing betting offices with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks and the PGA’s TPC Scottsdale all signing partnership agreements recently. This will not be the first BetMGM venture into the NFL with partnerships already secured with the Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets over the years.

It does show a clear decision by BetMGM to target the forthcoming Super Bowl 57 that will be hosted at State Farm Stadium in 2023.

  • The Promotion of Inclusivity

Equality and diversity have been big on the agenda at this year’s G2E, with a select panel that included Suzanne Clark, president, and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce. A healthy crowd turned out to listen to Clark’s talk, who believes that whilst some big steps have been taken, sectors should be doing more to improve opportunities for both woman and the minorities.

Apoorva Gandhi, senior vice-president for Multicultural Affairs at Marriott International was also on hand, noting that further barriers have been created by society over the last few decades for women and people of color. Marriott’s emerging leadership programmes have led the way in the hospitality sector and more companies should follow their lead across all sectors of the economy.

  • Less Cash; More Digital

Cashless Gaming was another hotly debated topic after the pandemic, with plenty of emphasis on new gambling machines that will offer the technology over the coming years. COVID-19 has certainly necessitated the evolution of a touch-less interface to protect and minimize the spread of infection for gamers on the floor.

A plethora of companies were on hand to demonstrate their newly adaptive gaming portals and payment systems that will be key in the future. Rapid transfers in casinos are all the rage in Europe now, as MrCasinova reports. And it’s not just the sports betting companies that are seeking to evolve with plenty of interest from the retail and hospitality sector, too.

Zytronic, with their inspiring ElectroglaZ technology, allows an electrical current to be delivered directly through transparent glass panels, making a truly wire-free environment. This will see a seamless interface of one panel with touch display that could make the traditional “bash” button of the mechanical slots become obsolete. Perfect for quick and efficient sanitizing of gaming portals, it was a standout of the floor.

Global Payments introduced us to their VIP Mobility app that will allow users to ability to move their funds from various locations with their Social Security number and driver’s license. Many companies also presented their contactless ticket-redemption and ATM combinations to help avoid long queues whilst remaining contact-free.

Contactless is definitely the direction that all brick-and-mortar casinos will be leading in the future as technology facilitates a new era of cashless gaming.

  • Nevada’s Alan Feldman is rewarded.

This years recipient of the esteemed Peter Mead Memorial Award went to the chair of the State of Nevada Advisory Committee on Problem Gambling, Alan Feldman. The award honors excellence in gaming media and communications and the Nevada local was well received for his tremendous work over the years in all aspects of responsible gaming.

Feldman has over 32 years of experience, is a senior advisor for MGM Resorts, is on the faculty for the International Executive Development Program at the University of Nevada and even advises to the Macau Gaming Management Association. His long years of service and commitment to the cause saw him a more than worthy recipient of this prestigious award.

  • And the Games?

It wouldn’t be G2E without some new games and Aristocrat was certainly the star of the show with their new title, based on the hit, Hollywood blockbuster, Dune. The game went live on the 22nd October at many casinos nationwide to coincide with the movies release.