This year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) held at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas was once again a success. Organized by the American Gaming Association (AGA) and Reed Exhibitions, the event features over 450 exhibitors and routinely draws over 20,000 visitors from more than 100 countries.
Japanese companies were well represented as industry regulars Konami and Aruze Gaming showcased their newest products in their own booths. Aruze’s Roll to Win Craps game was a show-stealer. The all-digital electronic table game brings laser action and other eye-catching elements to players and a more efficient craps table solution for operators. This type of product with both the game players and casino operators in mind is a great example of how innovation is moving past only improving the gaming experience.
Game content supplier Bandai Namco continued their cooperation with Ainsworth and Gamblit, as their popular Pac-Man and Galaga IP could be seen prominently in new slot and skill games. In a touch of old-school, Next Gaming featured skill games with Taito IPs Puzzle Bobble (Bust-a-Move in the US) and Arkanoid among their gaming library.
Although not well-known, Japanese companies have a respectable presence in the casino gaming peripherals industry. Along with industry leaders such as JCM and Angel Playing Cards, companies such as Matsui America and other US entities of NEC, Fujitsu, and Sankyo also exhibited at this year’s expo.
In a move catering to the increasing interest in the gaming market from Japanese and other Asian visitors, AGA and Reed for the first time offered a special package for their official Asian visitor delegation. Executives participating in this year’s delegation took part in tours of local casinos and the G2E exhibition floor. The delegation also attended Japan Market Experts presentations, starting with a Japan IR market update by Professor Ichiro Tanioka of the Osaka University of Commerce, the leading IR study institution in Japan. The session concluded with a presentation on the expectations for the Japanese casino floor by Joji Kokuryo of Alphaslot, a team of gaming and tech experts working to integrate blockchain technology into multiple facets of gaming. The attendees finished up their day by taking part in the American Gaming Association’s Chairman’s Reception.
While the US gaming industry’s focus was clearly on the emerging sports betting market, Japan is still in the early stages of deciding on regulations, locations, and licensees for their IR market. Opportunities such as G2E are a great way to experience other IR markets and to see first-hand the cause-and-effect of market trends. Having a basic understanding of the IR business could be what sets some Japanese companies apart from the pack when IR operators look for local partners. (AGB Nippon)