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April 23, 2019

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Recreational weed, sports betting in spotlight as G2E takes over Vegas next week

2016 G2E booths

Steve Marcus

The IGT booth is shown during the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) convention at the Sands Expo and Convention Center Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016.

2016 G2E booths

The Everi booth is shown during the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) convention at the Sands Expo and Convention Center Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. Launch slideshow »

An appearance by Magic Johnson, the effects of legalized recreational pot, the use of “Game of Thrones” as a business strategy and more interactive slot machines are expected to be among the highlights of Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Monday through Thursday at the Sands Expo.

First held in 2001 and presented by the American Gaming Association (AGA), G2E has become one of the world’s largest gaming trade shows. Some 428 companies and organizations will display goods and services on the exhibit floor, and organizers say the show will use all 1.8 million square feet of the Sands Expo meeting and event space.

Exhibit space is only part of the story. Attendees will have the chance to hear keynote speeches from industry leaders such as Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA, and notables such as Johnson.

The basketball legend will speak about his post-NBA career and with Freeman discuss the ramifications of legal sports betting.

The discussion is timely. The Supreme Court is reviewing the constitutionality of the law prohibiting sports betting across the country, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The AGA has lobbied to repeal the law and legalize sports betting nationwide.

Other gaming industry leaders will examine another tricky legal issue for gaming companies, the move to legalize recreational pot. Gaming and pot regulators from Nevada, Colorado and other states will participate in a panel discussion titled “The Highs and Lows of Marijuana Legalization.”

And while “Game of Thrones” is a slot machine theme, the hit TV show is also apparently a basis for business strategy. Roger Snow, Scientific Games senior vice president, will discuss what the Lannisters, the Starks, the Dothrakis, and (especially) the White Walkers can teach people about business.

G2E is also a chance for gaming manufacturers to show off their wares. The makers of interactive games as well as “regular” slots use G2E to garner attention.

Konami is promoting an interactive music game called “Beat Square”; Gamblit is debuting a "Pac-Man” game; GameCo is rolling out games involving DJ Steve Aoki and the Terminator franchise; Scientific Games is unveiling James Bond-themed games; and Aristocrat announced a new slot based on the HBO show “Westworld.”

Many of the goods on display have nothing to do with celebrities or television shows. They include advanced touch screens, more powerful graphics computing for slots, new electronic payment options at table games and advanced air-filtering systems.

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