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July 21, 2018

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G2E to welcome innovation pitches in ‘Shark Tank’-like contest

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Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP

Daymond John arrives at the world premiere of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” at the Pantages Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, in Los Angeles.

Looking for the next big idea in gaming and hospitality, industry experts will turn to up-and-coming innovators at the Global Gaming Expo in a reality TV show-style contest.

Like the popular show “Shark Tank,” the Innovation Incubator will feature students and startup companies presenting plans to potential investors and a live audience in hopes of winning the “Sharks Choice" award at the annual G2E, taking place Oct. 8-11 at the Sands Expo Center.

The pair of investors acting as judges are self-made business figures Daymond John, Fubu founder and star of ABC's "Shark Tank," and Cindy Eckert, CEO of Sprout Pharmaceuticals and the Pink Ceiling, a consulting firm with a focus on women.

Contestants can submit their ideas online by July 27 in hopes of being chosen as one of four finalists by a panel of gaming industry experts. The four submissions categories include: academic approach to gaming floor innovation and academic approach to hospitality and resort developments — open to students only — and startup and/or academic approach to solve/streamline regulatory challenges and approach to create greater efficiencies for operator/suppliers.

The finalists will then present their concepts Oct. 11 during G2E, to John and Eckert in a 10-minute presentation. The presentations are followed by a rapid-fire question-and-answer session, where the pair of investors will gauge potential business opportunities.

“The gaming industry was built by entrepreneurs with innovation in their DNA. At G2E, we embrace and spotlight gaming innovation on the show floor, delivering a powerful platform to drive the industry forward,” said Allie Barth, vice president of industry relations of the American Gaming Association. “Innovation Incubator at G2E is about giving all innovators — whether from gaming, hospitality or academia — the opportunity to bring their ideas to the forefront during one of gaming’s largest events of the year.”

The winning pitch will receive $10,000 and a complimentary booth at G2E 2019 to show off the idea. Additionally, the audience will vote for a second prize, dubbed the Customer’s Choice, which will also be reward a booth at the same show.

Six other runners-up will present their ideas throughout the show at the Innovation Lab booth located on the show floor. The Innovation Lab is a centralized area in the expo hall for TED-talk-style education.

This year’s G2E show will include the first sports-betting symposium, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act last month, opening the door for legal sports betting to take place across the country.