The shift in focus allowed me to get a better idea of the emerging products the industry has to offer. And as you can see in the highlights video below, there was a lot to look at.
Here’s a look at some of the more interesting products I came across on the G2E 2017 showroom floor, and how they might be deployed on casino floors.
A poker table for slot parlors
Electronic poker tables aren’t exactly new, but Jackpot Digital’s “Jackpot Blitz” is definitely a cut above.
The table uses touch-screen technology that allows you to peel your cards using the same hand movements you’d use to look at traditional playing cards, by peeling up the corners. A word to the wise, as is the case at a regular poker table, you have to protect your hand so your neighbors can’t see it.
Some of the other features built into the game are:
- Hand history recall;
- Personal and table-wide stats; and
- A multi-game function that allows players to participate in blackjack games in between poker hands – using a second bankroll.
As cool as it was, I don’t foresee these tables displacing traditional poker tables.
Rather, they could be an interesting addition at slot casinos, or wherever table games are prohibited by law. Electronic and live dealer blackjack and roulette games have done well in these settings, so it would be interesting to see how a poker table would do.
Esports tournament a hit
Every year there is always a booth that draws a crowd. This year it was the JCM Global booth, where the company hosted an esport tournament in order to show off its Pixel Pro display.
Needless to say, the fighting matches made it one of the more energetic booths, with a lot of looky-loos on the periphery of the booth enthralled by the action.
As JCM VP of Marketing Tom Nieman said in a press release before the show:
“Esports is a global phenomenon and is slowly making its way into the casino industry. However, there are operators, regulators, and even some suppliers, who still need more information how esports works. That is why we are hosting this live esports tournament – to help G2E attendees connect with and gain a better understanding of this gaming spectacle.”
The ability to capture the attention of passersby at G2E might help pique the interest of casinos who have thus far been skeptical of esports, and whether or not people are really interested in watching video games.
Since I’ll be writing an in-depth column on the skill-based games from G2E 2017 next week, I won’t get too into the weeds of the individual products, but suffice it to say, skill-based games were a big focus at the show.
There were at least a half dozen exhibitors with skill games, and this year, the big boys, IGT and Konami, prominently featured the games in high-traffic areas of their booths with dedicates skill-game signage.
And then there were the skill-game exclusive companies: Gamblit Gaming and GameCo, both of which drew pretty big crowds.
Comparing Gamblit Gaming from 2014/2015 to the Gamblit Gaming of today is an interesting exercise. In just a couple years, Gamblit Gaming has gone from an upstart company in a small booth, to a major player with a sizeable footprint in a centrally located area and an attention-grabbing booth.
And Gamblit’s multiplayer skill-based games, Pac Man and Deal or No Deal Poker, didn’t disappoint.
Another skill-based gaming company, GameCo, made its debut on the G2E floor this year (the company did have some machines in other companies’ booths last year), and it did so with a pretty sizable booth for a first-time exhibitor.
The decision to showcase its products in a dedicated booth seems to have paid off, as GameCo’s booth was one of the more difficult to find space to move around in, with its games constantly in use.
GameCo made several games available to G2E attendees:
- Danger Arena
- Pharaoh’s Secret Temple
- Nothin’ But Net
- Steve Aoki’s Neon Dream
- T2: Terminator 2 Judgment Day
- Cosmic Candy Heist
- Poseidon’s Deep Sea Saga
The company also had one of its new bartop VGM’s on site.
Virtual Sports isn’t a new industry, but until this year it was wholly unknown in the US.
But, with virtual sports now available at multiple William Hill sports books in Nevada; on Pala Interactive’s social casino; and a real-money online gambling debut in New Jersey coming soon, it wasn’t too surprising to see Inspired Gaming setting up shop on the floor at G2E.
I stopped by the booth several times, and several people I spoke with who were unfamiliar with virtual sports found the product intriguing and were impressed by the graphics. One industry person quipped, “I’d like this in my living room.”
But the real shock came when they were informed that virtual sports betting accounts for 30 percent of all sports betting handle in the UK and Italian markets.
Online gaming companies continue to be a no-show
One of the products I didn’t see much of was real-money online gaming.
Online gaming, one of the only growth sectors in US gaming, was conspicuous in its absence.
As one industry insider I ran into on the showroom floor put it, “where is the online gaming?”
G2E wasn’t devoid of online gambling. There were payment solutions and small areas dedicated to online gambling products in some of the larger company booths, but by and large, there was little for online gaming aficionados to look at.
This wasn’t new to G2E 2017, as this has been a troubling trend over the past few shows.