G2E, the Global Gaming Expo, will be held virtually October 27-28, as the gaming industry’s leading convention skips Las Vegas for the first time in its history.
G2E was canceled in July by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has suspended all large gatherings in Nevada. The gaming convention has been held every year in Las Vegas since it debuted in 2001. It brings in some 30,000 people to the Strip each year who work in casino operations, gaming manufacturing, tribal venues, and related industries.
The Strip will miss out on that influx of visitors in 2020. Instead, G2E will offer a new virtual experience.
The premier gathering of gaming professionals kicks off with a complimentary session on October 14 featuring three gaming leaders who will discuss a path to reopening casinos and strategies for success. The virtual platform will then be open for a two-week preview where potential attendees can explore sessions, keynotes, and vendors.
Speakers have not yet been announced for the main event on October 27-28.
G2E is organized by the American Gaming Industry, the industry’s preeminent lobbying organization based in DC, and Reed Exhibitions. G2E is set to return to Las Vegas in October of 2021 at the Sands Expo Center.
Las Vegas is much more than gambling, and it has been for many years. Of the 42.5 million people who ventured to America’s gambling capital in 2019, 6.6. million arrived specifically for a convention.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) says exhibitions support approximately 43,000 jobs, $1.9 billion in pay, and generates an annual economic output of $6.3 billion.
Those key economic data points are in great jeopardy. Las Vegas hasn’t welcomed a convention attendee since March. Through July, convention attendance totaled 1.72 million people — a 57.3 percent year-over-year drop.
Fewer convention attendees lead to reduced casino win, as well as lesser food and beverage, hotel, and entertainment revenue. It also means casinos need fewer workers.
MGM Resorts, Nevada’s largest employer, terminated 18,000 furloughed workers in Las Vegas and across the US this week. Rumors are swirling that more job cuts are on the way.
No market is more vital to the US gaming industry than Las Vegas, and no market indicator is currently positive.
Per the LVCVA, occupancy on the Las Vegas Strip in July was just 41.9 percent. The average nightly rate was $115.68, down from $136.38 in July of 2019.
Revenue per available room, a metric used to measure hotel performance by multiplying a resort’s average daily room rate by its occupancy rate, was $48.47, down from $127.38.
McCarran International Airport passenger traffic fell 64 percent, while daily auto traffic on the I-15 Nevada/California border was down 16.6 percent.