Robert Mims recaps highlights from G2E 2020, getting through Covid-19 and the future of sports betting
See-through barriers separate gamblers and a dealer at a card table at the Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City, N.J., on July 2, 2020, the first day it reopened after being closed for four months due to the coronavirus outbreak. American Gaming Association President Bill Miller said Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, the industry is adapting to the pandemic but needs assistance from the government for its casinos and workers. AP Photo/Wayne Parry

Robert Mims recaps highlights from G2E 2020, getting through Covid-19 and the future of sports betting

This year's conference was all digital to avoid crowds in Las Vegas.

The G2E 2020 was exciting and informative. It was just like being in Las Vegas without the drinks and the casino night life. Many of the educational sessions were available on demand. Each day consisted of news about how the gaming industry has changed because of Covid-19. The advent of Sports Betting and Online Gaming has helped the casinos develop growth opportunities. While the capacity in the casinos is down, the gaming numbers per patron are up.

The partnerships between teams and sports betting operators have grown as well. Major deals between the NBA, Sportradar and approximately 20 sports betting operators have culminated. Sportradar is the source for official NBA data. Scott Kaufman-Ross, Senior Vice President & Head of Fantasy and Gaming for the NBA said “The U.S. sports betting industry recognizes the value of official data, particularly for in-play betting and these extensions will ensure operators continue to have access to our real-time feed as sports betting develops throughout the U.S.”

Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming and Rush Street Interactive shared his thoughts about the industry and where his company is positioned. Carlin has casinos in several metropolitan markets and is one of the few gaming leaders to have the foresight to have an interactive company that handles the online aspects. Rush Interactive is going to be traded publicly. That will allow anyone that dabbles in stock investing to purchase shares in a major company with a sustainable growth projection.

DraftKings announced a multi-year agreement to become a primary sponsor of the Center for Gaming at UNLV. DraftKings will have an innovation studio and access to local talent. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins has opened an office in Las Vegas and the relationship with UNLV will formulate a pipeline of ideas. UNLV under the leadership of Bo Bernhard, Daniel Sahl and Brett Abarbanel have received accolades for their informative studies and research work.

Some of the other notable moments from the G2E included:

  • Alex Alvarado, Vice President Casino Operations MGM Grand National Harbor, hosting a networking event that addressed the resilience shown during the pandemic.

  • Laura McAllister Cox, Vice President regulatory Compliance and Legal, Rush Street Gaming, stating the regulatory challenges of reopening in multiple jurisdictions after Covid-19 shutdown.

  • David Purdum, writer for ESPN Chalk. moderated a panel that projected the number of states that would legalize sports betting in the next 12 months. The entire panel pick the “over” of the number indicated.

  • Contessa Brewer, television journalist for CNBC and renowned correspondent of gaming & casinos, moderated “View from the Top: A CEO Discussion on Leadership & Future of Gaming.”

Technology and the speed of 5G will allow for fan engagement with augmented reality. The broadcast of a game will be central to your taste and on multiple channels. Monumental Sports and Entertainment has done this with Wizards and Capitals games and shown a feed that provided sports betting statistics. The Capital One Arena has a sports betting location with William Hill that is part of the arena. I expect other venues that have professional teams to emulate this.

My takeaways from G2E 2020 is operators and entrepreneurs must not be afraid to try new stuff. The new normal is likely to be with us for the foreseeable future. In the next 9 months, allow a gradual increase in occupancy restrictions. There will be at least 8 more states that will have sports betting in the next 12 months. If you want direction in developing your strategy, a conversation is in order after reading this article. What is most important to remember is that Data is King, and Content is Queen. While the analytics are important, you must have a medium that connects with your customer. Look for my next article in Bettors Insider where I will give NFL Mid Term Analysis.

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