The Wine Cellar at the Rio in Las Vegas offered a warm, intimate atmosphere that contrasted sharply with the news bomb that rocked the world of gaming shows today. The American Gaming Association, in conjunction with the huge Reed Exhibition Companies, announced that it's going head to head with the World Gaming Congress in 2001.
AGA President Frank Fahrenkopf announced the partnership commencing with the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) October 1-3, 2001 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Fahrenkopf, flanked by every major casino executive and gaming supplier in the US industry, stressed that this event was being produced by
the industry and for the industry. "As we embark on a new century, the time has come for a trade show that's hosted by the industry and for the industry," Fahrenkopf explained. Proceeds from the show will go for advocacy and research, he added.
World Gaming Congress and Expo officials quickly responded to the announcement with claims that its 2000 show will be its most successful. "This year's record sales for the World Gaming Congress emphasizes two critical points: Suppliers, operators and journalists are displaying more interest in gaming than at any time in history," said WGC senior VP Brian Vargas. "Second, the World Gaming Congress is the most recognized,
well-established and clearly the most important event in the gaming industry."
More than 25,000 attendees from 80 countries are expected to check out the 700-plus exhibitors' wares during this fall's show.
Show managers also shrugged off concerns that a competing show would adversely affect WGC. Gem Communications CEO Bill Newman pointed out that the trade show has seen tremendous growth throughout its history, including its 10 years as an independent event and another four years that WGC was
affiliated with AGA.
WGC officials may have cause for concern, however. Already G2E has garnered an exclusive endorsement from the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, although member companies are not bound by the AGEM endorsement. "AGEM recognizes that the best way for us to achieve our goals
as manufacturers is to work together with our casino customers," said T.J. Matthews, CEO of Anchor Gaming, a member of AGEM. "The AGA represents our best customers and is, therefore, extremely important to us and to our future."
Fahrenkopf indicated that the G2E educational program would cover a wide array of topics including both Internet and Indian gambling.