Since October 2001, the gaming industry has been waiting for the competition between the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) and the World Gaming Congress and Expo to be resolved.
As of today, the wait is over: The American Gaming Association and Reed Exhibitions, which produce G2E, announced they are acquiring the World Gaming Congress and Expo.
Prior to 2001, the AGA was an equal sponsor with GEM Communications of the World Gaming Congress and Expo. However, the two groups could not reach an agreement to extend their contract, so in 2001 the AGA conducted its own show--G2E. With the addition of another gaming show, in 2001 Las Vegas was host to two trade shows targeting the same industry within just two weeks of each other.
It didn't take long for industry experts to realize the AGA meant business in competing with the World Gaming show. In its inaugural year, G2E was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is bigger than the Sands Expo Hall, where World Gaming was. G2E also had more attendees and exhibitors than World Gaming did.
Many of the companies that exhibited at World Gaming also exhibited at G2E, and scuttlebutt was that many companies wouldn't be able to do both shows again in 2002. The majority were said to be choosing G2E in 2002 instead of World Gaming.
Friday's announcement didn't come as a huge surprise for many in the industry, and the CEO of GEM Communications--World Gaming's parent company--released a statement on the heels of his show in October admitting that dueling shows wouldn't work.
"When the same city hosts two major shows just over two weeks apart, targeting the same industry, you know that something has gone wrong," Bill Newman said. "And, indeed, it has."
AGA president and CEO Frank Fahrenkopf, didn't want to comment in detail about the riff between World Gaming and the AGA, but he did say that G2E is proving itself to be a good show.
As part of the agreement among the AGA, Reed Exhibitions and GEM Communications, the AGA and Reed have paid an undisclosed amount to GEM to buy the World Gaming Congress and Expo's name. GEM will still have ownership of its gaming-related publications, which include Casino Journal and International Gaming and Wagering Business. However, all 12 GEM publications will give full support to G2E.
Fahrenkopf admitted to strained relationships in the past between the AGA and GEM Communications, but he said the deal was made possible because both parties put aside their differences and worked out an agreement.
"I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Bill Newman," he said. "We are extremely pleased with GEM's decision to join us in supporting G2E."
G2E was designed, Fahrenkopf said, by members of the AGA to benefit those in the gaming industry. He said that philosophy is what played a key role in making the show the industry standard after only one year.
Rick White, president and CEO of Reed Exhibitions, said the 2002 version of G2E will have more exhibition space and more educational opportunities for both participants and attendees. He said the acquisition of the World Gaming Congress and Expo will benefit the industry as a whole by giving the AGA more resources.
As part of the agreement, AGA will support, through periodic speaker presentations and member announcements, GEM's regional trade shows. The AGA will also contribute a quarterly column to Casino Journal.
Newman said the partnership with G2E was an important one from an industry perspective.
"By working cooperatively with G2E, we will help create a show that will have an even greater impact on the industry as a whole," he said. "We look forward to supporting the show and the goals of the AGA."