G2E hopefuls

I didn’t get to post much last week because I was down at the Global Gaming Expo. Some of the time, I was hanging out at my exhibit on casino dining. Much of the rest of the time, I was trawling the expo floor, talking with exhibitors, in my continuing mission to remain an up-to-date commentator on the world of chance. Learning about new games and technologies is fun, but there is also an undercurrent of sadness around the whole show. The LVRJ explains why:

The hopefuls spent the week on the fringes of the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center during the Global Gaming Expo, also called G2E.

Each year more people join the fray trying to market their innovations amid the cacophony of the gambling industry’s biggest trade show.

“It’s brutal. The market is being inundated with games,” said Roy Ritner, an Arizona man marketing a game called Pai Gow Express. “For most people, coming here will be an enormous disappointment and an expense.”

Only a tiny fraction of new game ideas make it to casino floors. Successful inventors need to persist through years of false starts and rejection and have some good luck.

“The best games in the world get turned down,” Ritner said. “I hate to tell you the percentages. It is shocking.”

But if a big company buys a game it can mean millions of dollars and a lifetime of royalties for the inventor.

Ritner said a game with about 200 tables in casinos and still growing could be worth $3 million to $5 million.

That’s what drives longtime gamblers, casino workers and others to spend years dedicating their lives and savings to become the next Ernie Moody.

Moody is the former stock broker and Colorado casino owner who invented Triple Play video poker. Triple Play made its debut at the 1997 Global Gaming Expo, and with backing from gaming giant IGT, the game and its spinoffs are among the most popular casino games in the country.
Besides building, testing and marketing the game, inventors need to patent their idea and pay someone to verify the odds.

Rob Phillips, a Las Vegas-based attorney who specializes in gaming, said it can cost anywhere from $9,000 to $15,000 to navigate the patent process.

And Moody’s success, in a way, has made it harder because it attracted more inventors to gambling than ever before.

“You have a lot of individual, Sunday-afternoon inventors filing cases,” said Phillips. “It is becoming more and more difficult to find new, unique and nonobvious game concepts.”

Even outside the big trade shows, large gaming companies are the subject of constant bombardment from inventors.

“I’d say we get calls daily from people who want to show something to IGT,” said Ed Rogich, vice president of marketing for International Game Technology, which supplies 65 percent of all casino games in North America.

“There is only so much you can do with 52 cards and basic card games that have been around for ages,” Rogich said.

reviewjournal.com — Business – GLOBAL GAMING EXPO 2006: Take my game, please

For every idea that makes it to G2E, there are probably about a hundred that don’t. And for every hundred that make it to the show, there’s probably one that makes it big. Long odds there. Ironically, they are much longer than the odds at convention table games or slots.

In a sense, these game developers are the true gamblers. For that, you’ve got to give them a lot of respect.

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