The excitement that has taken hold of the gaming industry in recent years was on full display at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas last week as more than 25,000 attendees representing more than 125 countries got a first-hand look at gaming innovation.
To see what caught the media’s eye, we analysed 483 English-language articles published in the last month. Here are our key findings:
1. Cybersecurity emerged as the main topic
Unlike last year, which was all about inflation, this year’s expo was all about cybersecurity, reflecting heightened concerns following recent devastating cyberattacks on MGM and Caesars, two of the casino industry’s titans operating over 60 casinos across nearly 20 states. Many journalists noted that although the gambling industry has never been more successful, raking in record revenue after record revenue, it has also never appeared more vulnerable.
These attacks were portrayed by media outlets as a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities faced by even those entities with robust security measures in place. The attacks inflicted massive financial damage, with millions of dollars in lost revenue for both companies, not to mention the severe blow to their reputations and the trust of customers and employees, many of whom fell victim to personal data theft.
Such media discussions made MGM and Caesars some of the most influential companies in the debate:
Commenting on the incident, MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle, who appeared as a keynote speaker on the second day of the Global Gaming Expo, emerged as the most influential spokesperson in the conversation. He was widely cited as describing the cyberattacks “as corporate terrorism at its finest”.
In an effort to manage the crisis, Bill Hornbuckle affirmed that MGM refrained from paying a ransom, instead choosing to navigate through the situation independently, a move he believed would position the company more securely in the future.
2. Netflix entered gambling
A G2E development that garnered massive media attention was Netflix‘s venture into the gambling world through a landmark branding deal with gambling company Light & Wonder. This strategic move was prominently featured in news outlets following the revelation of a slot machine based on Netflix‘s record-breaking series, “Squid Game”.
Media reports highlighted the novelty of this collaboration, underscoring it as Netflix‘s initial step into the gaming industry, an expansion beyond their traditional content offerings, while Light & Wonder‘s adaptation of the “Squid Game” into gaming experiences was cited as a testament to the innovative potential of such collaborations. Furthermore, the announcement was contextualised within broader industry trends, including Netflix‘s upcoming reality show inspired by “Squid Game” and Light & Wonder‘s recent focus on branded content, pointing to an era of increased cross-industry partnerships that aim to capitalise on popular cultural phenomena.
Another partnership highlight of the expo was the introduction of the very first official NFL slot machines, created in collaboration with Aristocrat Gaming, the NFL, and the NFL Players Association. Journalists noted the significant anticipation and energy surrounding these officially licensed NFL slots, not only as a landmark launch for Aristocrat but also as a novel way for fans to engage with the NFL brand.
3. Sports betting and iGaming were the talk of the town
In the midst of traditional casino offerings, the media discourse surrounding the Global Gaming Expo prominently highlighted the burgeoning sectors of sports betting and iGaming – a trend that started at last year’s event. Reports underscored the meteoric rise of these segments, with sports betting in particular witnessing a 75% surge in revenue in 2022, a boom largely attributed to ongoing legalisation efforts in the US.
Companies like IGT and Novomatic received considerable media attention for their innovative sports betting solutions. For instance, Novomatic made waves with the debut of its NOVOMATIC ActionBook Edge 1.43J, a state-of-the-art kiosk designed to revolutionise the sports betting experience with high-speed functionality and advanced graphic capabilities. A number of media outlets framed these advancements as indicative of the industry’s rapid evolution and increasing embrace of digital technology.
In the realm of iGaming, many publications reported on the strategic partnership between BeyondPlay, a new tech venture aiming to perfect multiplayer engagement, and Play’n GO, a seasoned iGaming industry veteran. This collaboration marked a breakthrough for the ambitious startup, as Play’n GO’s game portfolio became integral to BeyondPlay’s multiplayer-enabled games collection offered to their mutual clients. The alliance was perceived as a response to changing consumer preferences, with a growing demand for accessible, social, and interactive gaming experiences.
Why media analytics is vital for event PR
Major industry events like the Global Gaming Expo tend to generate a significant amount of media coverage. In this context, media analytics solutions are essential for PR and communications for at least three reasons:
- Evaluating Organisational and Spokesperson Performance: Shows like the Global Gaming Expo are prime opportunities for organisations to unveil new products and technologies. Media analytics could provide granular insights into how these announcements perform in the media landscape, including how the products are framed, how they compare to competitors, and how the reach and penetration of strategic messages vary across different markets and media formats. Stakeholder mapping can also show where and how the company’s spokespeople were quoted, allowing for a comprehensive evaluation of your thought leadership strategy.
- Preparing for Upcoming Events: Thematic and message analysis offers crucial insights into the kinds of campaigns and messages that garner the most engagement. This enables PR and communications professionals to tailor future initiatives towards strategies that connect with their intended audience, optimising media ROI in the process. Moreover, by studying the successful approaches of competitors, teams can gain guidance on how to craft effective tactics for future events.
- Feeling the Industry’s Pulse: Major trade shows offer a snapshot of the current state of the industry, so it’s important to identify emerging trends and topics that are gaining traction. This information is crucial for understanding if there’s a media “white space” — untapped topics or narratives — that your organisation can occupy with its strategic positioning.