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The G2E Survival Guide for Founders
The lazy days of summer are officially behind us, which means it’s time to start planning your itinerary for the betting industry’s key conferences this fall.
This includes the Global Gaming Expo, known more colloquially as G2E.
G2E is the largest annual gathering of industry stakeholders in North America, who convene every October in Las Vegas at The Venetian Expo.
The 2023 edition is scheduled from October 9-12, with over 25,000 attendees expected from 100+ different countries. The agenda includes 70+ education sessions, and the sprawling exhibition floor will feature 350+ exhibitors.
For startups looking to disrupt the industry, it’s the perfect opportunity to learn, make lasting connections, and set the trajectory for the year ahead.
But for first-time attendees, it can also be an overwhelming prospect with the sheer number of people attending. The time and financial investment to attend is meaningful, which creates real pressure to maximize the outcomes.
So to help first-time attendees ensure success at this year’s G2E, we asked some industry founders for their tips and advice based on their past experience.
Kelly Kehn, founder of the All-in Diversity Project and Partner, Industry Relations at HappyHour, provides a candid assessment of what you can expect. “For those startups making their first trek to G2E, you'll likely have heard a few things. Getting from meeting to meeting takes a long time, you'll walk your socks off, it's non-stop networking, partying, and oh! that f*cking jet lag will destroy you. But it's worth it.”
At a more tactical level, Alexander Kane, founder and CEO of Sporttrade, says “set up meetings as far in advance as possible. If you’re an up-and-comer in the industry, like me, understand that the folks you likely want to meet with are busy, and they may move meetings on you last second. Be flexible, kind, and if there’s 2 of you from your team there, split up and prioritize accordingly.”
Ryan Murphy, co-founder and CEO of SharpSports, agrees. “Book meetings ahead of time. It's a big show, so don't count on running into people.”
Aaron Basch, co-founder of Sparket, advises to “find a good meeting place, ideally where you can sit down. The conference and expo hall area is pretty chaotic, so this helps to meet with your team or others.”
And if you can’t get people to come meet where you are? “Don't book back-to-backs if you can help it. It can take longer than you think to walk from place to place,” adds Murphy.
With 70+ sessions on this year’s schedule, it’s impossible to see them all. “Choose the right speaker sessions. They can be amazing ways to connect with people, both in the crowd and on stage,” says Basch.
Jesse Learmonth, host of The Betting Startups Podcast, offers another perspective for first-time attendees. “Think of G2E as a series of mini-events within one big event. Lots of companies sponsor networking events in the evening, and with a bit of hustle, it’s not hard to secure an invite.”
Basch agrees. “Go to the right night event. These events are not only usually catered and have an open bar, they are one of the best ways to connect with people in the industry.”
Then there are the nighttime parties that can extend into the wee hours of the morning. It is Vegas, after all. But as Basch cautions, “don't go too hard. Especially with the night events and Vegas, it can be easy to get distracted.”
Indeed, G2E week is a marathon and not a sprint. For that reason, Kane advises to “drink as much water and consume as much electrolytes as you can.”
Finally, here are some suggestions for specific events to check out this year at G2E:
Cooper Lycan, founder of Sobet, says “attend the pitch competition to support new startups in the space.” Add the G2E Innovation Challenge to your calendar here.
Kelly Kehn suggests to schedule some time at "The Lab" on the expo floor. This area has been revamped and is specifically built and planned to cater to startups and investors focused on the future of the industry. See schedule for The Lab.
Co-hosted by GeoComply and Citi, The Challenger Series event is an amazing opportunity to get into the same room and learn from some of the industry’s most successful entrepreneurs and investors. It’s free to attend, but space is limited. RSVP here.
Cooper Lycan pitching the Sobet opportunity at the G2E Innovation Challenge in 2022
Are you an industry founder planning to attend G2E?
Get your FREE Expo Hall pass ($269 value) using promo code BSP when you register using this link. See you there!