Nearly 1,500 industry professionals
took part in the largest-ever Caribbean Gaming & Hospitality Conference
(CGHC) held last week in San Juan, Puerto Rico. More than 200 participants
focused on refining their management and competitive strategies at the
educational sessions, and an additional 1,200 visitors attended the trade
show. In all, over 30 Caribbean, Latin American, European, and North
American countries were represented at the two-day event.
According to Bruce Smith, conference founder and president of WestVille
Enterprises, Inc., this year’s event was totally focused on growth through
enhanced accountability, systems analysis, improved technology, and new
games. “With the region in an economic upturn, conference participants
told us they wanted as many skills-building sessions as possible,” said
Smith. “Capturing market share and discretionary spending is the key to
success, so we developed our sessions with that in mind. Judging from the
feedback, no one was disappointed.” CGHC is the only industry event of its
kind exclusively for the Caribbean market. This year’s event was the sixth
Smith noted that even with tighter U.S. visa regulations attendance still
grew. “In the past two years, the ups and downs of the regional economy
also affected our numbers. But this year,” he said, “the trend reversed
itself.” Smith said that over 40 companies, including producers,
distributors, and dealers, showcased their products in the exhibit hall, a
significant increase over last year. “At the same time,” added Smith, “we
had the most extensive media coverage ever, both local and international.”
Caribbean Gaming & Hospitality Conference is supported by sponsors that
have attended the show for years, many from the beginning. “We are
indebted to them,” said Smith, “for believing in the importance of this
event. Partnerships have been formed that will continue well in to the
future.” Smith said the reason for this is that companies meet the right
decisionmakers at CGHC: people who can close the business. He cited as an
example that every one of Puerto Rico’s 18 casinos had at least one
representative at the conference.
A highlight of this year’s conference was a discussion of the proposed
gaming regulations for Puerto Rico and its new central slot system.
According to Smith, these initiatives are considered potential models for
the region that could transform the gaming industry.
As in the past, all
sessions offered simultaneous English-Spanish translation.