After a 3-year hiatus, choosing topics for the 2022 World Game Protection Conference took some thought. Even more than usual. That’s understandable. The pandemic has changed the world. In a way, the casino industry is in a wait and see what’s going to happen mode. We asked the question, what’s relevant in todays casino environment? What information and expertise can help casino managers, surveillance and regulators navigate through the pandemic in this period of unexpected but rapid change?

We’re not the kind of conference organizers that rely (lean) on friends and vendors to speak about whatever they want every year. Were also a ‘no sales pitch’ zone. We sit down months ahead and research what topics are on our customers minds and then go look for the most qualified and interesting people to talk about them. We look for people that can articulate their message clearly. We get speakers from all over the world. Some from inside the industry. Some from outside the industry. We love speakers that engage the audience. I often look at dozens of YouTube videos to see previous speaker presentations at conferences.

I like speakers that bring to the stage a perspective on something that the audience may never have heard before. Something outside the box. Thought leaders provoking thoughts. I also like speakers that research and study their topics. Speakers who bring facts and stats. That’s what a conference should be.

There’s an old saying in the conference business that when it comes to content, there’s stuff people want to learn and stuff people need to learn. We like to think we do both.

I’ve always approached designing the program for the WGPC each year like creating a new music album. I try to make each show different and touch on different themes. A balance of new and old speakers. A search for new ideas and perspectives. I’m always aiming to make my Sgt. Peppers album.

So this year we’ve come up with a 3-day format that’s chock full of different sounds and ideas. A collective and comprehensive three day program of high impact learning. We bring together training, new ideas, raising awareness and inspiration. Here’s the format:

Day 1: Training Day. The first priority of the show is to get people training in the CORE subjects of operational risk and surveillance. The industry is experiencing an unprecedented turnover in staff. New staff will need to be hired and brought up to speed with the challengers of their roles. So we do that on Day 1. Eight three-hour seminars (24 hours of content) to choose from that range from basic to advanced training designed to help you get a better understanding of the casino business, the challenges faced and how to go about managing the risk.

Day 2: General Session day “Big Picture Day.” World renown experts who have spoken across the country and around the globe have been invited to our conference to raise awareness and offer real-world advice on various threats that the casino industry is facing. Big picture topics this year include; money laundering, digital currencies, sports betting, problem gambling, human trafficking in casinos, cyber attacks, advantage play and safeguarding casino promotions. This is a broaden your mind day where casino people can sit back and learn from thought leaders.

Day 3: General Session day “Industry Day.” In the morning of the last day it’s time to bring it all in to an industry huddle. You’ve spent the last two days learning about operational risk, now it’s time for your thoughts. We examine some new technologies that can help reduce gaming and operational risk and then open it up to the floor to discuss practices being used around the industry. In the afternoon we end the conference on a positive note with a couple of presentations aiming to inspire.

Outside of the educational content there will be plenty of time for connecting and catching up with others. It’s been 3 years and I’m sure there will be plenty to talk about.

Willy Allison