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Southern Gaming Summit to address industry concerns

Amidst the background of a national recession and dwindling gaming revenue, the gaming industry gathers in Biloxi Wednesday and Thursday for the 16th-annual Southern Gaming Summit. Several thousand people are expected to attend.

“We have carefully developed our conference program this year to address topics that are extremely important in today’s economic environment,” states the sponsors’ opening letter. “Never has it been more critical to join together and share ideas so we all have a better understanding of how to weather this whole new kind of storm.”

Traditionally, the summit brings together gaming employees, financial representatives, developers, media and a wide range of vendors representing food, beverage, slot machines, table games, uniforms, promotional items, technology and services in the exhibit hall.

Educational sessions, networking and sales opportunities for the latest gaming technology will be highlights of the two-day conference.

The Wednesday general session takes a look at the state of the industry with speakers John Payne, president of Harrah’s Entertainment Central Division, and Tim Wilmott, president and chief operating officer of Penn National Gaming. IP Casino Resort president and general manager Jon Lucas will moderate the session.

Gov. Haley Barbour will again address the Thursday general session. During the 2008 summit, he said, “You’re going to have stability in the gaming industry as long as I’m governor.”

Concurrent sessions will cover numerous topics, including: the new politics of gaming; national economic impact of gaming; managing human capital in a downturn; loyalty marketing in tough times; and, corporate social responsibility and risk management.

New this year, the gaming summit is partnering with Tulane University School of Continuing Studies, Mississippi Coast Campus, to offer a certificate of attendance for participants attending four specific sessions as identified in the conference agenda.

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at lynn@lynnsdesk.com.

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