Following SAGSE, GAT Expo Plans In-Person Event

After SAGSE’s successful, small outdoor event in February 2021, Latin America’s other leading gambling convention, GAT Expo, plans its IRL revival. The event, which was teased at the end of 2020, will offer a groundbreaking option to visitors, taking place both online and in person. The event is scheduled to take place on August 18-19 in Cartagena, Colombia, and will feature numerous local regulators, as well as additional innovative gambling options.

Cars drive through Medellin, Colombia.

GAT is returning to plan an in-person event in August 2021. ©ugo_leonardo/Pixabay

GAT Expo’s Planned 2021 Event

In late 2020, organizers of the GAT Expo announced that their convention — known for years as FADJA — would be returning gradually to in-person events throughout 2021. At the time, organizers described intimate IRL showrooms for industry members to view one another’s products in the spring, followed by a hybrid convention event.

In a late March press release, officials from the Gaming & Technology Expo (GAT) described a COVID-19 safe event at the Cartagena de Indias Convention Center in Colombia. The expo, planned for August 18-19, 2021, will be held in the Claustro de las Ánimas hall and outside on the San Francisco Esplanade.

The indoor portion will last one day only, and will be a networking event for industry insiders — including manufacturers, buyers, operators, and suppliers. These are traditionally a staple of international gambling conventions and expos, and have been greatly impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

Expo Will Take Place Outside

After a day of indoor schmoozing, industry guests at the GAT Expo will be able to walk through the expo, held for the first time outdoors on the San Francisco Esplanade. These expos are a crucial way for games developers to show off their latest products to potential buyers, and are often where slots cabinets are marketed.

2021’s Participants and Sponsors

Some of the companies which have signed on to be present at the 2021 GAT Expo include Win Systems, Sportradar, Digitain, Universal Soft, Colintek, Golden Race, America Simulcast, Worldmatch, and CONTINENT 8. The event’s sponsors include Altenar, Mobadoo, and Golden Race.

The event will also be supported by multiple local regulatory bodies in Colombia, including Coljuegos, Fecoljuegos, and Asojuegos. Cornazar and Camazar will also be represented at the event, which is making a point to include eSports in its offerings. This marks the first time that eSports will be represented in the gambling industry conference.

Many Companies Save Participation ’Til Next Year

Though the GAT Expo organizers explained that the format of the 2021 event was informed via intensive discussions with participants, numerous companies have elected to stay away from the IRL August 2021 event, instead stating that they plan to join in person in 2022. This is likely due to the continued uncertainty of planning events during pandemic times.

2020’s Vision For 2021

After nine months of the pandemic, GAT organizers were optimistic and realistic about the options for 2021 — but still, just a few months later, some arrangements have already had to be readjusted. In their December announcement, GAT organizers described a hybrid event taking place in May 2021. Now, the event will be in mid-August, four months later.

After Initial Postponement, April 2021 Was The Plan

In fact, the May 2021 date announced in December 2020 was already pushed back a month from the organizers’ original vision, announced in late April of 2020, which posited that the convention would take place from April 28-29, 2021. The frequent postponements indicate the progression — or lack thereof — during the pandemic.

A SAGSE Influence?

The academic portion of the conference, a mainstay of international gambling conventions, will take place online this year. This follows in the style of another industry convention’s elected approach, as Argentina’s SAGSE convention took place exclusively via online panels known as SAGSE Talks in 2020.

In February 2021, SAGSE paved the way for in-person industry events with an intimate award show including live performances held at the Hipódromo de Palermo race track in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The event was attended by about 200 guests, and was held entirely outside, with groups clustered to maintain social distancing.

A Return To Form After An Unusual Event

In 2020, GAT organizers elected to take an entirely unprecedented approach: moving the international expo online into a virtual 3D affair. Guests to the expo would be able to participate in it almost as if playing a video game, complete with representative models and an entirely digital iteration of the traditional industry expo floor.

A Good Sign: Vaccinations In Colombia Accelerates

Though the planned 2021 event has already been postponed several times, national officials approved Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in an emergency measure announced in late March. The decision should accelerate the pace of vaccine rollout, particularly since patients will need just a single jab.

The announcement could not have come any sooner, as hospitals in at least one Colombian city — Medellín — have reported being completely overwhelmed by cases of the novel respiratory virus, which is on the upswing despite moves being made to vaccinate the global population.

In response to the surge in COVID-19 cases, a curfew has been implemented in the Argentine province, now active between 5pm and 5am. The strict curfew comes after the provincial Governor has admitted that previous measures to curb the spread of the virus were not sufficient.

Have you enjoyed this article? Then share it with your friends.
Share on Pinterest
The colorful historic buildings of Cartagena, Colombia.

Similar Posts