GAT Expo 2020 Postponed

The GAT Expo, an international games conference which takes place annually in Latin America, has been postponed due to fears of the coronavirus. This is just one of many events around the world which have screeched to a halt as the highly infectious new virus as spread through at least 163 countries. New dates for the GAT Expo have not yet been announced, but are expected to come soon.

A yellow strip of caution tape reading: DO NOT CROSS, MEDICAL ALERT.

The GAT Expo is just the latest event to be postponed due to coronavirus concerns. ©geralt/Pixabay

What Is the GAT Expo?

The GAT Expo, or Gaming And Technology Expo, is a major international gaming conference which has been happening for more than two decades. The “GAT” name is actually a rebrand from the expo’s former title, the Feria Americana de Juegos de Azar, or FADJA (in English: the Gaming Fair of the Americas).

In 2019, more than 6,000 attendees came to what was then called the FADJA conference, and organizers expected — and possibly, if the event should still happen — expect an even bigger turnout for the 2020 event. Organizers hope that the rebrand will expand focus to the exciting and vital iGaming sector in the gaming industry.

An additional element of the rebrand is the addition of “Gaming Week,” an entire week of content preceding the trade show which will happen at the event prior to the expo. The Gaming Week will include a two day “Academy,” which will offer instructional courses on casino and sports book management.

When the GAT Expo 2020 does take place, it will be in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. The conference had been set to take place from April 20-22, 2020, and new dates are expected to be announced soon. Participating companies will include major names like Zitro, Aristocrat, R. Franco Digital, PlayN’Go, and more.

The Postponement: A Tough Decision

The decision to postpone this spring’s GAT Expo is just the latest in a long string of international decisions by event organizers around the world as the novel coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, and countries crack down on events which set to bring together large groups of people.

The announcement was made via a press release issued by 3A Producciones, the company responsible for putting together the GAT Expo. The company said that the decision was made to focus first and foremost on the health and safety of the visitors and participants planning to come to the expo, who would come from around the world.

While the organizers made this decision independently, it also comes after the national government of Colombia outlawed any gathering which contains more than 500 people. With a planned crowd of over 6,000 people (the number of attendees at last year’s event), this would definitely exceed the government’s limit!

The other bans by Colombia’s government set in place currently include a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for travelers from countries that have been greatly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. This includes visitors from Italy, Spain, China, and France. The declaration by the government of Colombia was issued on March 10.

“In the next 72 hours we will have the new dates, taking into account the calendar of events of the Cartagena de Indias Convention Center in the coming months and the annual schedule of events in the gaming industry. We want to thank exhibitors of land-based and online games, our sponsors, Clarion Gaming, national authorities, industry associations: Asojuegos, Cornazar, Camazar, Fecoljuegos, and Fedelco, specialized media, visiting entrepreneurs, business partners, and the Cartagena de Indias Convention Center, your solidarity and support at this unexpected moment.”organizers, 3A Producciones

A Wave of Postponements and Cancellations

Around the world, disappointed events organizers have had to postpone or cancel major upcoming events. In the last few weeks, these cancellations have hit not only Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, but also poker tournaments in Europe and even Las Vegas, as two upcoming significant conferences set to happen in the city were cancelled.

Other postponed events include putting off the beloved Italian soccer tournament, the Serie A, postponed until April 3 — at the very earliest — in an attempt to contain a massive wave of coronavirus infections that have hit the Mediterranean country. At present, 60 million people in Italy are quarantined under austere lockdowns.

In other countries not yet as hard-hit by the infections, attempts have been made to lock out visitors coming from countries with severe outbreaks, like China, Japan, South Korea, Iran, and Italy. One such example is the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, which has banned the entry of any player from Italy.

Coronavirus in Latin America

Nearly every country in Central and Latin America has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Due to the extremely contagious nature of the coronavirus, it is quite likely that numbers of those infected around the entire world will continue to increase until international governments are able to get the illness under control.

The Economy Hard Hit, But A Window for Online Gaming?

With conferences grinding to a halt and casinos closing their doors — a recent report from the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that all hotels and casinos in Las Vegas are to close temporarily — there isn’t a person in the world who will not ultimately be economically affected by the viral outbreak.

Many around the world have been encouraged to work from home and practice either at-home quarantine if they feel symptoms of the illness or what is now being called “social distancing,” limiting contact with those outside of immediate cohabitants and keeping a distance of 6 feet from others when possible.

With these restrictions in place, it’s quite possible that those bored at home could turn to the entertaining distraction of online gaming from the safety of their homes. It will be interesting to keep an eye on numbers and stocks of gaming companies during this time, as it’s possible they could find themselves making good on this strange moment!

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