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G2E responds to Katrina

LAS VEGAS - A somber cloud surrounded this year's Global Gaming Expo. In
the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the industry's focus during the recent
three-day event was rightfully centered on the destruction and hardship
occurring along the Gulf Coast.

Sure, several Louisiana and Mississippi casinos were ripped from the ground
and tossed like rag dolls from the sea to the shore; but more importantly,
entire communities and neighborhoods - including many American Indian
families - had their homes and businesses destroyed. Many worked at the
dozen or so damaged casinos in New Orleans, Gulfport and Biloxi. The
message from G2E this year was simple: help those affected by the worst
natural disaster ever to strike the Untied States.

G2E officials placed collection canisters throughout the Las Vegas
Convention Center Sept. 13 - 15; and during keynote addresses and session
seminars, attendees were urged to donate and do whatever they could to

"There are about 17,000 gaming employees in the region and we estimate that
about 10,000 may have lost their homes and have no place to live," said
American Gaming Association President Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. "This is truly a
national tragedy and the biggest challenge our industry currently faces."

A spokesman for the association said the gaming industry's own relief
efforts had raised more than $500,000 through donations from association
members and money collected from drop spots at the convention center.

The heads of two of the world's largest gaming companies - Terry Lanni,
chairman and CEO of MGM Mirage and Harrah's Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman
- addressed how their companies were helping displaced casino workers
during the "Industry leaders in the spotlight" keynote. Employees with both
companies are receiving their salaries and many have accepted jobs at other
properties nationwide.

"The first thing we did was to find our employees and help them," said
Lanni. "That was most important to us."

Added Ernie Stevens Jr., chairman of the National Indian Gaming
Association: "We have many tribes who were devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
We carry a heavy heart, but we have good leaders in Indian country and
we're moving forward."

As the gaming industry's premier trade exhibition and conference, G2E
continues to grow. It has become a behemoth of a trade show and a
must-attend event for anyone involved in gaming. This year's expo attracted
more than 700 vendors - dozens with Native ties - and 100 international
companies representing 23 countries across an exhibition floor stretching
in excess of 300,000 square feet.

Dubbed as the gaming expo "by the industry and for the industry," G2E
celebrated its fifth year with an expanded conference schedule that
included more of a focus on American Indian gaming. A number of sessions
and seminars on topics including security and surveillance; slot
operations; marketing; design and decor; and gaming law, regulation and
tribal government were offered throughout the conference.

Returning for the second year was the culinary marketplace "F&B at G2E,"
featuring wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and the latest in kitchen
gadgetry. But missing from this year's show were celebrity-focused slot
machines, as the industry turned its attention to creating slots with
superior sound and visuals of home theater quality rather than gimmicky
slots containing the faces of the stars.

Playing a much larger role than in years past, American Indian gaming was
more prominently displayed than ever before. The first-ever keynote
focusing solely on tribal gaming ("Indian gaming: The coming federal
battle") took place, and new and expanded tribal government conference
tracks were added to the schedule. Tribal and industry experts examined why
some states are struggling to advance tribal gaming during a one-hour
session titled "What about us? Indian gaming in Nevada, Massachusetts,
Texas and Maine" while the topics of racinos, placing land in trust and
issues of sovereignty were discussed in-depth during the specialized

"I think Indian country has a lot to do with the success of G2E," Stevens
said. "We are not here to compete with Vegas. We have the beauty of Indian
country," he joked.

In 2004, the commercial gaming industry consisted of 445 casinos located in
11 states, with 28 states allowing American Indian gaming. More than $4.8
billion in gaming taxes were paid to state and local governments by the
commercial casino industry last year, according to the AGA.

Beginning in 2006, G2E will be held in mid-November.