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O’Leary, ‘Shark Tank’ stars to judge G2E pitches in Las Vegas

There will be sharks on the floor of the Global Gaming Expo next week, and it has nothing to do with playing cards.

Kevin O’Leary, the brutally honest “Mr. Wonderful” from “Shark Tank,” will take his hard-nosed investment evaluation style to the trade show in a first-of-its-kind “Innovation Incubator” competition among entrepreneurs on the final day of the nation’s largest gaming industry event.

O’Leary, chairman of O’Shares ETF Investments, will join fellow “Shark Tank” star Daymond John and Pink Ceiling and Sprout CEO Cindy Eckert to judge a pitch contest of new-to-the-market gaming and hospitality products.

G2E will run Oct. 8-11 at the Sands Expo &Convention Center.

Four finalists will have five minutes to pitch their business concepts to O’Leary, John, Eckert and a live audience, followed by a fast-paced Q&A where the headlining guests will examine the potential business opportunity of each presentation.

With O’Leary providing commentary, it’s bound to get lively.

“If you don’t know your numbers, you’re finished,” O’Leary told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “And frankly, if you get up on that stage and you try to pitch your idea (without knowing your numbers), you should burn in hell in perpetuity, and I’ll put you there myself.”

Four products, two from start-up entrepreneurs and two from UNLV students, will be evaluated by the judges. One winner selected by the judges will receive a $10,000 prize and a complimentary booth at G2E 2019 to showcase the product. The audience will vote on a Customer’s Choice winner, who will also receive a complimentary booth at next year’s show.

The four products or services to be judged:

Inside Injuries, a startup. Inside Injuries is a data analytics company that combines sports medicine with statistical modeling to predict the impact of injuries on player performance.

Vegas Doorstop, a startup. Vegas Doorstop’s founder will present the DoorPro doorstop concept which helps service industry professionals with a hassle-free solution to prop open heavy doors with design that offers a simple-to-use doorstop.

Shield Card Shoe, a student product. Shield Card Shoe is a casino table game security device that is a patent-protected, cost-effective and simple solution to card marking and edge sorting of playing cards.

Window Magic, a student product. Window Magic develops and markets an immersive content delivery system that integrates transparent Organic Light Emitting Diode displays.

But the star of the show might be O’Leary, who once famously told a weeping “Shark Tank” contestant that her tears “don’t add any value” to her product.

He said he is expecting disruptive changes in the gaming industry with the expansion of sports wagering on the horizon.

He said the pitch presentation can be a valuable learning experience for young entrepreneurs.

“I think that’s the greatest value because you learn incredibly fast when you’re a new student how tough it is to do a successful pitch, how cruel the world can be, how focused you have to be in communicating and how you have to stay on target in terms of your message,” he said.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates the Sands Expo &Convention Center.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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