Gaming manufacturers adapt to mass reality Macau, once known as a premier gaming destination for high rollers, has been shifting its weight towards mass gamblers and that change is being reflected in trends on the casino floor.
lsewhere in Asia, gaming jurisdictions are also seeing similar changes and gaming manufacturers are tweaking their product lines to better suit the times. “There is a move back to lower denominations in table games, slot games and ETGs,” commented Ken Jolly, vice president - Asia of SHFL Entertainment Asia. “The mass market is seeing that they want to play lower denomination games, and we’re seeing that in casinos now with tables. Before casinos [in Macau] were MOP1,500 on the main floor minimum bet, you’re now seeing MOP200-300 tables again, like the old days,” he said. SHFL Entertainment Asia recently released its Double Blessings slot game, as part of its Duo Fu Duo Cai series. Great results One of the notable changes to the series is that it is now available in a HK$0.05 denomination, the lowest available in the product line.“What we’re seeing in the market is that some of the venues are pushing that now into the 5c, obviously for the mass market,” he said. “Previously it was 10s, 20s and 50c. We’re getting great results in that.” Joji Kokuryo, senior compliance & operations manager of Aruze Macau said he has observed a similar trend in electronic table games. “We are seeing an enormous rise in popularity of electronic table games. These machines offer lower minimum bets compared with actual tables, while also having help screens to allow new players to learn the rules and odds of the games. These two points are key when catering to the mass market,” he said. But the key to attracting the mass market, is in diversity of options. Multi options “While the mass market is often grouped to prefer a low to mid volatility and eye-catching games, there is still a need for higher volatility titles. In fact, we feel that the mass market requires a wider range of games, and our main goal is to provide our customers, the casino operators, with a variety of proven titles.” But each market is different, adds Joji. “While electronic table games are a focal point in
Asia Gaming Briefings | November 2016
Macau, in the Philippines and Malaysia we are seeing an increase in linked jackpot popularity. In Singapore and their IR model, eye-catching titles suitable to the mass market are performing very well. Vietnam and Cambodia markets are taking bits and pieces of what is working in the nearby Asian markets and gradually updating their floors. Locations such as Saipan have been blooming as of late, further increasing the competition within the region.” Even the choice of machine varies from market to market, noted Albert Radman, sales director at Alfastreet. Multi options “For example in more traditional markets such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and India the preference goes to the fixed cabinet... In more advanced markets, such as Singapore, Macau or the Philippines the players are looking for more gaming options on a single gaming terminal.” The differences aren’t night and day however, says Amy Ruppas of Ainsworth Game Technology. “The game design across Asia does not vary too much, with Jackpots being the main game element changed due to differing currency valuations. Games which work in Macau will normally work in regions such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore. Generally, games with some cultural connection to the Asian demographics have the greatest following. The exception to this is the Philippines which has a more Western influence than its neighbours and therefore can have a broader spectrum of games which are popular with players.” While suppliers are coming out with lower denomination games, there’s also big investment in higher tech, more sophisticated games, say experts, keeping tabs on developments in virtual reality. Virtual reality, a concept relatively new to the gambling industry, is already forecast to grow nearly 800 percent over the next five years, according to Juniper Research. “My personal view is that, like a lot of these new trends, they will grow over time and virtual reality is one of those. As the millennials grow older and the next generation come along - they are looking for