Volume 13 Issue 112
Fallsview Casino Resort Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Editorial: Editor in Chief: Glyn Thomas Mob: +44 (0) 7727 969299 firstname.lastname@example.org Features Editor:
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Associate Editor North America David Mckee
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firstname.lastname@example.org International Casino & Gaming Correspondent: JJ Woods
email@example.com Technology Correspondent: Rebecca Green
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Editor’s page Welcome to Casino Life...
Las Vegas this year provided a stark reminder of the thin line between order and chaos; life and death, and we are all glad that none of our friends and colleagues, despite near misses, was directly affected. At G2E many had harrowing stories to tell but in the main most were reflective and all were stoic. Being tied up in a show in the run up and the actual days means many did not have chance to take stock until a week later – returning to their offices, and normality. But, I suspect that Las Vegas will never be the same again. Time marches on and in this issue we start with a timely guest comment by Tracy Damestani, CEO of the National Casino Forum. We have long held the belief that casinos have not been dealt with fairly by the UK Government. They have embraced safer gambling measures whilst elsewhere, regulations governing bookmakers have been relaxed. The man in the street is not being protected and whilst some argue that it’s a “free world”, this ignores a common duty of responsibility. Casinos are placed well to deal with the issues of machine gambling face to face - not having to observe players through armoured glass - but self interest groups and lobbying for no change prevail. As Tracy says it’s been a missed opportunity on a wide range of issues. David Clifton, Clifton Davies Consultancy Limited elaborates more later in this issue. Next up, we profile Ellen Moore, Regional President at Caesars Entertainment who finds time beyond her busy schedule to be a leading light in Global Gaming Women. From a start in hotels at 15 to leading on some of the key casino resorts in Vegas she is a perfect role model for women in our industry. Richard Taylor, President of Niagara Casinos has an equally impressive CV and we chat to him about his role in charge of the Niagara Casinos portfolio, which includes Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Victor Royer provides a glowing review of our meal at the Blue Ribbon restaurant at the Cosmopolitan whilst we also talk to Igor Gamba, the founder and CEO of the Monaco World Gaming Expo about the event to be held in December. Meanwhile I managed to catch up with Ian Crosby, Managing Director ZYTRONIC during G2E to see the company’s impressive cutting edge Touch Screen technology. Pieter Remmers, Global Gambling Guidance Group, chats to Peter White about not chasing losses. Finally, Robert Ambrose takes a closer look at Esports and Victor Royer provides his first of two features on G2E. Anything to say? Want to contribute? Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Glyn Thomas Editor in Chief
5 Guest Comment: Tracy Damestani 6 Expansive Attractions Interview with Eileen Moore, Regional President at Caesars Entertainment. By: Bill Healey and Peter White 13 Capture the Action Interview with Richard Taylor, President of Niagara Casinos. By: Bill Healey 22 A Jewel Among The Neon Blue Ribbon fine dining at the Cosmopolitan Casino Resort in Las Vegas By: Glyn Thomas and Victor H Royer 27 “Win before the winners!” “Win before the winners!” is what Igor Gamba, the founder and CEO of the Monaco World Gaming Expo, says to his team. We asked him what does he really mean? By: Rebecca Green 28 Technology that Captivates Ian Crosby, Sales and Marketing Director, ZYTRONIC, Chats to Glyn Thomas 35 Play Your Cards Right Pieter Remmers, Global Gambling Guidance Group, Chats to Peter White 38 UK gaming machine Consultation Maintains Status Quo. By: David Clifton 41 Esports and All That Other Stuff at G2E Entering into a Brave New World. By: Robert Ambrose 44 G2E 2017 Review: Part One A breakthrough show for casinos, traditional slots, skill-based games, and more! By: Victor H Royer 48 From Dusk Till Dawn and Pac-Man were major attractions at G2E Editorial Policy: The views and opinions expressed in Casino Life remain principally the views of contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or publishers. The publishers wish to avoid inaccuracies and, whilst every precaution has been taken to ensure that information contained in this publication is accurate, no liability is accepted by the editor or publishers for errors or omissions, however caused. Unless otherwise stated, articles appearing in this publication remain the copyright of the publishers and may not be reproduced in any form without the publisher’s written consent. Printed in the UK by MPC Ltd.
Guest Comment: Tracy Damestani
he Gaming Machines Review published by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport welcomed the progress made by casino operators in promoting responsible gambling – yet rejected every one of the sector’s proposals for modest, sensible reform of the industry. This is a missed opportunity, which will prevent operators from modernising their venues, thwarting their attempts to innovate and preventing their customers from enjoying the same experience they routinely find when they visit casinos abroad. The National Casino Forum’s proposals are intended to level the playing field between 1968 Act converted casinos and 2005 Act small casinos, setting a 3:1 machines to tables ratio, and to increase the maximum number of machines in 2005 Act large casinos to 500. These modest proposals would bring £100m Gross Value Added to the UK economy, creating at least 1,000 jobs, and remove some of the unintended consequences of the 2005 Act, which is no longer fit for purpose. Operators also want to allow customers to access their remote accounts from tablets at a casino – hardly a radical proposal when they can already do so on their smartphones – and increase the prize value of Progressive Linked Jackpots to £100,000. The casino sector was expecting the previous 10:1 ratio for the stake cash deposits and transfers to be restored as this had been left out when the previous take and prize had been implemented. None of these proposals have been accepted and nor was our suggestion to consider creating a B1 sub-category for high-end casinos, where players expect stakes commensurate with their wealth profile. Despite recognising that the casino sector has pioneered responsible gambling through its Playing Safe programme, including the ongoing Focal Research project into player behaviour, the DCMS justifies its intransigent stance by claiming there is insufficient evidence to prove these measures will
Tracy Damestani, CEO, National Casino Forum
protect players. However, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the government is unwilling to reform the sector, fearing political fall-out from the row over Fixed Odds Betting Terminals – only around 180 of which are located in casinos – rather than considering the merits of the casino sector’s case. It has long been accepted that casinos are at the top of the regulatory pyramid, with high staffing levels and strong interaction with customers. They are the most appropriate places for machine gambling and we will continue to make the case for modernisation so operators can offer customers the casino experience they deserve. Tracy Damestani, CEO, National Casino Forum
The Cromwell Hotel Resort Casino
Casino Entertainment Interview by Bill Healey and Peter White with Eileen Moore, Regional President at Caesars Entertainment
Eileen Moore Regional President at Caesars Entertainment
e’re catching up in this issue with one of the rock-stars of the Las Vegas casino gaming industry. Spending her career in hospitality, Eileen Moore quickly built on her experiences in marketing and technology to rise within the industry. She is now a Regional President at Caesars Entertainment Corporation. With a start in Reno more than 77 years ago, Caesars has grown into the world’s most geographically diversified casino-entertainment company through development of new resorts, expansions and acquisitions. Operating casinos on three continents, Caesars is now the world’s most geographically diversified casino-entertainment company. The company’s resorts operate primarily under the Harrah’s®, Caesars® and Horseshoe® brand names and also owns the London Clubs International family of casinos. As a senior level operations leader with extensive knowledge and proven ability, Eileen was able to leverage world-class technology solutions to create measurable and substantial revenue producing capabilities.
You grew up in the hospitality industry, so when and how did you make the move into gaming? I started working in the hospitality industry when I was 15 years old at The Hotel Thayer at West Point Military Academy and I fell in love with the business. I attended The Hotel School at Cornell University and earned my degree in Hotel Operations. I was always attracted to iconic and historic hotels so I was fortunate enough to work for The WaldorfAstoria in New York City and The Fairmont in San Francisco. While working in the hospitality industry, I was on the ground level for the roll out of revenue management strategies and technology. The vendor that worked with us to build our system at Hilton was building the first-ever gaming hotel revenue management system for Harrah’s Entertainment, now Caesars Entertainment, and I joined them in 1999 to roll it out. I have stayed at Caesars, and with the industry since then because of how dynamic our company and business has become. You have a considerable technical focus in your earlier years, including working in Revenue Management stretching back more than 20 years. It was a fairly new concept in hospitality
Pool side at The Linq Hotel & Casino
and gaming at the time. How were you prepared for RM, and how have you seen it advance in Hospitality and Gaming? We didn’t offer a Revenue Management class when I attended University, but I always enjoyed our statistics and forecasting classes, so I was drawn to yielding and pricing early in my career. It is such an amazing feeling to know you are driving the profitability of the entire property and get a scorecard every morning of how you performed. How would you summarize your management style: how you work and manage others? Many of my sponsors and mentors spent time developing and teaching me, for which I am extremely grateful, so my style for the past five years has been very focused on developing my team members to be the best they can be both personally and professionally. My greatest joy is seeing people that I have developed lead these tremendous businesses. I have directly developed over a dozen casino General Managers, and I am very proud of that. You’re a founding member of the Global Gaming Women. How did that come about, and what are the goals and successes of the group?
I was invited to join the board by Virginia McDowell, our founding Chairperson and was thrilled at the opportunity to develop and educate women across our industry. I have had a fantastic and rewarding career and wanted to inspire and motivate women to continue to develop and succeed. Our mission is to deliver high impact programs and events on a global scale that support, inspire, and influence the development of women in the gaming and lottery industry. We have had hundreds of women participate in our educational and mentoring programs with a high degree of positive feedback. What do you see as the future for women in gaming? Gender and pay equity is within our reach and we need to continue to aspire to be one of the first industries to achieve this globally. What are your responsibilities as Regional President for Flamingo / LINQ Hotel & Casino / Cromwell? I am responsible for the operations of these three incredible unique resorts, and ensuring our 5,000 team members are ready to create memorable experiences for our guests. I like it best how my son describes my job, “my mom puts on peoples’
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vacations.â€? The Flamingo is the longest operating casino resort on the Las Vegas Strip and turned 70 this past year, while the LINQ Hotel & Casino and the Cromwell are the two newest. The Flamingo is in its 71st year and is going through a major renovation. What investment is being made in the property? We recently finished a $7M refurbishment of our convention space, and we are currently undergoing a $90 million renovation of 1,270 rooms at Flamingo Las Vegas, with first guests anticipated to check in November 2017. All rooms to be complete around the second quarter of 2018. The LINQ Hotel & Casino has become a significant draw on The Strip. What market does The LINQ Hotel & Casino address? The LINQ Hotel & Casino has been a smashing success with its target demographic: millennials. The LINQ Hotel & Casino offers a modern resort experience that is technology forward, approachable and in a fantastic location. With your past technical work in data management, how do you see using data to enhance retention of current clients? Caesars Ent. is known as a best in class for any
company in using our rich customer databases and we continue to grow and get smarter about the best uses, particularly on the hospitality side. How does Caesars use its prime locations on The Strip to address those not within the current management system? We have entanglement strategies and new technology to capture as much of the in-market and foot traffic as possible and we are relentless in our efforts to grow this valuable channel. How does Caesars address clients from overseas, such as Asia, Europe, South America? Has the group actively promoted foreign and/or multilingual staff within? The Flamingo is a global brand and as such we have a very high percentage of international visitors. They crave the legendary and authentic Las Vegas experience and the history that this resort provides. We have 24 hour access to interpretation services and use them quite frequently! We also continue to grow with our mobile pay options, such as WeChat Pay, which is very popular with our Chinese guests.
Casino Life Magazine would like to thank Eileen Moore for her time and contribution to this interview.
Richard Taylor President of Niagara Casinos
Capture the Action
Interview with Richard Taylor, President of Niagara Casinos. By: Bill Healey
Fallsview Casino Resort
tanding tall above the internationally renowned Niagara Falls is Fallsview Casino Resort, Ontario’s gaming gem at the Canadian - US border. Considered the eighth wonder of the world, the Falls are an attraction I’ve visited a dozen times or more, with Fallsview Casino a regular stop each time I’m in the area. In recent weeks I have been able to chat with Richard Taylor, president of Niagara Casinos. Could you give us a bit of a background on your role with Fallsview, and what the responsibilities entail? I currently serve as the is president of Niagara Casinos, which includes Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. I
began in this role in January 2017. With more than 4,000 employees, Niagara Casinos is the largest employer in the Niagara Region, and offers more than 4,300 slot machines and 170 table games across the two casinos. Combined, our properties are comprised of more than three million sq. ft. of gaming and non-gaming amenities. The properties also feature more than 20 restaurants, bars and lounges – including two multiple CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award-winning restaurants – and our food and beverage teams annually serve more than 2.3 million people. Fallsview Casino Resort is home to the largest gaming floor in Canada at 200,000 sq. ft. – larger than three football fields. Fallsview also offers an award-winning hotel, a luxury spa, a galleria of
The Grand Hall
more than 20 boutiques and shops, 30,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, and a 1,500-seat theatre that hosts performances from some of the worldâ€™s top entertainers. Prior to my current position, from 2008 to 2017, I served as the vice president of operations for Niagara Casinos, which included responsibility for both properties and five departments â€“ slots, table games, food and beverage, facilities, and hotel and spa operations. What is your professional background prior to Fallsview? Prior to Fallsview I worked for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), which is the provincial government agency that conducts and manages gaming facilities, the sale of provincewide lottery games, PlayOLG internet gaming, bingo and other electronic gaming products at charitable gaming centres. I worked at OLG from 2004 to 2008 as vice president of gaming operations. This included responsibility for the operations of 12 gaming sites in Ontario, including three casinos and nine slots at racetracks including Woodbine (Toronto) and Mohawk (Milton). Combined operations under my responsibility included
approximately 3,500 employees, 6,500 slots and 70 table games, and four food and beverage operations. Before joining the OLG, I worked for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which is an agency of the government of Ontario that oversees regulation pertaining to alcohol and gaming in the province. At AGCO, I served as the director of gaming compliance from 2000 to 2004 and I consulted and advised on all aspects of gaming operations within Ontario. Prior to these roles I held senior-level management positions with casinos in Ontario including Brantford Charity Casino, Windsor Racetrack Slots, and Windsor Casino Limited. Based on the Canadian side of the Falls, where does the casino draw most of its guests from? We draw the majority of our customers from Southern Ontario â€“ primarily the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area, which includes Niagara Region, Hamilton-Halton, Mississauga, Toronto, KitchenerWaterloo and communities in between. We also draw heavily from Western New York, including Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Rochester. While the majority of our guests come from these areas,
The Avalon Ballroom
being in Niagara Falls, Ontario – an internationally recognized destination and arguably one of Canada’s strongest tourism markets – we are fortunate to welcome guests from all over the world every day. How is Fallsview placed within the Ontario casino market? From a location standpoint, Fallsview Casino Resort is unique in the Ontario market, and arguably the global market. Being within sight of Niagara Falls – the eighth wonder of the world – offers many advantages for us, including a unique opportunity for our visitors to view one of the most impressive natural wonders in the world at their leisure. There are several vantage points on the property where visitors can see the Falls, including some of our restaurants, balconies, and most of our 374 hotel rooms. Additionally, the Falls has been drawing people to the region for centuries, and for a long time, the city was a seasonal tourism destination where summer was the main economic season. In the last two decades, the City of Niagara Falls has evolved to have tourism as a key economic driver, with billions in private and public funding invested
in the city, turning Niagara Falls from a seasonal tourism destination into a year-round destination. There are several organizations in the city and the province that conduct campaigns to drive tourism to Niagara Falls, and Niagara Casinos works with many of these organizations to promote the city. Having a commitment from various stakeholders to work together to bring tourists to the city is a great benefit for all businesses in the city, including Niagara Casinos. Fallsview Casino is also a resort casino, with a variety of offerings to suit the needs of anyone visiting our facility. *See page 19 for information on Fallsview Casinos’ offerings and amenities. And our key competitive advantage at Niagara Casinos is our 4,000 employees. With such a large, multifaceted operation, it takes a committed group of hardworking, dedicated individuals working as a team to ensure every aspect of our facility is running at an optimal level. From entertainment, dining, and gaming to security, environmental services, engineering and a variety of other areas of operation, it truly is the hard work of our employees that ensures each guest that visits Fallsview Casino Resort has a memorable experience.
Fallsview Casino Resort’s Gaming Floor
What type of table games are provided at Fallsview? What are the most common? Fallsview’s Table Games include: • Baccarat • Blackjack • Blackjack Switch • Caribbean Stud • Casino War • Craps • Double Attack Blackjack • EZ Pai Gow Poker • Four Card Poker • G4 Progressive, Five Card Bonus Hand • High Card Flush • Let it Ride • Mississippi Stud • Pai Gow Tiles • Roulette • Sic Bo • Spanish 21 • Texas Hold’em Bonus • Three Card Poker • Ultimate Texas Hold’em Our most popular games over the last 12 months are baccarat, blackjack and roulette.
How significant are slot machines in the overall gaming mix within the casino? Providing our patrons with a variety of entertainment options is key to our success, and slot machines play a big role in that. With more than 3,000 slot machines, slots are by far our largest gaming option by gaming amenity volume. Because we offer such a large number of slot machines, and with a variety of themes and betting amounts, we are able to provide entertainment experiences to suit the needs of all our patrons. How does social media play into Fallsview’s marketing mix? Social media is an established and growing component of Fallsview’s marketing initiatives, and plays a part in nearly all of our marketing campaigns. Fallsview currently has official pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and also has several pages on TripAdvisor. For Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Fallsview operates under the @Fallsviewcasino handle. Social media is a great medium for us to use to communicate and engage with our patrons and fans, and to promote our various amenities. We post daily to each of our platforms, with postings
including information such as newly added slot machines, upcoming events, entertainment announcements, facility-related information, things to see and do locally, new marketing initiatives, promotions, contests and more. From an engagement standpoint, these platforms are a fantastic way for us to hear from our followers about things that matter to them. We regularly field questions about our restaurants, upcoming performances, parking, available games, and various changes to our business. The platforms allow us to respond quickly to patron requests, and we often use information gathered through social media to address items of concern and make improvements to our business. Additionally, we are always exploring other ways to make optimal use of our social platforms, including initiatives around using user-generated content, developing contests, and more. In summer 2017, Fallsview Casino Resort was awarded with five TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence. Certificates were won for our Ponte Vecchio, R5 and 21 Club Steak and Seafood restaurants; our hotel; and for the facility as an attraction. These certificates were awarded based on customer ratings over the past year. Beyond
winning the certificates, which was great, it really showed us the power of social media and is an example of how using the medium effectively can generate positive business results. Social Media Stats • Facebook – 30,800 + followers • Twitter – 5,200 + followers • Instagram – 1,100 + followers How do the casino’s entertainment offerings impact visits to the casino? Fallsview’s entertainment offerings have a considerable impact on our ability to attract visitors to the casino. As a full-service casino-resort, and we offer a range of products, services and entertainment experiences designed to provide our visitors anything they need to make their entertainment experience memorable. At 2.5 million sq. ft., Fallsview cost $1 billion to construct and is the largest gaming facility in Canada. This includes our gaming floor, which is 200,000 sq. ft., and includes more than 3,000 slot machines and more than 100 table games. We have more than 20 restaurants on site, including several buffets and specialty restaurants. Two of our restaurants – 21
$7 Million Investment at Casino Niagara On November 9, Casino Niagara held the official re-opening for its newly renovated second level. A $3.5 million investment, the renovation included the creation of the LEV2L Sports Bar and Entertainment, a 275-seat sports-themed restaurant and bar with a 123-inch HDTV and numerous additional HDTVs, a stage for live music performances, an area for multi-sport wagering, and a new menu sourced from food producers in the Niagara Region. The updated space also includes a new 24-table poker room that features a view of Niagara Falls. Niagara Casinos spent an additional $3.5 million on new slot machines and gaming technology throughout the property, including the creation of an interactive gaming zone featuring items such as PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Golden Tee systems, and immersive, skills-based gaming. The investment in renovations and improvements is part of Casino Niagara’s plan to attract both loyal and new guests, keep business strong, and continue delivering on Casino Niagara’s promise of “just plain more fun.” “Our mission is to provide all of our patrons with a world-class entertainment experience,” said Taylor. “Our investment in Casino Niagara is helping us deliver on that mission, and with our new restaurant, poker room, and next-generation gaming options, we are offering our patrons one of the most comprehensive entertainment experiences in southern Ontario.”
Club Steak and Seafood and Ponte Vecchio – have won multiple CAA/AAA Four Diamond Awards, and both recently received Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor. Our 30-storey, 374-room hotel is also a multiple CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award winner, with most rooms providing a magnificent view of the Falls. Within the hotel is our spa, which offers patrons a variety of treatments and products, as well as a gym, indoor pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room. Our 1,500-seat theatre plays host to some of the biggest names in entertainment. Some entertainers who have performed here in recent months include Adam Sandler, Rachel Platten, Roger Daltrey, Sarah McLachlan, Billy Crystal and more. And our Galleria includes dozens of retail shops, offering everything from specialty foods and clothing to jewelry and home décor. The Galleria
With all of our amenities, we can offer guests nearly any kind of entertainment experience to suit their needs. Whether guests want to enjoy a great meal and take in a show, try their luck at our thousands of gaming options, do some shopping, spend a relaxing weekend at the hotel and spa, or any combination of these, all of Fallsview’s offerings combine to create a world-class experience so no matter what sort of entertainment our patrons are seeking to enjoy, we can accommodate nearly any request. Because we can offer this level of entertainment experience, we are fortunate to have a large volume of repeat visits and we are able to continuously attract new visitors to Fallsview.
Casino Life would like to thank Richard Taylor for his time and cooperation.
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A Jewel Among The Neon
Blue Ribbon fine dining at the The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas – by: Glyn Thomas and Victor H Royer
ust prior to G2E 2017, Casino Life had the opportunity to visit the The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. We were fortunate to be invited to sample some of the best fine dining cuisine and experiences available in Las Vegas, and at this premier casino resort destination. Among our staff to sample these culinary delights were Peter White, Publisher of Casino Life, Glyn Thomas, Editor in Chief, and rounding up this trio yours truly, that intrepid man-about-town, Vegas Vic (um, that’s me, with a shameless self-plug). The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is an incredibly
beautiful resort, rising majestically above the famous Las Vegas Strip Opened in December of 2010, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas – often referred to simply as the Cosmo – features 3,027 rooms and suites, a 100,000 sq ft of casino with 1,300 slot machines, numerous and diverse table games, and many other entertainment offerings, including 300,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space, a 40,000 sq ft Spa and Fitness Center, a 3,200 seat Theatre, and 150,000 sq ft of meeting and convention facilities. And, of course, the fabulous Blue Ribbon Restaurant.
Blue Ribbon Restaurant
Some of the Appetizers enjoyed by our staff at the Blue Ribbon in Las Vegas
Blue Ribbon is truly a fabulous restaurant! Is was built in Las Vegas based on the vision that originated 25 years ago in New York City’s SoHo, at the legendary original Blue Ribbon, which was well known as the restaurant “where the Chefs go to eat.” Today, at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the Blue Ribbon restaurant draws inspiration from the bustling energy of the Las Vegas Strip. The Blue Ribbon Las Vegas is part saloon, part oyster bar, part American eatery, and part international culinary tour. Blue Ribbon’s menu evokes the original SoHo eatery with its long time favorites, including Beef Marrow & Oxtail Marmalade, and Pan Roasted Skate with Crispy Potatoes, Shrimp & Bacon and most notably, an array of fresh offerings from the sumptuous raw bar, including ‘The Cosmopolitan’, a
multi-tiered shellfish and caviar extravaganza served over ice, with a bottle of fine Champagne. • Escargot • Beef Marrow & Oxtail Marmalade • The Oyster Bar at the Blue Ribbon Our team had a diverse sampling of some of these delights. Among the dishes we enjoyed were a selection of Appetizers. We had sautéed baby squid with garlic butter and parsley, shrimp remoulade with fried zucchini, and the very-wellpresented barbequed duroc pork ribs with sesame seed barbeque glaze, and a delicious side of spicy mustard to go with it. Each of our crew sampled each other’s appetizer, and we all agreed that they were not only delicious,
L-R: Rusty Santiago, the Sous Chef, Tara Echols-Carrillo, our server and Greg Uemoto the Captain
Some of the delicious dishes enjoyed by our staff at the Blue Ribbon in Las Vegas
but very well presented. I particularly enjoyed the ribs. They were presented with a live-fire urn, so that you could take each rib and sear-roast it on this open flame, to add yet another boost to an already delicious flavor. If you know Korean Barbeque, then you know what I mean. But these ribs were already cooked, and glazed. This added touch was simply marvelous! It allowed us to not only enjoy the sumptuous taste of these ribs, but to also warm them up, and give them just that little added “tad-more” BBQ flavor over that open flame. It was simply fantastic, and I enjoyed it very much. The shrimp were lightly breaded, and crispy, and fresh. They tasted like they were brough fresh from the sea the same day. Not mushy at all – just perfectly rounded, and crispy, and smooth, deliciously gliding over the palate as we tasted the flavor of the light breading perfectly matched with
the shrimp itself, and the tasty sauce on the side. The squid was presented in a great format – a bowl, in which the pieces were carefully carved to make eating them easy, and uncomplicated. Sometimes it’s not always easy to eat seafood gracefully, similar to eating spaghetti, but this time the presentation was as fabulous as the others. I found the taste similar to a Marseillesstyle presentation, and when I combined this with the spicy mustard sauce I had with my ribs, the combination was truly a culinary delight. After a suitable time to refresh ourselves – with an incredible drink from the Bar we called “The Brooklyn Mud-Ball” – but which is actually called Straight Up Brooklyn – we then proceeded to the main course. Our choices were: Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes and collard greens, a House Specialty, Red Trout with mushrooms, sage, and
almond brown butter, and a truly delicious 12 oz New York Steak in Red Wine sauce, with French fries and peas on the side. The entire experience at Blue Ribbon restaurant at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas was complemented by the Staff at this restaurant, who were gracious, attentive, and who all understood the value of excellent service for which this restaurant, and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Casino Resort, are already well-known. We would like to acknowledge some of these fabulous people, in the photo on the opposite page. We would also like to thank the Manager Evan Polott who greeted us as we arrived, and who attended to us as we settled down to our dining experience. He was very professional, friendly, and knowledgeable, and contributed significantly to our enjoyment of this experience. Together, we found the dining at Blue Ribbon restaurant to be a truly memorable experience, with fine food, great wine, and excellent service. Blue Ribbon is certainly a complement to the overall appeal of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Casino Resort, which is, in itself, a stunning first-class property on the Las Vegas Strip. In our joint opinion, a visit to Las Vegas should certainly include a visit to the Cosmo, and to Blue Ribbon restaurant, for the best among the culinary delights available in Las Vegas, and the world.
Victor H Royer is President of Gaming Services & Research. He is a 34 year veteran of Las Vegas gaming, a 28 year consultant to the gaming industry, author of 53 books, and more than 4,000 articles on casino games and gaming. In addition he has researched and authored over 300 industry reports on the subject of player preferences, marketing, player development and customer relations. He can be reached at: DrVHR@aol.com
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“Win before the winners!” is what Igor Gamba, the founder and CEO of the Monaco World Gaming Expo, says to his team. We asked him what does he really mean? Interview by Rebecca Green.
Do you feel there is a need for another gaming expo and what makes you think the one in Monaco will be a successful one? The response we’ve had thus far from all participating exhibitors, sponsors and visitors coming to Monaco proves that the gaming-expomarket is not yet saturated. A trade exhibition remains one of the better and fastest ways of creating new business relations, presenting new products and pitching new ideas. Gaming is a fastpaced industry, new trends are emerging on a daily basis, 3rd generation casinos are multiplying, and new generations of gamers are demanding more from the gaming providers. Yes of course, 1st edition is always a big question mark and it creates a lot of curiosity, but I am really proud of my team as we have managed to pull together a nice pallet of exhibitors that have shown their trust. I believe those exhibitors are coming to Monaco because they know there is space to do more. Just to name few that trusted us from the very start: EGT, GreenTube, Patir, Advansys, Dao.Casino, BetConstruct and many others keep joining since. Among other announced celebrities we have named as guest of honor is Patrick Antonius, the biggest winner in the history of on-line poker.
The highlight of the social events will most probably be the Gala Evening which takes place at the Café de Paris on December 6. Here the industry leaders, trend setters, inspiring fast growing companies and local celebrities will have a chance to meet in a relaxed atmosphere at this iconic Monte Carlo venue. So why Monaco? The answer is obvious, the location is perfect. It’s conveniently located in the center of Europe, easily accessed from any part of the world. Besides that, it’s considered to be the cradle of the gaming industry and the Monaco name is already branded with “gaming”. Moreover, in this uncertain time, it is one of the safest places to meet and do business. December? What a better time of the year than December! One can much better prepare and tee up for next year. A December expo will be especially beneficial for all the exhibitors that will follow up with their presence at ICE Totally Gaming London in the New Year. Others can justify the extra budget with exceeded yearly sales goals. Every good sales person knows that the best deals are achieved at the end. And this is why I always say “Win before the winners”!
Technology that Captivates
Ian Crosby, Sales and Marketing Director, ZYTRONIC, Chats to Glyn Thomas Could you commence this interview with a brief history of the company from when it was launched to present day? At Zytronic we regard ourselves as leaders in projected capacitive touch technology, specializing in highly durable and stable products that provide precision at the fingertips of the end user, irrespective of the surrounding environment. Our company’s core competence is in glass processing and lamination technology - a field in which we have over 40 years’ experience. We identified the touch screen market as a growth opportunity during the 1990s, when self-service equipment such as ATMs were becoming more popular globally. With our expertise in glass, it was a logical step and the production and sale of touch sensors now represents the majority of our business. Over the last 15 years, we’ve invested millions of dollars in the development of our own sophisticated, touch control electronics and cutting-edge plant and equipment. We are committed to push the boundaries of what is possible with touch screens and I believe that our fundamental glass know-how, proprietary touch electronics and highly flexible
production processes really set us apart from other manufacturers in the touch screen industry. We listed on the London Stock Exchange as Zytronic plc in July 2000. As our export sales have grown (now 95% of our revenue comes from outside the UK) we have expanded our global presence; forming Zytronic Inc. in 2014 to support our customers in North America, followed by the establishment of a representative office in Taiwan, responsible for Greater China, and the creation of Zytronic Japan in 2015. What has been the reaction from Casino & Gaming manufacturers and operators at G2E Las Vegas 2017? I believe the new products we demonstrated at G2E will help make games more immersive and exciting to play, crucially providing slot machine manufacturers with an opportunity to differentiate their hardware - catching and holding players attention. G2E is a key opportunity for us to reach out, not only to the console manufacturers that represent our customer base, but also to inform
players and casino operators of the benefits our unique touch technology offers. G2E is also a great chance to watch for the latest trends and listen to our customers and the challenges that they face, especially in appealing to new generations of players. These conversations steer our research and development. Your slogan is ‘The World At Your Fingertips’. Please explain? To millennials, a display is for touching not just looking at, and consequently the use of touch screens has grown rapidly in our everyday lives. However, the touch screen form-factors used in consumer electronics are quite basic as they are typically designed for huge volume, lowest cost mass production. Extending that approach to the larger displays used in slot machines and table games results in a plethora of very similar looking slot machines. We advocate a different approach. By closely collaborating with our customers and leveraging our expertise in low volume customisation, we are able to help them design and use touch screen technology in compelling new ways that work for them and their customers. Can you explain what is meant by the words ‘capacitive technology’? There are numerous forms of capacitive touch technology – all of which are fundamentally electrical in nature, using a small charge applied through conductive layers within a screen and then measuring how that charge is altered when a user approaches or touches the screen. Zytronic focuses upon a method of touch sensing using a principle called projected capacitance (or increasingly ‘p-cap’). Over the last twenty years, we’ve developed two variants of p-cap touch technology, which we call PCT™ and MPCT™. PCT™ works by sensing minute frequency changes in an X-Y matrix of conductive traces. These microscopic traces are laminated to the rear of the sensor and a small charge is applied via the touch controller. When a finger or conductive stylus approaches the surface of the screen, capacitive
coupling occurs between the finger and the energised traces immediately beneath, disrupting the sensor’s electromagnetic field and altering the frequency. The touch controller monitors the frequency in each trace and the touch position is calculated by determining which X and Y trace is closest to this peak change, which is then output to the host Operating System as a coordinate. This method is so sensitive that a touch can be detected through very thick glass overlays. Unlike conventional capacitive, sound and optical based touch sensing approaches, the active component of PCT™ is embedded behind the front substrate, ensuring protection, long life, and stability. This method of p-cap sensing is also referred to as “selfcapacitive”. MPCT™ p-cap technology works through a two-layer matrix of microscopic conductive cells laminated to the rear of the sensor. A small charge is applied to one layer via the touch controller, which in turn passes to the other. As with PCT, the presence of a finger or conductive stylus over the cells, alters the amount and rate at which the charge transfers from one adjacent layer of cells to the other. The key difference between PCT and MPCT, is that this method can track many simultaneous touch events with no compromise on accuracy or response time. This method of touch sensing is also called “mutual capacitive”. With our highly flexible manufacturing process, both types of p-cap sensors can be produced in a limitless range of designs to match display sizes from five to over ninety inches.
GeWeTe GmbH 53894 Mechernich, Germany, Zum Lindenbusch 5 Tel: +49(0)2256 3000-0/Fax: +49(0)2256 3000-19 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.gewete.com
How has your Touch screen Technology been received so far by the markets in which it has been launched? We have grown in every market that we address, because customers increasingly appreciate the innate flexibility and reliability of our touch technology. We try to keep ahead of the trends in the application areas we serve, delivering innovations seen in portable consumer devices for public and commercial systems. A great example is force sensing (also known as 3D touch) where the sensor responds to the degree of pressure exerted on the screen as well as to the location of the touch. Zytronic was the one of the first to offer this capability on touch screens designed for selfservice installations. A key to making this happen, is our ownership and continued development of proprietary touch control electronics, allowing our engineers to develop custom firmware capable of measuring the increased surface area of a fingertip as pressure is applied to the touch screen. We have also been pioneers in the development of secure encrypted touch sensors for ATMs, curved touch screens for slot machines, and object recognition technology for touch tables in retail environments. What has been the secret to how Zytronic has been so successful with leading manufacturers such as Aristocrat is in being able to provide cutting edge technology that can be customised so that it can be seamlessly incorporated into the design characteristics of the manufacturers’ Slot Machines. Slot machine developers are always thinking of tomorrow’s player as well as today’s, and so are we. Casino game developers work in an environment that is continually evolving and have always used the latest technology to engage the player and provide the most immersive possible playing experience. A walk around G2E this year, compared to say, ten years ago really highlights the change – boring looking, generic ‘black box’ slot machines just don’t cut it anymore. Players want the hardware they’re sitting at to match the cuttingedge game software they’re using. With hundreds of slot machines often installed on the casino floor, competing for players attention and then holding it, is absolutely critical. Casino operators know this, and have put pressure on the slot machine manufacturers to innovate in their hardware design
as well as their game play. That’s where we come in – helping them create uniquely designed player interfaces, while all the time ensuring the utmost reliability. What are the key reasons behind the success of Zytronic in the Gaming industry? As just noted above, it’s that combination of total design flexibility coupled with proven durability and reliability that has helped us grow in this important market. How do you sustain such a high level of innovation at Zytronic? Innovation comes from understanding both our customers’ needs and the technology that we provide. We are constantly looking at new ways to enhance the technology that we offer, but only by listening to our customers do we understand which of those developments are of value and will really make a difference to customers such as game developers or casino operators.
Versatility is a word designers of EGMs love to hear. What is the level of customization provided by Zytronic to clients? Zytronicâ€™s p-cap touch sensors are available in a limitless range of shapes and sizes, and can be made from a wide variety of materials, glass or otherwise. Customers can specify whether they want a flat or curved screen, request special edge profiles, cut outs, holes and slots, as well as screen-printed logos and borders in a variety of colours. In addition, we can customise and manufacture each design of the touch sensor in small quantities with minimal tooling fees to provide exactly the appearance that is required. We are also looking at ways to add extra features and functionality, such as the Qi wireless phone charging capability showcased in the custom video button deck at G2E. Was it the companyâ€™s decision to enter into the Gaming industry strategy or were you approached by a manufacturer? Zytronic has supplied touch screens into the entertainment and the leisure sector for over 15 years, with customers manufacturing video jukeboxes and lottery terminals deploying thousands of our touch screens all over the world.
Our sales in the gaming market has significantly increased over the last two to three years as the trend towards increasingly customised slot machine design has accelerated. Touch screens technology has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on EGMs. What are the features and benefits of Zytronics Touch screens from a Gaming applications standpoint? Casino games are becoming more skill based to attract younger players and the performance of the touch screen becomes more critical to the system. When player is competing against player, it is especially important - indeed essential that touches are always recorded reliably and correctly, as users will complain bitterly if the game doesnâ€™t respond instantly and accurately. Again, having ownership of the touch detection electronics as well as the sensor manufacture, allows us to develop and optimise such solutions for each of our customers. Zytronic touch sensors offer proven durability and excellent touch response. They are unaffected by scratching and liquid spills, unlike some alternative touch technologies that have front surface components that can degrade and fail over time. Most of our touch sensors are manufactured
from rigid, thermally toughened, safety glass. This is a necessity for many casinos, as over excited customers can sometimes hit the screen during game play and the touch screen must be resistant to impact but in the event of breakage, shatter into small, relatively inert cubes, much like your car windscreen. How important have you found that the appearance combined with the level of touch sensitivity and speed of interactivity affects the appeal and game performance of EGMs? Appearance and the player experience go handin-hand with the design of a good game. Casinos and arcades are intense environments with lots of visual and audible stimuli, and a game really needs to compete for attention. Once a player is using the game, he or she will switch off very quickly if the touch sensor doesn’t react when they touch it, or if they feel as though the game is slow to respond to their inputs. Truthfully, the touch screen isn’t normally the limiting factor here – poor touch response is normally the result of a badly specified and overloaded computer inside the slot machine. What is your process of finding the ideal solution for your clients in the gaming industry? What would you like to say to those organisations in manufacture and supply along with operations with regards to how Zytronic can assist them with further development and innovation of their Electronic Gaming Machines and associated Displays? 2018 will see Zytronic debut at ICE Totally Gaming. What will visitors expect to see at your booth? ICE will be an opportunity for the European gaming industry to experience the latest Zytronic touch innovations first-hand, including a patent pending player interface with integrated physical dials to enhance user experience, connecting physical interaction with the touch screen. The capacitive dial is fixed to the touch screen allowing the user to instinctively operate it like a mechanical device without taking their focus from the screen. However, its position is detected directly by the touch screen, so that the developer can easily integrate it into their game design. Zytronic will also show its new “infinity edge” touch sensor technology, allowing the touch surface to be
extended right to the edge of the screen, matching the latest frameless displays. Other enhancements include NFC-ready touch technology, allowing contactless payments, player tracking and loyalty cards to be integrated into touch screen interfaces. How environmentally friendly is Zytronic? Zytronic is fully compliant with BSI Environmental Management System ISO 14001:2015, and transitioned to the latest standard more than 18 months ahead of the deadline. What are amongst Zytronic’s main goals for the year ahead? We work in an environment that is continually evolving and we have always used the latest technology to help designers engage the player and provide the most immersive possible playing experience. In addition to the innovations noted above, we will be releasing some exciting new developments around our touch control electronics in 2018, to further enhance our touch screen solutions.
Sofia - November, 22-23
Hall 3 Stand 3.15
Your Global Partner in Gaming
Play Your Cards Right Pieter Remmers, Global Gambling Guidance Group, Chats to Peter White When was the Global Gambling Guidance Group set up and what are the principal aims and ambitions of the G4? G4 was set up in 2003 by 4 experts dealing with Responsible Gaming Issues from Australia, United Kingdom, Sweden and the Netherlands. We were confronted a lot with an industry that claimed they would do a lot already in relating to Responsible Gaming. In fact, in a lot of cases it was mainly lip service, not doing a lot, so we thought of setting up an ISO standard on Responsible Gaming. We were the first organization in the world to do this. Our aim was, and still is, to minimise the impact of problem gambling by promoting a worldwide accreditation / certification programme on Responsible Gaming. For us Responsible Gaming means all policies and practices to prevent and reduce the harm caused by gambling. It is about informed choices to play well designed games in a secure and supportive environment.
At present the G4 Board consists of a number of new experts as the â€˜old expertsâ€™ no longer participate. We now have Connie Jones, Director Responsible Gaming at AGEM (Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers) and Professor Jeffrey Derevensky of McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Pieter Remmers is the chairman of the Board. On a regular basis , once a year we look at our standards, compare them with the standards of other organisations and upgrade our position when necessary, so that we remain the front runner. In what regions does the Group Operate? In principal we operate all over the world. However the main focus is on Europe as most of our customers come from Europe. On an international level we have certified IGT as manufacturer / technology / software provider. IGT works in nearly 200 different jurisdictions and has more than 400 licences all over the world. And we did the WLA,
Jeffrey L. Derevensky, Ph.D.
level 4 certification for Tatts, Australia as well as a number of clubs in New South Wales. The market is huge and definitely we have more to do, so if operators are interested, let us know. Who are the members and what conditions of membership and criteria are they required to comply with? Besides G4 certification we also do EL (European Lotteries) and WLA (World Lottery Association) level 4 certification as well as ECA (European Casino Association) Responsible Gaming Framework Certification. We are very happy to have Ynze Remmers, as qualified and certified Lead Auditor in our group. But he is not alone, we have other qualified auditors as well. Amongst our members we have big online operators like Kindred/Unibet and Betsson, but also lottery organizations (Lottomatica) and land based casinos (Merkur, Germany) You have been involved for over 20 years in the study of Gambling which means you have a considerable amount of knowledge and experience of cause and effect. I started in 1989 with the Holland Casino programme on Responsible Gaming and we are very happy to still work together with them via our mother company, Assissa Consultancy Europe. We also work for a number of other companies. This is a fascinating industry; who could have imagined all the developments that have taken
place in the past 30 years. Will the Global Gambling Guidance Group have a conference or do you see the organisation working with existing exhibitions and events? G4 has no plans to have their own conference. There are far too many conferences anyway. But what we do, is talk a lot about G4 when we are at conferences. I, myself, attend at least 15 conferences a year, so there are plenty of opportunities to spread the word. In a couple of week in Melbourne, Australia we will be at the NAGS (National Association for Gambling Studies ) conference. Hopefully we will find some new interested parties as well. Our work is far from done. During the past 20 years the Gambling industry has expanded and in recent years that expansion has been rapid in respect to online and its access via mobile phones and tablets. Honestly when I am meeting the industry, operators, technology providers, I often have to question where will we be in 4 years from now. That is too far ahead, to far away. We would be happy to know where we are next year. Time flies What is your opinion on the amount of advertising? It is not only about making money and definitely not as quick as possible and I think a substantial amount of operators know that. A couple of days ago I talked to a marketer and he proposed to stop putting money in advertising and instead invest in his existing customers. That is, I think the future. Incidentally, Swedish research shows us that advertising has not a great influence on the player to play more or start as a new player with a new operator. Advertising from online casinos and sports betting operators is at most sporting events and those televised on commercial television stations often have adverts during the intermissions. Do you think the time has come for an independent advertisement to be shown paid by contributions from these operators, that gets the message home more than a single sentence? The UKGC is looking into this as far as I know. Is it not the case that every team in the Premier League has an online sports betting operator as a sponsor? So gambling is all around and even the very young
know these names as well. So we grow up with gambling, betting all around. I think we should try to limit the possibilities at least a bit more. Stricter rules for advertising. No focus on the minors. Stricter enforcement? I would prefer a proactive industry, rather than stricter rules. But that is demanding a lot from the industry and I don’t know , I have my doubts that the majority is ready for that. Betting on sports events is fun; everyone who has placed a bet on a horse, a football or tennis match or golf tournament will tell you how exciting it is to watch your horse run for the finish line or your chosen team winning. Honestly I am a fan of horse betting, but I am absolutely not an expert; I bet for the fun of it on special numbers and nice names. I win a bit and I lose a bit. Football games are great too, and I am happy that we look closely at match fixing cases and try to stop them as they can harm the industry or even destroy it. In my experience, playing safe means never chasing a loss and setting a limit on the money intended to be spent on any gambling activity. Let’s not forget that people do win (as have I) and it’s a lot of fun! Never chasing losses is one of the key elements in the whole process. Be aware of it and be careful when you know you have reached this stage. Stop gambling, take your losses and come back another day. When the fun stops... Pieter Remmers is a veteran working in responsible gaming, consultancy and training of gambling industry professionals and regulators. He is a member of the Executive Committee and serves as Secretary General of the European Association for the Study of Gambling (EASG). He is also a shareholder/board member of HANDS (Human Assistance Network for Daily Support, telephone counseling services). In 2003 he was the initiator of G4 (Global Gambling Guidance Group). He works all over the world and speaks at many conferences and is initiator of G4. Mobile: + 31 653284321. email@example.com
Strengthen your staff and your responsible gaming policy with a G4 course; it will create a sturdy platform to base all of your responsible gaming activities/operations on. G4 offers your company the possibility to train you and your staff in December 2017 at our training facility in Amsterdam. Monday 11 December General Awareness Training GAT, ½ day (13.30 – 16.30) This introductory course covers all of the basics concerning problem gambling awareness and the different indicators for the existence of a gambling problem. Learn to pick up signals from your customers and act on these signals using harm minimisation measures and the available counselling and treatment options. Tuesday 12 December Customer Communication Skills CCS, full day (09.30 – 16.30) This in-depth course offers your customer facing staff a wide range of techniques and skills to draw from in their future interactions with customers. Our trainer will cover the general improvement of your staffs’ communication skills as well as the next step; the development and training of Brief Intervention Techniques. Wed. 13 December Advanced Support Skills ASK, full day (09.30 – 16.30) In this advanced course the emphasis is on dealing with distressed customers. We`ll cover the instrumental use of listening, how to keep your composure in the face of aggression and knowing when to escalate to a senior figure within the organisation. Last but not least the focus will be on the recognition of (rising) conflict situations, what behaviour to observe and how to react constructively. For more information and costs click here, to register directly click here.
UK gaming machine consultation maintains status quo for casinos by David Clifton, Clifton Davies Consultancy Limited
reat Britainâ€™s casino industry will have been hoping for better news in terms of gaming machine deregulation from the UK Governmentâ€™s yearlong review of gaming machines and social responsibility measures, but it now has an opportunity to press home its case when responding to the 12 week DCMS consultation announced on 31 October, that is presently running until 23 January 2018. The objective of the review commenced in October 2016 was to ensure that the right balance exists between a gambling industry that can grow and contribute to the economy, and one that is socially responsible and doing all it should to protect consumers and communities. It is now clear that the major focus of the review was on category B2 machines in licensed betting offices, the notorious FOBTs that have dominated newspaper headlines since their original introduction. It is surprising that their maximum staking limit
has remained relatively untouched, bearing in mind that as long ago as 2003, the then Government was expressing “concern” at the “increasing installation” of FOBTs in LBOs because this “risked seriously increasing problem gambling”. Since then, they have been the subject of mounting condemnation, with even the CEO of Paddy Power now believing “that the issue has become so toxic that only a substantial reduction in FOBT stake limits to £10 or less will address societal concerns”. The social responsibility concerns that FOBTs present dominated the advice in relation to the review given by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board. By way of contrast, that advice made no mention of the request for an easing of restrictions in relation to B1 gaming machines made by the British land-based casino sector. That request, based on the premise that casinos are the appropriate location for high-prize gambling as they are the most heavily regulated of gambling premises, had included, amongst other things, proposals: • that the maximum progressive (linked machine) B1 jackpot be raised from £20,000 to £100,000 and that machines be permitted to be linked between casino premises (as is the well-established case in casino jurisdictions internationally),
machine to table ratio remaining unchanged at 5:1. • for a new higher stakes (£50) and prizes (£100,000) machine for high-end casinos that cater for a ‘high roller’ international clientele. The Government has rejected all of those requests on the basis that its “preferred option is to maintain the status quo on gaming machines permitted in all casinos” because it believes “retention of the current regulatory environment will better protect players from potential harm than industry’s proposed increases”. This is notwithstanding the National Casino Forum having estimated that the benefits of allowing a 3:1 ratio across Small Casinos and 1968 Act casinos would be: • £100 million gross added value to the UK economy (an estimate by Ernst & Young that HM Treasury and DCMS analysts considered to be “reasonably robust”), • an extra 1,000 jobs (75% of which would be outside London), • increased revenue of £175 million (from all activities, not just machines) and • increased tax of £65 million.
• for an increase in existing machine entitlements that are “restrictive by international standards” and can result in queuing at busy times, the effect of which would have been as follows: - an increase in the permitted ratio of machines to tables for Small 2005 Act Casinos from 2:1 to 3:1, - an increase in the maximum number of machines in larger 1968 Act casinos from 20 to 80, subject to the same increased 3:1 ratio as for Small Casinos (on the basis that the current 20 machines maximum would nevertheless continue to apply in smaller sized casinos) and - an increase in the maximum number of tables in Large 2005 Act Casinos from 150 to 500, with the
Whilst welcoming progress that the casino sector has made on player protection, including the first national self-exclusion scheme, developing capabilities for real-time machine play tracking, increased slot supervision and commissioning and trialling work on algorithms to help identify risky play and intervention with customers, the Government has cited absence of: • supporting evidence of the impact that these measures have had on gambling-related harm, • provision on B1 machines of any facilities to help players manage their own gambling (for example, the opportunity to set limits, which is available on B2 machines),
• any estimate of the impact on income or player behaviour of, or specific proposals to address the risk of increased player harm from, raising the linked B1 jackpot or • much in terms of evidence to support the proposals for a new higher stake machine for high-end casinos, also identifying as a “key challenge” the question how such a proposal “could be implemented so that only high-end casinos could make the new category available for use”. It has also indicated that it will not implement the sector’s proposed increased cash deposit amount on B1 machines from £20 to £50 “unless evidence can be provided as to how operators would manage the risks it generates” in terms of the speed at which players would commit their funds to gambling. However, the DCMS is encouraging casinos to work with the Gambling Commission on measures to enhance protections for machine players (for example, setting voluntary time and spend limits, mandatory alerts and/or ending of sessions when those limits are reached and the utilisation of algorithms to identify problematic play) with a view to evaluating the impact of all such measures before considering further changes to gaming machine regulation. In addition, the Government has also asked the Commission for more information about how better tracking and monitoring of play on FOBTs can help with interventions to protect players. It also wants to see the gambling industry establish a process with the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, GambleAware and the Commission in which data on how gaming machines are played is routinely shared, for the purposes of monitoring, evaluation and research, with a view to both improving methods of identifying harmful play on all gaming machines that enable high losses and developing interventions to help players who might be suffering harm. All of the above will therefore need to be taken into account by the casino sector when considering how best to respond to the DCMS
“Proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures” consultation in the renewed hope of achieving some measure of machine deregulation in casinos in future. The sector will no doubt bear in mind the following words of Tracey Crouch, the Gambling Minister, when she announced that consultation on 31 October: “While the Government welcomes ideas for socially responsible growth, any proposals must be backed up with clear evidence of adequate player protections and effective risk management strategies”. Casino operators should also take note that the Government has flagged up its intention to amend regulations to make it clear that only tables for multi-play live gaming, operated by a casino dealer, will qualify as a gaming table for the purpose of attracting a machine allowance in both Small and Large 2005 Act Casinos, with the consequence that neither partially automated nor wholly automated gaming tables will be taken into account for machine to table ratio calculation purposes. This is because the Government believes this will preserve a “balanced offer” so that “customers can make a choice about whether to play on gaming tables, which are more social in nature, as opposed to gaming machines and other automated gaming equipment where there is less potential for human interaction”. Finally, going into the review, the casino sector had also sought the ability to provide dedicated tablets for customers to access their online gaming accounts, that would not count against machine allocations or be subject to stake and prize limits. This proposal has been rejected because the Government considers it “would effectively circumvent the rules which govern the maximum stake and prize levels on slots games offered on casino premises”. This is notwithstanding that, as the Government expressly acknowledges, despite the prohibition on casinos providing dedicated tablets, there is nothing to stop customers from accessing their remote accounts on their own mobile devices if they so wish, a situation that I know many operators find entirely illogical. firstname.lastname@example.org
Esports and All That Other Stuff at G2E
Entering into a Brave New World. By Robert Ambrose
he gaming/hospitality environment has radically changed in recent years and continues to spawn new technologies and reinvented business models. At no other time in gaming/hospitality’s history has the environment faced such a degree of business challenges while undergoing so many operational changes. The aesthetically designed elements, the technology, the products, the competition and partnerships are evolving every day. At G2E this year the gaming and hospitality industry was shown to be strong, innovative and continues to host companies of interest. It is reflective of an ever evolving industry model steeped in ideas, technical advances and the marketing of
cross generational products. As an example, this was Experiture’s third year at G2E and according to the company’s Sales Director Wayne Wildrick, it was by far our most successful. “G2E has been a great avenue for Experiture to introduce new marketing technology to the gaming industry. It was standing room only at our booth.” Also this year there was an increased presence of the Esports model. Skill based gaming has obviously expanded its base from last year with even more floor space devoted to the products. And the integrated resort experience, after its introduction a couple of years ago, has shown stability and continues to fit quite comfortably on the conference floor.
My commentary this month specifically centers on Esports. Hopefully those of you that attended G2E saw the beginning stages of the integration with Esports vendors and panel discussions and took some time out to learn more. Resort properties have begun to adapt to the growth of Esports with competitive arenas either in place or in the planning phase. And if property space is challenged for a large competitive venue dedicated to competition, what about a tournament “viewing” lounge, similar to the sports betting areas we see today. When major Esports tournaments are being projected on the screens, the lounge is a model for guests to watch the tournaments, participate in e-game play with friends and be a contributor to the food and beverage bottom-line. In the correct regulatory environment with the right logistics, Esports wagering can take place at the same lounges or elsewhere in the casino. First time vendor at the show Jason McIntosh, ggCircuit LLC was impressed. “Overall, our first experience at G2E was fantastic,” he said. “It was well worth us travelling to talk to industry leaders about what we’re doing in the Esports space. While a large majority were interested in the betting aspect of Esports, we were very encouraged at how our management software and LAN center experience can bridge the gap as an entertainment venue until betting regulation is complete. We received multiple compliments about how we were ahead of the curve with Esports and casinos. From top to bottom we were welcomed by all and felt we left an imprint. We look forward to attending next year.” Executives that prescribe to the traditionalist point of view need to understand that Esports and the casino industry are in a process of “mapping out” their relationship and seeing how it will complement each other going forward. It is important to search out the analytics needed to determine how a massive gathering of millennials will fit into the future casino/hospitality model. Basically, how can a property and the Esports community economically go forward together to court their customer base as jurisdictions work out wagering regulations. Esports is a marketing identifier and brings one more niche to the property footprint.
As an executive, you are not required to understand the games but rather appreciate and understand what drives these events and fuels the infrastructure. Think beyond traditional game floor analytics. Esports events and wagering brings another niche marketing segment to a property. If marketed correctly it has property wide economic potential. What better forum than an event center packed full of potential present and future customers and an additional number in the thousands of online spectators to include an international audience. Is there commercial dollar value here? Absolutely! According to an article by Danny Vena in The Motley Fool, a financial services media source: “The largest prize pool ever in Esports was for Dota 2league tournament play in 2017, with prizes totaling nearly $25 million. Twitch, the most popular game-streaming service, was bought out for nearly $1 billion in 2014, and it now touts more than 100 million users.” https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/10/08/3ways-to-invest-in-esports.aspx There is opportunity for casino resort properties to generate not only revenue from all hospitality segments on property by hosting an event, but also introducing a future customer base which means the potential for return customers from an Esports event. “Revenue from Esports and streaming will amount to an estimated $1.8 billion in 2017, and that is expected to crest $3.5 billion by 2021,” according to a report from Juniper Research, UK. The report further states, “…Approximately 300 million people worldwide are expected to tune in to Esports this year, and that number is expected to grow to 500 million by 2020.” According to a report published on the website of Super Date Research, a leading provider of point of sale data. https://www.superdataresearch.com/marketdata/esports-market-brief/ In 2016, “Direct consumer revenue grew 36% Y/Y, as Esports enthusiasts spend $231M on tickets, merchandise and prize pool contributions, among others. Valuing the total Esports revenue at $892.8M in 2016E, year-over-year revenue growth is largely a result of more brands and advertisers entering the market. Asia, worth $328M, still leads
the market, but is giving way to North America and Europe. By 2018E, the market is set to reach $1.1B…” Industry wide… As the casino resort industry seeks to expand their demographic base, they need to continue to be innovative. The industry needs marketable options such as Esports. If a property is multifaceted in what it can offer, it attracts several demographics. I think it’s generally agreed that the new casino floor culture should not alienate those that enjoy the traditional experience. There is a need to cross market and blend generational differences into a seamless connectivity of traditional and nontraditional product. We are at the beginning stages of the Esports/ casino partnership. The future is about learning, establishing the regulations and offering a transparent Esports product to the public in definition and content. It is clear we have to move beyond the limitations of established regulatory parameters when it comes to expanding the regulations for wagering.
According to the US Chamber of Commerce the “Millennials” are 80 million strong. This is the first generation that has grown up from diaper to “cap and gown” centered in a planet sized evolution of technology. What Advertising Age Magazine describes as a difficult market to reach (males 21-35) you can find many of them participating in Esports.. The growth has continued with other major advertisers dumping huge sums of money to establish their footprint in the marketplace and creating a steady growth in prize money. The fact that international companies are buying-in for advertising and sponsorships and major sports franchises are purchasing teams is sending a strong message. It is easy for those in marketing to become immersed in the stereo-typical-generalities of the age group as the industry further tries to define a path leading them to the casino and all things hospitality. Looking for the common denominators for market identification and segmentation can be challenging. However, whether you agree or disagree, Esports is a workable strategy for the casino gaming environment. These events draw a huge fan base, a great deal of money in sponsorships and prizes as well as a sporting group of players that are no different from NBA players in their passion for the game. I have always considered myself an observer of the gaming and hospitality industry engaged in observational research through my employment over the years. I have been on the ground running since 1985 drawn by the psychology of the gaming/ hospitality model, fascinated by the data collection that defines the markets and in awe of the evolving state of technology and products offered to the customers. Be open to new learning, don’t fear change, and appreciate the opportunity. Welcome a Millennial in the board room, you may find out that they do have a good grasp of the market. Appreciate their history even if it’s less than yours. An opportunity not studied, is an opportunity missed. Bob Ambrose Gaming Educator & Consultant email@example.com
Plasma Air President, Larry Sunshine (right) at the 2017 G2E
G2E 2017 Review: Part One
A breakthrough show for casinos, traditional slots, skill-based games, and more! – by: Victor H Royer
t’s no secret that the gaming industry had suffered considerably since the recession of 2008. Just like everyone, of course, but being a hospitality industry, both manufacturers and operators – and providers of ancillary products and services – were all affected significantly, and for quite some time. While the US economy has recovered substantially, it is still a fact that overall wage growth has been sluggish, and this translates into fewer casino visits – and less gambling money for those who do make the trip – be it for a vacation, a convention, or for the locals in casino markets like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. And, of course, this also extends to Tribal Gaming, and, in general, to casinos worldwide. There have been many predictions over the past decade of near-doom for casinos as we know them, for manufacturers and operators, and for online gaming – especially in the United States – where the political and economic climate has not been too stable for quite some time. But the doom-and-gloom predictors of days past perhaps failed to take into account not only the resilience of the gaming industry, but also the
equal resilience of casino players, the gamblers, the patrons, the vacationers, the conventioneers, the sports players, and, now also eSports players, sports fans, and players of skill-based slot products. In general, therefore, the doom-and-gloom of years past has instead been replaced with a bright outlook for a future where the integrated resort experience will truly be as such, and where players of traditional slots and table games will now seamlessly integrate with players of skill-based products, semi-skill-based slot bonusing products, eSports centers, video-gamers, eTable gamers, and the totality of the entertainment, dining, and resort experiences that are now increasingly more possible in today’s advancing technological market. G2E 2017 was a perfect example of how gaming companies – working together, and with outside vendors and partners and suppliers – can jointly benefit, and accelerate both the learning curve, and the acceptance curve, for new products, new services, better positioning and design of existing offerings, and, of course, the overall totality of the gaming industry’s general consumer portfolio. It has been a long-time in coming. But, as I said in my G2E
Preview feature, the future is bright, and we now have equally bright people in this business to take us farther down the road that will, inevitably, lead to a better, more compact, but equally more exciting casino experience for everyone. And this also applies to older players, like me, who generally prefer more traditional products, slots and poker and table games, but who are nonetheless eager to see the new things, and at least try and learn to play them. I have to admit that when I tried many of the truly skill-based offerings at G2E 2017, I failed miserably. For me, unless it’s Space Invaders, I – to put it bluntly – suck at this. But it was still fun to try, and to experience – and that, after all, IS the point! These new products, and the way the casino operators are now adopting them, and displaying them in the casino – without compromising the “traditional” look and feel of the casino experience – bodes well for a future where casinos will still look like the casinos we all know today, but will have offerings far and wide, and more complex, and also more simple, than we have now. And that, my friends, is the bright future for gaming of which I spoke in my G2E 2017 Preview. For this Part One Review – and those that follow – I will now share with you some of the games and products that I experienced at G2E 2017. All of these that I have chosen for this feature, and for the next, are those that I consider among the best, amidst the crop of so many such greats at the 2017 G2E. There is, of course, only so much space that we have here, in this feature, and so in order to showcase as many as possible, I’ll keep it brief. Please see the photos that accompany these mentions, to get an even better view of the excellence of these products and games.
Konami A prominent display at the Konami booth was the Konami
Concerto Opus™, which is a large-format cabinet being offered to attract a variety of audiences in casino properties, to use with the bench seating for friends, married couples, and pairs, enjoying play together. For this same reason, Konami has equipped Concerto Opus with dual spin buttons, and cup holders on either side. Concerto Opus also features a custom Touch-Dash touchscreen button panel that fills the dashboard with multi-color lighting effects programmed to the game. The Konami Concerto Opus features an extralarge 65” HD 4K-capable display to highlight Konami’s latest portraitoriented game releases, as well as custom-designed content specifically for Concerto Opus. Games like Riches Drop Plop Plop Peach™ and Solstice Celebration Triple Sparkle™ were among the games featured at G2E 2017. The unique bonus mechanics and creative animation take over this gigantic screen so players are right in the action. A great example is the mystery feature in Riches Drop Plop Plop Peach, in which the hero character swoops onto the screen riding atop a cloud, summons a collection of bonus wild peach symbols, and drops them on the reels with a plop-plop to award the player additional wins.
Aruze The Konami Concerto Opus machine, with the Riches Drop Plop Plop Peach™ game.
Aruze featured the newest series in the Cube-X Video® family as
a pair of hot, hot games! single-level wide-area Flaming Chilies™ and Flaming progressive jackpot, as Hot Gold™ are 5 reel, 3-row well as three levels of video games with 30 pay lines, near-area progressives. FREE GAMES, and 3-level The Millionaire symbol progressives and three fixed on the reels awards jackpot bonus prizes. the Monopoly Board Players can bet up to Game Bonus where remove lower-paying royal players roll the dice symbols. With a maximum to move around the ante bet wager, players game board. Landing will have only picture on a Railroad symbol, symbols remaining on the awards a multiplier. reels, having improved Landing on Chance, all pays. Both the 3-level Community Chest or progressives and the fixed Free Parking symbols jackpot bonus prizes are awards a pick feature won when Minor or Major where multipliers or Jackpot symbols land in credit prizes can be won. the center three reels. Landing on a Utility or Any 5 to 8 Jackpot symbols Tax symbol awards a The Aruze Flaming Chilies and Flaming Gold games. award one of the fixed jackpot credit “refund!” Pass Go and bonuses, with 9 symbols awarding one win $200. Land on GO and win of the progressive jackpots. During the $10,000! Roll the dice and make symbol-triggered FREE GAMES BONUS, your moves. the jackpot symbols are all stacked, for more chances at a jackpot bonus or Ainsworth progressive award. Look for games that The iconic PAC-MAN character are Flaming for the hottest gameplay! has been brought to life on the casino floor in this new game from Sci Games – Bally Ainsworth. PAC-MAN is one of the Scientific Games, under their Bally most recognizable figures in arcade brand, featured the iconic board game game history, and was the basis for Monopoly™, where that game meets the the most successful arcade game player-favorite Hot Shot feature of all time. Now, PAC-MAN arrives in the new game Monoploy™ Hot on the casino floor when he stars Shot! This is a 3-reel, 9-line game in PAC-MAN™ WILD EDITION on the showcased on the bold, new TwinStar® new A640® Ainsworth cabinet. V75 cabinet which features a 75-inch, This title provides all of the curved, ultra-high-definition, 4K recognizable PAC-MAN sounds and resolution display. The classic imagery loved by people across the Monopoly game board and globe. PAC-MAN™ WILD EDITION is characters are bigger than life the first offering as part of a The Bally Monoploy™ Hot Shot game. (MONOPOLY is a trademark of Hasbro. Used with permission. in this thrilling, super-sized strategic partnership between ©2017 Hasbro. All rights reserved.) game experience. Ainsworth and BANDAI NAMCO Players spin the reels, and can be awarded with Entertainment Inc. three exciting mini reel game-in-games, where The game has been a massive hit, and casino players get one spin of each reel for the chance to operators report performance of up to 8x house win a progressive jackpot. The game features a top, average at a variety of properties across North
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America. And players can’t stop talking about the thrilling game features and fun nostalgic play. PAC-MAN™ WILD EDITION offers players all the excitement of the classic arcade game. The game features a thrilling Free Games features, a Wheel Spin feature and a progressive jackpot. Throughout the game PAC-MAN makes appearances offering players wilds and other fun ways to win.
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From Dusk Till Dawn and Pac-Man were major attractions of G2E The response at the seventeenth Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas for the newly combined NOVOMATIC and Ainsworth booth was outstanding with guests from around the world attracted to the many gaming highlights on display. Sharing a booth for the first time at the principal US gaming show, both companies previewed a wide range of innovations with a special emphasis on two key products – From Dusk Till Dawn™ and Pac-Man™
ollowing a licensing deal with Miramax® for the global rights to produce land-based and interactive casino games based on Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s crime and horror classic From Dusk Till Dawn™, this brand new NOVOMATIC title made its debut appearance at G2E. Gaining maximum attention, the feature game is presented on the NOVOSTAR®
V.I.P. III and V.I.P. Lounge™ cabinets and delivers a dramatic slot experience. As the cult film marks 20 years since release, From Dusk Till Dawn™ is resurrected as an entertaining slot game with an assortment of mini bonuses that can trigger on any base game spin, two highly engaging bonus features and a two-level standalone progressive jackpot. During the second
day of the show, the Bartender character came to life as Danny Trejo attended the booth as well as the exclusive From Dusk Till Dawn™ after-party event. The iconic Pac-Man character also played a major role at G2E, as Ainsworth launched Pac-Man™ Dynamic Edition – the second slot title based on the instantly recognizable arcade game that is part of a strategic partnership between Ainsworth and Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. The new game follows the success of Pac-Man™ Wild Edition and is presented on the A640® cabinet with exciting new bonus features and massive jackpots. Other highlights of the exhibit included the Enchanted Fortunes™ linked progressive jackpot that was connected to new and proven NOVOMATIC themes attuned for the US market, such as Asian Fortunes™, Goddess Rising™ and Book of Ra™ Mystic Fortunes. New games on show for the US market included Empire V™ Superior, JackPOP!™ and JackPOW!™, and also presented for the first
time was JACKPOT EDITION™ Deluxe, which can plug into NOVO LINE™ Interactive games and offer more frequent chances to win a multi-level jackpot. On the Ainsworth side, the new Asian-themed linked progressive Hao Yun Dao garnered a lot of global interest, as well as new game series FirePower and Big Hit Bonanza. The full range of Ainsworth cabinets presented a total of more than 130 titles from the new development studio in Las Vegas as well as from Sydney, with titles proving popular amongst visitors including Nostradamus, Rumble Rumble Eagle, Desert Dawn and Desert Dusk. Straight off the show floor, NOVOMATIC announced a deal with Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut for the first NOVO LINE™ Novo Unity II ETG system in the country that will feature 54 terminals in a stadium setup offering live Baccarat and Blackjack. The system was presented at G2E on the sleek EXECUTIVE SL™ multiplayer terminals
connected to virtual, automated and live table games, as well as the new Cammegh Spread-Bet Roulette side bet. The popularity of the MyACP casino management system from Octavian was boosted at G2E as US and international operators understood the power of the accounting, player tracking and loyalty modules that can be scaled from single-site to multivenue operations. New video bingo content from Otium, as well as the new OT300 cabinet, received keen interest from global operators, especially from Latin America and Asia, and the advanced social casino offering Greentube Pro also proved highly popular amongst US operators. Harald Neumann, CEO NOVOMATIC AG, said: “The US market plays a significant role for us to become the world market leader in the gaming industry. Through our collaboration with Ainsworth we are now in the unique position to benefit from
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its established market presence. This year’s joint booth at G2E has demonstrated the utmost strategic importance of our partnership with Ainsworth and therewith our future.” Rick Meitzler, CEO NOVOMATIC Americas, added: “G2E is a place where business gets done, and at this year’s show, we’re doing business. At this show, we’ve demonstrated our commitment to innovation and player entertainment. We have entered the licensed premium game space with From Dusk Till Dawn™ and have presented over 20 core products for use across all markets. This year, now more than ever, we’ve demonstrated how VGT route operations and Class III gaming floors will be enhanced by our cabinet styles, expanded game portfolio and comprehensive slot systems.”
ExCeL London, UK 6-8 February 2018
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