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Volume 13 Issue 104


Re-Defining The Casino Experience

Editorial: Editor in Chief: Glyn Thomas Mob: +38 976 007 007 Features Editor:

Damien Connelly Associate Editor Asia: Bill Healey

Associate Editor North America David Mckee Special Assignment Correspondent: Jack Bulavsky International Casino & Gaming Correspondent: JJ Woods Technology Correspondent: Rebecca Green

Production: Designer: Stewart Hyde Subscriptions: Helen Holmes

Web & IT: Sudip Banjeree

Publisher: Peter White

Tel: +44 (0) 1892 740869

Mob: +44 (0) 7973 273714

Editor’s page Welcome to Casino Life...

...and welcome to London, and to ICE for many of you. Just think, it could be worse - you could be trying to get into the US at the moment handing over your social media passwords, letting someone with a face like an iron look at your phone records and swearing allegiance to the flag. Back in the UK and to casinos. Many thanks go to Simon Thomas for our guest foreword. I recall his opinions have not wavered from the start with regard to hardcore betting – but now the message tends to be a lot blunter. He, as many others, have tired of the wishy-washy sucky self-interest lobbied rhetoric of the betting industry and would like someone in government to grow a pair and make decisions in the best interest of the public. His point about stopping gambling advertising before the watershed should ring like a piano hitting the bottom of a stairwell but you kind of get the view that government is paid not to listen to the obvious – however loud the message. Back to this issue and Peter White talks to Laurent Lassiez, Managing Director of Groupe JOA, about their refreshing approach to innovation on the slot floor. Manufacturers – form an orderly queue please. We chat to Ricky Tromp, Director of Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa who is rightly proud of the casino and how it has grown to exceed customer expectation. JJ Woods sits down with Adrian Ballard, owner of the refurbished and re-launched 36 Casino in Wolverhampton UK, resplendent with a Harley hog on a roulette table and a live betting area. Carl Sampson next looks at the game Match’em Hi-Lo and asks whether it can be a game for the future. Dan Waugh of Regulus Partners pulls no punches when he tries to get to the heart of the debate about regulatory change. Professor Nelson Rose offers his views on gambling postTrump in relation to China and, as with most Trumpist analysis it makes for interesting reading. Victor Royer waves a flag for real gambling – yes, gambling as it is now... not tampering with it. Just experience it now folks while you still can. Finally, Bob Ambrose looks at the uptick in revenue in new Jersey and Nevada whilst Mark Wayman gives us an insight into the secrets of US top executives. We close where we began – with ICE and Kate Chambers, Managing Director of Clarion Events shines a spotlight on what will be some of the highlights of the show. Please drop by and visit us on stands in the central aisle at ND6-C and ND6-D

Glyn Thomas Editor in Chief




Editors page

5 Guest Comment: Simon Thomas CEO and Chairman Hippodrome Casino 7 Re-Defining The Casino Experience Peter White chats to Laurent Lassiaz, Managing Director, Groupe JOA 19 A Perfect Holiday Destination Sophie Behan chats to Ricky (F.) Tromp Director of Casino Operations at Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino 25 Play Your Cards right Casino Life’s JJ Woods sits down with Adrian Ballard, Owner/Director Casino 36 Wolverhampton to discuss his newly refurbished Casino 31 Mach’em Hi-Lo The Casino Game of the Future By: Carl Sampson 33 Why the customer is key to ending regulatory angst By Dan Waugh, Regulus Partners 35 Trump, China and Legal Gaming By Professor I. Nelson Rose 40 Oh Those Pesky Millenials! The challenge of today, and planning for tomorrow By: Victor H Royer 43 Alive & Kicking Land-based Gambling in the US By: Robert Ambrose 47 Secrets of America’s top executives, Part 1 By Mark Wayman 48 S  potlight ICE Totally Gaming 2017 Preview with foreword from Kate Chambers Managing Director Clarion Events By: Rebecca Green 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 Premier Print Group Ltd.


Guest Comment: Simon Thomas


ike the Government, the Hippodrome Casino - along with the entire UK sector - strongly supports a healthy gambling industry. An industry that generates investment and employment and provides a safe gaming environment for all. This is why I am heartened by its Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures and its intent to ensure a proper balance between socially responsible growth and the protection of consumers and the wider communities. It’s time for some bold, headline-grabbing, fundamental changes. It’s time to recognise that casinos are the appropriate places for harder gambling, with proper supervision, control and regulation, and that the archaic restrictions on the number of slots should be lifted. While generally restricted to 20 slots, common sense dictates this is increased to 80, although even this is still a small number by international standards, and in truth it should be more. This will lead to inward investment into UK casinos and more income for the treasury, much of it from tourists. Casinos are at the top of the regulatory and supervisory pyramid. Customers go to them as a destination. We have dedicated specialist staff covering all functions to ensure everything runs properly and we go further than anyone else in the industry to mitigate harm and provide player protection commensurate with the level of gaming offered. Unlike the bookies, casinos are not scrabbling around trying to look like they are being responsible, and coming up with untested and unproven ‘harm mitigation’ measures in an effort to justify continuing with products that are simply not appropriate.

Simon Thomas, CEO, The Hippodrome Casino

It’s time this was recognised. It’s time, once and for all, to wipe away the hard casino gaming in betting shops. FOBTs are the scourge of the high street. They cause massive social problems and taint the UK gaming industry’s reputation. The solution is to remove the FOBTs and return the bookmaker to being a bookmaker, not a casino. 93 UK councils representing 20 million people are demanding action. We should support them. It’s time to deal with gambling advertising on TV. The public do not want it. Currently bingo, lottery and sports betting are exempt from a ban on TV gambling adverts before the 9pm watershed. At the very least there should be no gambling advertising before 9pm, if any at all. It’s time for change.




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Laurent Lassiaz, Managing Director, Groupe JOA

Re-Defining The Casino Experience Peter White chats to Laurent Lassiaz, Managing Director, Groupe JOA 7

Casino JOA of Lac du Der

Groupe JOA has just announced the commencement of the installation of the biggest slot machine in the world. Can you explain to readers the details of this exclusive deal with Aristocrat? It’s partly attributable to the strategy we set something like ten years ago, when we began an ambition of changing peoples’ minds on casinos – to try and stand out as being different. When we talk about the ambition of JOA Group, as we’re the third largest group in France, it’s not to climb a step and tomorrow be number two, and then number one on the French market. Our ambition is quite different; our ambition is really


to be a positive brand; to change peoples’ minds about casinos. To do so, we concentrate a lot on innovation, particularly the slot machines because for most customers, including non-gamers, slot machines are seen as a very traditional type of game and for us it is very important to be able to say to the public that even on a traditional game, we can be very innovative. On that basis we keep searching among all the suppliers for which type of games can be evidence of how we are searching for innovative products. It so happens that for the second year in a row, we have made an exclusive deal with Aristocrat. This follows on from the deal we made last year for the Game of Thrones branded machines that we

Top to Bottom: Casino JOA of La Seyne-sur-Mer

also bought from Aristocrat. So you reviewed other machines but for various reasons, it was the visual impact and the game quality of the Aristocrat machine that made it stand out? When we looked for slots innovation initially, we started with research in Las Vegas during G2E with a view to having installation live in January the following year. What is changing now is that there is a chance for the suppliers to come to JOA and say: “Listen guys, we have an innovative product, it’s a brand new product that we haven’t tested yet, would you be OK to take it because you are more

innovative than the market that you are in? You have some very specific locations, you have some very specific designs and layouts, so we’d like to test our product in your premises”. This is a new approach - in the past we were looking for new suppliers, looking for new games and now it’s reverse: manufacturers are coming to us with innovative products. But to answer your question, basically, we’ve done the rollout to 100 percent of the 22 casinos to have the machines in place by the end of the year. So in December we’ve been able, with Aristocrat, to deploy this Sons of Anarchy machine on all of our casinos. That’s quite an achievement! And you did the same


Restaurant Comptoir JOA in the Casino JOA of Uriage

last year with Game of Thrones? Yes, we did the same thing last year with Game of Thrones. We installed those games in one month in all the JOA casinos. The statistics you published on Game of Thrones suggest that this type of strategy works well with your clientele. Yes, we use these types of products to tell a large customer base that even on slots we can have innovation; it’s very important to be able to attract new customers and create new customer segmentation. So we’re used to success with Game of Thrones. As soon as we put them on the floors they were the biggest game on the French market. This year, when we signed with Aristocrat to distribute Sons of Anarchy, we installed even bigger slot machines and now we are already working on other products for next year that will be even more innovative. For example, games that are played on a two-customer seat where playing a slot machine can be something you can do with a friend, with your wife, with other customers. It’s not just a game for people who play alone. It’s good that suppliers are taking part in your ambitions. We’re aware that many help operators to develop slot competitions. Is this of interest to


JOA? We have to be careful with slot competitions, because sometimes they don’t promote a positive image of the industry. If you look at some slot tournaments the objective of the customer is to hit the button as much as possible and sometimes it gets a little crazy. So it does not always give a nice image of the slot customer, [unlike] interactive games, when you can play on a very big screen with other people. It’s a different kind of positive effect. You must be very pleased with gaining this exclusive European deal with Aristocrat? Frankly speaking, it’s just a slot. It’s just more weight, more size. Basically, you plug and play. You need two people to move it or three people, but it’s not much more complicated than that. What is specific to JOA is that when we do that [install a TV-themed slot], for example, we manage to design a huge event in each of the 22 casinos. Beside the fact that we put in a huge machine, beside the fact that the local press is coming, it’s a big event for the casino and a key event to attract new customers to the place. We’ve done some special events with suppliers where the dress code of the team was totally changed: from the security staff to the customerservice team, they were all dressed like someone

Installation Of Sons of Anarchy - Casino JOA La Siesta

from the TV series, to basically transform the simple event into a “happening.” For us it’s about the product, but it’s also an excuse to promote events around the theme of the machine. It’s very important because, if you can do that, you can dispel the view that people who play slots are usually a lady aged between 50 and 70. Through these events we can attract some younger customers — usually more male than female. It’s very important for us because it’s how we enlarge the customer base of our casinos and we can really see that in the figures. We can see that, from year to year, we are able to rejuvenate the database of JOA Group. It’s such a kind of common-sense thing to do, but a lot of casinos don’t do that. They won’t do any marketing like you’re doing. They’ll just rip out and replace. It’s an accountancy process, if you know what I mean. It’s a balance sheet: ‘These machines need refurbishing, these ones need replacing.’ I guess in marketing the event, you incorporate social media as well, so you can reach Millennials. Exactly, exactly! You reach young people who are not thinking about the casino as a destination. By staging themed events we can attract them. Electronic gaming seems to be taking a major percentage of the investment revenue this year


with the recent announcement that some 50 percent of JOA investment will be in slots this year. So do you consider this electronic-gaming market is where JOA Group sees its biggest returns in the years ahead? If you look at JOA as a group it’s right to say that we invest 50 percent of our capex into the newtechnology type of machines. The reason we do so, as an example the deal we have taken with Aristocrat, it’s the way for us to put in some new games, attract some new customers and we did the same with electronic roulette, two years ago. We were the first ones to identify electronic roulette as a key driver to attract some new customers and some younger customers. We invested a lot on electronic roulette, and on electronic blackjack as well, to be sure that the game was agreed on the French market, and we made sure we had all the 22 casinos equipped with the electronic roulette. This strategy is very important for us because it’s a way to be able to enlarge the customer base, draw in some new customers and move some of them into some other games, such as traditional games. If you look to the industry just before the economic crisis and the smoking ban, basically the industry was making money on slots and losing money on table games and non-gaming [amenities]. Today, by changing the business model of JOA, for example,

Casino JOA of Uriage

we are able to make money out of all of those activities, because thanks to the electronic roulette we’ve been able to recruit some younger customers and we see them move into traditional table games — and so we are now making money out of the traditional game as well. This is not by accident – it’s due to the strategy of JOA, which is to enlarge the non-gaming activities on the casino floor, to use them as an attractive tool to attract a new customer base, we are also able to make money out of the non-gaming activities. And that’s very important, because whilst some casinos are spending marketing funds to attract customers just focusing on slots or just focusing on gaming, we are also investing on non-gaming activities to enlarge the offer, to fine-tune the offer, to train the people, to ensure we’ve some nice restaurants, with some nice bars, with some nice bowling, with some nice cinemas, with some nice beach, with some nice discos. With those activities we can attract customers who never thought about a casino as a destination. By doing so, we can add them to our database and make sure that we have a product for them. That’s very key for Groupe JOA and I believe it’s the key point that can explain the result of JOA, which for the second year in a row is outperforming the French market.

What are your thoughts on augmented-reality or virtual-reality technology? Is it something that you are interested in as a potential casino offering? Or do you think the hype is overblown? It’s something we have to keep a close eye on because it’s going to be part of the future of activities we are likely to see. For example, we already have a sports-betting platform. Being part of the game with such equipment is a new experience. The challenge of the casino industry is to be able to attract some younger customers. Frankly speaking, all the technology which is coming to the market now would be a great tool to keep bringing the level of younger customers into the database and also to make them loyal to the brand. It is definitely for a great part of the young generation, rather than old people. It’s still a bit scary for the older generation and they still have some doubts about it. You mention sports betting – how does that sit in the JOA offering? Sports betting is something much, much bigger in the U.K. than we have in France yet. We started from a very low level of activities. So for us, we use sports betting as a marketing tool to touch some different customers. It’s an on-and-off strategy but basically we use sports betting to target some young, male customers, keen on sports. When we have them


playing on the betting platform then we can make sure we can promote them some product from the brick-and-mortar casinos. And we use the brickand-mortar casinos to attract and recruit some new sports bettors. Basically, we recruit people online and then we send them some offline experiences and vice versa. When they get points playing on a certain machine, they can use their points to turn them into real points, to bet on Manchester United, for example. When the market opened in 2010, Groupe Barriere had a platform, but they closed it. With tax at such a high level what are your hopes and wishes for the new French government? What principal factors will drive the way casinos change in the future? It’s right to say the politician doesn’t understand the industry. It’s really interesting when a politician


takes the time to understand the industry and then changes his mind – but that is rare. It gets noticed because it’s a very specific type of industry but if you make the effort and push the door, you discover an industry which is not exclusively about gambling … because if you look at our new-generation casinos, you will discover that more than half of the surface is devoted to non-gaming. Then you discover that the casino is used by people to go and have fun, to meet, to get married, to organize a special event for a company, to watch a football game. Of course you can do some gaming but casinos are not only dedicated for gamers. If you look at JOA Group, more than 50 percent of the employees are not working for gaming now, they are working for leisure. It’s important that politicians understand the business model, understand the contribution of the casino industry to the economy, not just tax but also

Installation of the Slot Sons of Anarchy Casino JOA of La Seyne

the employment and the way we add to people’s lives. So if the city doesn’t have a casino, it’s minus restaurants, it’s minus staff, it’s minus cinemas. When a politician does make the effort of trying to understand, it really does change his mind on the industry. I think we should be even more transparent to help them understand what is the industry. By trying to hide things, we leave room for rumours, for interpretation and clearly it is our interest to be far as possible transparent. We have to fight against the image that the industry has on most of the population and I think being more transparent can help. Even on tax, the French market is potentially the highest market in the European Market in terms of tax. So what? When you start investing in this market you know the rule. You know that its is a 55 percent tax-level market but it’s clear and you know it’s part of the game to build a casino where 55

percent is going to go to the state. The game is clear and you have to know the rules before investing. Of course it’s a high level of tax but at least it’s stable. Following on from that point, you’ve commented in the past that you don’t think the casino industry always gets a fair judgement politically. What more do you think could be done to change this, and what changes would you like to see in the approach of government and mainstream media towards casinos? For me, it’s not only the fault of the media or the politicians. The fault is operators who have not really been transparent and for the politician not being curious enough before judging. And that’s really important. I was in Las Vegas and I had a chat with one of the top managers of MGM and he told me that the last


Casino JOA of Uriage

trimester the cash flow generated by the operations was higher on non-gaming than on gaming. The casino industry is moving and it’s moving to a more leisure-type of positioning. It’s not a factory with slot machines side by side anymore. It’s becoming a key contributor of a leisure offering of the city. It’s still a big casino business but if you look at Vegas, B2B is becoming more important — which is also the case with us. By using the B2B business, by attracting some companies to launch their product, to hold some seminars in our meeting rooms, first of all we make some money. Second of all, which is for me as much important as the first point, we’ve pushed people to push the door of a casino and, by doing so, they discovered that the casino is not what they had in their minds. It’s the way we can contribute to change peoples’ minds on casinos. What is your management style? It’s quite basic. It’s 100 percent customer-oriented. I’ll give you two examples. We run in each casino two focus groups in each year to listen to customers. So in each of the 22 casinos, twice a year, we organize focus groups face-to-face to listen to what the customer has to say to us. It has to be done, twice a year, in 22 casinos, and we made some groups of people who are very loyal, of people who are 50 percent loyal to JOA and 50 percent loyal


to our competitors, and then we made a group of people who are disappointed, perhaps because of their past experiences. And we listen to them. We challenge them on what type of product they’d like to see, what type of menu they’d like to have, what kind of music they’d like to have, what kind of opening hours they’d like to have — all of those questions are asked at least twice a year in every single casino. The other point is, on a yearly basis, something which is called “I-Day” — Innovation Day at JOA. It’s made up of 1,700 employees who can connect all together to a digital platform and suggest ideas to better serve the customers. That’s a one-year event and it’s usually organized in the summer around June or July. So we plug everybody together and everybody can raise any idea with the objective to better serve the customers. At the end of each of those sessions, we have a long, long list of things that we can go through and try. Are they OK with the regulations? Are they OK with the strategy of the group? But we at least have a long list that we can go through and imagine how we can better serve the customer, how we can better serve the aim of the group. That’s basically our style of management. It’s 100 percent oriented to customers. To give you an idea of answers that have been raised by those type of things, we are making money


out of the restaurants in our casinos. We are making money out of the bars. But we are looking for a way to better turn our brick-and-mortar customers to the online, sports-betting customer. So one of the ideas provided by the Innovation Day was to design and put in place in our casinos some sports bars, where we can attract some of our younger customers, to watch the game and at the same time do some sports betting. That’s an example of an idea which came directly from the teams, because the team on the casino floor, they were pushed to recruit some online gamers. But they needed a tool to promote the offer and they all came and said, “Why don’t we design a JOA sports bar, with some big screens showing the events and the odds? And by doing so, it will be more easy for us to recruit some people to push them to play on the platform.” So we’ve been working on the totally new concept of the JOA sports bar, which is going to be named JOA Bar des Sports, next March. Do so you see more consolidation between operators and/or suppliers? We’ve seen in the past some quite big consolidation on the supplier side. Frankly speaking, I’m thinking it’s about time for some of the operators to start consolidating as well. It’s quite surprising when you look at the European market. If you look at the European market, you have two or three big guys


by country. But today, while we speak, there’s none of the European operators who clearly say that they could start building a pan-European story. You have Rank being in the U.K. and a little bit of Belgium and a little bit of Spain. You see Holland Casino, you see Austria Casino but none of them — none of ours, I should say — have clearly decided to say, “I’m going to grow a pan-European story.” If you look to the future, I really have the feeling that if we meet in ten years’ time, some of those groups, including JOA, would potentially be part of a pan-European story, because it’s too many today and I think there’s room to stop doing this. There’s no cooperation between U.K. operators and French operators. There’s no cooperation between French operators and Spanish operators. None between the French and Italian, none between the French and German. So there’s lots of room. Regulation is not an excuse. There are lots of businesses that are dealing their product on a worldwide situation and of course each different country has its specified regulations and issues, legal hours of working, local tax, national tax. The casino industry can work in different countries with different regulation. Depending on the country you’re going to be in, you’re going to be more pushy on one thing and less pushy on others, but it cannot be used anymore as an excuse for being on the Italian market or the Belgian market [only].

Ricky (F.) Tromp Director of Casino Operations at Hyatt Regency Aruba

A Perfect Holiday Destination

Sophie Behan chats to Ricky (F.) Tromp, Director of Casino Operations at Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino and Chairman for the Aruba Casino Association 19

When did the Casino first open and who opened it? The Casino first opened on November 12, 1990 and was inaugurated by our GM Mr. Carlos Cabrera, nowadays SVP - All Inclusive Operations Regional Operations. Have you met many famous and/or interesting people that have visited the casino? If so who? What, if any, memorable moments do you have of that time? We had the honour to host many famous soccer players from the Netherlands, as well as celebrities from the USA. On an annual basis we support and sponsor several music festivals, such as Soul Beach Music Festival, Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival and Summer Festival that bring many celebrities to the destination. Do you receive many VIPs?


We host many high end players that visit our Casino a couple of times a year. Do you find there is a high level of competitiveness from other casinos in the area? There is a high level of competitiveness with Casinos on the island due to the fact that the larger Casinos tend to offer the same product. However, we stand out due to the excellent service we offer our guests, among which many are repeat customers. Do you provide a training school? We provide training so that our dealers can become experts in a variety of games. Furthermore, we do offer casino clinics on a daily basis to our customers. Our Happy Gaming Hour became very popular with a very low bet of $1 on Black Jack and $0.50 Roulette every day from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

What is your favourite part of working in this casino and its location? The best part about working in our casino is that I am able to be on the floor, where I have the opportunity to engage with the customers and work alongside our employees. Our casino is in an excellent location right on the Palm Beach strip, which is surrounded by a variety of restaurants, lounges and shopping malls that receive a lot of foot-traffic. As you are based on an island, are your customers mainly tourists or locals? Our customer base consists of both tourists and locals. What type of customers do you get coming in to the casino? Our customers are a mix of leisure travellers and

incentive groups. And where are the tourists mainly from? The majority of tourists travelling to Aruba come from the United States, with the northeast being our top market. How many employees do you have? We currently employ 116 people at the casino, which consists of dealers, guest service agents, servers, bartenders and more. Are your employees mainly from the area/island or are there many that come from abroad? All our employees are from Aruba as our island gaming legislation only permits local residents to be employed in casinos. How many different games do you offer and which


are the most popular? We have a great variety of slot games, table games such as black jack, American roulette, Caribbean Stud Poker, Craps, Three Card Poker and Let It Ride. How many tables do you have? We currently have 13 tables. How many slots do you have and which type are the most popular? We currently have 240 slot machines, and the most popular games are the Bally 88 Fortune penny slot machine, Bally Quick Hits and Konami Selexions. Do you have a Progressive and if so what is the largest pay-out recently. We have many progressives, Caribbean Stud Poker, and several other slot machines. Our recent large pay-out was $125K on the Caribbean Stud Poker followed by $55K on Bally U-Spin slot machine. Do you offer many Promotions or Competitions and what type of players take advantage of this? Currently our promotions are considered the best and very popular amongst in-house customers and locals. We also draw a lot of players from other resorts, due to our aggressive marketing campaigns. We have special deals with other properties with no casino, offering their guests at check-in an incentive


to visit our casino and become a member with benefits. In the last few years, Aruba has experienced a severe double dip recession that is currently recovering. Do you feel that this has had a big impact on the overall performance of the casino? We were slightly impacted by the recession, but we managed to rapidly recover mainly due to our popular customer loyalty programme which allowed us to maintain its overall performance. Do you have any plans for expansion and how are you making people more aware around the world to come and visit your casino? Our plans include the addition of a sports book lounge where our customers can place bets and watch their favourite sports. We are also revamping our junket programme in order to attract more players. What makes your casino different? Our Casino is pretty unique. The service is topnotch and our convenient location on Palm Beach is excellent for attracting customers. We also offer daily promotions and live entertainment. What do you see Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino evolving into during the next couple of years? Excellence is our key to success, and we strive to

February, 7th – 9th 2017 London

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maintain our position as the best Casino on the Island. By offering innovative and attractive promotions, we are able to add another element in standing out from other resort casinos. Currently, we are the only casino on the island with a non-smoking slot area, and continue to look for ways to stand out from the sea of casinos and offerings on the island. Plans? We will start offering innovative and attractive promotions that will allow us to continue differentiating ourselves from the sea of other casino offerings on-island. Expansions and awareness for new customers? We do not have any expansions planned for 2018, however we will continue to enhance our product for 2017/ 2018. When did you start working at The Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino? I started with the Hyatt in October 2008. Why did you choose a career in the Gaming industry? I was about to graduate as an architect, when I was offered a part time job during the summer school vacation in a Casino as a chip racker. I had an


instant attraction to the industry and I was given an opportunity to grow my career in this field. What parts of the industry do you enjoy the most? The most enjoyable part of this industry is the ability to work and engage with people. What brought your attention to the Gaming Industry to make you want to get into the Gaming business? The ability to interact and create a bond with customers in a fun and interesting workplace. What are your inspirations and future prospects? My inspiration is to continue to grow with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. What have been the best highlights whilst working as general manager in the Hyatt Casino? The highlight of working here has been that I’ve been able to restructure the casino and make it more profitable. Finally, in one sentence – what would you say to people and potential customers to entice them to come and visit Aruba and your casino? Come to Aruba for an unforgettable experience and discover one of the top luxury resort casinos - Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino.

Adrian Ballard, Owner/Director Casino 36

Play Your Cards Right JJ Woods sits down with Adrian Ballard, Owner/Director Casino 36 Wolverhampton to discuss his newly refurbished Casino


I would like to commence this interview with congratulations on the refurbishment of the Rubicon Casino and its new name Casino 36. So this would be a good opportunity to start an insight into your career in the Casino Industry? After being a keen gambler and visiting Las Vegas three to four times a year in the early 90s I tried to get into the industry by purchasing a casino in 1996.


This was unsuccessful and I continued in the leisure industry also running an amusements arcade and single site operations. Once again in 2007 I tried to get into the industry and was successful in purchasing my first casino which was Casino 36 based in Stockport. This casino was in financial difficulty at the time of purchase but within a relatively short space of time I managed to put the business back into profit which then enabled me to purchase a further

2 casinos in 2009, being the Castle casino in Dudley and the Rubicon casino in Wolverhampton. These were both in administration but I again managed to put them both back into profit within a short space of time. I then successfully obtained the new 2005 casino licence in Wolverhampton and I purchased the neighbouring nightclub and expanded my existing operations into that premises and rebranded it as Casino 36 Wolverhampton.

Regarding Casino 36 which had a grand opening on the 12 Nov 16 , what in your opinion makes it different to other Casinos? Casino 36 Wolverhampton opened on the 12th November 2016 after some months of delay, we opened to the public on a Saturday night with a footfall of approximately 4,000 entering within the first 24 hours. After 3 years of planning, designing and building


I was particular on the internal design and took great effort in getting this correct as it is so important for customers to feel comfortable in a casino environment. We offer so much more than a standard casino: we have a VIP champagne and cocktail lounge, a VIP gaming area and bar adjacent to our live gaming area, 150 slot machines and betting terminals on a separate level, a large 160 seating capacity sports bar and grill open 24hrs with video walls showing live horseracing and sports from around the world, interblock betting starbar terminals built into the bar, 24 hour coffee shop and for those who just want to relax we also have a rooftop sky lounge with numerous fire pits to sit around also offering slots where you can enjoy playing and smoking at the same time. We also have a secure VIP car park for our premier


customers along with ample car parking for all other customers Tell us about the Harley Davidson which seemed to get a lot of attention? As part of the design project, I myself and key members of staff visited Las Vegas to take home some ideas to put to the architects which I believe has helped making our design so appealing to customers. A particular casino we visited had a motorbike on display in their foyer and it was at that moment I decided to go one better and park a Harley Davidson motorbike on a roulette table in the reception area of the casino. The specialist roulette table was manufactured by TCS and we believe it is the first time a motorbike has ever been parked on a roulette table.

I noticed you have Bookies Terminals. Do you have an interest in Horse Racing? Can you tell us about them? As part of the new 2005 casino licence I have a bookies within the casino offering live betting 24 hours a day. I decided to go with BGT for this as they give a very good service. These have proven to be very successful as customers can bet just like in a high street bookies but with the added comfort of sitting at a bar. What can we expect from 2017? Do you have plans for more Casinos? Are there other locations that would interest you in the UK or abroad? As for my plans for 2017 I am looking to expand the Casino 36 brand within the UK and later this year I will be refurbishing my casino in Dudley. I also hold an

additional casino licence within Wolverhampton and I am looking to open a fourth casino there in 2018 as the city of Wolverhampton is currently undergoing a major regeneration. I have never considered at this stage operating casinos outside of the UK but am very keen to expand within the UK and I am always seeking new opportunities to purchase other casinos or licences For those of our readers wishing to learn more about your organisation how best can they contact you? Please visit our website which has all our details. And finally, myself and all at Casino Life would like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview and share your experience with our readers.


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Match’em Hi-Lo The Casino Game of the Future? By Carl Sampson 31


t takes some doing for any casino game manufacturer to get their “invention” accepted by land based casinos these days. The established “giants” of casino games really do take some shifting. These are slot machines, roulette, blackjack, baccarat and craps but the big three are certainly slot machines, roulette and blackjack. These three casino titans take up more floor space than all of the other casino games combined. So what chance has any new game designer got when it comes to getting their new game accepted by the casinos? Recently I have been looking at the new game of Match’em Hi-Lo and as a professional poker player I was asked to preview and analyse the game. There is also another facet to my past as well which perhaps the Casino Life editors are not aware of - that I used to be a professional blackjack player too before I turned to poker.

Give This Game a Chance I recall vividly some years ago how the “over/under” variation on blackjack was immensely popular. The only problem with it was that it was extremely vulnerable to the now famous “Crush Count” that gained an edge for the player substantially higher than any card counter could achieve. Despite all this, the “over/under” feature on blackjack was extremely popular with punters. The new Match’em Hi-Lo game which has been trialled inside the Isle of Capri Casino in Iowa closely resembles the blackjack variation of “over/under”. The game is very simple but then again, all of the best casino games are simple and are specifically designed to be that way and is why they are so popular. Match’em Hi-Lo begins by players placing a mandatory Hi/Lo Bet and optional Match’em Bonus and Poker Bonus side bets. Then the player is dealt three cards which are face down. This game is a shoe game just like in blackjack. The player adds up their point total and has to decide whether they want to play their hand for high or for low. All cards 2-10 are counted as rank value, face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are counted as zero and aces can be eleven or one depending on whether or not you


want to play for high (11) or for low (1). You then place your hand into the “hi” or “lo” box. The dealer has five cards and not three and reveals these cards to make both a high and a low hand using the lowest three cards and the highest three cards with the middle card serving as both a low and a high card. If given a chance then this game will surely be a winner. The player wins if their low hand is equal to the dealer’s hand or lower and that is surely going to be a rule that players will love. The house edge for the main portion of the bet is a competitive 2.60%. This places it alongside other casino games like roulette but is less favourable than blackjack.

Why Will This Game be Popular Roulette is popular because it has unique factors like the spinning wheel, for example. It also has good payoffs on single numbers of 35/1. For the more risk averse then even money bets and columns and dozens give the player excellent chances of winning. Each casino game is popular for a specific reason and once those reasons are found and analysed then the popularity of a game simply follows on from that. Players love blackjack because it is a game of skill and likewise with video poker. Match’em Hi-Lo has similar qualities in that it takes good judgement to play for high or low. Casino players love nothing better than being able to pit their wits and skill against that of the dealer. As an ex-blackjack player and poker player then I can testify that this feeling is real and definitely exists with all players that prefer skill based games. Any casino game that has these features and these qualities is sure to do well if it is given a chance. However that is the $64,000 question because there have been many great casino games that were invented in the past that simply couldn’t overcome the older traditional favourites in terms of them actually being accepted inside land based casinos. I know that as a poker player then I would enjoy playing Match’em Hi-Lo on a purely entertainment basis. I think the casino players on the whole will too.

Why the customer is key to ending regulatory angst


By Dan Waugh, Regulus Partners

here will be a heightened air of expectancy when British casino operators tour ICE this year. The expo takes place in the midst of a Government review of gambling that goes beyond the standard questions of stake and prize maximums. Critically, the question of how many machines a casino should be permitted to operate is now out in the open. The door has been cracked ajar, offering a tantalising glimpse of meaningful reform of slots regulation for casinos. Now two questions remain. Have operators done enough (in responses to last year’s call for evidence) to persuade the Government of the merits of their case? If so, will they manage to preserve any gains through the (probably tempestuous) consultation period that will follow the publication of DCMS proposals? The current review is the best opportunity in a decade for Britain’s casinos to increase their machines entitlements; but to secure the best possible outcome may require a change in approach. --Last year, I attended a seminar in Westminster on ‘The Future of Casinos’, where industry leaders addressed MPs and peers on the need for reform. The familiar lamentations in relation to fairness and the structural integrity of the ‘regulatory pyramid’ were reeled off, as were the standard assurances on responsible operation. It was all very worthy, all very logical, all very dull.


Dan Waugh, Regulus Partners

At the heart of any policy changes on gambling, there is implicit an assessment of contingent costs and benefits. This presents two challenges for the sector. First, casinos are of relatively marginal value to the overall UK economy. Second, the net value of projected economic benefits tends to be highly

subjective (even if believed). To illustrate what I mean by this, let us look at job creation. According to latest data from the Gambling Commission, casino employees represent c.0.05% of the overall UK labour market – that’s around one in every 2,000 jobs. British casino companies are not significant employers at a national level. Furthermore, it is not necessarily the case that the creation of new jobs through casino market expansion is a good thing. As Earl Grinols has written (in relation to the US market), “The most common misconception about the social evaluation of gambling is the belief that counting jobs created by casinos is the way to measure benefits. Jobs are not a benefit, and more jobs in an area may even be harmful to existing residents.” Context is critical – for both jobs and taxes. For example, do new casinos generate incremental revenues (which underpin taxes and jobs) or are they simply cannibalising existing consumer expenditure? The standard economic arguments suffer from a misalignment with strategic aims. Employment and taxes are costs – often the two biggest costs for casino operators. Companies spend considerable time and effort working out how they can reduce both. For all their lobbying, casino executives do not wish to create additional jobs and taxes – these are simply the concomitants of desired revenue expansion. Now let us turn to responsible operation. While there is no doubt that harm minimization is taken much more seriously these days, its value in terms of engineering regulatory change can be overstated. One doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) be able to get past ‘Go’ without being able to demonstrate duty of care; and it is likely that any future regulatory loosening will be accompanied by requirements to enhance player protection. Yet the demonstration of virtue does not by itself provide a compelling reason for reform. The most powerful argument for positive regulatory reform is not jobs or taxes or the virtues of CSR programmes but something more closely aligned to strategic aims – the desire to entertain and bring joy to customers. In recent months, the chief executive of the Gambling Commission, Sarah Harrison has repeatedly exhorted gambling companies to “put

the consumer at the heart” of their policies. This has been interpreted largely as a signal of change in relation to regulatory protections – with licensees encouraged to focus on the impact of policies on the individual rather than on compliance box-ticking. Significantly though, it may present an opportunity for operators to frame their arguments for regulatory reform within terms of consumer enjoyment rather than matters of fairness and finance. Grasping this has existential importance. Landbased gambling in Great Britain is now in retreat with visitation on the slide across each of the licensing categories - casinos, bingo clubs, betting shops and arcades. While the remote sector grows inexorably, traditional forms of gambling have become prisoners of licensing constructs largely defined in the 1960s. Customers are moving on while (with isolated exceptions) traditional venues struggle to keep up. The internet has radically changed the rules of gambling business – and that means that the same must eventually happen to regulatory thinking. The ‘regulatory pyramid’ – an edifice based on consumer protection rather than consumer enjoyment – has been crumbling for some time now (even as far back as 2001, the Budd Report was skeptical of its value). A new way of thinking is required. The starting point for all businesses ought to be “what does the consumer want?”; but too often in gambling it is “what does the regulation allow?”. Putting the customer - rather than regulation or products - at the heart of thinking leads to innovation. Painting a picture of an exciting future for casinos (before setting out the regulatory and fiscal changes required to achieve it) may just change the tone of discourse with Government. With the global gaming industry converging on London for ICE this year, our industry has a wonderful opportunity to look outwards and inspire.


Professor I. Nelson Rose

Trump, China and Legal Gaming By Professor I Nelson Rose 36


ow important are Chinese gamblers to Las Vegas? There are only about 300 baccarat tables in Nevada, and nine times as many blackjack tables. Yet, in 2013, Nevada casinos won a total of less than $1.1 billion from blackjack; and, almost $1.5 billion from baccarat. And China’s contributions to casinos’ bottom lines was growing. In December 2013, Nevada casinos won three times as much from baccarat as from blackjack: $243 million from only 328 baccarat tables, an increase of 28% from the year before, versus only $82 million from 2,695 blackjack tables, a decrease of 13%. But then the Peoples’ Republic of China began going through the convulsions of one of its recurring crackdowns on corruption. Wealthy government officials and industrialists found out quickly that being seen betting large amounts, or even visiting Macau or Las Vegas, was a sure way to end up being investigated, or worse. By November 2016, baccarat tables won only $85 million; blackjack $96 million. Another way to look at the same thing: A blackjack table wins about $400,000 on average in a poor year, $500,000 when the economy is booming. But revenue from baccarat is dependent only on China. When the PRC lets its big spenders visit Las Vegas, a baccarat table wins $5.3 million a year. But when China makes it difficult for tourists to leave the Mainland, baccarat win drops to $3 million a year. And it is not only high-rollers. In 2014, China Daily ran this headline: “7,000-strong tour group breaks record in US trip.” The eight-day trip required more than 70 flights from the Mainland, and the group was expected to fill more than 30 hotels. Destinations included southern California and, of course, Las Vegas. I was teaching Gaming Law at the University of Macau a few years ago, when the PRC, without warning, put restrictions on travel from the Mainland to Macau. Residents of the provinces nearest Macau could no longer take daily visits; they were only able to enter Macau once every three months. The impact was immediate. One of my students was in charge of the frequent visitors program for an American-owned casino. When visa restrictions were imposed from Beijing, she lost her job, because there were no more frequent visitors. Chinese tourism has been great for places like

Macau and Las Vegas. But it gives the PRC a powerful weapon. Macau, for example, is one-sixth the size of Washington, D.C. Yet, in 2013, its casinos, the only legal ones in China, won more than all the casinos in the United States, combined. And it is not just Nevada and Macau. Chinese are now the top tourists in the world. Chinese tourists spent $215 billion abroad in 2015, according to CNN, “way more than anyone else.” So, the immediate danger to legal gaming is the conflict brewing between the President of the United States and China. President Trump brags that he doesn’t read, so there is literally no way for him to receive large amounts of information. All he knows is what he sees on T.V. or in social media, and the advice he receives, verbally, from those few individuals he listens to. He bases his decisions on his experience as a businessman. The problem is, countries are not businesses. Businessmen are primarily concerned with profits and their thinking is limited to months or years. Governments, on the other hand, don’t particularly care about money, except as it relates to issues like power and the welfare of their citizens. And countries think in terms of decades. China, for example, had little problem giving the United Kingdom and Portugal everything they requested for the return of Hong Kong and Macau, respectively, so long as it was clear the two territories, now Special Administrative Regions, would become mere provinces of China after 50 years. Trump has a building project in Taiwan and has his shirts made on the Mainland, so he thinks there are two Chinas. There are not. The PRC has never, and will never, agree to two Chinas. Worse, even bringing up the topic is considered an insult. After the Communist Party won the Chinese Civil War in 1949, Chairman Mao created the Peoples’ Republic of China. The defeated Nationalists retreated to Formosa, creating the Republic of China, commonly called Taiwan. Both governments claimed they ruled all of greater China. The U.S. figured out a unique way to keep both governments happy: America will do whatever the PRC wants, so long as it is only lipservices and does not actually interfere in the business and military relationship with Taiwan. For example, since 1979, there has been no direct communication between a U.S. leader and the leader


of Taiwan. But president-elect Trump arranged a telephone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Trump and his inner circle had been lobbied by Bob Dole, who received $140,000 from Taiwan for his work. Trump has problems with criticism. So, when the phone call became public, Trump responded with some tweets, starting with “the President of Taiwan CALLED ME...” Trump compounds his impulsive outbursts by not allowing advisors to screen his tweets. Other presidents knew that every word that comes from a world leader is subjected to great scrutiny. Even a single wrong word could result in war. The State Department, for example, would never have allowed a president to refer to the ruler of Taiwan as the “president”; Trump did not know that as a matter of protocol, she is only referred to as the “leader” of Taiwan. With criticism mounting, Trump made the situation worse. Instead of conducting closed-door diplomacy, as President Obama did, to try to sooth China’s anxiety, Trump escalated the controversy by going on Fox News and declaring, “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a ‘One China’ policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.” The PRC has made maps of China for more than 60 years: they always include Formosa, the main island of Taiwan, as they included Hong Kong and Macau. In fact, when Portugal agreed to turn sovereignty over Macau back to China in 1987, which was not completed until 1999, China refused to sign a treaty. Instead Portugal and China entered into a “Joint Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Portuguese Republic on the question of Macao.” China insisted that Macau be formally recognized as having always been Chinese territory, temporarily (for about 400 years) under Portuguese administration. The danger of treating countries like the United States and China as businesses was shown dramatically by the comments made by Rex Tillerson during his confirmation hearing to become Secretary of State. China claims vast parts of the South China Sea are its territory, as do Vietnam and other countries. China is now building artificial islands out of half-submerged reefs, atolls and tiny islets in the contested areas. When asked about those islands, Tillerson declared, “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops. And second, your access


to those islands also is not going to be allowed.” This might make sense and even work if this were only two companies competing over business. Tillerson, as chief executive of Exxon Mobil (he has never worked anywhere else), signed an agreement with Vietnam in 2009 to drill for oil and gas in the contested areas. The South China Sea is estimated to contain 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The first statement implies the U.S. would use military action to prevent China from its island-building. But the second statement, promising a blockade, is an act of war. Neither Trump nor Tillerson, nor any of the few advisors Trump listens to, understand what it means in China to save face. The leaders of the PRC have to look strong; they cannot be seen as tolerating an insult. Saving face requires revenge. Anyone who knew anything about China would know that the PRC had to retaliate. To save face, China immediately seized a U.S. Navy submarine drone and announced that it was putting up anti-aircraft guns on the artificial islands it created in the South China Sea, it had promised it would not arm. The danger to legal gaming is that Trump never backs down. He openly and consistently revels in revenge. He is famous for saying that whenever he gets hit, he hits back harder. But he also enjoys escalating a confrontation. Hitting back harder “does make you feel good, to be honest with you, I’ve done it many times.” So now we have a Chinese culture that requires saving face, and an insecure, thin-skinned president who believes escalating a conflict is a sign of strength. How will China respond? Short of a shooting war, China is sure to use its enormous economic power. Restrictions on tourism involving gaming is a natural target for China to retaliate against Trump. Everyone still associates the Trump name with casinos. He owns a large hotel in Las Vegas. And two of his top supporters, Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson, would be severely hurt if Chinese Mainlanders could not gamble in Macau and Las Vegas. Before Trump became president, China was expected to become the third largest source of foreign tourists to the U.S., after Canada and Mexico. That now looks like it is not going to happen. Unless Trump builds that wall and scares off visitors from Mexico.

Oh Those Pesky Millennials!


The challenge of today, and planning for tomorrow By: Victor H Royer

’ve written about this subject before, but it seems that the problems with these pesky Millennials persist. Well, at least in the B2B gaming media. It seems just about every month I read something, somewhere, about how “hard and difficult” it is to “attract” the Millennials, and to “get them in the casino”, or have them attracted to “slots and table games”, and so on. But walk through any major casino today – and I have a lot of them in my back yard, since I live in Las Vegas – and there really aren’t any signs of this at all. Casino revenue from both tables and slots is growing. In fact, recent reports show that there’s been a healthy increase in casino drop in 2016, versus previous years. The recession – as far as gaming is concerned – certainly seems to have gone, and the people who like casinos, and casino games, are once again flocking to casinos


everywhere – especially Las Vegas, but even in more depressed and competitive markets like Atlantic City (with all of their problems still ongoing). So what gives? Well, in a way – the future. And, for some, also the present. There is one inescapable truth in all of this – the players who are now feeding the slots are growing old. Players like me, of my generation – the Boomers. I’ve experienced this myself, even more recently. As my health begins to falter, and demands on my resources grows with the care for an aging parent, neither my time, my resources, nor my stamina allow me to “cruise the Strip” and “party-hardy” as I once did. While I still like to play the slots, the kind of machines I used to play no longer exist, and those that do aren’t the same. And, I don’t have the kind of resilience to “stick

with it” as I once did, either. The situation is similar with table games. There was a time when I was very good at Blackjack. But I haven’t played the game in a long time now. Or Craps. Or even Poker, which was once among the staples of my income, along with Blackjack. So, what does all this mean? Just a bit of personal background, to show that I do understand the trepidation in the gaming business. Gamblers like me are now older, and we won’t be around for ever. And the generations that come after us aren’t necessarily the same, or even similar, to us. And therein lies the crux of the matter. These issues are not relegated only to Millennials, but this group, in particular, is more problematic than the other generational segments. They are the first group of humans whose entire worldperspective centres around smart phones, tablets, the Internet of Everything, social media, and online and social games. That alone fractures the totality of their perspective of all things, shortens their attention span so much that even Vine – with their 6-second videos – wasn’t able to sustain their interest long enough. And that’s just the tip of that massive iceberg, which will soon be the largest customer base for all casinos and OEMs. OK – so what do we do? How do we tackle this? In a recent article for Casino Journal magazine, Author Paul Harry, puts the Millennial problems like this: “So, what do Millennials want? Well, they’re young, so it goes without saying that they like to party, kickback, socialize and drink. This is accentuated by their ‘data stream isolation’ which increases the need for human contact. Millennials need to get out and breathe in the real world. This is why Pokémon Go has been such a tremendous success. It moved the player outside and into the public realm where they could interact with the real world and one another.” Later on in the same article, Mr. Harry says this: “Indeed money, while important, is not the driving factor of their lives—socialization is. This is their drug and life blood. Millennials are starved for interaction with one another, and this is why they congregate in coffee houses, restaurants and other public forums even while remaining connected to their devices. Even when the dealer has to stop

and tell them to put away their phone—it’s social interaction that fills their need for contact with another person.” For the complete article, as written by Mr. Harry, please follow this link: http://www.casinojournal. com/articles/91034-dealing-the-millennials-in OK, so here is some advice, and a perspective on what Millennials really are, and what motivates them. While I greatly respect Mr. Harry’s article, and his perspective on this subject, I – frankly – couldn’t disagree more. Yes, Millennials DO crave socialization, as Mr. Harry said. But NOT in the CASINO. You see, that’s the problem, and the great disconnect which seems to be infecting the gaming industry, their marketing, and their forwardplanning. Yes, Millenials DO like Nightclubs, and Day Clubs, they play games like Pokémon Go, and all that other stuff. And, in many ways, they DO crave social interactions with each other, even if only for a few seconds, and while on their phones at the same time. But in the CASINO, this is DIFFERENT. Yes, they like to play in the Blackjack Party Pit, and they like to play Live Poker, and both of these – at least partially – for the “social” aspect of these games. But this – especially the Blackjack – is mostly an extension of their Nightclubbing. Going into a Club, or just leaving a Club, these Millennials will sit and play in the Pit nearby, and spend some time there, together with others, making a whole lot of noise, being silly, and playing very badly. But that’s not the sum-total of their casino experience. It’s just PART of THAT particular night, those events, and THAT group with which they happen to be at that moment. But look at these same Millennials later. After they sobered up, got tired of the Clubs, sick of their friends, and just want to “go and hit the big bucks.” And that’s what I see in the casinos. I see them playing the Slots, and Table Games, and playing ALONE. Not with friends, or even their significant-others. Just them. They play the games better now. They play the slots, and try many different kinds. They pay more attention to their poker game, and try to learn something – especially if the casino is friendly enough, and tries to help


them understand the games, and how to play his article: better. “Eventually, as their tastes and perspective on The simple fact of things is this: in every life change and their wallets grow, Millennials will generational divide, there will always be about migrate over to the more established traditional 20% of all of that generational group who will be games; and your casino will continue to reap the gamblers. Pure and simple. And this group is the benefits and profits long after you’ve started one which will fund 80% of all your revenue, as complaining about the next rising group.” either a casino operator, or an OEM – and do this I couldn’t agree more. regardless of the panic which seems to now be And so, for ICE 2017, and for G2E later this year, infecting the gaming industry as a whole. I hope that the gaming industry as a whole will While it’s true that technological innovations will continue to remind itself that it’s doing well, and change the casinos in some ways – as has already will do even better. As long – that is – as they don’t been the case – the inevitable fact remains that lose sight of their basic business model. We are in what we now know, and appreciate, as the casinos the GAMBLING BUSINESS, first, second, last, and of today, will always remain largely the same. They foremost. Forget this, and all you will achieve is to may be smaller in footprint, as more and more erode your own future, and instead create a giant games will be available from sink-hole which will swallow all the same box at the touch of your hard work and leave nothing the screen, and there may be but waste in its wake. more table game variations and Millennials are not the innovations, particularly with problem – the erosion of the side-bets on traditional games, basic business model of casinos but the core casino – and it’s and OEMs is what can – and will, core casino revenue – will remain if left misunderstood – kill this as we now know it. Unless, of goose that lays so many golden course, casino operators and eggs. OEMs give way to this panic, So, don’t worry so much about and start to over-compensate, these pesky Millennials. They will and by so doing ruin the casino come around. Be more conscious experience altogether. of your own misperceptions Casinos should be left as about the business in which you Victor H Royer, President of Gaming CASINOS. Not turned into are, and the business model Services & Research some version of a Millennial’s which is, and has always been, basement, with video sticks and the most successful. The Gamblers consoles. That’s NOT why Millennials go to the will always be here, and they are the ones who will casino. This kind of stuff they already have at home keep your business safely prosperous, for as long as – as do we all. we all exist. Prize THEM, and market to THEM, and What makes the CASINO different is the all these other things we now see as problems will EXPERIENCE of the games in the CASINO all settle down in time, and in their own way. environment, and that’s AS IT NOW EXISTS. Change it to something else, and all you will do is kill your Victor H Royer is President of Gaming Services own business. MGM Resorts is already doing that, & Research. He is a 33 year veteran of Las Vegas by charging for parking – which tells all their guests gaming, a 26 year consultant to the gaming this: “We don’t care about you, or how much industry, author of 50 books, and more than 4,000 money you lose in our casinos – we still want you to articles on casino games and gaming. In addition pay for the privilege of being a loser.” he has researched and authored over 300 industry That’s not a good business model for the future, reports on the subject of player preferences, or for the present. marketing, player development and customer In the end, as Mr. Harry so eloquently puts it in relations. He can be reached at:


Alive & Kicking Gambling in the US is alive and well but less of a gamble as part of the entire non-gaming model. 2016 has shown modest revenue uptick in New Jersey and Nevada gaming. By: Robert Ambrose



ith the recent release of yearend gambling figures for both Atlantic City and Nevada, we see a modest upturn in gaming numbers and or stabilization at

best. According to the recent State figures out of Atlantic City, gaming is up 1.5% in 2016. Casino win $2.6 billion. It must be noted that the last time New Jersey saw a gaming revenue increase was 2006. By coincidence it was also the last time I worked in a casino in New Jersey. Just saying! Of course the on-line gaming component in New Jersey played a part and with the close of the Taj Hotel Casino; business has settled in at the other seven properties. In Nevada “the state’s biggest casinos have ended seven straight years of loss,” now showing a stabilization within pre-recession levels according to recent reports. But don’t break out the champagne yet. Of course the contributor to the stability in net income and modest revenue increases throughout the states is the result of a balancing act of reducing cost, new product, effective marketing of those products and the expansion of non-gaming amenities which can contribute to some additional gaming spend while the customers are on property. Could this reflect a better economic climate? I would like to think so. Yes I do think so. There does seem to be alittle more entertainment dollar out there. It is also about the operators in their respective markets taking a more focused view and seeing opportunities for strategic marketing initiatives through niche opportunities, a more definable approach to generational differences, the integrating of non-gaming opportunities and a sensible analysis of where technology can be applied to keep the customer momentum going. Thanks to the gaming industry’s manufacturing sectors and the technology they produce there has been a placement of a variety of service products that allow the customer more free time to take advantage of amenities as well as spending more time on device while gambling. The previous customer service-failures in what could have been positive service opportunities in


Robert Ambrose Robert Ambrose, Gaming & Hospitality Professor Hospitality & Sport Management, Drexel University

previous years in key areas such as hotel check in, casino floor activity and restaurant covers have benefited from simply having new ways to apply the model of service through technological innovations. The use of smart phone or kiosk check-in, more efficient casino operation management systems and software enhancements for restaurant and bar management have all contributed to a more consistent operating environment. So back under my roof, here at the “Jersey Shore” we have seen Atlantic City and its complex infrastructure continually tested by a glut of border state gaming facilities, shifting customer interest, a variety of changing regulations, local facility integrity, union related issues, the state takeover of daily city business operations and another plan to reintroduce a referendum to host gaming elsewhere in the state - all contributing to its far from dynamic condition and impacting every stakeholder’s bottom-line. Sound familiar? AC has always been a city rich with possibilities

and it’s also been a survivor when some of those possibilities did not become reality. If you read between the lines, on the Atlantic City beach front there is a diverse market growing in front of us within reality based initiatives, property by property and by established stakeholders; as well as new investment prospects who see that this city is a cup half full, rather than half empty. 2016 and beyond is about the grass root redevelopment that is going on around Atlantic City. And I don’t say that to minimize the financial commitment of the projects. And by no means do I want to diminish the negatives of the past and the loss of jobs by recent casino/hotel closures. But we are seeing a one-step-at-a-time initiative by some of the corporate stakeholders that gives hope and a little back to the city image with each new venture. Under the heading of “border states”, New Jersey’s neighbour, Pennsylvania, #2 in the gaming market share in the US with combined gross revenue from table games and slot machines hitting

$3.21 billion last year has been in the midst of some competitive plans in 2017. There is a push to finally add online casino games, and give the neighbouring state of NJ and Delaware some competition. When finally approved PA would be the largest state to offer online casino gambling in the US. Presently only Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware allow internet gambling. Other items to be taken up at PA’s state house this year include, Daily Fantasy Sports betting and allowing slot machines at airports. With PA looking to expand its gaming footprint, AC could face a battle on two fronts. Pennsylvania gambling’s initiatives and Atlantic City’s own states gambling desire to expand. (See Jan issue CL) The east coast of the US is an interesting model to observe going forward as competition grows both in properties and product. Robert Ambrose, Instructor Gaming & Hospitality Drexel University



Players try to predict if the point total of Player’s three (3) card hand will be either Higher OR Lower than the point total of the Dealer’s three (3) card hand. The value that each card adds to the point total of a hand is as follows: Ace: 1 point (for “LO” hands) or 11 points (for “HI” Hands) 2 thru 10: face value J, Q, K: 0 points (all face cards are worth zero) Player wins all ties when point total equals the dealer’s point total. Players place optional Double Down on the “HI / LO” bet. Players place optional “Match’em Bonus” and “Poker Bonus” bets. (up to 100 to 1 odds on both bonus bets) The game is played with multiple decks of 52 playing cards.


To begin, Players make a “HI / LO” bet. Each player is dealt three (3) cards face down and the Dealer is dealt five (5) cards face down. Players look at their three cards and decide if their hands are “HI” or “LO”. • Player “HI” hands are placed face down in the “HI” box • Player “LO” hands are placed face down in the “LO” box • Optional “Double Down” bet is placed next to original bet Dealer then flops over the 5 card Dealer hand and makes both a 3 card “LO” point total hand and a 3 card “HI” point total hand • Three lowest point value cards are the Dealer’s “LO” hand • The highest point value card in the Dealer’s “LO” hand is shared with the remaining two cards to make the Dealer’s “HI” hand • Shared card is in both the Dealer’s “HI” and “LO” hand Player “HI” hand: Player wins if Player’s point total is equal to or greater than the Dealer’s “HI” point total PLAYER WINS ALL TIES Player “LO” hand: Player wins if Player’s point total is equal to or less than the Dealer’s “LO” point total PLAYER WINS ALL TIES


If the player made a “Match’Em Bonus” bet, the Dealer compares all five (5) Dealer cards to the three (3) Player cards and the “Match’em Bonus” is paid out according to the “Match’em Bonus” pay schedule below. The “Match’Em Bonus” pay schedule is as follows: Match 5 Dealer cards: 100:1 Match 4 Dealer cards: 25:1 Match 3 Dealer cards: 4:1 Match 2 Dealer cards: 1:1


If the player made a “Poker Bonus” bet, the best 3 card poker hand based on the Player’s 3 cards is determined and paid out according to the “Poker Bonus” payout schedule listed below. The “Poker Bonus” pay schedule is as follows: Suited 3 of a Kind: 100:1 Straight Flush: 25:1 3 of a Kind: 15:1 Straight: 4:1 Suited Pair: 3:1 Flush: 2:1 Pair: 1:1 Play for free online at Contact us at: Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

Secrets of America’s top executives, Part 1


By Mark Wayman

y name is Mark Wayman, and I’m a Headhunter focused on gaming and high tech. Over the last twelve years I have placed 800+ executives. Compensation starts at $100,000, average placement is $200,000+, and last year I placed eight executives north of a million dollars. What do highly successful executives (top 2%) do differently than everyone else? How do they end up with the best jobs and the biggest compensation packages? In this multi-part series I’ll highlight the “secrets” these top people utilize when managing their careers.

Mark Wayman, Godfather of Las Vegas

Relationships Trump Talent – Every day I see unqualified executives get great jobs while highly talented executives get passed over. Why? Because relationships trump talent. Here is a great example. It’s a CEO that was hired for a financial services company here in Las Vegas. He was not from Las Vegas and knew nothing about the gaming industry (his clients). Even worse, he was a narcissistic megalomaniac. When I met him in person he talked about himself for 30 minutes without taking a breath. I’m sitting there thinking, “This guy won’t last six months. He is dreadful.” I was wrong. He made it a year, but the stock sank 80% and the company will eventually be bankrupt. How did this happen? Apparently this CEO had a relationship with someone on the Board of Directors. And you don’t have to be talented if you are buddies with the Boss. Remember: relationships trump talent. Ego is the Enemy – I’ll mention this in each part of this series, because ego and arrogance are the #1 way to ruin your career and up unemployed for months…or even years. Recently dealt with a $180,000 VP level candidate that was laid off. He was pretty bitter about being run off and had sent his resume to a dozen companies. Not a good combination to start with. When I asked his desired

salary he stated $200,000. So he is unemployed… but wants a raise? What? Perfectly reasonable when you are gainfully employed, however when you are in transition you don’t have any leverage. Long story short, I checked back six months later and he was still unemployed and willing to take $150,000. Ego is the enemy. Be sure you understand the job market and compensation levels for your skill set. Life is NOT Fair – My Dad was 18 years old when he jumped out of a plane over Normandy on D-Day with Nazis shooting at him. He landed on the wrong side of the enemy line and had to fight his way back. Talk about “life is not fair”! When my Dad came back from the war, he got an entry level job selling shoes at the May Company. A war hero selling shoes for entry level pay. Life is not fair. While other people watched TV and had fun, my Father worked long days, then went to school at night to get a degree in computer programming. Life is not fair. You know what my Dad didn’t do? He didn’t protest or complain or march up and down the street with a sign complaining how unfair life is. Through determination, perseverance and hard work he raised himself up from zero to success. And he gave me the best advice ever: don’t you ever, EVER give up. Life is NOT fair – accept it, now move on. You want to run with the big dogs or sit on the porch and whine?


Preview of ICE 2017

Foreword by Kate Chambers, Managing Director at Clarion Events • Novomatic • Aristocrat • Alfastreet • Amatic • Scientific Games • WinSystems • Apex Gaming




I would like to say a big hello to the Kate Chambers, Managing Director, Clarion Events international community of gaming professionals from throughout the world planning to attend the 2017 edition of ICE Totally Gaming. I want to use this opportunity kindly offered by Casino Life, to do two things. Firstly, I want to confirm to our loyal community of repeat visitors - many of whom have been returning to ICE for more than a decade - that, once again, your time with us will be time very well spent indeed. I also want to say to those who may be in two minds about making the journey to London, that they will have access to the most impressive concentration of gaming innovation found anywhere on the planet. ICE 2017 will be the biggest on record with over 500 international gaming innovators occupying 40,925 square metres of net space. A confirmed 91 exhibitors from 34 nations will be making their debut appearance at ICE. I believe this characteristic is the ‘X Factor’ which adds audience of buyers, the event also serves as a both excitement and vitality to the ICE show floor meeting place for regulators, politicians and trade and represents another important reason to attend. associations. In this way ICE plays an important role Alongside the literally thousands and thousands in helping to fashion the future direction of the of new products and services being launched at industry. ICE, visitors will also be able to take advantage of I hope you opt to make the journey to London ICE VOX, our new learning brand of paid and free and that in common with the vast majority of our to attend modules and seminars. ICE VOX is a bold, visitors you make the connections, you see the non-conformist approach to learning. We have phenomenal number of gaming launches on display enlisted the services of some outstanding thought and you are inspired by the fantastic innovations leaders who have three things in common: the that could enhance your businesss in 2017. ability to engage, the ability to provoke and the The best way to plan your time at ICE, keep fully ability to enrich. up to date on the many developments taking place Whilst ICE is primarilly about providing the best during ICE week and to register for tickets is to possible environment to bring the world’s leading check in at gaming innovators together with an international


SPOTLIGHT - ICE 2017 NOVOMATIC presents the 360° gaming experience at ICE

Bringing the latest gaming innovation to customers and players around the world every day, NOVOMATIC will combine it all on February 7-9 at ICE Totally Gaming 2017 where Europe’s leading technology group will present its 360° gaming experience. A comprehensive range of cutting-edge gaming solutions will be on show by 22 global subsidiaries and competence centres as the NOVOMATIC Group takes centre stage on the world theatre of gaming. ICE – now in its 23rd edition – prides itself on combining land-based and interactive under one roof and NOVOMATIC’s expansive stand enables the Group to demonstrate its leading Omni-channel solutions in every segment of the international gaming space. Split into distinct sections, visitors will be taken on a 360° journey through the world of NOVOMATIC, culminating in the traditional hospitality area with a selection of Austrian foods and drinks. Harald Neumann, CEO NOVOMATIC, said: “As we are heading into another exciting year for NOVOMATIC and for the international gaming industry, stakeholders, decision makers and gaming experts all gather at ICE Totally Gaming 2017 in London where the NOVOMATIC Group again takes pride of place with a


360-degree gaming experience that covers all aspects of modern gaming.” Starting at the main reception, NOVOMATIC Gaming Industries will present the latest casino games, jackpots, cabinets and systems. The full suite of V.I.P. cabinets will be on display alongside the latest slot machines such as the GAMINATOR® Scorpion that will feature a host of new titles ready for 2017, as well as leading multiplayer cabinets. Octavian will also be on hand to demonstrate exciting new developments of the ACP system. Making their debut on the NOVOMATIC stand at ICE will be Ainsworth Game Technology and video bingo supplier Otium. Having recently launched the A600® cabinet series, Ainsworth will reveal new games and linked progressives. Making its global premiere will be Ainsworth’s stunning A640® cabinet with a host of new titles. Otium will display exciting new products for international video bingo markets including the OT-100 cabinet and industry-leading bingo content. Along the right wing of the stand will be the NOVOMATIC UK Group with an impressive line-up of products for casino, arcade and pub markets. A selection of awe-inspiring Batman licensed games for


UK and export markets will make a dramatic entrance. At the forefront of the offering is the B3 title Batman Begins, presented by Astra Games in the V.I.P. Lounge™. Bell-Fruit Games will showcase Batman Gotham City, next to new Cat C and Cat B4 titles. National operator Gamestec will also show off a range of Batman games and treat visitors to an immersive VR competition that will take place for the duration of the show. The NOVOMATIC Interactive division will occupy the left wing of the stand with a full range of solutions. Popular casino slots from the vast NOVOMATIC games library, the server-based gaming system Plurius™, new mobile developments, AWP online slots and social games are just some of the multifaceted solutions that will be shown by Greentube. New and creative Live Dealer attractions featured by Extreme Live Gaming will include social-themed Club Roulette, as well as Extreme Live Box and Reel Roulette. A B2B suite of HTML5 multiplayer casino titles by AbZorba Games will be released at ICE, Mazooma Interactive will present its new digital content, and EuroCoin Interactive will feature classic land-based titles brought online.

Completing the interactive presentation is StakeLogic, with an action-packed program that includes the launch of a brand new 3D slot game Darts Heroes featuring four world-class darts players – Gary “The Flying Scotsman” Anderson, Phil “The Power” Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld – who will demonstrate their skills at the show. Visitors will be able to see the players in action, and try their luck in a competition led by acclaimed darts referee Russ “The Voice” Bray, on the NOVOMATIC stand at 1 pm – 4 pm on Tuesday, February 7. Rounding out the offering at the front of the stand will be an extensive range of international AWP and VLT products, as well as cash management solutions, by European subsidiaries including LÖWEN Entertainment, Crown Technologies, NOVOMATIC Italia, NOVOMATIC Gaming Spain and NOVOMATIC Netherlands. Making significant progress last year, both NOVOMATIC Lottery Solutions (NLS) and NOVOMATIC Sports Betting Solutions (NSBS) will also feature at the front of the stand. NLS will unveil its best-in-class lottery and VLT products, and NSBS will present its one-stop-solutions for the sports betting industry.




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Aristocrat’s passion for gaming shines through at ICE 2017

Aristocrat Technologies’ pure ‘passion for gaming’ will be on full parade on stand S3-250 at ICE 2017 as the leading global games developer demonstrates a plethora of new standalone gaming solutions coming to the EMEA region in 2017 “Aristocrat has taken the strongest game mechanics from its highest performing standalone and licensed games and injected fresh spins on them to deliver even greater entertainment across all segments of C-Series™, J-Series™, ESeries ™ and M-Series™,” said Erik-Jan van den Berg, Aristocrat Sales Director – EMEA. “Operators will see key elements from marquee games – such as the ‘What You See Is What You Get’ (WYSIWYG) prizes from the revolutionary Lightning Link™, ‘Gold Reels’ from Good Fortune™ Link and ‘Wild Showers’ from Extra Bonus Wilds™ – permeating a wide collection of our latest standard game releases, along with popular wheel bonuses and a range of new, engaging features all designed to deliver the greatest gaming experience for players across Europe and Africa.

“A key aspect of the 2017 portfolio is the broad number of games being made available for both standard (Helix™) and premium curved portrait (Arc Single™) platforms, delivering even more playing variety and the opportunity for operators to offer greater architectural diversity on their gaming floors.” Innovations amongst Aristocrat’s C-Series segment of core games include further extensions to the highly successful Extra Bonus Wilds family, with two new games joining the popular Wild Lepre’Coins™ and Birds of Pay™, as well as a new family of Extra Extra Bonus Wilds being introduced on both Arc Single and Helix cabinets incorporating multi reel set play, overlapping symbols and increased random triggers, spearheaded by the much anticipated Wild Fiesta’Coins™. Pure Magic™ arrives to boost the proven Twin Spins™ game family, featuring more 3- and 5-of-a-


SPOTLIGHT - ICE 2017 kind wins during free games. ‘Gold Symbols’ is an innovative strike feature introduced within a new family of games incorporating the Asian inspired Flaming Tiger™ and Egyptian-themed Mystical Sands™, whilst the Gold Collection of Aristocrat’s enhanced classics is bolstered by the arrival of Fortune King Gold™ and Buffalo Gold™. Wild Fortune™ is another all-new family of three multi-platform games featuring player-selectable denominations, WYSIWYG credit prizes and multipliers and a 3-level standalone progressive. Featuring wildlife from across the world, game themes include Serengeti Stampede™, Siberian Sunset™ and Southern Song™. The J-Series collection of jackpot-centred games encompasses four families of paired games, all of which will be available for both Arc Single and Helix cabinets. Gold Bonanza™ titles Happy Piggy™ and Rolling Action™ add an innovative twist to the Good Fortune mechanic with a new WYSIWYG jackpot feature. Hit It Hot™ Jackpot games Cash Bull™ and Dragon Bucks™ cater for the mid-high denom SAP segment with single and multi-denom options, wild stacks and high value start-ups to mystery triggered jackpots with ‘must hit by’ meters. Spin It Grand™ games Fabulous Riches™ and World of Riches™ incorporate an upper screen horizontally scrolling jackpot wheel which interacts with the reel set below, scaling jackpot prizes and hot flame animations to embellish anticipated feature interaction. Already a player-favourite, the Asian-themed Gold Stacks™ family gets an added lift with two new themes, Prosperity Cats™ and Prosperity Princess™, being added to the EMEA catalogue. The E-Series portfolio adds a slew of new slot games with a multitude of entertainment-rich features being packed into each title, largely influenced by the original Max Stacks™ mechanic popularised by Sky Rider™, Temple of the Tiger™ and others, now with added inspiration drawn from Aristocrat’s most successful core and linked games.


SPOTLIGHT - ICE 2017 For Helix, Mistress of Magic™ and the Asianthemed Hao Yun Long™ together offer four new ‘Gold Reels’ titles with 5-level SAPs, enhanced win multipliers and extra free games. Two new ‘Mighty Cash™’ games – inspired by Lightning Link and going under the Long Teng Hua Xiao™ banner – Dragon Flies™ and Tiger Roars™ offer player selectable denominations, a WYSIWYG feature, a 3-level SAP and 2-level bonus prizes. Midnight Stampede™, with two base games Super Stampede™ and Midnight Rumble™, encompasses a core game feel in the style of Buffalo™, featuring a 4x5 reel matrix, 2x symbol multipliers accruing up to 32x wins, random symbol upgrades, blackout win cycles and a 2-level must-hit-by jackpot levels. The proven Arc Single range of E-Series games grows stronger with the introduction with two 8 Petals™ titles, Jade Garden™ and Gardens of Magic™ being joined by Tigress™ titles Wild Hunter™ and Wild Prowl™, together with The Romance of Fire & Rain™ 2 and its fantasy themed derivative Midnight Unicorn™. All have been designed to take full advantage of a portrait playing field, adding extra play lines or reel sets along with numerous richly entertaining features. Aristocrat’s M-Series library for EMEA will be significantly strengthened with the focus on three distinct sub-segments: E-Series entertainment multigames, extensions to the multi reel set play style pioneered by Wonder 4™ and themed multigame packs of C-Series core games. Gold Star™ Emerald Edition follows on from Gold Star Ruby Edition, while Gold Star Gold Dragon Edition brings together six of the most popular

Asian-themed entertainment games. Wonder 4 Stacks!™ brings four of the best entertainment games into the popular Wonder 4 Jackpots style of multi reel set game play, also being complemented by the latest core games iteration, Wonder 4 Wonder Wheel, and J-Series styled Quick Fire™ Flaming Jackpots™. On Arc Single, the portrait-dedicated Wonder 4 Tower is joined by a counterpart game Wonder 4 Tall Fortunes™, featuring Wild Lepre’Coins, Indian Dreaming™, Miss Kitty Gold™ and Buffalo Gold. New core multigames, available on both Arc Single and Helix, comprise Player’s Choice™ Emerald Edition, incorporating a choice of eight proven high and low denomination games; 5 Dragons™ Empire, featuring three existing 5 Dragons titles plus two brand new games; and Retro Fever™, sporting six old time classics with HD enhancements, player selectable denominations, a 3-level common progressive jackpot and a unique jukebox-style game selection interface. Mr van den Berg summarised, “Aristocrat’s ICE collection of games represents a true spread of strength and depth, marrying the most popular proven gaming concepts with a wealth of new creative ideas from the world’s most talented design studios. Our game segmentation strategy has been paying dividends in terms of overall game performance on gaming floors across EMEA over the last 12-18 months and this new generation of games will help to strengthen the popularity of Aristocrat games over the next year. We look forward to welcoming visitors onto Stand S3-250 at ExCeL


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SPOTLIGHT - ICE 2017 Alfastreet Will Bring Hot New Products to ICE Totally Gaming 2017

Alfastreet is preparing interesting novelties for the upcoming ICE 2017 show in London, to complement a completely redesigned booth. There will be an attractive video wall solution, to display the company’s capabilities to provide complete interior for a modern casino venue, an inventive spinoff of the popular Royal Derby platform, a special, limited edition R8 Roulette cabinet, a definitive version of a brand new Lucky 8 Roulette cabinet, accompanied by redesigned WIKY single terminals with various display dimensions. Furthermore we’ll show a prototype of a fully automated live Roulette table and plenty more. Additional focus will be on the Alfastreet Remote solution that allows gaming venues to easily expand gaming places for their clients, both inside and outside of the premises. The compact Roulette

cabinets will also be represented on the stand, paired with several live game options. The company’s Multigame slot cabinets will be available to all visitors to try and test. Our Roulette range remains the strongest selling product, followed closely by the unique horse-racing machine, the Royal Derby. The advantage that Alfastreet has over the majority of the competition is the extreme adaptability to client’s wishes and the capability to provide complete solutions with own products as can be seen in several casinos worldwide. The company is preparing a memorable 2017 appearance for the ICE show and extends a warm welcome to the visitors: join us at the stand number S6-130.



Pure style on show from Amatic industries at ICE Whole array of innovations awaiting!

AMATIC Industries enjoys the reputation of being a pioneer relating to the style and class of gaming machines. That adds to the company’s vast experience in MULTI GAME. This makes AMATIC a winning formula and explains the popularity of AMATIC games and gaming solutions. This year’s ICE will see AMATIC Industries introduce even more new games to complement its MULTI GAME portfolio. Come and see the exciting new games such as Queen of the Jungle, Enchanted Cleopatra, Fabulous Poseidon, All Ways Win and Fruit Express. The latest gaming machine series from AMATIC Industries continues to grow in popularity. Having set its statement for machine design in the past two ICE shows, the industry knows the dedication and investment the team at AMATIC Industries has made to create a future-proof design. The PERFORMER GRAND ARC is the curved Slant Top – available with either two or three monitors. The three-monitor PGA accentuates the curved design even more and enables a jackpot system to be perfectly displayed on the uppermost monitor. The latest cabinet design from AMATIC Industries is the upright AMAROX C24. The wide-screen 24” monitors, optimal sound and flashy LED lighting make this gaming machine the perfect eye-catcher. Naturally it is equipped with all the latest gaming technology and components


to guarantee ultimate security and extensive playing time. Furthermore, AMATIC Industries will be showing the V24 gaming machine, originally designed for the Spanish market. The success of this cabinet opens up the path for international commercialization. Turning to electronic roulette, AMATIC Industries will be presenting its latest solution for the first time at ICE – namely the ROULETTE GRAND JEU 24HX. The Roulette Grand Jeu 24HX is the complete all-in-one electronic roulette that offers integrated player positions around the fully automatic roulette wheel – with the 8-seater version the most far-reaching. The Roulette Grand Jeu 24HX five player or three player has been developed for operators who wish to make use of AMATIC Industries’ roulette solutions but who have limited space in their gaming locations. This version can be placed right next to a wall and offers a total of five player positions. In total the Roulette Grand Jeu 24HX is available as a three, five, six or eight player version. The Roulette Grand Jeu 24HX from AMATIC Industries offers the possibility to create what can be seen as a Landscape Dock of automated roulette terminals. Customers can create their own landscape, choosing the number of terminals they wish and how they wish

SPOTLIGHT - ICE 2017 to place them. All the land-based gaming solutions from AMATIC Industries can be linked with the popular jackpot GO FOR GOLD that was premiered at the previous ICE. Players can place the GO FOR GOLD medal as a side bet on their chosen number and can secure this number throughout their play if they wish. This is a novel way for players to place their chance on their lucky number – this number is secured as long as it is set – no other player may choose this number as GO FOR GOLD. Should the number come up – then the player participates in the turning of a lucky wheel. The win will be multiplied for sure – different multipliers are shown. Landing on the Bronze, Silver or Gold segments means gaining the corresponding jackpot value. Another bonus for land-based operators: alongside the varied Jackpot Systems, operators can source their entire systems needs from AMATIC Industries – with the Casino Online System (COS). All the AMATIC

solutions can then be optimally linked together. For the online gaming market: look no further than AMANET. The great advantage here is that AMATIC Industries has brought its vast landbased games experience to the online gaming market. The games are all in HTML5 format – meaning that they can be played on all online and mobile devices. Each game has been tried and tested in the land-based gaming segment before entering the online market. This vast experience, based on the flair for game design within MULTI GAME and proven mathematics, gives such games the benefit over games designed purely for the online market. Naturally the game content is regularly updated with further new exciting games. AMATIC Industries can be found as ever at stand #S3-350. Come and see just why AMATIC Industries is known as the company that is ‘Innovative – Creative – Independent’.

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Scientific Games Brings World’s Best Gaming and Lottery Experiences to London at ICE Totally Gaming 2017

Scientific Games Corporation will showcase the industry’s broadest international product porfolio designed to empower customers with the world’s best gaming and lottery experiences at ICE Totally Gaming February 7-9 at ExCeL, London on stand N1 – 440. Scientific Games Chief Executive Officer and President Kevin Sheehan said, “ICE provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to present our newest innovations and transformative technologies for the international market, and is an important opportunity to connect with customers and demonstrate our groundbreaking solutions to drive player engagement, accelerate their revenue growth, and enhance operating efficiencies.”

Transformative Slot Games and Cutting-Edge Cabinets Empower Player Experience Scientific Games will feature its newest slot platforms


and a host of game content to empower engagement and excitement across the casino floor. The TwinStar dual-screen cabinet is a stunning platform for Bally and WMS games. Incorporating the next-generation ArgOS operating system, TwinStar features high-speed processing and video capabilities, along with features such as a larger iDeck multitouch button deck; two 61-centimeter (24-inch) HD displays; a 55-centimeter (22-inch) full HD digital topper; premium sound; and game-synchronized edge lighting. The Company will highlight engaging content for TwinStar, including its Lock It Link near-area progressive titles Lock It Link Diamonds™ and Lock It Link Night Life™. The entertaining Lock It Link respins feature adds entertainment as certain symbols lock and increase the value of each of the same symbol by the player’s bet. Another ICE reveal is the Dualos platform, a dual

SPOTLIGHT - ICE 2017 58.4-centimeter (23-inch) HD screen cabinet with superior sound, OLED digital buttons, integrated ambient lighting, and a 47-centimeter (18.5-inch) digital topper. The cabinet comes with a rich game library of titles from Scientific Games’ leading brands Bally, Shuffle Master and WMS.

ICE Premium Portfolio Empowers More Play with Popular Brands Scientific Games will display an engaging premium game library, featuring game titles based on popular licensed brands. • WORLD OF WONKA™, already a top performer in the United States, is sure to be a favourite with ICE attendees. Featured on the groundbreaking Gamescape™ platform, WORLD OF WONKA takes players on an unforgettable musical journey through the deliciously delightful, whimsically wonderful world of WILLY WONKA™ featuring every kind of chocolate and sweet treat imaginable. Featuring three vivid, HD displays that angle toward the player, and a 101.6-centimeter (40-inch) curved top screen, players will feel the sensation of being wrapped inside WONKA’s wondrous world. • CIRQUE DU SOLEIL™ KOOZA™ takes centre stage, pairing the award-winning ALPHA 2 Pro WAVE 360 slot configuration with the acrobatic adrenaline rush of KOOZA. This CIRQUE DU SOLEIL KOOZAinspired gaming experience is rich in surprises, with bonus events, beautiful graphics, HD show video, breathtaking music, and a special in-game appearance by The Trickster, a popular CIRQUE DU SOLEIL KOOZA character. • THE SIMPSONS™ game on the pioneering Gamescape cabinet delivers breakthrough motion zone sensor technology that enables players to become part of the game. Players travel through Springfield with Homer, Moe, Apu, Chief Wiggum and other favourites and experience the chance at winning a progressive jackpot along with a Donut Wheel and three other bonus events. • THE GODFATHER® theme on the s32, offering free spins with double the lines, a five-level near-area progressive jackpot, and random character symbols that award character upgrades, respins, multipliers or more credits. • SPIDER-MAN™ theme on the ALPHA 2 Pro Wave® cabinet, featuring a three-level progressive jackpot and a wheel feature. • SPACE INVADERS™, named “Best Slot Product” at G2E 2016, is a new style of slot game that combines

classic arcade fun with slot entertainment and skill-based play.

New Casino Systems Solutions Empower Player Engagement, Operating Performance Scientific Games, the leading global provider of casino system solutions, demonstrates leading-edge technology to empower player engagement and operating efficiencies: • iVIEW®4 In-Game Display Manager — A major advancement featuring state-of-the-art web widgets and connectivity to web services. Whether it is floorwide bonusing, secondary wagering, customer service or accessing websites and promotional kiosks, the feature-rich iVIEW4 enables casinos to manage their own content dynamically. Name-brand bonusing with MONOPOLY, CLUE, YAHTZEE and more increases entertainment. • BOSS, an exciting feature that enables players to order drinks from the slot machine through an iVIEW or iVIEW DM touch-enabled player user interface.

Groundbreaking Table Utilities Solutions Empower the Casino Pit Scientific Games, the global leader in shufflers, chip sorters and other utility products, introduces two new innovations at ICE: • ShuffleStar™ is a groundbreaking, low-profile front-loading shuffler that shuffles four to eight decks continuously and features a revolutionary high-speed flat-dealing shoe and sophisticated card recognition using two cameras. • Shufflink™, a pioneering innovation that for the first time links shufflers, chip sorters and i-Shoes to the casino-management system to provide real-time data and reporting on table performance — without dealer input, interaction or any manual data collection.

Cutting-Edge Electronic Table Systems Empower Community Play Taking centre stage in electronic table systems innovation, Scientific Games will showcase the PRIZM Game Table™, an industry-first in slot cabinet design and winner of “Best Table Game Product” at G2E 2016. Other electronic table systems highlights include:


SPOTLIGHT - ICE 2017 • Fusion Hybrid, a terminal-based product that connects players with live Stadium Blackjack, Stadium Blackjack Casino War, Baccarat, Roulette and Sic Bo games through cameras at each live table that showcase real-time play. • i-Table®, wildly popular across Europe, will feature i-Table Blackjack with a new back-betting feature as well as the popular i-Table Roulette.

Proprietary Table Games Empower Amazing Experiences Leading the industry in the depth and breadth of its proprietary table games library, Scientific Games will showcase exciting table games at ICE, including: • EZ Baccarat®, the world’s leading baccarat brand, eliminates the commission after every bank winning hand – without modifying any of the existing drawing rules of the standard game. • DJ Wild™ lets players get wild. It’s a five-card stud poker game that features a Trips Bonus and a progressive side bet.

Empowering LBO, Arcade and Bingo Sectors With Land-Based and Online Content and Platforms From the SG Gaming UK business, the Company’s ICE display will focus on new game content, platforms and sports-betting solutions. Highlights include: • Content titles for the licensed betting office, arcade and bingo sectors – available for land-based and online operators – including Emperor’s Treasure, Jewel In The Crown, Legend of the Pharaohs™, Black Knight® and Quick Hit Blazing 7s. • Launch of a new gaming platform for the UK Casino


market with the new Riveria cabinet, augmented by a library of game content that offers a £10,000 jackpot based on player-favourite game titles such as Rainbow Riches, Action Bank, Spartacus of Rome and Hercules High and Mighty. • A range of HD gaming cabinets and platforms for the arcade and bingo markets, including the Company’s latest sitdown T8 cabinet.

SG Interactive Empowers Mobile Player Engagement With Portrait Games SG Interactive continues to showcase groundbreaking innovations. At ICE, casino operators will be able to experience the larger-than-life thrill of portrait mode mobile gaming on two giant touch screens. SG Interactive will also highlight new multi-channel titles and a diverse array of unique games from the Scientific Games portfolio.

Lottery’s Innovative Technology Empowers New Sports-Betting And SelfService Solutions Scientific Games brings exciting sports-betting action to ICE with SG Sports™, an enhanced multichannel solution for online, selfservice and retail fixed odds sports betting. ICE attendees will also be able to experience the award-winning PlayCentral HD, an engaging, interactive retail self-service experience for purchasing lottery instant, draw and keno games. The first full-service lottery self-service kiosk to integrate credit, debit and mobile payment, PlayCentral HD is Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) compliant and supports Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.


Win Systems gearing up for ICE Leading provider to showcase full range of products and services at ExCeL London including Gold Club’s latest gaming machines and games


in Systems, a leading technology supplier for the gaming and entertainment industry, is set for its biggest ever ICE Totally Gaming exhibition where the company’s full suite of innovative products and services will go on display. Visitors to stand S6-150 will be introduced to the company’s full range of solutions, including gaming and lottery systems, slot machines and electronic roulette. Win Systems will be showcasing its Casino Management System, WigosTM, which facilitates a wide range of management solutions and the interconnection of different gaming machines across casino floors. The pioneering software communicates across various protocols, and its scalability and reliability make it a key tool for the industry. WigosTM powers over 260 casinos with 60,000 slot machines in 17 countries across the world. Win Systems’ IntelliaTM and WinUpTM products


will also be on show at ExCeL. IntelliaTM is a business intelligence tool which allows numerous marketing decisions to be made in real-time by floor management, while WinUpTM is a solution developed for casinos to keep in touch with players via a custom app. Win Systems acquired Gold Club, a global developer and provider of gaming machines and electronic roulette, in last December and will be showcasing the new Lumina Plus LED roulette series, which comes with state-of-the-art technology and design based on the 3E principle of ‘Efficiency, Ergonomic, Effectiveness.’ The unique characteristic of Gold Club electronic roulette is reflected in the wide range of WAP and LAP jackpot systems, while Multiplayer Roulette can also be combined from individual independent terminals. Five of Gold Club’s latest games designed for their new and improved cabinet will be on the stand: Fortune of Ra, Lions Kingdom, Marco Polo, Rhinos Storm and Wild Fest, while it will also demonstrate its

SPOTLIGHT - ICE 2017 machine tools and bespoke jackpot facilities. In the past year, Win Systems has rolled out its range of products to new markets in Latin America, Europe and North America, consolidating its position as one of the leading providers of technology and systems for casinos. Eric Benchimol, CEO of Win Systems, said: “ICE is the largest show of the year, and we are delighted to be showcasing our full range of products and solutions, including those of Gold Club who we acquired in December. “The acquisition has given us greater scale and allows us to offer our partners a true omni-channel solution seamlessly and efficiently. “We have already received a great deal of interest in all of our products and services ahead of the show and we’re looking forward to getting plenty of business done.” Win Systems are at Stand S6-150 at ICE Totally Gaming. To organise a meeting please send an email to sales@winsystemsintl. com or call +34 935 308 049.

Apex Gaming set to take gaming to the next level at ICE


visit to the APEX gaming stand promises to leave lasting impressions with a record number of innovations on show to accompany the already very strong range of gaming solutions. “We anticipate great things. We are completely focused on providing value-adding solutions that provide highest player satisfaction. We send out a warm welcome for visitors to the ICE to come and see us. We will have much to show and look forward to helping operators strengthen their business with APEX solutions”, explains Mr. Kubilay Özer, Global Sales Director at APEX gaming. APEX gaming prides itself on bringing solutions to the global gaming market that make a difference. The examples stand out: the Pinnacle gaming machine family has proven their success in gaming locations around the world. The EVO gaming platform has enabled players to enjoy the APEX games in pin-sharp quality. The latest new High-Definition games such as ‘Dragon Egg’ and ‘Reel Attraction’ are the result of in-depth market

research and game development. The iDROPe has been bestowed with three separate awards last year – the awards were presented in the USA and in Europe. The VIP Premium Lounge is the top of the range solution in the Pinnacle family. Get ready to see even more innovations centered around the VIP Premium Lounge. Indeed, APEX gaming will be launching a record number of solutions at the ICE. The curtain is set to rise and hail a new age of gaming machine design. This new cabinet design is set to become the standard within APEX gaming. A number of new gaming machines and Jackpot Systems as well as Island Solutions will be premiered. All will be revealed at ICE. You will be enthused! The APEX gaming stand number is # S4-250


the world theatre of gaming

To join the world at ICE visit

ExCeL, London 7-9 February 2017




Visit for more information. © 2017 Scientific Games Corporation. All rights reserved.

Casino Life Volume 13 Issue 104 2017

Casino Life Volume 13 Issue 104 2017