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Volume 15 Issue 134

Grand Casino Luzern Winning with Style


Publisher: Peter White

Tel: +44 (0) 1892 740869

Mob: +44 (0) 7973 273714 pwhite@ace123.com

Editorial: Editor in Chief: Glyn Thomas Mob: +44 (0) 7727 969 299

Editor’s Page Welcome to Casino Life...

We had an educational time at G2E Las Vegas. We enjoyed meeting new and old acquaintances. Peter thought Damien was going to launch into a Scottish ditty during one of the industry networking events they attended after Damien was given a glass of wine by an Operator CEO. You know who you are, dear CEO. :) And the President of resort casinos on the Las Vegas Strip

glyn@ace123.com

extended us their hospitality. We thank you and hope the wedding was

Features Editor:

a great success.

Damien Connelly

dconnelly@ace123.com Associate Editor Asia: Bill Healey bill@ace123.com

Our opening article sees Wolfgang Bliem take us on a tour of Grand Casino Luzern, located on the shores of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. Mr. Bliem emphasises how this “house of entertainment” constantly renews itself to maintain customer relevance. If you’ve not visited Grand Casino Luzern, you should. Our second article maintains our focus on Operators…a focus Casino

Associate Editor North America

Life has consistently delivered since our founding in 2005. Damien

dmckee@ace123.com

thank you, Hard Rock International, for your invitation and hospitality.

Special Assignment

casino.

David Mckee

Correspondent: Sophie Behan

sophielbehan@gmail.com International Casino & Gaming Correspondent:

Robert Ambrose

r.ambrose16@gmail.com

Production:

Connelly visited the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa — Steve Bonner, property President, explains more about this resort At G2E, the AGA’s Allie Barth and Reed Exhibitions’ Korbi Carrison discussed industry issues that are on their radar. Meanwhile, I chatted with the co-founder of Gamban as Casino Life continually builds on more of our core tenets…covering responsible gaming and technology developments. We then have articles from friends and acquaintances, many written by our esteemed and industry storied colleague Victor H. Royer. Alphaslot’s Raymond Chan details aspects regarding Blockchain, and as ever we leave the last word to Damien Connelly. We look forward to meeting you in Malta at Sigma.

Designer: Stewart Hyde

stewart@totaldesignworks.com www.totaldesignworks.com

Glyn Thomas Editor in Chief

Subscriptions: Helen Holmes subs@ace123.com

Web: Sudip Banjeree sb@ace123.com

IT: John Wiltshire

jwiltshire123@gmail.com

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Contents 3

Editors page

6 An Exceptional Experience Wolfgang Bliem, CEO Grand Casino Luzern, chats to Peter White 16 Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa will Rock You Steve Bonner, President at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, takes Casino Life inside this upgraded resort casino. By Damien Connelly 26 G2E Continues to Do Good Allie Barth, VP of Industry Relations with the American Gaming Association, and Korbi Carrison, Event Director for Global Gaming Expo at Reed Exhibitions. By Damien Connelly 28 Self Exclusion Glyn Thomas Chats to Co-Founder of Gamban, Matt Zarb-Cousin 32 Systems, tables jackpots, and slots bonus Games. DRGT™s G2E Las Vegas 2019 36 Victor H. Royer contributes to our 2019 G2E Las Vegas Review • Aruze • Aristocrat • Scientific Games • Cammegh • DRGT • Novomatic 48 The Network Effect By: Raymond Chan, CEO Alphaslot 50 The Last Word By: Damien Connelly

Editorial Policy: The views and opinions expressed in Casino Life remain principally the views of contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or publishers. The publishers wish to avoid inaccuracies and, whilst every precaution has been taken to ensure that information contained in this publication is accurate, no liability is accepted by the editor or publishers for errors or omissions, however caused. Unless otherwise stated, articles appearing in this publication remain the copyright of the publishers and may not be reproduced in any form without the publisher’s written consent. Printed in the UK by MPC Ltd.

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An Exceptional Experience Wolfgang Bliem, CEO Grand Casino Luzern, chats to Peter White

ecent history has been very good for Grand Casino Luzern. Riding an overwhelming popular mandate, it launched its Internet casino last August. Skill-based slots also continue to drive business to Casino Luzern’s gaming floor. CEO Wolfgang Bliem is keenly attuned to current trends in the resort industry, as witnessed by the above-mentioned developments, as well as Casino Luzern’s innovations in the nightlife sector. As Bliem puts it, “We are a house of entertainment,” one that strives for a blend of the upscale atmosphere of Monte Carlo with the popular fun of Las Vegas. The casino also capitalizes itself

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on its vintage facility, its location on scenic Lake Lucerne and its ability to engage customers through social media, of which it was an early adopter. While most of its players are Swiss, Grand Casino Luzern has strong international appeal and shows every sign of growing. Bliem sat down with Casino Life to discuss his casino’s success story. How was 2018 & how is 2019 treating Grand Casino Luzern? 2018 has rewarded us with increasing revenues for the third time in a row, and in 2018 the Swiss population approved a new legislation for gaming by a large majority,


which allowed Swiss landbased casinos to apply for exclusive concessions for online gaming. Both years have been strongly marked by our focused efforts to receive an online casino concession, and we are very proud that

Wolfgang Bliem, CEO Grand Casino Luzern

we are one of only four casinos that achieved an online concession in the first round. Our whole team has worked hard and overcome many challenges to make this historical moment happen. Since 2019, our online casino mycasino.ch is live, and the successful launch has been extremely rewarding for our whole team. Our efforts have been fruitful: The landbased GGR is growing and the outlook for our online project is very promising. Are customers’ expectations of a casino changing, whether in terms of gaming product, F&B, entertainment or other amenities? Expectations are constantly changing, and it’s our goal to meet and exceed them. Due to the nature of the legislative procedures in Switzerland, customers were eager to finally get a Swiss online casino offer. With mycasino.ch, we’re now able to offer an attractive, trustworthy and unique overall experience.

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Changes have been less palpable in the landbased casino, where we still find a positive social diversity, and slots, table games and poker events are constantly attracting guests. People are still looking for the excitement and glamour of the real casino experience, and Grand Casino Luzern is the perfect place to fulfill this need. The continuous advancement of slots with improved interactivity and enhanced immersive game play has led to an increased interest in our jackpot casino. We also registered a shift over the last few years in the clubbing sector. The health and fitness trend had a

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noticeable impact on the significance of partying, and hipster culture is favouring small, intimate venues over big, long-established clubs. The former party crowd has matured and is now looking for more elaborate evening activities. We have acted on this opportunity by creating the “Showdinner�, a unique combination of show elements and a gourmet food experience. The trend towards higher quality produce has worked in our favour, as our restaurant Olivo is going strong with 16 GaultMillau points and a clear positioning for Mediterranean inspired fine dining.


Entertainment is an important part of the whole experience of an enjoyable night out for many people. What provisions does Grand Casino Luzern provide to cater for these people? At our restaurant Olivo, you can enjoy an exceptional gourmet experience that has been distinguished with multiple awards and has received its 16th GaultMillau point in 2018. Our three bars in the casino are the ideal place to have a drink or a snack. The Casineum features a broad portfolio of events, from outstanding ‘showdinners’ to enticing casino show nights, theater productions, parties and corporate events. The Seecafe is the perfect spot in summer to relax at the lake. How do you keep up with what your competition is doing? We closely monitor our near-by competitors and we visit interesting casinos whenever possible. Attending trade shows, reading industry publications, personal networking and discussions with suppliers and partners are a must to follow the international developments and to identify unique opportunities. Does Grand Casino Luzern provide for Weddings and Corporate Events? Yes – we offer an attractive venue for both corporate and private events. Our infrastructure allows for intimate private get togethers as well as big events with up to 1,000 participants.

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What innovations in casino operations in recent years have most impressed you and why? The digitalization of the operation in many facets has impressed me the most. The slot operation is for many years cashless, the players club is digitalized and at the moment we introduce smart cash boxes at the tables in order to ease the operation. The most important innovation in 2019 is the launch of the online casino and the complete integration of the online team within the organisation. Do you and your team visit G2E Las Vegas? 2019 our online casino project was keeping us busy, but we will definitely follow up on new trends from home and are excited to visit G2E next year. Technology plays such an important part in our lives and it has certainly affected our leisure time. How has it affected the daily business within Grand Casino Luzern? Innovation is one of our core values, and our daily business reflects that. We promote digitalization, and it shows: We are certified according to the norm ISO 27001, one of the strictest and best-known standards for information security, and daily business is facilitated by online co-working and project management tools. We strive to support our employees in unfolding their potential and are always on the lookout for opportunities to improve. If technology can help us in achieving that goal, we embrace it.

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Over the last few years, there has been a significant change in how your operations have been branded, marketed and operated. Can you summarise what your customers (new and existing) can expect when they visit Grand Casino Luzern? Brand renewal is key to brand survival. Customers who visit the Grand Casino Luzern can expect an enticing mix between the glamorous casino world of Monaco and the colourful world of Las Vegas. We are not only a casino – we are a house of entertainment. Players, gourmets, culture enthusiasts and party people alike will find what they’re looking for, and with our online casino www.mycasino.ch, you can take the exciting and enjoyable casino experience we offer anywhere you want, anytime. Could you provide an insight into the organisation’s approach to its privilege and rewards program? Our privilege and rewards program “my.casinoclub” is an important means for us to strengthen loyalty and build a strong relationship with our customers. Our members enjoy monthly benefits and profit from exclusive news, promotions and events, tailored to their interests. We believe in personal connection and in expressing appreciation on many levels, from birthday presents to special incentives. What are the main initiatives taken that are amongst the most effective at retaining existing members as well as attracting new to Grand Casino Luzern?


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Our member program my.casinoclub has proven to be an effective measure for retaining our customers. The club is constantly renewing itself, with the majority of our members between 18 and 37 years old. A well-balanced marketing mix constantly drives new customers to Grand Casino Luzern. To ensure first-timers have a good casino experience, we have designed an attractive welcome promotion that continuously generates new guests. What is the current highest jackpot at the casino and how much was the biggest slot payout? The Swiss Jackpot connects seven casinos and starts at one million francs. The highest Jackpot won at Grand Casino Luzern was close to three million francs. What table games are amongst your most popular? Our most popular table games are the classics – roulette and blackjack. There is also a continuously strong demand for poker, especially Texas Hold’em. The Grand Casino Luzern organises the largest poker tournaments in Switzerland. What would you say are some of the unique aspects about Grand Casino Luzern? We have always been strong in combining tradition and innovation, and I believe the fact that we’re housed in a neo-baroque bijou and run one of the first Swiss online casinos is a beautiful picture to reflect that. What is the casino’s policy to responsible gambling? Gaming should always be an enjoyable recreational activity. We are actively committed to prevent compulsive gambling, and we offer our customers numerous resources and services that can help them make more responsible decisions. Our policy is based on the Federal Act on Gambling and has been developed with proven experts in close cooperation with the department for Social Work of Lucerne’s University of Applied Sciences and Arts. All our employees are educated on this important topic, and to be able to react quickly to potentially problematic gaming behavior, we have integrated extensive measures into our internal workflows. The implementation of our policy is constantly evaluated by the University and backed up by an annual quality audit. How has the casino coped with the implementation of all the regulations regarding AML and KYC? AML and KYC checks are prevalent in our business and it’s an integral part of our success to do our due diligence

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and implement all regulations with the utmost care and attention. Technological progress facilitates automation and has allowed us to increase our efficiency while maintaining our commitment to quality, transparency and customer-orientation. Social media is an important marketing part of the whole marketing mix for casinos. What initiatives has Grand Casino Luzern optimised and how for example do you encourage guests to post pictures on Instagram? Social media allows us not only to market our offer, but first and foremost to better connect with our customers and clients. We are active on Facebook since 2008, and we are proud to have a strong community that is willing to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences with us. As part of our promotions and events, we have worked with activation measures such as photo walls and inspirational hashtags, and of course, the beautiful location at the shore of Lake Lucerne definitely works in our favour when it comes to guests sharing their pictures on Instagram. What is the percentage of locals to tourists and business visitors to Grand Casino Luzern and is that representative across all the Swiss casinos or is it unique to your location?

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Lucerne has a long history as a tourism region and is a major point of attraction for many visitors to Switzerland. As a result, roughly 20 percent of our customers are tourists. While Lucerne is mainly associated with tourists from China, it has grown increasingly popular with groups from India and independent travellers from the US. Our situation is not only unique in that we have a strong relationship with the official tourism organisations of the region; we are also the only Swiss casino that is decisively catering to visitors from abroad with its own business development manager for tourism.

M Y SW I SS O N L I N E - C AS I N O


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Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa will Rock You Steve Bonner, President at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, takes Casino Life inside this upgraded resort casino. By Damien Connelly

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I

flew in to Tampa on the red eye from Las Vegas. I wasn’t hopeful. Tampa? What did I know about

you won’t want to leave. I thought Las Vegas was untouchable for having a great

Tampa? It’s in Florida and … in truth, that’s all I knew.

time while in the U.S. Wrong! Tampa has great quality and

Oh, and that people go to Florida either to have a

variety of entertainment for all the family. And — trust me,

family vacation or to retire.

this is the best part — it has Southern Hospitality. People

Then I got a proverbial waking up, even if my eyes were

still red. What a city. It might well be the best kept secret in the U.S. Tampa has a lot of assets that make it a great

couldn’t be nicer and more welcoming. That’s the staff in Hard Rock Tampa as well as the customers. Orlando is next door to Tampa. Orlando developed on

city. The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa (“Hard

the back of theme park fame. Its tourist offerings have

Rock Tampa”) may well be Tampa’s best asset. Hard Rock

broadened immensely over the years to now attract

Tampa is one heck of a resort. It is a destination property

foodies and craft beer lovers, shoppers, sports fans and

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Steve Bonner, President at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

museum-lovers. Additionally, this area of Florida has great

million = comparable to a Super Bowl. Speaking of which,

golf courses. Both Orlando and Tampa have national and

Tampa will host Super Bowl LV in 2021. There’s a lot going

international airports providing excellent air connections.

on in Tampa.

Tampa Bay, as the name suggests, is on the coast and

I thought New Orleans was as good as it gets for a

has a variety of activities including entertaining aquariums

European visiting the U.S. for a culturally astute party

and marine rescue centers. Tampa also attracts large

location. I was wrong again! Tampa as a chillax destination,

sporting events — WrestleMania 36 will be held in April

better than New Orleans in my opinion. For people with

2020 in the city. WrestleMania has grown over the years

an interest in such, the Chihuly Collection is on the other

into a week-long extravaganza of ‘sporting entertainment’.

side of the Bay in St. Petersburg, over the bridge. Dale

It will create a demand for up to 50,000 visitor rooms and

Chihuly has, over the years, crafted some of the world’s

deliver an estimated economic benefit to Tampa of $185

most stunning glass sculptures. On the subject of crafting,

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during their entire stay. In-room there’s also the Rock Om® yoga experience (available at Hard Rock Hotels worldwide), which I got addicted to very quickly and did several times each day. Property-wide, the food is delectable. In Las Vegas, I’m often disappointed by the quality of the food. In Hard Rock Tampa I was overjoyed. So much so that I must’ve put on a couple of pounds just at Council Oak Steaks & Seafood fine dining restaurant. Council Oak Steaks & Seafood has Walter Apfelbaum as its Executive Butcher – yes, Hard Rock Tampa has an Executive Butcher. Walter is from New Jersey, spent time in Denmark, Italy and Germany (not a huge surprise given his family name) and oversees butchering throughout Hard Rock Tampa. In the evenings, Walter can be found in Council Oak. Hard Rock Tampa’s F&B options are wide and varied; more than enough to cater to all tastes. The entertainment is… well, this is a Hard Rock property. And and and...better I let Steve Bonner, President of Hard Rock

Tampa Bay now has 46 local craft breweries and the cocktail scene in the area is seeing a renaissance. There are few places better than the recently upgraded

Tampa provide the details before I get carried away with myself!

Hard Rock Tampa to experience Southern Hospitality and unwind from the rigours of daily life. I can’t remember

Hi Steve and thank you for your time. What path have

sleeping so well. The beds in Hard Rock Tampa’s AAA

you taken that brings you to being President at Hard Rock

Four-Diamond rated hotel are seriously comfy; why they

Tampa?

call it Sleep Like A Rock® bedding. The Rock Spa® has some

I came to Seminole Hard Rock Tampa after serving as

really great treatments to help you chillax. It wouldn’t be

General Manager and President of Seminole Casino

a Hard Rock if there wasn’t music playing throughout the

Coconut Creek for 16 years. During that time, I was

property…there’s even music underwater in the outdoor

responsible for managing the evolution of what was a small

pools that are next to the Rock Spa. In-room there are lots

gaming facility into a major South Florida casino, dining

of musical options unique to Hard Rock properties, such

and entertainment destination, with nearly 2,000 slot

as Sound of Your Stay® WAX® where a Crosley turntable is

machines, five restaurants and a 1,200-seat event center

brought to your room with a carefully curated collection

(The Pavilion) for concert and comedy performances. To

of 10 iconic vinyl records. Or my favourite, Sound of Your

that end, I want to thank the Seminole Tribe of Florida for

Stay PICKS® where guests choose a Fender® guitar to play

giving me the opportunity to lead this incredible property.

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How does Hard Rock Tampa compare with other resorts

guests from throughout the country and around the

you’ve worked in?

world. The property’s expansion continued the Seminole

Strictly from a size and success standpoint, Seminole

Tribe of Florida’s ongoing economic investment with the

Hard Rock Tampa is vastly different than where I came

city as The Seminole Tribe of Florida is one of the largest

from. Clearly, there is more to manage/oversee across the

employers in Tampa Bay.

board. What was upgraded? Hard Rock Tampa was a successful resort casino. Why

The extensive renovation included a new, 14-story hotel

did the Seminole Tribe of Florida decide to upgrade this

tower, offering 562 additional hotel rooms and suites;

resort?

three ultra-lavish pools; and a 26,000-square-foot

We were already one of the largest and most profitable

Rock Spa® & Salon equipped with 13 treatment rooms,

casinos in the country, but we wanted to increase our

including a Rhythm & Motion room, Hammam Ritual

entertainment and dining options, while helping attract

room, two VIP suites, a hair and nail salon, barbershop and

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co-ed aqua lounge. The 223,900-square-foot casino includes an additional 1,000 slots and 41 table games throughout its new gaming spaces, bringing the completed gaming experience to

to find anywhere else in this city and surrounding areas. These offerings make the Hard Rock brand stand out in a thriving city such as Tampa. Our brand amenities are key when it comes to sharing

nearly 5,000 slots, 179 tables and a state-of-the-art poker

the legendary Hard Rock vibe with our guests. No matter

room with 46 poker tables.

which Hard Rock property visitors travel to, they’re going to be greeted with the same brand offerings. The brand

Hard Rock is an iconic brand. What elements of Hard

is continuously exploring ways to incorporate music into

Rock Tampa best enliven for customers the Hard Rock

guest experiences. Our guest-centric musical journey

brand in your opinion?

began with The Sound of Your Stay, which has now

Here at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, we

expanded to three programs which allow guests to get up

have some really unique music and entertainment-related

close and personal with their favorite music.

offerings that local residents and tourists will not be able

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What sets Hard Rock Tampa apart from other resorts?

Tampa hosts some of the best entertainment in Tampa,

As mentioned before, music sets us apart from other

from local to traveling acts.

resorts and adds to the legendary vibe guests feel when they step onto one of our properties. We set ourselves

Hard Rock Tampa has mass market and VIP areas. What

apart with our stellar hospitality, luxury accommodations

are the most impressive facilities for VIPs?

and entertainment. We hire staff who are passionate

For the ultimate VIP experience, the top floor of our

about the Hard Rock brand, and that truly shows – guests

East Hotel Tower features a private gaming parlor for VIP

are always going to get top-notch Hard Rock service at

guests, with an exclusive check-in and private elevators to

the Tampa Hotel & Casino. Our remodeling took the

rock star suites.

accommodations to another level, with a contemporary

Our VIP Slots offer the highest level of service and

but comfortable ambiance, amping up the lavish offerings

privacy. Open to our most exclusive members, entrance

that Hard Rock always delivers. On top of our hospitality

into VIP Slots is by invitation only. This secluded hideaway

and accommodations, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

has 85 slot machines, complimentary beverage service and

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plush lounge-style seating area. Additionally, we offer VIPs access to the exclusive Plum

For the kids, we have our beautiful pools and other brand amenities. Our proximity to theme parks and local

Lounge which allows guests the opportunity to sip on

attractions also encourages families to stay at the hotel.

sophisticated cocktails from the mixologists or sample

And, by the way, let’s not forget that we are also pet

exotic dishes from the private chef.

friendly.

What would you say are the most impressive facilities for

I saw for myself the level of Southern Hospitality you

mass market customers? Are there specific age ranges or

experience as a patron of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel &

customer cohorts Hard Rock Tampa targets?

Casino Tampa. It’s a destination resort filled with friendly.

Frankly, we cater to a wide range of guests and all

Casino Life would like to thank Steve Bonner and his team

ages. We truly are a destination resort. To that end,

in Hard Rock Tampa for sharing their hospitality and time

we offer activities for adults via our spectacular casino,

with us.

entertainment options, as well as our bars and lounges.

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G2E Continues to Do Good

Allie Barth, VP of Industry Relations with the American Gaming Association, and Korbi Carrison, Event Director for Global Gaming Expo at Reed Exhibitions. By Damien Connelly Damien Connelly, Korbi Carrison, Allie Barth

Trends As the AGA’s Allie Barth commented: “There are elements of push and pull around Global Gaming Expo (G2E). Attendees ask for specific topics to be covered (that’s the pull) and the AGA pushes select topics to our industry. Sports betting remains a major industry trend in the U.S. There’s also innovation, technology and disruption. “The legalisation of sports betting in the U.S. has created the impetus for a dialogue around different payment options. FinTech (financial technology) is a trend we’re seeing a focus on. This is predominantly payment methods, which is something the AGA and our industry have been

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working on for some time. FinTech fits nicely under the headings this year’s G2E is focusing on, namely innovation, technology and disruption. We are seeing increased interest on FinTech from both the attendee and exhibitor sides. The impetus for FinTech has really been the mobile rollout of sports betting, which is requiring different payment methods than have been customary for our casino gaming industry. “The overturning of PASPA changed so many things in our industry in relation to sports betting. What’s interesting is the fast-pace with which partnerships have been developed in sports betting. We have somewhere over 50


partnerships between sports leagues and teams right now. I think we’re at the point where how we work together is evolving. “Responsible gaming is so important and is a core tenet for our industry. The AGA wants to make sure that as we are working with these new entrants to our gaming industry — who typically weren’t involved or who were previously prohibited from being involved — that any advertising and marketing is being conducted in a thoughtful and responsible way. We at the AGA have been working very closely with our member companies to develop a marketing code of conduct and advertising regulations so we as an industry are responsibly self-regulating. We are working with our members and with relevant parties to ensure that when a partnership deal is struck with a league or a team, they have a shared language to start from when it comes to their advertising and marketing partnership activities. “As we start all of these new partnerships with leagues and teams and continue to rollout sports betting throughout the U.S., we really rely on the regulators who have been doing this properly for a long time here in Nevada, but also on those regulators who are early entrants. The AGA works closely with regulators to ensure enforcement and oversight are happening positively in a way that provides the appropriate consumer protections are in place and secures the integrity of the games. “These are important issues. We live and breathe these in our industry, but it’s all new to leagues, teams, owners, partners and players. So we are having those conversations and making sure those from the sports betting industry side who are brokering partnership deals — which we agree should be happening through contract and through individual negotiations and discussions — are really starting from a shared understanding when it comes to responsible gaming, advertising and marketing. They’ll sort out the business deals individually, as each will. We view the role of the AGA to be the convener, connector and educator on the importance of all of the main issues with key stakeholders: Regulators, Gaming Industry, Leagues, Teams, Owners, Partners and Players.

we really want to make sure it is a positive experience and that customers are playing within their means. “When it comes to the opportunity, we have to leverage G2E to facilitate some of these priority issues — responsible gaming is absolutely at the top of our agenda. We are pleased to have the NCRG (National Center for Responsible Gaming) co-locate its conference here with G2E. That has been happening for a number of years now. As Korbi Carrison noted, “As show organisers, Reed Exhibitions maintains a keen eye on both the gaming industry as well as the trade show industry. We look for ways we can bring different technologies and ideas to improve G2E. “Our G2E show recently won two awards from the trade show industry, which is the first time our show has won such awards. G2E won ‘Best Overseas Extension of a Show’ for G2E Asia and we also won the ‘Do-Gooder’ award. Our partnership with the NCRG was specifically highlighted in conjunction with that award. Some of the statistics we have relating to that award are that since 2012 there have been donations made by attendees to G2E which total over $360,000 cash and closer to $700,000 in-kind that G2E has given to NCRG as support. “NCRG co-locates their annual conference with us and we provide for them meeting rooms that have a lot of value. We also do webinars for them in the lead-up to their conference, help them organise their conference and provide the NCRG with our registration system. It has been a really great partnership for many years and this emphasises how top-of-mind responsible gaming is for us and for our industry.”

Quality

Responsible Gaming

A valuable point Korbi Carrison highlighted is, “The figure we are particularly excited about is that we are about 10% ahead of where we were this time last year with key attendees. Key attendees are attendees that are casino operators who are identified as buyers. Those are the people our exhibitors really, really want to spend time with at the show.” In summing up, Allie Barth remarked, “One of the messages that changed for G2E a few years ago was our

“Responsible Gaming has always been a priority for our industry and the AGA. We will never take our foot off the pedal when it comes to responsible gaming. We want customers to go in, have a good time and come back. If customers go in to a casino and they are having a negative experience, that return visit is less likely to happen. In such a customer service industry as the casino gaming industry,

focus on quality. Our focus is making sure that we are creating the right business relationships and exchanges at G2E. It is important the AGA maintains our role as the convener, connector and educator on all of the main issues facing our casino gaming industry with key stakeholders. G2E is a major event for our industry and we look forward to seeing our industry in Las Vegas for G2E 2020.”

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Self-Exclusion

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Glyn Thomas Chats to Co-Founder of Gamban, Matt Zarb-Cousin

elf-exclusion is a difficult thing in the gaming industry. Casinos are frequently fined for not enforcing their own rules. What is the responsible player to do? Fortunately, there is a one-step solution on the market, in the form of Gamban. While the software was developed with British casinos and regulation in mind, it is available universally through the Internet and can be quickly installed on one’s computer. (Gamban developer Matt Zarb-Cousin wisely made it compatible with both Windows and Macintosh computers.) Gamban has been taken up by GambleAware and the National Health Service. This undoubtedly contributed to Gamban’s recognition as the RegTech Provider of 2019. It’s a fascinating story ... but best we let its developer tell us in his own words. When was the company founded and what was the inspiration behind starting the organisation? Jack Symons contacted me via LinkedIn in 2015, while I was still campaigning against FOBTs, about an idea he had for blocking software that worked on a Mac. At that time, nothing was available, which meant anyone wanting to block access to gambling sites would have to change their operating system or device. The available options were also either too restrictive, in that they blocked

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sites that weren’t gambling sites and were more akin to installing a virus on your computer, or they weren’t rigorous enough, easy to remove and didn’t block every gambling site anyway. Jack felt he could do a better job and developed a prototype, which was launched as freeware. We picked up around 1,000 users very quickly, but needed investment to improve the product and build something to justify a price point that could make the operation commercially sustainable. We were very grateful when Derek Webb came on board as an investor, although he has more recently converted his equity into a loan. As a result of Derek’s support, we were able to take on in-house developers and drastically improve the versions for Android and iOS, which are designed to be easy to uninstall but difficult to remove. We now have around 50,000 users, many of whom use Gamban in conjunction with GamStop, and transaction blocking such as that provided by Monzo. Independent research by GambleAware found selfexclusion software is particularly effective at helping people limit their access to gambling. Has the backing of self-exclusion software by the UK Gambling Commission assisted Gamban? Our conversations with the Gambling Commission


have been very positive, and GambleAware’s research found Gamban to be the most effective blocking software available. Since then, Gamban has become firmly cemented in the recovery path of many users of GambleAware’s treatment network. It is dispensed by GamCare counsellors and the psychotherapists at the specialist NHS clinics. With uptake of treatment services among those harmed by gambling still very low, our ambition is to develop Gamban into a holistic digital recovery tool. Downloading blocking software is the first step on the recovery path, and we are very well placed to help route those who install it into treatment. How quick is Gamban to install and how effective is it at exclusion? It’s extremely quick and easy to install. If you’re on a Windows or Mac computer, go to gamban.com and you can try it for free for 14 days. If you’ve got an Android phone, Gamban’s available on the Google Play Store, and it will soon be available on the App Store for those with iPhones. Until then, a version can be downloaded from our site direct to your phone via an SMS link. How does it work? Gamban only blocks gambling sites, so as well as being difficult to remove, our software has to keep pace with new sites that emerge on a daily basis. To do this, we work in collaboration with a number of external sources that share information on online gambling sites such as manual curation, ‘scraping’ of app stores and affiliate networks, and the blocking of subdomains. As a result, our dynamic block-list of more than 45,000 gambling sites and apps – and millions of domains – is the most comprehensive in the world. All data is monitored for quality (both manually and using automation) before being added to our blocklist. This list is integrated at a cellular level through DNS servers.

Co-Founder of Gamban, Matt Zarb-Cousin

What have been amongst the key features of gamban that have resulted in its incorporation with GamCare? Our alignment with GambleAware means GamCare therapists are able to distribute our software for free, so individuals are better able to maintain abstinence from gambling for the duration of their treatment. This in turn improves the efficacy of treatment and the quality of outcomes. Gamban has also been taken on by Kindred Group’s Unibet

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can also screen players on the basis of their playing style, which is a huge step forward from algorithms based on transactional data. We would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with whoever is serious about reducing gambling related harm across the remote gambling sector. We are not interested in helping anyone build convincing public relations facades, and certain operators need to get out of this mindset pretty quickly. Reducing harm will mean a short term reduction in profits, but it will guarantee the existence of their business in the longer term. Do either of you gamble? If so, what do you put your money into Casinos, e-Sports, Betting Shops, Sports Betting, Lottery? Neither myself nor Jack gamble now. We’ve both had struggles with addiction. Mine was to FOBTs though, rather than online. Did any of you ever go into a casino before you got into this industry and if so was it in the UK or overseas? I’ve been in many casinos and slot halls. There are three where I live in Southend on Sea, and I’ve been to all of them. I’ve been to a few in London including Aspers in Stratford, Empire and the Hippodrome in Leicester Square, the Grosvenor in Birmingham and I’ve been to Vegas a few times but not to gamble, of course!

Gamban is currently aligned to 14 remote operators, which dispense our software to individuals who self-exclude. We want to make Gamban “free at the point of use” for anyone in need of it. However, the cost of maintaining the software is very high due to the complexity of the product and need to remain ahead of changes to operating systems. So we are optimistic that more operators will be willing to acknowledge the value in Gamban for the customers that they have harmed the most. Do you think there is a role for AI technology with the identification of online customers whom are at risk and need to stop? Is that an area you would look to collaborate? I’ve been really impressed with Mindway AI, which has gamified a gambling addiction screen. They have effectively developed a mini-game whereby your playing style can predict whether you’re addicted to gambling – and with astonishing levels of accuracy. Their technology

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How important is reliable communication in the internet age? Explain the risk of failure or the impact of unreliable solutions on businesses? Social media has empowered people to form, convey and sometimes amplify their own perspectives. This has, in turn, diminished the role of the mainstream media as ‘opinion formers’. In this context, it’s very difficult for corporations to run conventional crisis public relations strategies to try to deflect negative publicity. Combined with a shifting public mood towards a demand for greater consumer protection, reinforced by social media, and businesses that want to reduce political pressure are left with very little option than to actually change the way they operate. Any sector that profits from a disproportionate level of harm will not survive for very long in this context. What’s the most recent app you’ve downloaded but are yet to use? I downloaded Nike Running app and even got myself an Apple Watch to track my progress but I’m yet to use it, to my shame! I installed it way back in summer, too.


members affected indirectly by an individual’s gambling addiction. Gamban was founded for these people, and it will always exist for these people. Jack and I were both in that place once and we want to help others get out of it. How do people react when you tell them about your company? Most people think online gambling has spiralled out of control, largely because of advertising, so they see the value in something like Gamban. But the shock comes when I say that the remote operators are willing to fund it.

What has been the role of luck in your success? If I hadn’t gone on Dispatches back in 2012 to talk about my addiction to FOBTs then I would never have met Derek Webb, would never have joined Fairer Gambling, would never have met Jack and started Gamban and nor

Now the company has steady business growth what are amongst your prime objectives over the next 18 months? I hope in 2020 we can deepen our alignment with operators who take harm reduction as seriously as they need to. We want Gamban to be free at the point of use for anyone who needs it. We are optimistic that funding can be secured to make our software available to anyone who signs up for GamStop, while we continue to supplement GambleAware’s treatment network. We’ll continue to develop our product, building out from the blocking software capability to enhance a user’s route from self-excluding into a recovery path. The data we have access to will enable research into the impact of blocking software on individuals in treatment, as well evidencebased development of our product. We want to apply as much innovation as possible to the safer gambling space, and to build on collaborations with those that share our objectives.

would I be talking to you today. We can only ever join the dots backwards but if I think of something that I am most grateful for – and which was so unlikely in the grand scheme of things – it was meeting Derek. When and how did you first become interested in the Gambling sector? When I was in recovery from my addiction. I really wanted to know why it happened, how it happened to me, what legislation gave rise to FOBTs and why things were the way they were. My addiction to gambling actually got me interested in politics. I started to view things on a more structural level and ask myself how I could change things. From where do you draw your inspiration? My inspiration comes from the reviews we get from people who say our software has literally saved their lives, their livelihoods, their marriages, and given hope to family

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Systems, tables jackpots, and slots bonus games take centre stage in Vegas DRGT™s core products continued to drive Mexican, and LatAm and Caribbean, operator interest at the Las Vegas showcase in October 2019

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ollowing Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas,

DRGT™ CEO, Jurgen De Munck, DRGT™ Mexico MD, Alfredo Moreno and DRGT™ LatAm and the Caribbean MD, Alex Stiglich discuss what products and technologies drew the most interest from local operators. G2E is the core exhibition for your local markets Alex and Alfredo. Did the event live up to expectations? Alex: I believe so. Our market is a lot more mature than Alfredo’s and as such the upgrades to our current Tables Management System, as well as our new drReelBonus slots Bonus game were the key talking points. The fact that all table configurations can now be done in the Cage, and our ability to now do FOREX transactions in cash at individual Tables was really well received, as was the ability for Tables players to now be able to cash out directly to their player card at the Table.

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Alfredo: I concur. Our Tables Management System now really does seem to be world’s apart from our competitors so that was encouraging to my customers too. Then in respect of our new drReelBonus that Alex referred to; it did what we hoped and generated a really


fresh take in surprising and delighting players with a really fun reward option. The flexibility of the bonus game in terms of RTP, as well as actual rewards options like loyalty points or food and beverage vouchers was indeed ‘a hit’.

Alex Stiglich

Jurgen as the CEO, strategic direction obviously remains your core responsibility. What drives your thought processes? Jurgen: As I have said many times before, it is always ‘the player first’; and that relates to the surprise and delight elements referred to by Alfredo, and also faster and simpler functionality that makes for a seamless and ‘hassle free’ player experience. Consumers in general continue to expect more and more tailored offers, and the ability to take up those offers when and where it suits them. I think all service providers, and I refer here to all industries, are ideally after consumer (player) segments of one. When operators are able to realise this, they are then able to not only talk to the individual, but offer him real value; what I am referring to is not only tangible value, but also value that is more often than not quite intangible. In my view it is in most cases this intangible value that separates the good from the great. Alfredo Moreno

This leads quite nicely into my next question; you were part of a panel discussion last week entitled ‘Implementing Cashless and Cardless Systems’. One of the key take-outs from that discussion was the impact cashless gaming has had on better assigning game play data to specific players. Jurgen: Quite correct. The discussion you referred to was moderated by Peter Arceo, the General Manager of San Manuel Casino in California, and I was joined by Juan Carlos Afanador from the Vicca Group, a TITO operator in Colombia and Mark Banks, the CEO of Grand Casino Brussels, a Cashless operator in Belgium. In respect of your comment about the impact cashless gaming has had on better assigning game play data to specific players, it is very true. Specific reference was made by the panellists of the increase in tracked play, and the value of not only access to that tracked play, but more importantly the ability to then ‘mine’ that data, and then use that ‘intell’ to better engage players, tailor offers, and then present these

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aforementioned offers in front of players at a time that suits them; all ultimately driving growth, and ongoing sustainability.

Jurgen De Munck

Alfredo, back to you; I saw yet again a lot of visitors to your booth glued to BlackJack11’s. Is its success continuing? Alfredo: In Mexico, for sure. The fact that the game is so easy to play, and is so fast, with a minimal effect on the normal blackjack game speed continues to intrigue Mexican operators, and more importantly their players. Jackpots remain one of your core products, and in particular your configuration options, and shared jackpot functionality. Can you tell me a little more about these? Jurgen: We currently provide probably the largest selection of jackpot configuration options in the world; what I’m referring to here are options for operators to have jackpots based specifically on average bet parameters for example, as well as jackpots tailored exclusively for specific loyalty levels, and jackpots that can be configured for specific times of the day and/or days of the week to name a few. These parameters can then also be combined, for example: a specific jackpot for silver card players only, offered every Monday in October between 10am and midday. Add to that the fact that the actual jackpot could be paid in cash, promotional credits or raffle tickets, and we really are able to provide operators with a significant player reward arsenal. Alex: Adding to Jurgen’s explanation above, and in reference to the shared jackpot you mentioned; here operators are able to configure a jackpot option on a bank of 20 machines for example, where when the jackpot is won by a player on say machine number 5, he will win the primary jackpot value, with the shared jackpot ‘pot’ then equally distributed to the other players on that bank of 20 machines at the time the jackpot is won. Alfredo: And then..., what is really quite attractive is the fact that if only 6 players were on the bank playing at the time the jackpot was hit, the primary winner would

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receive his pay-out, with the shared ‘pot’ simply divided amongst the remaining 5 players. My customers really like that. I assume then, based on the above, that the shared jackpot criteria can also be fully configured correct? Alex: Absolutely, players can be ‘counted in’, or ‘counted out’, of the shared jackpot by player loyalty tier or minimum bet for example. Alfredo: Also, our shared jackpot, as with our other jackpots, has the functionality to be utilised by an operator on a specific bank of machines, a portion of the casino floor, the entire casino floor or across an operator’s entire estate. The next stop for DRGT™ is ICE London in February 2020, correct? Jurgen: That is 100% correct. We will be at the Excel, London, at our usual booth: N2-240, from 4 – 6 February next year. We’re looking forward to it.


Dive into the future Tickets: icelondon.uk.com

#intothefuture

35,000+ Attendees • 150+ Nations • 600+ Exhibitors


Aruze Shines Bright at G2E Las Vegas 2019

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By: Victor H. Royer he recently completed Global Gaming

Congress and Expo – G2E – was my 36th year in attendance of gaming conventions in Las Vegas, and their predecessors. Over these decades, I have seen the rise of this industry from old-style slots with hoppers to the latest in today’s modern technology and gaming innovation. While I have seen other reports which indicate that this year’s G2E didn’t produce many stand-out games, or products, I respectfully disagree. It is true that innovation has limits, not only regulatory, but existential. But this does not mean that there weren’t any stand-out games and products at this year’s Show. I, for one, particularly enjoyed the Pachinko-style game from Aruze, which I profile in greater detail later in this review – along with several other games and products which I think rightfully deserve a mention here. A significant portion of this year’s Show continued to be focused on Sports Wagering, which is still in the growth stages among many US States, currently struggling to finalize various versions of regulatory legislation to make their entry into this lucrative field of gaming.

Aruze Shines at G2E 2019

Among several exciting games from Aruze, the one that I particularly found interesting was the Pachincoin game, featured on Aruze’s Muso Curve-43 Hybrid cabinet. The game showed to me at G2E was titled Jackpot Circus, which is a game with 2 Progressive Levels and 2 Bonus Levels, in 10 credit-per-wager minimum bets, and a 200 credit max bet, available in multi-denominational formats of US 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c and $1 values. In the base game, Coins appear in a row in the coin shooter. Some have 2x multipliers. Each coin is 1 bet at the chosen bet level. Players can choose to shoot fast or slowly, up to a 50 coin game cycle. So, this means that if you choose the 1-cent version, the total max wager can be $5. And so on for the other denominations. This makes the game really fun, indeed. There are also Bonuses:

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The exciting new Pachincoin Jackpot Circus game from Aruze

Circus Wheel Bonus This is triggered when awarded by the Wheel Chance spin. It awards Credits, Bonuses, Progressives or Break the Bank Bonus.


Break the Bank Bonus This is triggered by the Circus Wheel Bonus only. All Banked coins will then be released, with any prizes awarded. This is similar to a free games feature, but in this game it’s a whole lot more fun! I played it at the Show, and it’s really a fun game to play.

Fantastic Dragons

This new game from Aruze is available on the Muso Curve-43 cabinet, and the themes featured at G2E were Fantastic Dragons Fire and Fantastic Dragons Gold . These games offers multiple wagering options, such as 50 Lines at the Bet Level 1 version, 100 Lines at the Bet Level 2 version, and 100 Lines + Orbs at the Bet Level 3 version.

The Fantastic Dragons Fire Gold game from Aruze

6 Orbs in either reel window trigger a Hold and Respin for that reel window only, but players can also trigger both reel windows and the same time. The reels then spin and orbs drop to the lowest available position on the reel. Covering all 15 spots in the lower reel window triggers the Prize Wheel. If both reel windows were triggered, the Super Prize Wheel is awarded.

the time of this writing are possible Communal Bonuses, which are not as yet available on these games - however, there is a communal feel from the volcano’s interaction with players. The Random Wild and Random Bonus change during the free games, and as players increase their bets this adds pointers to the Bonus Wheel, so more wedges and prizes are awarded when the Bonus is triggered. The Collect Feature has 5 Bonus symbols which trigger a hold & respin collect feature. The Deluxe Bonus Wheel has 15 held symbols which in the Collect Feature trigger

Prize Wheel

the Deluxe Bonus Wheel. The Deluxe Bonus Wheel then awards Jackpots, Bonuses and increased credit prizes.

Orb Bonus

This feature awards Credit Prizes and Multipliers up to 3x, plus Bonuses or Jackpots. The Super Prize Wheel has increased Credit Prizes and up to a 5x multiplier.

Free Games (Fire) Additionally, 8 Free Games with extra wilds can be awarded in this feature.

Free Games (Gold) And with the Gold feature, 8 Free Games with a 2x Wild multiplier will also be awarded.

Mad Mountain Riches

This game is available on the Muso Limited cabinet with 50 Lines and 75 credit minimum wager, and a Max bet option of 375, 450, and 525 credits. Still in development as of

FU LAI CAI LAI

This game is available in three versions: Fu Lai Cai Lai Stack Wild Luxury – showcased here in this article – as well as Sea Legends and Triple Festival. In the Fu Lai Cai Lai Stack Wild Luxury game players experience an enriching variety of gameplay and surprising riches. Increasing the bet level and credit per play improve several elements of gameplay, such as adding wilds to an increasing number of reels, more reels becoming wild in free games, boosting the paytable for the top win combinations, allowing access to increased jackpot levels, and providing mystery chances to win jackpots. Fu Lai Cai Lai 5 Sea Legends™, Fu Lai Cai Lai Stack Wild Luxury™ and Fu Lai Cai Lai Triple Festival™ are Class III games, available on Aruze’s new Muso Triple-27™ cabinet.

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They are all 5 reel, 243 ways video games in which the jackpot symbol – when landing on an active reel – signals a Jackpot Chance opportunity for the player. However, the jackpot feature can also be triggered randomly. Either way, once this occurs, the player has a chance to choose bells until 3 matching jackpot levels are revealed. Random coin bonuses may also appear and award credit prizes. Each of the three Fu Lai Cai Lai titles has a unique free games feature. Fu Lai Cai Lai 5 Sea Legends™ has 6 free games with a ‘choose your volatility’ feature. Fu Lai Cai Lai Stack Wild Luxury™ has 8 free games where a chosen picture symbol will become wild. Fu Lai Cai Lai Triple Festival™ has 8 free games, and wilds pay triple during regular or bonus play. These three new titles in an outstanding new cabinet truly make for a lucky combination – for the player, as well as the operator.

The Fu Lai Cai Lai Stack Wild Luxury game from Aruze

The exciting Mad Mountain Riches game from Aruze

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07/03/2018 11:07:18


Winners World Bar Top Cabinet by Aristocrat

Aristocrat – a New Generation

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By: Victor H. Royer

ristocrat But that’s another story. showcased Aristocrat’s Star Trek: The Next many new Generation is offered on the titles at the EDGE X™ cabinet, featuring 2019 G2E, two stacked, horizontal, including one of my curved 43” LCD screens favorites: Star Trek: The displaying panoramic views, Next Generation. Although with stereo symphonic this TV show began it’s surround sound and a virtual life more than 30 years ago button deck, all in a cabinet now, it still holds up well and that occupies a larger-than-life continues to be a fan-favorite footprint on the casino floor. in re-runs, on DVD, and on “The result is an innovative streaming services. Actually, game, featuring sights and in a previous life, yours truly sounds from the series that – the writer of this article – takes full advantage of the once worked on this show, EDGE X cabinet’s cinematic in a manner of speaking. I design, and will entertain Dollar Storm™ game from Aristocrat was involved in the creation of what’s long-time fans and newer fans alike,” said called “The Bible,” which is the originating framework that Jon Hanlin, Vice President Commercial Strategy, Gaming defines the characters, and the show’s intent and purpose. Operations.

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Also introduced at G2E was Aristocrat’s new MarsX™ cabinet, with the all-new Buffalo Gold Revolution™ game. Other for-sale themes on MarsX include Fu Dai Lian Lian™, which is an evolution of the playerfavorite Gold Stacks 88™ as well as new themes in the Mighty Cash™ family featuring Mighty Cash Ultra™. The Dollar Storm™ for the MarsX cabinet was also featured as a lease-option game. Dollar Storm is the next generation evolution of the industry’s best two products, Lightning Link™ and Dragon Link™, with an added MSP. Other featured games showcased by Aristocrat were Farmville, Mad Max Fury Road, Madonna, and The Walking Dead II™ with an MSP link and Buffalo Grand™, and an SSP Link, presented on the innovative Arc™ Double cabinet. Aristocrat has always been focused on helping its customers grow their business and entertain their patrons across all demographics with innovations that truly stand out on the gaming landscape. Aristocrat’s Star Trek: The This also includes their newest series of BarNext Generation game Top multi-game consoles, now available in licensed jurisdictions. The Buffalo Gold Revolution™ game from Aristocrat

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The popular Madonna game from Aristocrat


Scientific Games Ultra Hot at G2E 2019

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ver the past few Shows, Scientific Games (SG) has provided an enclosed booth, in which are many of the company’s newest and most innovative games and products. From their Sports Wagering Suite, to Slots, new Steppers, and their latest series of Bar Tops, to their newest innovations in game and cabinet designs. At the 2019 G2E, SG again showcased a selection of games and products that match the range for which the company is well-known worldwide. I can only highlight a few of them here, so – let’s start with their latest Ultra Hot Mega Link™ game.

By: Victor H. Royer

place and resets the Free Spins available to three. When a set number of Fireballs are hit, a new row is unlocked and added to the reels. Credit values and progressive jackpots are displayed on the Fireballs, and as rows unlock the credit values and jackpot levels increase. Player excitement really heats up when one or more Ultra Hot Fireball symbol land on the reels, adding credits or even a Mini Jackpot, and to up to 5 other unlocked Fireballs around it, ultimately exploding the size of the feature win!

Drop & Lock™

This is the next evolution of the successful Lock It Link® series, adding another drop to the already enticing Lock It Link game. During the new Drop & Lock Feature, symbols displaying credit prizes and jackpots drop to the bottom of the display, Ultra Hot and once a full row is achieved, drop off the Mega Link reels awarding the sum The success of Ultra Hot Mega Link™ game of the row’s displayed Ultimate Fire Link® series games from SG prizes. has inspired SG to This new series create the new Ultra Hot Mega Link™ game is presented on the series, which at G2E I saw offered in two titles: TwinStar® Wave XL Ultra Hot Mega Link - Amazon and Ultra Hot Mega cabinet, and is now Link India both of which are available on the available with two TwinStar J43 and the TwinStar Wave XL cabinet. new themes: Sweet Just like in Ultimate Fire Link, the playerTweet™ and Deep Sea favorite Fire Link Feature is triggered by at Magic™. In addition to least four Fireball symbols that lock in place The exciting Drop & Lock Sweet Tweet™ and the Drop & Lock Feature, each Deep Sea Magic™ games from SG and award three free spins. During the free theme also includes a unique spins, every new Fireball symbol hit on the reels locks in

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Free Games Bonus. In Sweet Tweet’s Free Game Bonus, Bird symbols that land on a reel expand making the whole reel Wild, increasing the chance of a big win. During Deep Sea Magic’s free games, a multiplier determined by the number of Pyramid symbols that triggered the feature is applied to each win! During both games’ bonuses, the exhilarating Drop & Lock Feature can trigger as well.

MONOPOLY Money Grab from SG

Dancing Drums®

Dancing Drums® Stepper from SG The Ultimate Cash Spin game from SG

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This is one of the hottest games on the casino floor, and it will soon be available in a new stepper version, presented on the dynamic new 5-reel TwinStar stepper cabinet. The TwinStar 5RM has five dazzling reels with full RGB LED backlights, LED reel dividers, and bezel lighting. In addition to these great games, SG also presented the latest versions of their popular series of Cash Spin and MONOPOLY games.


Triple zero is a sure bet for Cammegh on the Vegas Strip

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ammegh, makers of the world’s finest roulette wheels, secured a 12 triple zero wheel order from Niagara Casino during the first day of G2E in Las Vegas, the prefect way to begin any exhibition. The success of triple zero roulette with numerous operators in Las Vegas has proved the perfect live showroom environment for Cammegh, which has a huge footprint on the famous Strip, with over 60 per cent of roulettes now hailing from the UK-based firm. From a standing start in 2011, when Cammegh received its abbreviated manufacturers license in Nevada, the calculated risk and significant financial investment has proven itself a sure bet. “We took the risk because we were absolutely confident that we could deliver a superior product to the market. In a desert environment, you need a wheel that is stable in all conditions,” explains Andrew Cammegh. “In addition to the elegantly crafted designs, all our wheels are made from composite resin, ensuring that they are inert to temperature and moisture changes, which is one of the many reasons why such a wide range of local operators have adopted our wheels. The game of roulette in Vegas is growing in popularity, with the number of tables on floors rising steadily. While we’re

L2R: Elliott Banks, Sales & Marketing Manager; Andrew Cammegh, Sales Director; Bob Foord Media Production Creator

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seeing other table games receding, triple zero roulette is increasing in both popularity and as a revenue earner.” What’s most important for customers is to receive a consistent product with consistent service, with Cammegh ensuring the best of both worlds. A Cammegh wheel is a beautifully hand-crafted product utilising a maintenancefree for life bearing that’s also imbued with world-class technology. Rapid number recognition and interactive game presentations on the sublime billboard display, means that properties are able to easily differentiate their games from site to site, incorporating game graphics, promotions and even sports events to best suit their players’ preferences. “G2E Las Vegas is not a one town show, it is an international event, one of the three main exhibitions in which we participate,” describes Andrew. “In London, Macau and Vegas we seize the opportunity to exhibit the matchless Slingshot 2, the faultless Mercury 360 Halo wheel, the peerless Patriot wheel, and the timeless Mercury 360 mini - designed for stadium environments to increase games by up to 50 per cent. Cammegh is renowned for innovating specifically designed products for an array of challenges in the vertical space of roulette. The Vegas G2E event is a fantastic opportunity for the company

to meet partners seeking OEM solutions, end-users and operators from far-flung-fields.” The newly minted Cammegh Wheel Leveller was the nearest thing to a proverbially ‘hot cake’ on the booth in Vegas. The design allows for lateral movement only to ensure operators are measuring a level on a horizontal plane, since any vertical movement renders the process ineffectual. To avoid this, the Cammegh Wheel Leveller’s design is unique. The magnetised contact joint restricts movement to the lateral plane only, making it incredibly straightforward to set-up and swiftly ascertain if a wheel is perfectly level. “The diverse nature of the enquiries at G2E was astounding,” describes Andrew of the G2E show 2019. “Cammegh is unique in the sense that the clarity of focus upon our products and deliverables is increasingly apparent to all our customers, which is why we are enjoying such success, through from design to execution. G2E was a hugely enjoyable show and we are busily preparing now for a spectacular ICE exhibition where we look forward to welcoming all our clients and customers to London. We have some exciting developments coming through and we look forward to sharing all our secrets on the booth in 2020.”

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L-R: Oscar Salgado (Win Club Casino), Alfonso Rendon (DRGT™ Mexico), Miguel Angel Ochoa (President, AIEJA), Jurgen De Munck (DR Gaming Technology™), Alfredo Moreno (DRGT™ Mexico), Jose Antonio Ibanes (Madeiras Gaming), Douglas Jackson (Project C.U.R.E.) and Yair Escobar (Juegos y Sorteos de Jalisco)

Curando Mexico receives support for local resource-limited hospitals

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DRGT™ Mexico in association with AIEJA donate $25,000 to help strengthen Mexico’s medical infrastructure

n support of Curando México’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the infrastructure challenges facing many local Mexican hospitals, DRGT™ Mexico, in association with local regulator AIEJA and local casino operators donated $25,000 towards the foundation’s logistic and transportation costs during G2E 2019. The donation was received by Project C.U.R.E. President and CEO, Dr. Douglas Jackson, and was presented by DR Gaming Technology™ CEO, Jurgen De Munck, DRGT™ Mexico Managing Director, Alfredo Moreno and Operations and Marketing Manager, Alfonso Rendon along with AIEJA President Miguel Angel Ochoa and a number of local casino operators. Curando México is a non-profit organization established in 2010; it serves as Project C.U.R.E.’s partner throughout Mexico, under the guidance of Operations Director, Beth Conley. In turn, Project C.U.R.E. is the largest provider of donated medical supplies and equipment to under-resourced countries in the world. Currently, Project C.U.R.E. employs 350 staff, and manages a further 3,500 volunteers, who collect and pack, transport and then distribute everything from wheel-chairs and x-ray machines to hospital beds and catheters across the globe on a daily basis; in October alone, Project C.U.R.E. will ship twenty two 40ft. containers of much needed supplies across the planet. Furthermore, by the end of 2019, Project C.U.R.E. will have sourced and donated almost $85 million

worth of supplies across the world. Locally, Fundación Curando a México has successfully delivered, since inception, 90 semitrailers of life-saving medical equipment and supplies valued at more than $43 Million. “Our expenses are extremely low, in fact as little as 2% of the value of all cash and supply donations we receive is spent on administrative and fundraising costs” said Doug Jackson. “This contribution from DRGT™ Mexico in association with AIEJA will pay for the transportation of yet another 40ft container of supplies to Mexico. The value of which, depending on the supplies we manage to secure from our base of international hospital and medical supply donors, could be anything from $500,000 to $1 Million”. “I have been president of Curando Mexico since day one, and Alfonso has also been associated with the foundation since inception”, remarked Alfredo, “the work that Doug and his global team do is nothing short of miraculous, and the fact that we are able to assist our local hospitals, in just a small way, is extremely humbling. Jurgen and I agreed this year that instead of hosting a supplier and partner event in Las Vegas we would rather make this donation”. In closing De Munck added: ‘“..our business success is based on the support we receive from the communities in which we operate, and we in turn wish to show our support to them; as the saying goes: “doing good, is good business”. Supporting Curando Mexico is a given, and a cause we will continue to support as best we can for as long as we can.”

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NOVOMATIC Americas celebrates best G2E ever A gripping range of products for the US and neighbouring markets was met with eager customer interest and excellent footfall at the NOVOMATIC booth in Las Vegas. This year’s G2E will go down in show history as ‘the best G2E ever’.

S

hining in the centre of the product presentation was the marvellous Samurai Beauty™ installation with 2x3 V.I.P. Lounge™ Curve 1.43 cabinets propped against a double-sided 4x3 LED screen video wall featuring game-specific, choreographed content for a high-visibility game presentation. Visitors were stoked not only by the visuals but also by the smooth gameplay of the gripping new, Asian-themed linked progressive that was presented with a photo booth featuring two real-life Samurai Beauties plus some befitting stage props.

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Venturing deeper into the NOVOMATIC booth, visitors discovered more linked progressives for the US market: the MONEY PARTY™ Link featuring titles Fruity Fruity™ and Juicy Juicy™ as well as the THUNDER CASH™ Link, already a highlight in a growing number of US casinos. The PAY DAY™ Progressives series was extended with a fourth title, PAY DAY™ Plus which premiered at the show, adding a classic, straightforward version with thrilling multiplier bonus features to the set. US Commercial, Tribal and VGT operators were treated to a broad suite of products and award-winning technology to boost their operations: games and game


mixes, progressive jackpots, sports betting kiosks, system solutions and ETGs were on full display at G2E 2019. Located in the centre of the NOVOMATIC booth was an authentic sports lounge, featuring the NOVOMATIC ActionBook™ self-service sports betting kiosk – a hit product for US casino customers inclined to integrate a sportsbetting offer in their portfolio using a self-service terminal that fulfils the highest casino standards in terms of security, maintenance and style. Especially for the VGT markets in Illinois and Pennsylvania, new mixes were on display – and the modular myACP casino management system showcased new player recognition modules for VGT operators in Illinois, including a

new NOVO Rewards™ player recognition kiosk. “This year’s G2E was really exceptional, maybe the best ever and I have heard that from all our sales teams as well,” said Jens Einhaus, VP of International Sales Europe & Americas. “We had excellent customer traffic on the NOVOMATIC booth – not only in terms of quantity but also in terms of quality – and a lot of specific interest from US and Latin American decision-makers. It makes me proud to see how we finally hit the target with our development focus for the US.”

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Raymond Chan, CEO Alphaslot

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The Network Effect

A

By: Raymond Chan, CEO Alphaslot

network effect is the positive impact on a product or service when additional users are presented. It becomes significant after the critical mass has been achieved and resulting in a positive feedback loop. In fact, the ability to leverage the network effect of a platform gives an advantage over competitors in every industry. It is evident by seeing the results from Microsoft Windows in the 90s and Apple’s iTunes store over the last decade. More recently, Uber and AirBnB are examples of some of the most disruptive companies in their respective industries that leverage the network effects when a new technology arise. The network value leads to a snowball effect that allows these companies to dominate the multibillion dollar markets. This should also apply to gaming, and I believe this will happen for those who can first utilize the future use of technologies. In the recent years there is a new technology called “Blockchain” and a real blockchain platform is about a distributed ledger that is open, decentralized ownership, with an emphasis on a strategic focus. For gaming, the focus of this trustworthy ledger can be : 1. A truly trustful layer for data sharing among different parties … from operators to regulators and customers. 2. The ability to define ownership of digital assets, not limited to token only, in the gaming world. The best well known new class of asset is called “bitcoin” and many other crypto currencies to follow. However, the creation of bitcoin and other crypto is only the beginning. With smart contracts alongside the maturing of blockchain technology, the new creatures of crypto assets has continue to explode beyond bitcoin — CryptoKitties, Etherbot, etc. The demand of innovations for the gaming industry is driven new forces to unlocked potential use cases of blockchain that were not possible before. Tokenization of virtual goods is just one example. Data sharing among

parties to increase efficiency is another example. With an distributed computing platform enabled by the blockchain technology, the game providers and players will be able to interact closer than ever before, also with the regulators to increase transparency for a healthy growth. “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” — Albert Einstein We are still in the early stages of the blockchain technology and the use cases within the gaming industry is still experimental. The second layer technology and ability to connect multiple blockchains synergistically will be the next milestone of technological advancements that we can foresee today. Creation of quality games will follow once the associated blockchain technology (and financial benefits) becomes accessible to the game developers. A new chain of gaming ecosystem will form in parallel during the whole process. Whoever can see the future coming will have the first mover advantage to leverage the new wave of network effects, which can potentially be bigger than the web 2.0 /3.0 combined in term of economical impact to our industry. Blockchain is a technology that meant to rewrite the communication layers of all industry from inside out, and it is time for the first mover advantage. We will continue to share our research in technology innovations hoping to give inspirations for industry, and working together for a better future.

About Raymond Chan Raymond Chan is a 20-year data science and business innovations veteran. He is the founder of Alphaslot, a technology company to develop extraordinary new gaming products for business innovations. Prior to founding Alphaslot, Raymond spent 10 years in Silicon Valley where he was the lead architect of the Business Intelligence System for E*Trade Financial and TiVo Entertainment. In 2007, he joined Global Gaming Group in Macau and co-founded Takara Gaming Group before founding Alphaslot in 2018.

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The Last Word by Damien Connelly

Sports Betting and Casinos Welcome to The Last Word... Research I have conducted for operators over the years

Sports Betting Opportunities for Casinos

repeatedly shows one thing — given a choice, consumers

I recently attended the Sports Betting

prefer gambling in landbased casinos to other forms of

USA event in New York organised by

gambling product (including lottery, online casino and

Clarion Gaming. Clarion partnered

sports betting shops…sportsbooks in casinos are different).

with Morgan Stanley to hold an

My research has found that the only comparable gambling

Investor Summit in New York,

product to a landbased casino is a quality racetrack;

just off Wall Street. Thomas Allen

properties such as Flemington Racecourse (The Melbourne

from Morgan Stanley moderated

Cup), Churchill Downs (Kentucky Derby) and Longchamp

a fascinating panel with MGM Resorts, Hard Rock

(Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe).

International and Mohegan Sun. Each person had great insight into opportunities that sports betting brings to casinos. Some take-aways from that panel include the difference between mobile, online and retail gaming. In the UK, which is a market many benchmark given the maturity of its sports betting industry, a high percentage of sports betting revenues come from mobile and online wagering. Mobile betting is a key differentiator between a break-even and a profitable operating model…although sports betting is a low margin business, meaning operators ideally need online

Thomas Allen, Morgan Stanley; Scott Butera, MGM Resorts; Kresimir Spajic, Hard Rock International; Aviram Alroy, Mohegan Sun

casino to support their sports betting model. Retail sports betting drives additional

The same is true when landbased casinos are compared

revenue inside a casino (especially for

to major sporting events such as NASCAR, Wimbledon,

tables, F&B and hotel), while mobile allows for customer

Formula 1 and FIFA’s World Cup. These sporting events

contact to be maintained anywhere legal gambling can

attract huge audiences and interest, but they are

occur; online is less intimate and immediate, while retail is

infrequent and/or move location. As big as these sporting

the safest and most responsible for customers.

events are, people don’t gamble in them the way they gamble and wager in landbased casinos. That may be about to change. Ted Leonsis’ Monumental

5G networks will be a game-changer. Also, in-stadia and in-location betting makes a beneficial difference to the customer experience, so long as it is managed in a

Sports & Entertainment (which owns the Washington

responsible manner. The many articles Casino Life has

Wizards, the Capitals and the Mystics sports teams) and

published over the years regarding Responsible Gambling

William Hill U.S will introduce a sports betting facility

reinforce what we all know, as evidenced by the comments

inside the Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. The

and support extended by the AGA and Reed at G2E to the

playing field (pardon my deliberate pun) just got levelled.

NCRG — being good is good for business.

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Profile for Casino Life Magazine

Casino Life Issue 134 Volume 15  

www.casinolifemagazine.com

Casino Life Issue 134 Volume 15  

www.casinolifemagazine.com