The magazine for the owners and management of international casinos
Volume 17: Issue 147
SMALL BUT MIGHTY
THE SILVERTON HIGHLIGHTS OUR G2E EDITION
1-3 February 2021 ExCeL London, UK
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Editorial: Editor: David McKee firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Editor Asia: Bill Healey email@example.com Associate Editor EMEA: Aydin Guney aydin.guney@outsourcedigital media.com International Correspondent: Lyudmyla Kyrychenko lyudmyla.kyrychenko@outsource digitalmedia.com
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Welcome... We came (well, some of us), we saw and Global Gaming Expo 2021 conquered. Like Doctor Johnson’s dog, the amazing thing wasn’t that it was done well—which it was— but that it was done, period. For this, much credit goes to American Gaming Association President Bill Miller, who took a belt-and-suspenders approach to health and safety, requiring that attendees be both Covid-negative and vaccinated fully against the baneful disease. Not all of us cleared the hurdle. Yours truly tested positive and had to join many of our international brethren and sisters in viewing the G2E proceedings virtually. That wasn’t leftovers, as we were treated to an unprecedented summit between Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen, MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle and Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox. That’s a lot of C-suite brainpower on one stage. A colloquy between Miller and Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill was similarly revelatory. Congratulations, by the way, to AGA prexy Miller on an extension of his term in office. His accomplishments both on the show floor and on Capitol Hill merit it. Veteran correspondent Victor H. Royer was a busy man at the show, interviewing many of the manufacturing sector’s heavy hitters, as well as subbing for me while I step back for major surgery. According to one online poll of attendees, the company making the biggest splash was Everi Holdings and Royer takes a deep dive into what made it stand out at G2E. The one game drawing the most interest, however, was Aristocrat Technologies’ slot spinoff of Denis Villeneuve’s cinematic Dune adaption. Its debut was daringly keyed to the film’s release and—luckily for Aristocrat—the Dune movie was a box office smash, auguring well for the game’s performance on slot floors. Although sports betting was only peripherally on the G2E agenda, the topic kept insinuating itself into forum after forum, especially when new FanDuel CEO Amy Howe made non-G2E headlines by calling the current high-spend, low-return model for customer acquisition unsustainable and one that would lead to a spate of consolidation in the sports-wagering sector. The heightened profile of sports-betting advertisements also was a repeated subject of concern, with industry leaders looking fretfully over their shoulders at ad bans or curtailments in Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia. Said Bidwill, “That’s one thing I’d be careful about. In Washington, D.C., where I have a lot of friends, all they’re hearing about is sports betting and that can really backfire on you.” That said, the mood was generally upbeat, as exemplified by Vici Properties President John Payne, who told the crowd, “Gaming has come through Covid extremely well...and the operators, frankly, are the best in the world.” Amen to that.
DMcKee David McKee Editor 3
Contents 3 Editors Note 6 Out of the Woods Las Vegas’ Silverton is a rare animal among casinos. By David McKee 15 Off the reservation Precedent-breaking Seminole sports betting contract too much for court to stomach. By David McKee
18 Accomplished Excellence Interview with Michael Conway, Vice President, Communications and Media, Everi Games. By Victor H. Royer 26 Better Games, Bigger Wins Interview with Roger Snow, Senior Vice President, Scientific Games. By Victor H. Royer 32 Innovation, Excellence Interview with Jon Hanlin, SVP of Commercial Strategy and Analytics, Aristocrat Technologies. By Victor H. Royer
37 New Dimensions Interview with Tashina Wortham, Marketing Communications Manager, Konami Gaming Inc. By Victor H. Royer 41 G2E 2021 Review: We’re Baaaaaaack! By: Victor H. Royer 47 Finding the Metaverse By Raymond Chan
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 Severn Print.
Feature: Silverton Resort Casino
Out of the woods Las Vegas’ Silverton is a rare animal among casinos. By David McKee
Feature: Silverton Resort Casino
Volume 17: Issue 147
Feature: Silverton Resort Casino
ou can see many things in Las Vegas but only at the Silverton Casino Hotel do they include mermaids. The finny vixens entertain customers in the resort’s Mermaid Restaurant & Lounge. And only at the Silverton will you find a 117,000-gallon salt water aquarium filled with rays, sharks and fish from around the world. Nor, for that matter, will you see anywhere else in Vegas something quite like the Shady Grove Lounge, where tipplers can relax beneath a North American Aspen tree or step into an adjacent Airstream trailer that cossets a miniature bowling alley. It’s all part of the off-kilter sensibility that has endeared the Silverton to locals and drive-in customers alike. Fiercely independent in an era preponderant with mammoth casino chains, the Silverton is the brainchild of Los Angeles entrepreneur Ed Roski Jr. In 1989 he purchased 80 acres south of the Las Vegas Strip, aiming only to build an industrial warehouse. But he had a brainwave and a casino was born. It opened on May 20, 1994, as the Boomtown and was anything but. It struggled and Roski eventually bought out his associates, evidently (and rightly, as history has proven) thinking he could do better by himself, renamed it the Silverton...and a cult classic took shape. Over the years Roski has expanded the Silverton incrementally to add retail (Bass Pro Shops, 2004), a sports book (2012), dining (Nevada’s first Cracker Barrel, 2016), residences (The Berkley, 2016) and additional hotel inventory (Hyatt Place, 2019). Very aggressively themed along Old West lines in its early years, the Silverton has dialed back the woodsy decor and kitsch-laden, hayseed vibe in favor of something subtler and more cosmopolitan, as befits a casino with a strong Asian-American clientele. By the way, fans of German rapper Capo are unwittingly familiar with the Silverton as he shot a 2017 music video at the resort, which continues to change, evolve and refresh without losing sight of what makes it distinctive—as Director of Marketing Sheila Kercher explained to us. What are the pluses and challenges of being an independent casino in chain-dominated Las Vegas? Right off the bat, one of the pluses of being an independent casino is that we don’t have a lot of corporate structure or people above us to direct us on what we’re doing. We get to do a lot of our ideas 8
and concepts daily without people telling us what to do. On the opposite end of that, one of the challenges is that I don’t have as big of a marketing budget as maybe Station or Boyd, because they get to spread their marketing budget across eight to 10 properties. They get to do a lot more let’s say commercialize and have more buying power. But as far as being an independent casino, I think that we’re able to do really unique things that we can move real quickly up the ladder and execute them without much resistance. What’s your locals/tourists customer mix? We’re definitely a locals casino. I’d say we’re about www.casinolifemagazine.com
Feature: Silverton Resort Casino
70/30. So we’re 70 percent locals and the other 30 percent of that comes from our drive-in market in California and Utah. What about Silverton appeals to each of those segments? If I look at our drive-in segment, you always think that non-local people or tourists to Las Vegas come maybe three to four times a year. Our California base probably comes every month. That’s because we have really great offers. We sent offers to them every month. There’s always a reason for them to come in and we’re a really easy destination for them to get into. We’re Volume 17: Issue 147
right at the beginning of where you get into Vegas. We’re one of the first casinos you can hit. We’re right off the freeway, it’s really easy to get in and out of. And that is really what appeals to our California base. How do you differentiate your casino floor from others in town? In the past couple of years we have really done an amazing job of bringing our floor up as far as bringing new games in. For a while we were a little bit stagnant. Four or five years ago we didn’t have a lot of the upand-coming games, the games that are themed out, like Game of Thrones or Billionaire. With the addition 9
Feature: Silverton Resort Casino
of our new vice president of gaming, Ray Anazvino he’s done a great job of modernizing the floor. When you walk in the floor lights up. It’s nice to see. It’s not just a dark, dingy poker house. We have a lot of really fun games. We’re big on Buffalo and Lightning Link. That attracts a lot of people. Do you still have the high-limit room? We do but, to be quite honest, with the popularity of
the Lightning Link and Buffalo lounges, which we have lounges for each one of those, a lot of our high-limit players play in those lounges instead. What are your bargain propositions for players? As far as pay tables, I assume we’re getting more towards video poker and although we do have a good video-poker base here, I think that the people really come here for the Lightning lounge and the Buffalo games. We have, quite honestly, one of the largest Lightning lounges—and I think the only one left—in Las Vegas and we have that Buffalo room, and I think that a lot of the locals really like coming in and playing those versus our video poker. It’s OK but a lot of our locals like to chase that progressive on those two big machines. You have amenities like the giant aquarium that aren’t intended to drive revenue. What motivated 10
these and how do they set the Silverton apart? If you look at the other hotels in Las Vegas, they’re not—outside of the Strip—a lot of local hotels that have attractions, like our big aquarium. That’s something that was purposely put in, even though it’s not a revenue-generating area, it’s meant to be something to talk about. It’s meant to be something that makes us different and it definitely has done that for us for at least the past 10 years. I think we’ve won
“Best Locals Attractions” every year because of the aquarium. It’s also having a little, kitschy bowling alley in the bar that people remember. You can get a drink anywhere in Vegas but people remember the little things that made you special, like that bowling alley. What are the demands of maintaining a salt water aquarium filled with exotic creatures? Oh gosh, it is definitely a large undertaking. We actually produce our own salt water here. It is quite a production back there. We maintain roughly over 2,000 fish. What makes that aquarium very unique is that a lot of the fish were cultivated over the different parts of the world. In the wild some of the fish would have never seen the other fish that are in there because they’re not in the same region. But we gone to great lengths to get fish that are both attractive and work well together in the aquarium, to own make our own special, unique aquarium. www.casinolifemagazine.com
Feature: Silverton Resort Casino
What determines your restaurant mix and which are your most important dining spots? So we have four restaurants that we own here plus our outlet with Johnny Rocket’s. Right now we don’t have our buffet open. That day is yet to come in 2022. But I would say that our important dining here, you might be surprised, is actually our world-class food—Asian. It’s called WuHu Noodle and it does really well. The guests really like it. I think it’s because it’s a quickservice venue. A lot of our clientele here tends to be Asian. It’s almost like a comfort food for them.
If you have a largely Asian clientele, do you have to do special, culturally aware things to appeal to them? We try, with a large Asian population, to be diverse. It’s hard to put in one specific thing but we do cultural things like around Chinese New Year. We try to incorporate Filipino concerts. One of the biggest things about WuHu Noodle being so popular is because it’s authentic to being Chinese food. We have have a very authentic chef in there. So I feel like we do a better job of appealing to all the different segments that are the Asian population. You’re a stone’s throw from Bass Pro Shops. Is there synergy between outdoor-oriented retail and the Silverton’s former woodsy theme? Volume 17: Issue 147
Back in the day, when we were more of a lodge theme, they played really well and it made a lot of sense to bring in Bass Pro Shops. Before they opened their California store, this was the largest and busiest store that they had in the nation. So it was a great partnership for us to undertake. We got a lot of people who visited Bass Pro Shops who thought maybe the Silverton was attached to it and vice versa. We get a lot of traffic from them. Have you made any recent expansions or do you plan any for the near future? The biggest renovation that we’re going to do is we’re going to be renovating our hotel in 2022. All 300 rooms will be renovated and will have a fresh, new look to them. For those customers who haven’t visited the Silverton or are possibly unaware of it, what would your message be? One of the favorite things that I get from people who have visited us for the first time is that they always tell me that they’re surprised when they come inside and that it looks nothing like what they expected when they looked at the exterior of the building. Again, the exterior still looks very lodge-y. The way you come inside is very modern. In the past 15 years we’ve done a lot of upgrades to the building so it’s not so 11
Feature: Silverton Resort Casino
lodge-looking anymore. You wouldn’t even put the two together, I guess, if you were standing outside and inside. A lot of the clientele will tell you that they always feel very at home here. Our staff are very friendly. Everyone likes to come here because they feel very close to our staff and our staff cares very much about our guests, and so if you’re looking for that more-intimate experience where you’re not in a big, large Las Vegas casino, that’s what we cater to.
Feature: Seminole Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
Off the reservation F
A precedent-breaking Seminole sports betting contract is too much for the court to stomach. By David McKee
lorida’s Seminole Tribe and Gov. Ron DeSantis gambled heavily—and lost—on
a new tribal compact, one that included an incendiary provision for online sports betting. The compact allowed Internet-based wagering, including for private-sector casinos— provided that it was run through servers on Seminole reservations. In addition, any non-tribal gambling hall had to pay the Seminoles a 40 percent rake of the proceeds of online sports betting. This compact leaned predominantly on the assumption that a cyber-bet placed anywhere in the Sunshine State would qualify thusly as “tribal gaming,” effectively extending the Seminole reservations throughout Florida’s ether. The compact contained other, generous provisions for the Seminoles, including the right to build three new resort-casinos in Hollywood, Florida, and to offer craps and roulette for the first time (provided that the tribe turned a blind eye to off-reservation blackjack, a longtime sore point). Volume 17: Issue 147
Perhaps dazzled by the $6 billion payday promised over the 10-year life of the compact and by having
succeeded in two years where predecessor Rick Scott had failed in eight, DeSantis ignored the state constitution’s Amendment 3, which specifies that any new form of gambling in the state must be approved by popular vote. That riled up opponents of the compact but not nearly as much as the sports-betting provision did. In a David vs. Goliath scenario, Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room took on the U.S. Department of the Interior over its approval of the compact. Actually, the Interior Department did not actively approve the compact but simply let the 45-day review period pass without action, perhaps knowing it had a legal hot potato on its hands. This was more than the small casinos could abide and they, along with prominent anti-gamers, sued. The Biden administration tried to defend the compact but was so disorganized in its presentation that Judge Dabney Friedrich chastised them for their 15
The Secretary must reject compacts that violate IGRA’s terms.” Analyzing Friedrich’s ruling, gaming-law expert Daniel Wallach told the Tampa Bay Times, “The avalanche of legal authority was on the side of invalidating online sports betting. She recognized the obvious – that a customer located in Jacksonville or Key West or Pensacola is not on Indian land when they initiate the wager.” lack of preparedness. Then, on November 22, she dropped the gavel on the Seminoles and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. The notion of “tribal lands” extending infinitely into cyberspace was, she decreed, a “fiction.” Wrote Friedrich, “over a dozen provisions in [the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act] regulate gaming on ‘Indian lands,’ and none regulate gaming in another location. Indeed, if there were any doubt on the issue, the Supreme Court has emphasized that ‘[e] verything—literally everything—in IGRA affords tools... to regulate gaming on Indian lands, and nowhere else.’” In her own words, Friedrich ruled that the Florida constitution “provides that the state may expand sports betting only through a citizen’s initiative or an IGRA gaming compact. And because no citizens’ initiative has approved online sports betting, such betting can be lawful in Florida only if it is authorized by a gaming compact.’’ Chastising Haaland, the judge continued, “The Secretary must reject compacts that violate IGRA’s terms.” Analyzing Friedrich’s ruling, gaming-law expert Daniel Wallach told the Tampa Bay Times, “The avalanche of legal authority was on the side of invalidating online sports betting. She recognized the obvious—that a customer located in Jacksonville or Key West or Pensacola is not on Indian land when they initiate the wager.” Noting that Michigan, Connecticut and Arizona permit tribal sports wagering, so long as it takes place on tribal lands, Wallach added, “the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe were operating in a state of delusion.” DeSantis quickly moved to put distance between himself and his compact, conceding that reservationsin-the-ether was “an unsettled legal issue. We anticipated that this could happen.” He even suggested the state might go the constitutional route and put it to the voters, although he has precious 16
little time to qualify such an initiative for the 2022 ballot (ditto all the rival OSB operators whose ballot drives are having a great deal of difficulty collecting signatures). Both the Seminole Tribe and the Interior Department vowed to appeal, although Interior may face an uphill climb, having failed in its case to sever the OSB provisions of the compact from the rest. As a consequence, Judge Friedrich tossed the whole thing and ordered the Seminoles to revert to the terms of their 2010 compact. Out also went $70 million in revenue-sharing fees with the state, predicated on the 2021 compact, and the $25 million the Seminoles had spent to set up their OSB infrastructure. They asserted, in their appeal to Friedrich, that this constituted “irreparable harm” to their multi-billiondollar gaming empire. The Seminoles paused taking sports bets for a few hours—then started accepting (illegal) wagers again, in defiance of Judge Friedrich. While doing so, the tribe brazened out a request to Friedrich that she stay her order. (She didn’t.) Plaintiffs’ attorney Hamish Hume opined to Casino.org, “They couldn’t meet the standards for a stay even if they stopped the online sports betting, but by continuing to offer it—and refusing to commit to cease if they fail to get a stay—they are being disingenuous and misleading to the court.” What’s next? DeSantis is making noises about severing the OSB provisions from the rest of the compact and resubmitting it. He professed not to have read Friedrich’s 22-page edict but his press secretary, Christina Pushaw, did and said she found it “perplexing,” pregnant with “appealable issues.” Replied Wallach via the newspapers, “The state filed an amicus brief, and the tribe filed a motion to intervene. While they may be perplexed by it, it’s even more perplexing why they signed this compact.”
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Accomplished Excellence C
Interview with Michael Conway, Vice President, Communications and Media, Everi Games. By Victor H. Royer
asino Life Magazine and Outsource Digital Media recently had the opportunity to interview Michael Conway, vice president of communications and media, at Everi Games. Michael is responsible for elevating Everi’s brand among casino operators and their players across a variety of channels, and bringing new perspectives to promote the gaming division’s content and hardware products. Michael joined Everi Holdings Inc. (formerly Multimedia Games Inc.) in February 2004, initially as as an illustrator, and then most recently as creative director for Everi’s Studio 7 gaming studio. Michael was appointed vice president of communications and media in November 2020 and brings to the role an in-depth understanding, and extensive experience in game development and player psychology, having art-directed some of Everi’s most successful video and three-reel mechanical themes. His diverse background, which also includes being an entrepreneur, published author and former actor, including playing a villain on the iconic TV sitcom Seinfeld (“The Statue”), has helped him bring a unique perspective to game development at Everi.
Michael, first I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me. As you know, Casino Life Magazine and Outsource Digital Media take great pride in interviewing leading gaming industry professionals and senior level management members to better understand both the companies that they work for or own, as well as what the key attributes are for their success. Please tell our readers about yourself and your role at Everi? This is a new role for me at Everi. After more than 17 years of making games, I am thrilled to bring 18
Michael Conway, Vice President, Communications and Media, at Everi Games
my oddball background to the new challenges of a quickly evolving audience. The democratization of media has created all-new opportunities in digital communications beyond conventional B2B advertising to a whole new, live conversation with players through social media channels, including YouTube. I have actively been working with slot influencers on YouTube over the years to support them and promote our games as an exciting entertainment experience, as we believe this approach to engaging with players is a game changer. www.casinolifemagazine.com
Feature: Everi Now that the G2E gaming and a Diamond Frenzy mode with gem convention is again “live” in prizes and gem enhancements. Las Vegas, which are the video games and related technologies For these titles, which of them which Everi is presenting, and have new or re-imagined what is new and innovative cabinets? about them? Everi didn’t introduce any new or Several new video-slot themes reimagined standard video cabinets debuted exclusively on the at G2E. Empire Flex™ portrait cabinet including the Old West style Which of these titles are lease, series Gold Hills™ that features sales or participation? an exhilarating Gold Run™ bonus All of the titles mentioned above that dares players to beat the are standard for sale themes. clock to win jackpots and gold nugget prizes, and Star Wild™ For Everi, and for these games, Series which has a time-based which do you think is the future: frenzy mode similar to Gold sales, lease or participation? Gems Deluxe Series on Player Classic Signature Hills. Star Wild also showcases What percentage of each is the a jackpot-pick bonus (Star future for Everi? Wild Egypt™) and a jackpot wheel bonus (Star Wild Both for-sale and for-lease products are important Olympus™) that removes lower-tier jackpots for a parts of our business. It’s worth noting here that chance at bigger prizes. Everi reported a nine percent increase or 1,313 Everi’s first cascading games, Ultra Cascades™ units in its installed base (lease footprint) at June Series, and two highly innovative themes, Cha30, 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. Ching!™ and Money Line™, are also exclusively The premium portion of our installed base increased available on Empire Flex. Cha-Ching! features an by 20 percent or 1,165 units during this same incredibly wide bet range with no reels, enabling time period, representing 43 percent of the total players to adjust volatility through a pick-only installed based at quarter ending June 30, 2021, base game. Money Line has a novel compared to 39 percent a year ago. This yet intuitive mechanic where the player lines up a symbol in a row to win, with multipliers that can increase prizes and an opportunity to spin the wheel when landing on a wheel symbol. Blazin’ Riches™ Series introduces Gem Pays™, which innovates on the popular cash-onreels element and pairs easyto-learn features that have clear upside, with player-sustainable denominations and bet incentives to support a wide range of bets. Genie’s Prize™ and Pixie’s Prize™ are five-reel, 40-line games, chock-full of surprises including a persistent pot feature that triggers a mystery-pick bonus Volume 17: Issue 147
continued growth in our install base, particularly increased placements of our premium units, is driving in part our momentum in the company’s games segment.
Gold Hills Series on Empire Flex
How does Everi consider the future of cashless gaming? Is this something that Everi is actively pursuing? Good question – for this asnwer I’d like to introduce Jeff Hoss, vice president of markeing, Everi FinTech: While we don’t believe cash will become obsolete anytime soon in casinos, demand from both operators and guests to transform the floor into a more digital environment is 19
Feature: Everi increasing. Cashless gaming and years of success with the Player Classic the digital wallet is a key piece which continues its run as the numberof this transformation, which one mechanical cabinet in the industry is being driven by demand consistently taking over 20 of the top for self-service options from 25 titles in the high-denomination patrons, as well as the the mechanical games segment per freedom and convenience of “Eilers-Fantini Game Performance accessing and managing funds Reports.” via a smartphone like the Apple Player Classic Signature will debut Wallet and Google Pay. with three new, original series each Everi’s CashClub Wallet® consisting of two themes including integrates and extends the Gems Deluxe™ Series which cashless payments throughout pairs high performing games the gaming enterprise using (Triple Jackpot Gems® and Blazin’ traditional, alternative Gems®) with proven mechanics, and mobile technologies. including a Double Nudge® feature CashClub Wallet is a mobile and the Jackpot Power™ Series with digital wallet that allows a unique Jackpot Power™ innovation operators to offer their guests feature that removes lower-tier The popular 5X Skyline Series on Skyline the option of cashless and progressives for a chance at bigger contactless funding of electronic prizes. The Extra Spin™ Series is game play, including funding at the gaming device, an innovation, frequently anticipating progressive as well as payments at the point of sale or online stepper titles with an exciting respin feature. to fund sports betting or social gaming. The digital Everi presented eight new themes on its Player wallet also provides guests with multiple options to Classic cabinet at G2E 2021 including Diamond access their funds while on the casino floor. Power Grand™ and Smokin’ Hot Gems Grand™ Currently available at 15 casinos that host more with symbol-triggered progressives and increasing than 32,000 electronic gaming devices, multipliers, and Gold Shots™ and Wild CashClub Wallet is the most widely Freedom™ with a respin feature and a deployed land-based digital multiplier that can multiply wins up to gaming wallet in the U.S. and the market’s only fully integrated, multi-property, multi-jurisdictional, systemagnostic solution.
Which are the stepper (reel) games and related technologies which Everi is presenting, and what is new and innovative about them? Everi introduced the newest addition to its Player Classic® three-reel mechanical cabinet series at G2E 2021 – the Player Classic Signature™ cabinet. Player Classic Signature builds on the more than 10 20
Diamond Power Grand & Smokin’ Hot Gems Grand on Player Classic
40X, respectively. Everi brought its successful video slots Snoop Dogg Presents The Joker’s Wild® and Press Your Luck™ Whammy Riches to the three-reel mechanical space with its Game Show™ Series. Both themes showcase features that will appeal to both loyal stepper and video slots players while the artwork and mechanics reflect these classic, iconic game shows. The 5X Skyline™ Series on the Player Classic with the Skyline™ top box, enhancing the look and feel of the Player Classic with a vintage-inspired bezel, was also on display in addition to the Triple Double™ Series.
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Feature: Everi For these titles, which of them have new or re-imagined cabinets? The Gems Deluxe Series, Jackpot Power Series and Extra Spin Series will all be available on the latest addition to the Player Classic series – the Player Classic Signature cabinet. What is new and innovative about these cabinets or their hardware components? While maintaining a classic look and feel and built for the future to create more memorable player experiences, Player Classic Signature features a simplified four-button deck; a clear digital touch-meter panel for improved player ergonomics; and wider, more intelligent and more powerful spinning reels with full-spectrum controlled lighting. A new integrated 21-inch monitor is positioned above the reels to convey more player messaging including paytables that are larger and interactive to help simplify gameplay as well as a larger, higher resolution 28-inch top box monitor to improve game marketability. Which of these titles are lease, sales or participation? What percentage of each is the future for Everi? All of the titles mentioned above are standard for-sale themes. In the gaming industry, manufacturers sometimes refer to a segment of their products as “premium.” Which are those that Everi is showcasing? Everi continues to deepen its library of original content for its premium, three-reel mechanical cabinet Skyline Revolve™, with the debut of the patriotic and stars-and-stripes themed stepper titles American Wheel™ and Star Wheel™. Both themes showcase symbol- and wheel-triggered 22
progressives and a wheel bonus with two times and five times multipliers. American Wheel and Star Wheel are follow-on themes to Cash Machine Jackpots™ and the award-winning Gold Standard Jackpots™. Customers experienced the fully featured banked product Flex Fusion™ first-hand at G2E with two new game families – Cashnado™ and Smokin’ Hot Stuff Wicked Wheel Fire & Ice™. Cashnado features an exclusive, frequently occurring Cash Grab™ bonus which triggers during Cashnado Alert, a bank-wide community event that immediately American Wheel & Star Wheel on Skyline Revolve delivers heart-pounding excitement. Players touch dollar bills flying across the screen for credits or a shot at progressives. Smokin’ Hot Stuff Wicked Wheel Fire & Ice are 243 Ways™ games that consist of seven linked progressive prizes, two pick bonuses, two wild accumulators, and the iconic, player-popular Wicked Wheel bonus. The frequent bank-wide jackpot enhancement Fired Up Jackpots™ delivers a limited-time boost that upgrades any awarded progressive
prize in the pick bonus with the nextlargest progressive prize instead. The highly successful Discovery Cashnado on Flex Fusion Channel Shark Week® theme returned to G2E 2021 with the launch of Shark Week® Feeding Frenzy™ on the Empire DCX™ cabinet. Based on the hugely successful television series that spans the genres of history, science fiction, romance and adventure in one amazing tale, the Outlander™ theme also debuted on Empire DCX with several thrilling elements including the Wild Pair® feature which is active during the base game, free spins, and unique mystery multi-card bonus. The high-performing Empire Arena™ banked product was back at G2E Smokin’ Hot Stuff Wicked Wheel Fire & Ice on Flex Fusion again this year with two new game
Feature: Everi families including Jackpot Falls™ and Fu Lu Shou™. Jackpot Falls consists of three unique base games all with a novel Power Pick™ bonus where the player can win all credits on screen with a successful credit pick which continues until they locate the stopper. The theme also includes a similar adrenaline-pumping bank-wide bonus event like the award-winning The Vault® and Discovery Channel Shark Week, but now allows players to add more time to the bonus event for a chance to win more credits. The Asian themed game Fu Lu Shou showcases two base games with a bank-wide shared persistence as well as mystery features, a progressive-pick bonus, a wheel bonus, and fortune slides that can award progressives and credit prizes. Does – or will – Everi provide gaming content to online casinos? For this answer I’d like to introduce David Lucchese, executive vice president of sales, marketing and digital: Yes, Everi Digital has been providing gaming content to online
well as British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario in Canada. Everi will continue to expand its digital portfolio with a range of our topperforming land-based content. Our strong and growing digital presence continues to resonate with players in all existing markets. In this time, Everi has become a top provider of i-gaming content to operators and has consistently grown its reputation for creating compelling content. Is Everi invested in sports wagering? If yes, please elaborate. If no, why not? For this answer I once again turn to Jeff Outlander on Empire DCX Hoss: Everi is not directly invested in sports wagering, but enables operators to offer their guests the option of cashless and contactless funding of sports betting as well as electronic game play, including funding at the gaming device and payments at point of sale or online to fund social gaming via its CashClub Wallet product. How would you sum up the postpandemic future for Everi in Las Vegas? And elsewhere in the world?
casinos since April 2019. At From a games perspectives, the Shark Week Feeding Frenzy on Empire DCX G2E 2021 we launched digital investments we’ve made to expand progressive games with 11 our game-development studios themes for our proprietary Spark RGS and to broaden our hardware offerings (Remote Game Server) platform. Since continue to drive our sustained growth. Everi first demonstrated Spark RGS at Each of our cabinets is supported by a G2E in 2018, the company has continued robust pipeline of original content that’s to invest in updates for its server-based available for both Class II and Class gaming solution, particularly to support the III markets. This expanding content progressive-game content that has proven pipeline also supports the growth of to be very popular with i-gaming players. our digital gaming business. We believe Everi’s digital gaming catalog now these investments coupled with our core consists of more than 50 distinct titles with strengths will continue to support the more on the way. growth of the business. Over the past three years, Everi has extended the footprint Finally, in your career with Everi, of its Spark RGS platform to include what would you consider to be the Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, highlights? Fu Lu Shou on Empire Arena Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as Helping Mulitimedia Games grow Volume 17: Issue 147
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Feature: Everi from a small, scrappy Class II innovator into an up-and-coming contender in this industry is certainly a highlight. I was also part of the development of a networked tournament product called Casino Commander™ in 2006 which evolved into an award-winning slot tournament platform called TournEvent®. To date, more than 5,000 TournEvent enabled EGMs (electronic gaming machines) have been deployed at more than 400 casinos in North America. I also helped design TournEvent’s animated virtual host The Money Man®, recorded his voice, and hosted the gaming industry’s
Left: Jeff Hoss, Vice President, Marketing, Everi FinTech. Right: David Lucchese, Executive Vice President, Sales, Marketing, and Digital, Everi
Jackpot Falls on Empire Arena
premier slot tournament in North America TournEvent of TournEvent on Empire Flex Champions® The Million Dollar Event® for many years. This annual event started out as statewide slot tournaments in California and Washington in 2012 with only 30 participating casinos. Since then, the program has grown to more than 100 casinos across the U.S. and Canada, participating on an annual basis and more than $7 million in total cash prizes awarded. It was an amazing journey. My current chapter is probably my most exciting and most challenging. On behalf of Casino Life Magazine and Outsource Digital Media, I would like to thank you, Michael, and Jeff and David, for your time and for sharing this with us and our many readers worldwide. Volume 17: Issue 146
Feature: Scientific Games
Better Games, Bigger Wins Interview with Roger Snow, Senior Vice President, Scientific Games. By Victor H. Royer
asino Life Magazine and Outsource Digital Media recently had the opportunity to interview Roger Snow, senior vice president at Scientific Games. Roger is responsible for business development and product innovation, and is the creator of some of the most successful proprietary table games and side bets in the industry. Roger joined Scientific in 2014 with the acquisition of Bally Technologies as senior vice president of table products, bringing in-depth understanding and extensive experience in card shufflers and table games. In 2016, Roger was profiled in Bloomberg Business Week as part of its annual “Interview Edition.” Roger, first I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Please tell our readers about yourself and your role at Scientific Games. If you’re among the small contingent of people in the industry that actually know who I am, you’re probably familiar with my work in card shufflers and table games. But my role today at Sci Games is kind of like a Swiss Army knife: taking care of any job that comes up. Could be an acquisition of another company, or coming up with a game idea, or helping a fledgling business or product get off the ground. Could be making marketing videos for customers. Or it could be talking to you, Vic!
Roger Snow, Senior Vice President, Scientific Games 26
Now that the G2E gaming convention is again “live” in Las Vegas, which are the video games and related technologies which Scientific Games is presenting, and what is new and innovative about them? www.casinolifemagazine.com
Feature: Scientific Games Yes, it’s good to see everyone face-toCard Sabotage and 235 Poker, plus face again. If there was any benefit to our new system with two progressive the slowdown and shutdown for much jackpots. And in e-tables, we have our of 2020 it’s that our development teams new Quartz cabinet for fully-electronic and were able to hyper focus on creating dealer-assisted games. some great products for the industry. And our lineup, across the board, was better For these titles, which of them have new, or than ever. re-imagined cabinets? In slots, we showed three new cabinets. Yes – Coin Combo, MONOPOLY Money Grab Mural is our super-tall, double-curved and WILLY WONKA – Dreamer of Dreamers screen for our participation games all have new cabinets. like WILLY WONKA – Dreamer of Dreamers . We also had Kascada , a What is new and innovative about single-curved screen that’s used both these cabinets, or their hardware for participation and for-sale games. components? We’ve had it out for a while and it’s We went all the way! Everything is off to the fastest start in terms of new and innovative. Bigger screens. Willy Wonka in the New Mural Cabinet installs than any cabinet in Curved. 4K resolution. our history. Doesn’t hurt, of Immersive sound. Bigger, course, that we have great brighter and more immersive games like Coin Combo and sign packages for slot MONOPOLY Money Grab . machines. It’s awesome On the systems side, there’s and wherever you are in the our Unified Wallet for cashless casino, you can’t miss it! wagering that’s gaining momentum in the marketplace. Which of Scientific’s We also showed this great little featured games from G2E product called Player Boutique®, 2021 are lease, sales which is really disrupting the or participation? What gifting business for casinos. percentage of each is the TM
Instead of making players queue up for their hair dryer or whatever, players can choose the gift they want and have it shipped to their house from a little company called Amazon. Ever heard of them? We lead the industry, of course, in card shufflers, and we have a new model this year. It’s a multi-deck shuffler called “MDX .” It’s the first machine to ever accommodate 10 decks of cards, and has applications primarily for baccarat and blackjack. In tables, we had several new games, including Three
Super Reel-Em-In in the New Mural Cabinet
Volume 17: Issue 146
Coin Combo in the New KascadaTM Cabinet
future for Scientific? Is the future in sales, lease or participation products? Scientific was proud to show a breadth of portfolio options and configurations on the EGM side for our customers across both games sales and lease. We believe the future will be flexibility and we will continue to provide a wide variety of cabinets and content across both the sale portfolio and premium portfolio. On the sale side we have a robust roadmap across our new Kascada™ Portrait 27
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Feature: Scientific Games
Player Boutique Suite
cabinet with five titles currently featured on Eilers top 25 that support this cabinet configuration, plus we debuted two new cabinets at the show that will support sale in 2022 (the Kascada™ Dual Screen and the Landmark 7000 mechanical stepper focusing on the high-denom segment). On the lease side, we have new options across our TwinStar® Wave XL, Kascada™ Portrait and our Mural footprint. Some of our key products on display at the show were Coin Combo on the Kascada™ portrait, which has TM
MONOPOLY Money Grab in the New KascadaTM Cabinet
How does Scientific consider the future of cashless gaming? Is this something that you are actively pursuing? Absolutely. Scientific is all-in on cashless. We have our Unified Wallet in a dozen casinos, with many more coming on board. In addition, we just announced the acquisition of a debit card reader for table games that’s deployed in 25 casinos.
been a strong Eilers performer, and new games like Super Reel Em In on the Mural which is a brand-new extension of a player favorite. From a partiicpation perspective The new MDX Card Shuffler we also support multiple cabinets with new titles like MONOPOLY Lunar New Year on the wide-area-progressive side supporting Kascada™ Portrait and Ultimate Fire Link Explosion on the Mural footprint. We are excited to provide both internal brands/franchises and licenses across the lease and participation side plus a breadth of portfolio on the for-sale side. GM Atlas Cash Spin bonus for table games 30
Which are the stepper (reel) games and related technologies which Scientific is presenting, and what is new and innovative about them? Our new Landmark 7000 cabinet has the look and feel of a classic stepper, but it’s got all the modern features as well. It’s like one of those retro-mod cars that looks old but inside the guts are all stateof-the-art. www.casinolifemagazine.com
Feature: Scientific Games In the gaming industry, well as social. I’d line our game manufacturers sometimes developers across the line of refer to a segment of their scrimmage from any of our products as “premium.” competitors, fully confident that Which are those that we knock them on their butts. Scientific is showcasing? Our company is dedicated to Scientific showcased a become the number-one source variety of content and of games, regardless of platform, hardware across the in the world. Full stop. premium portfolio – we were excited to showcase a How would you sum-up robust roadmap of content the post-pandemic future on our new Mural cabinet for Scientific in Las Vegas? (which is exclusive to And elsewhere in the premium), this included the world? Blazing 7’s and Blazing 7’s Triple-Double Jackpot recently released and top Las Vegas definitely has Reel games in the Landmark 7000 Cabinet performing WILLY WONKA its mojo back...and so does – Dreamer of Dreamers – plus Scientific. We’re coming out a roadmap including great internal of G2E with all the momentum you brands like Super Reel Em In and could ask for. The booth was wallnew licensed content MONOPOLY Hot to-wall with terrific products. Games, Shot Waterworks. systems, tables, shufflers, online, Likewise we offer our Kascada™ e-tables, progressives. I could go on and Portrait cabinet in both premium and on...and oops, I nearly did. for-sale, but on the premium side we had some very exciting new content Finally, in your career with Scientific, and merchandising. A couple of our what would you consider to be the key premium Kascada™ Portrait highlights? products at the show were I was going to say all the great continued support for the hit Coin products launched or all the great TM
Combo franchise, a new extension of our brand Ultimate Fire Link with Golden Fire Link (featuring a new POD signage package for Kascada™) and a newly licensed wide-area-progressive called MONOPOLY Lunar New Year which is coming out just in time for the auspicious Lunar New Year. Does – or will – Scientific provide gaming content to online casinos? Scientific is one of the most successful providers of online content, both in real-money gaming as Volume 17: Issue 147
MONOPOLY Hot Shot Water Works games in the MURAL Cabinet
The MONOPOLY Lunar New Year games in the KascadaTM Cabinet
friendships formed, or maybe being part of the Shuffle Master team that executed the sale to Bally Technologies. But now, without a doubt, I’d have to say the highest highlight is talking to you, Vegas Vic! Well, thank you, Roger – I appreciate the kind words! So in closing, and on behalf of Casino Life Magazine and Outsource Digital Media, I would like to thank you again, Roger, for your time, and for sharing this with us and our many readers worldwide.
Feature: Aristocrat Jon Hanlin, Senior Vice President of Commercial Strategy and Analytics, Aristocrat Technologies
Interview with Jon Hanlin, SVP of Commercial Strategy and Analytics, Aristocrat Technologies. By Victor H. Royer
asino Life Magazine and Outsource Digital Media recently had the opportunity to interview Jon Hanlin, Senior Vice President of Commercial Strategy and Analytics for Aristocrat Technologies. Jon joined Aristocrat in 2015 as Sr. Director of Gaming Operations, bringing in-depth understanding and extensive experience in global marketing strategies to Aristocrat as the company expanded international initiatives and implemented growth strategies across its entire business. In 2019 he was named SVP of Commercial Strategy and Analytics. Jon, first I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Please tell our readers about yourself and your role at Aristocrat. I have a fun and interesting job at Aristocrat, helping to lead our commercial strategy. I work with our great game designers on what
designed, adjustable sound chair. Dune slots also feature a $500,000 multi-site progressive jackpot. Unique to Dune the slot game are new mechanics such as multiplier stacks, which add increased volatility and excitement to the base game, and frequent scatter-triggered features use proven game mechanics in new ways. Other titles we featured at G2E 2021 are Big Fish Grand and Lightning Dollar Link. We will have more details on these great games in the near future, but they are available now for our clients.
The new Specialty Dune Slot Machine
we should be building for the market and help our amazing sales team sell it. Now that the G2E gaming convention is again “live” in Las Vegas, which are the video games and related technologies which Aristocrat is presenting, and what is new and innovative about them? At the 2021 G2E Aristocrat Gaming™ changed the gaming industry forever with the release of Specialty Dune Slot Machines, timed to match the U.S. theatrical release of Denis Villeneuve’s film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic novel Dune. Dune the slot game appears, appropriately, on Aristocrat’s new and technologically advanced Neptune Double™ cabinet. Neptune Double provides players with an out-of-this-world theatrical style experience with curved, 49-inch monitors and 4K visuals, state-of-the-art sound, and a customVolume 17: Issue 147
For these titles, which of them have new or re-imagined cabinets? The new Neptune Double combines the fundamental qualities of a larger-thanlife play experience with uncompromising quality and performance. Reviewed by VIP slot players before release, this cabinet contains their seal of approval. With our new design, the product’s overall
volume has remained the same, but the components have been enlarged for maximum gaming presence that results in super-sized appeal and occupancy. Two 49-inch ultra-high-definition displays combine with our P2200 GFX graphics card to yield a remarkably bright, vibrant and high-contrast gaming session. It contains an expansive, curved Gorilla Glass button deck for a more connected and intuitive wagering experience. Patented built-in candles combine with superior side-lighting for maximum presence. Extra knee-room and a player-tested adjustablesound chair make for an extremely comfortable playing environment. And our Cinema concept is also an innovative cabinet playing experience. More on this will be shown later, but all cabinets and game titles are now available for our clients. Among the available library of titles are the very popular Crazy Rich Asians and Timber Wolf Diamond. 33
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Feature: Aristocrat What is new and innovative about these cabinets or their hardware components? All three of these innovative cabinets give players a total entertainment experience. We aim to make the slot game and hardware feel as one to the player. These three cabinets bring us the closest to that dream as we have ever been. Which of these titles are lease, sales, or participation? Dune, Big Fish Grand, Lightning Dollar Link. For Aristocrat, and for these games, which do you think is the future: sales, lease or participation? What percentage of each is the future for Aristocrat? We like to give our customers options so they can choose games and business models that work for them. That is why we invest in games and hardware in both lease and sale options. Are any of these titles available in cashless configuration? Cashless is an ongoing focus
The new cabinet is our RELM cabinet and that has now been expanded into a five-reel configuration. We saw this opportunity to innovate in a space where innovation has long been stagnant. Aristocrat invested in experienced stepper designers and mathematicians to ensure that mechanical reel players get the experience they expect. These are not video developers making stepper products but hardcore stepper developers who love innovating on the mechanical reel platform. What is new and innovative about these cabinets, or their hardware components? Stepper patrons love their mechanical reels - from the familiar look of the protruding reels to the simple yet exciting gameplay. But they also crave for a new experience whenever they crank that handle. That’s why our threereel options became a huge hit for stepper aficionados, and now we’re proud to launch the five-reel option to bring stepper gameplay to the next level.
of our CX team, and they have Which of these titles are lease, The RELM reel Cabinet with 5-reels developed solutions that help our sales or participation? What customers use cashless applications percentage of each is the future for in the slot area and in the table games area. Aristocrat? Ultimately, deployment will depend on regulators These games are available for both sale and lease. and we are prepared to help our customers for those possibilities. In the gaming industry, manufacturers sometimes refer to a segment of their products as “premium.” Which are the stepper (reel) games and related Which are those that Aristocrat is showcasing? technologies which Aristocrat is presenting, and Dune, Game of Thrones Kings Landing and Wild Wild what is new and innovative about them? Buffalo are all premium games from Aristocrat. Dune Our RELM series is popular with players and with is the iconic new game based on the newly-released customers, and we recently unveiled a new line of film, as I mentioned earlier. And Aristocrat’s Game five-reel games that received a very good reception in of Thrones franchise is among the industry’s most our pre-G2E meetings with customers and again on legendary, and this latest installment stands taller, the show floor. ready to crown players with new thrills in an all-new game with an easy-to-understand jackpot structure For these titles, which of them have new or reand intuitive game play. imagined cabinets? Game of Thrones King’s Landing is available Volume 17: Issue 147
Wild Wild Buffalo and Game of Thrones King’s Landing Premium Games
exclusively on Aristocrat’s industry-leading Neptune Double™ cabinet, and players will cheer as dragons soar up and down the stacked, curved, 49-inch monitors in 4K visual splendor. State-of-the-art sound and a custom-designed, adjustable sound throne combine to create a game experience unlike any other. Wild Wild Buffalo gives players a wild experience by combining the iconic Buffalo brand with the symbol-driven simplicity of Wild Wild Cash-on-Reel pays, plus a Buffalo Grand™-style wheel that awards progressives, progressive multipliers and free games. Wild Wild Buffalo surrounds players with the sights, sounds and excitement of a classic Western movie in a high volatility game with frequent features. All these games support the Aristocrat Neptune Double cabinet as it is entering the premium market. In the post-pandemic world, how is Aristocrat positioned to provide video and reel games, and content to casinos? As the pandemic hit and the gaming industry shut down, we were faced with two choices: stop or keep going. We chose to keep going, and we never stopped investing in design and development. That has resulted in our being ready with new games and hardware for our customers that has helped them attract players and give them new entertainment 36
experiences to enjoy as they returned to their favorite casinos. Is Aristocrat invested in sports wagering? Sports wagering is something our customers are interested in, which means we are interested in it. We will continue to work with our customers as sports betting grows. How would you sum-up the post-pandemic future for Aristocrat in Las Vegas? And elsewhere in the world? Because of our continual investment in R&D, we are very well positioned to help our customers in Las Vegas and across North America and beyond to grow and succeed. Finally, in your career with Aristocrat, what would you consider to be the highlights? The highlight is working with our incredible team. We have the best people making the best product for the best customers, and every day is a highlight. On behalf of Casino Life Magazine and Outsource Digital Media, I would like to thank you, Jon, for your time, and for sharing this with us and our many readers worldwide. www.casinolifemagazine.com
New Dimensions Interview with Tashina Wortham, Marketing Communications Manager, Konami Gaming Inc. By Victor H Royer
asino Life Magazine and Outsource Digital Media recently had the opportunity to interview Tashina Wortham, marketing communications manager at Konami Gaming Inc. Tashina is responsible for company and product communications for the leading provider of casino gaming entertainment and technology. Tashina has served at Konami since 2014 and carries an in-depth understanding and extensive experience in global marketing strategies. She has recently been recognized with the Spotlight Award by the women-ingaming organization Global Gaming Women. Tashina, first I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Please tell our readers about yourself and your role at Konami. I help share top Konami advancements with players and properties in markets around the world. Konami Gaming, Inc. is a subsidiary of Konami Holdings Corporation, and operates the organization’s global gaming industry headquarters in Las Vegas. Konami Gaming was first established in the U.S. in 1997. Today it is a leading developer of casino slot games and technology, reaching hundreds of direct-regulated markets across six continents.
Now that the G2E gaming convention is again “live” in Las Vegas, which are the video slots and related technologies which Konami is presenting, and what is new and innovative about them? Since we last met in Las Vegas for G2E, Konami has seen a number of standout successes. Konami has achieved highly successful expansion in the area of premium lease product with the award-winning DIMENSION 49J cabinet and All Aboard slot series— both of which have spent months on third-party reports as top slots. Our direct-for-sale category has also seen exceptional performance, with DIMENSION 49 ranking the industry’s highest-performing core portrait cabinet for four straight months. Volume 17: Issue 147
Tashina Wortham, Marketing Communications Manager, Konami Gaming, Inc.
This year marked Konami’s successful expansion into historical horse racing (HHR), working closely with Churchill Downs. And our award-winning SYNKROS has not only demonstrated its strength as the casino system of choice for the Strip’s newest megaresort— Resorts World Las Vegas—it’s launched the industry’s most comprehensive, all-in-one Title 31/AML solution: SYNK31. As a result of these milestone successes for us and our casino customers, our focus is expanding upon these proven high-performance products to achieve even more meaningful wins for players and properties. Konami’s G2E 2021 presentation includes neverbefore-seen DIMENSION premium formats and content; exceptional for-sale slot series on the newest DIMENSION core cabinets; fresh releases for historical 37
The all-in-one SYNKROS Title 31 / AML solution: SYNK31 All Aboard Slot Series with the DIMENSION 49J Cabinet
Fortune Mint in the core DIMENSION 49 Cabinet
horse racing markets; and SYNKROS innovations centered on cashless, cardless and connected convenience. For these titles, which of them have new or reimagined cabinets? Several Konami cabinets are celebrating their G2E debut this fall. Konami’s newest core cabinets— DIMENSION 49 and DIMENSION 27—are both appearing at the event for the first time with a mix of original for-sale series, from a new Treasure Ball integrated link on the portrait screen DIMENSION 49, to a Panda Power linked progressive on DIMENSION 27 that delivers different bonus events to each of the cabinet’s 27-inch stacked screens. Konami’s G2E 2021 display also includes never-before-seen DIMENSION premium formats, designed to attract and engage diverse player audiences over time. What is new and innovative about these cabinets or their hardware components? Konami’s DIMENSION cabinet line is based on the proven success of the original, award-winning DIMENSION 49J machine, with 49-inch “j-curve” display in ultra-high definition (UHD). Expanding this performance to additional formats, all DIMENSION cabinets feature a sheen silver finish, multi-color edge lighting effects, sloped footrest, generous slant top, dual spin buttons, dual cup holders, and wired and wireless 38
phone chargers. These combined Konami hardware components have a demonstrated track record in the field and now are advancing to additional, never-before-seen Konami form factors for even greater operational gains. Which of these titles are lease, sales or participation? DIMENSION 49 and DIMENSION 27 are for-sale, core cabinets. DIMENSION 49J is a premium leased cabinet, backed by a premium content library. For Konami, and for these games, which do you think is the future: sales, lease or participation? What percentage of each is the future for Konami? With the success of DIMENSION 49J, All Aboard and Ocean Spin, Konami has achieved considerable growth in its premium participation footprint. Our popular j-curve machine is positioned for far more growth, as
G2E guests are set to experience when they try series such as Lucky Envelope, Bull Blitz and even BattleBots! As mentioned, Konami is premiering additional DIMENSION premium-form factors at G2E, for casinos to tap into. So clearly Konami is invested in the premium-leased category, and continues to drive performance and player popularity in this area. At the same time, for-sale content has been at the core of our business since Konami Gaming was first established. Players have enjoyed Konami core content for decades, and our team continues The Treasure Ball on the Portrait DIMENSION to develop top-tier titles to this 49 and Panda Power Linked Progressive on the DIMENSION 27 core Cabinets day. DIMENSION 49 and its www.casinolifemagazine.com
Feature: Konami debut series Fortune Mint have been at the top of industry performance charts since the start of the summer. Add to it series such as Treasure Ball Duo Luck, Rising Diamonds, and games like Mystical Pearl and Panda Power on the DIMENSION 27, and there’s a wealth of winning core entertainment to power properties for the months and years to come. Are any of these titles available in cashless configuration? Konami’s Money Klip cashless wagering solutions Absolutely. Konami’s SYNKROS casino management system has supported cashless wagering through its Money Klip cashlessmanufacturers sometimes refer to a wagering module for many years. segment of their products as “premium.” Rising Diamonds on DIMENSION 49 It’s compatible across manufacturers, Which are those that Konami is and even at the table games. It allows showcasing? players to load funds to their loyalty account and Premium games are a category of slot entertainment perform secure digital transactions directly at the which – due to its branding, merchandising and/or gaming machine or table. They can even spend their hardware – is structured as leased product. It gives digital funds at non-gaming outlets like property players a different type of slot entertainment experience restaurants and bars through interfaced point-of-sale compared to standard for-sale content, and it gives systems. operators a diversified asset mix. There are a variety of factors—including venue type, Several top premium series are showing at Konami’s audience demographics, regulatory requirements—that G2E 2021 exhibit, including Bull Blitz. Following proven influence the type of cashless solutions a casino venue success in the Australian market, this DIMENSION 49J may choose to implement, and SYNKROS has the premium linked progressive series is coming to North strength, technology and flexibility to power a wide American audiences with launch themes including array of roll-out options to suit each casino’s unique Fortunes of the Orient and Roses & Riches. operations. Any six or more golden bull symbols trigger the Bull Blitz feature, with a high-energy credit collection bonus. The three-by-five reel frame transforms to 15 independently spinning reels with random credit prizes, golden bull symbols and blank positions. Wins tally over the course of the feature and any time a golden bull symbol lands, all shown credit awards may re-tally in an “X-TRA HIT”. Lucky Envelope is also featured at G2E 2021 on DIMENSION 49J. Wild red envelope symbols appear on reels one and two throughout primary play, which can randomly trigger the jackpot-pick game. When awarded, 30 red envelopes flood the screen for the player to reveal a guaranteed jackpot award: Mini, Bull Blitz Fortunes of the Orient and Roses & Riches Minor, Major or Grand. Lucky premium linked progressive series in the awardwinning DIMENSION 49J Cabinet Envelope debuts this year with
How does Konami consider the future of cashless gaming? Is this something that Konami is actively pursuing? For the foreseeable future we think providing players with a good mix of payment options is essential to the global gaming industry’s long-term growth and advancement. We have the technology to provide both cash-based and cashless payment options to players—quickly, securely and easily. Konami’s Money Klip cashless has demonstrated success in the field, and continues to deliver leading advancements to empower players and properties with greater options and outcomes. In the gaming industry, Volume 17: Issue 147
Feature: Konami custom merchandising options and two available base games: Plum Riches™ and Jade Wealth™. Konami is also introducing the world’s first BattleBots slots! Based on the popular robot combat sport and reality TV show broadcast in over 150 countries, our new BattleBots slots feature iconic environments, sounds, scenes and machines from the show. Competitors rumble and roll across the reels in a robot combat to cash.
digital distribution, Konami uses a remote gaming server (RGS) to deliver online slot content, which integrates with most popular back-end systems used by today’s gaming operators for a complete interactive gaming solution. By distributing popular Konami casino games like China Shores, Lotus Land and All Aboard through the RGS, operators can easily integrate Konami games into their online gaming sites and apps. All the games on our RGS are developed using HTML5, with compatibility across a variety of personal devices including smartphone, tablet and desktop.
In the post-pandemic world, how is Konami positioned to provide video slots and content to casinos? The state of our business is one of strong product, people and Plum Riches™ and Jade Wealth™ games partnership. Konami’s DIMENSION games product has demonstrated momentum and the same stands for our SYNKROS casino system, which is at record-high connections How would you sum-up the post-pandemic future worldwide. for Konami in Las Vegas? And elsewhere in the Konami retains a highly tenured, consistent world? leadership, with a combined 80-plus years of Konami Our global customer base is focused on recovery and experience just among the six executives in our building back stronger, so our central aim is to support C-suite. And Konami holds itself to a true partnership that through top-performing entertainment and systems commitment. We operate with an open attitude and technology. the structure of our company is light on layers, so leadership is highly accessible to casino customer On behalf of Casino Life Magazine and Outsource input.
Does – or will – Konami provide gaming content to online casinos? Yes, Konami games are incredibly popular on social and real-money online casinos. To help achieve robust
Digital Media, I would like to thank you, Tashina, for your time and for sharing this with us and our many readers worldwide.
BattleBots slots series 40
Feature: G2E Las Vegas Review
G2E 2021 Review We’re Baaaaaaack! By Victor H. Royer
wo remarkable things happened in October in Las Vegas in the year of 2021. One was the fact – as remarkable as it was – that G2E 2021 actually happened, and happened live! In person! Yes, with vaccine mandates and masks, but it actually DID happen. No mean feat by any standard. Yes, it was smaller, about one-third the size – or so it seemed to me – but it was still wonderful to be Volume 17: Issue 147
MONOPOLY Money GrabTM on the KascadaTM Game cabinet from Scientific Games
there, to see the new games and products, and to once again be part of this wonderful community of gaming professionals. And yes, it is a community after all – despite the competition, and despite the hardships brought upon the gaming industry by Covid (and by governments who often didn’t react as well as they could have). The second remarkable thing that happened is the explosion of innovation and originality. While casinos were shut 41
Feature: G2E Las Vegas Review down, and all of us casino players were sidelined for all that time, the innovators among the manufacturers of gaming machines, games and equipment continued to dive deep into the depth of brilliance and bequeath upon us mere mortals some of the truly remarkable games and technological innovations made available in recent times. And the innovations weren’t just in the games, cabinets and technologies. One of the very interesting effects of the pandemic shutdown was the fact that casino operators suddenly found themselves interested in more of the very innovative point-of-sale displays (POS). These are the “neon” and now, of course, LED displays which show lights and action, and are usually there to showcase the slots and games within those pods, or areas of the casino. And some of these have become so attractive and innovative that the best quote – and summary – of G2E 2021 I heard on the floor was this: “Casinos love these new POS. In fact, now they are telling us, give me that sign and, oh, by the way, you can throw in some slots along with it.” How times have changed...Now it’s the advertising that’s more attractive than the products! Well of course, not really. It’s all the same package, after all. It all works together – the signage, the games, the cabinets, the chairs and the experience. So, to show you some of these great innovations, here’s a brief recap of some of the major and more momentous offerings from the 2021 G2E in Las Vegas.
Scientific Games – Best in Show
As part of the premium products, Scientific Games
Coin Combo in the New KascadaTM Cabinet from Scientific Games 42
MONOPOLY - Hot Shot® Water Works games in the MURALTM Cabinet from Scientific Games
introduced several new games on their popular MURAL cabinet. Among the titles displayed at the 2021 G2E were the recently released WILLY WONKA™ – Dreamers of Dreamers™ – and Super Reel Em In, along with the newly-licensed MONOPOLY - Hot Shot® Water Works. Another terrific product shown by Scientific was the Kascada™ portrait cabinet, which was launched this past December with an innovative sign package showing premium games based on many Scientific Games’ most successful brands, such as Coin Combo™, a progression from Duo Fu Duo Cai®, and MONOPOLY Money Grab™. Since then, additional high-performing titles have launched on the Kascada™, including Ultimate Fire Link® Power 4, 5 Treasures Explosion™ and The Wizard of Oz™ – Over The Rainbow™. Kascada™ also has 46 additional themes releasing in 2021, including the top-performing game, Dancing Drums Prosperity™. In just six months, there are already over 1,000 units of Kascada™ that have shipped or are already on casino floors. Also shown were the Kyber™ Augmented Reality Table Game, and the Player Boutique® automated marketing and gift-fulfillment program. Kyber uses a laser projector to create exciting bonuses that are projected onto the tabletop. This projection allows
Feature: G2E Las Vegas Review players to choose their own interactive experience at the table by spinning a wheel or picking the right combo to get a bonus. The augmented table game utilizes the Company’s SG Vision Technology to detect chip placement and hand gestures. SG’s Player Boutique allows players to earn and redeem valuable rewards points right at the gaming machine via iVIEW or iVIEW DM. Player Boutique gives operators the ability to allow players to select from a variety of gifts, and the operator can also set a play or point-earning qualification for the gifts. Qualified players can visually see their progress towards gifts via a progress bar, which displays during the promotional period directly on the iVIEW 4.
Everi Games – Leading in Steppers
Everi Games have long been known as makers of some of the best steppers, with a loyal following among players of these games. At G2E 2021, Everi introduced the newest addition to its Player Classic® three-reel mechanical cabinet series – the Player Classic Signature™ cabinet. This includes three new original series, each with two themes, including the Gems Deluxe™ Series which pairs high performing games (Triple Jackpot Gems® and Blazin’ Gems®) with proven mechanics including a Double Nudge®
Gold Hills™ Series and Star Wild™ Series on Empire Flex™ from Everi
feature and the Jackpot Power™ Series, along with a unique Jackpot Power™ innovation feature that removes lower-tier progressives for a chance at bigger prizes. The Extra Spin™ Series is an innovation frequently anticipating progressive stepper titles with an exciting respin feature. Among new video slot games, Everi showed several new themes exclusively on the Empire Flex™ portrait cabinet. These included the Old West-style series Gold Hills™ featuring a Gold Run™ bonus which dares players to beat the clock to win jackpots and gold nugget prizes, and the Star Wild™ Series which has a time-based frenzy mode similar to Gold Hills. Star Wild also showcases a jackpot-pick bonus (Star Wild Egypt™) and a jackpot wheel bonus (Star Wild Olympus™) that removes lower tier jackpots for a chance at bigger prizes.
Aristocrat – Innovative Gaming
Gems Deluxe™ Series on Player Classic Signature™ from Everi Volume 17: Issue 147
Aristocrat wowed the show audience and participants with its innovative gaming concept, which was abundantly obvious in their extraordinarily innovative booth. The experience of a total surround-wall of gaming excitement wasn’t lost on anyone and it continued to show Aristocrat’s innovative approach to 21st century gaming. Among the new games being showed was the impactful Dune game, which was released to coincide with the new film Dune, in theaters at the same time as this game’s release. The new Dune slot game is on Aristocrat’s new and technologically advanced Neptune Double™ cabinet. The Neptune Double 43
Feature: G2E Las Vegas Review
Aristocrat’s Innovative Gaming Experience
provides players with an out-of-this-world theatrical style experience with curved
The new Specialty Dune Slot Machine from Aristocrat 44
49-inch monitors and 4K visuals, state-ofthe-art sound, and a custom-designed, adjustable sound chair. One of the terrific new cabinets shown was the RELM cabinet, which has been expanded into a five-reel configuration. Aristocrat invested in experienced stepper designers and mathematicians to ensure that mechanical-reel players get the experience they expect. These are not video developers making stepper products but hardcore stepper developers who love innovating on the mechanical reel platform. Among the latest innovations Aristocrat also offered the newest game based on the very popular Buffalo series - Wild Wild Buffalo. This The RELM reel Cabinet with 5-reels from Aristocrat great new game gives players a wild www.casinolifemagazine.com
Feature: G2E Las Vegas Review
The new Wild Wild Buffalo Game from Aristocrat
experience by combining the iconic Buffalo brand with the symbol-driven simplicity of Wild Wild Cash-onReel pays, plus a Buffalo Grand™-style wheel that awards progressives, progressive multipliers, and free games.
Konami – Winning Designs
Konami introduced new DIMENSION series cabinets at G2E Las Vegas for the first time—all of which included the same sheen silver finish, relaxed slant top, dual spin buttons, dual cupholders, and wired and wireless phone chargers featured in the original award-winning
DIMENSION 49J™. Ranked the industry’s highest indexing portrait cabinet for four consecutive months, DIMENSION 49 is a for-sale, flat-screen version of the j-curve machine, and it was featured at G2E 2021 with new brand extensions on Konami’s popular series like Treasure Ball™. Bull Blitz Fortunes of the Orient and Roses & Riches premium linked progressive series Konami’s new in the award-winning DIMENSION 49J DIMENSION Cabinet from Konami Gaming 27 with three, stacked, 27-inch screens also made its G2E premiere, with original linked series such as Panda Power™. Konami also unveiled a new premium game series called Bull Blitz. Following proven success in the Australian market, this DIMENSION 49J premium linked progressive series is now available to North American audiences with launch themes including Fortunes of the Orient and Roses & Riches.
The Future is Bright!
The Treasure Ball on the Portrait DIMENSION 49 and Panda Power Linked Progressive on the DIMENSION 27 core Cabinets from Konami Gaming
Volume 17: Issue 147
Naturally, there were many other manufacturers and game innovators at the 2021 G2E, and we cannot, of course, profile them all. Notables also included Ainsworth, Aruze, IGT, Novomatic, AGS and others, along with suppliers and many other companies who collectively support the gaming industry as a whole. Consequently, G2E 2021 is widely considered as laying the ground for an even better and bigger G2E in 2022. While the pandemic closed down the casinos, the manufacturers and their game designers continued to work, and by G2E 2022 there will be an explosion of originality in casino games and gaming that can truly be called a revolution. The 21st century is nearing the completion of its first quarter, and from all the indications at the 2021 G2E, the future – and the present – are truly and indeed bright for gaming. 45
In a World of instant news Casino Life provides unrivalled insight into the land-based Casino Industry World-Wide. www.casinolifemagazine.com Also available on App
Finding the Metaverse By Raymond Chan
Raymond Chan Volume 17: Issue 147
he metaverse is definitely having a moment these days, as when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the world about his ambitious new initiative. Originating in Snow Crash, a Neal Stephenson 1992 sci-fi novel, “metaverse” refers to a common world of physical, augmented and virtual reality in a shared online space. It is supposed to be the successor to the mobile internet, as stated by the Facebook CEO and effectively transition from people seeing Facebook as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company. Metaverse isn’t just virtual reality. It’s going to be accessible across different computing platforms like virtual and augmented reality, and also traditional websites, alongside mobile devices and game consoles. The metaverse is going to start primarily for gaming, and entertainment is clearly going to be a big part of it. It probably is going to resemble some kind of a hybrid between the social platforms and an environment where we can embody ourselves in it for gaming. Simply said, a realized metaverse could be the next best thing for our industry to grow upon. No doubt that the metaverse will bring enormous opportunity to individual game creators and artists as well; to individuals who want to build and run games. With the power of what virtual and augmented reality can do, the metaverse is going to help people experience more naturally the way that we’re made to interact – and the interactions will be much richer and feel more real because you have a sense of being in a space together. The metaverse is not one for a specific company to build, and it has to have the sense of interoperability and portability. Players should have their own avatar
About Raymond Chan Raymond is an engineer, tech founder and venture partner. He co-founded Alphamirai Lab and Alphaslot Foundation to help the daring build emerging startups. Previously, Raymond cofounded two tech-savvy gaming companies, served as CEO to lead an in-depth customer intelligence and regulatory technology business from 2007-18. Earlier in his career, Raymond was part of the founding data science team for E*TRADE Financial, which was later acquired by Morgan Stanley. He played a key role in the design of the TiVo customer intelligence system for the Internet unicorn in Silicon Valley. 48
The metaverse is not one for a specific company to build, and it has to have the sense of interoperability and portability. Players should have their own avatar and digital goods, and you don’t want to just be stuck within one company’s creations. More importantly (and eventually), many people will be working in and creating content for the spaces, the virtual goods, or doing related work inside the spaces and keeping it running. This is going to be a huge new economy.” and digital goods, and you don’t want to just be stuck within one company’s creations. More importantly (and eventually), many people will be working in and creating content for the spaces, the virtual goods, or doing related work inside the spaces and keeping it running. This is going to be a huge new economy. Every new ecosystem starts with a chicken-and-theegg problem: The supply won’t join the system unless there’s a demand. And demand is challenging to prove without real supply. Initially, a very large amount of capital would come from NFT investments which can directly benefit from the growth of the metaverse. As a balance, some investment could also come from the public sector, with startups and gaming operators filling in a good amount of this as well. The metaverse creates a great deal of economic opportunity where game developers and operators around the world can be doing creative work that is more inspiring than the entertainment values we are already bringing to the market today. I’m really looking forward to playing some role in building out this next chapter for the Internet.
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