Casino Life Issue 150 Volume 18

Page 1

The magazine for the owners and management of international casinos

Volume 18: Issue 150

CHANGING THE GAMING WORLD FOR GOOD Les Ambassadeurs’ CEO Kevin McGowen on safer gambling, and why the ultra high-end London casino is putting good causes at the heart of all it does

Game-changing Multi-Level Progressives, versatile Multi-Game packs, proven Hardware and Proven Performer Core Game titles from IGT. For more information please visit or contact your account manager.

©2022 IGT. The trademarks and/or service marks used herein are either trademarks or registered trademarks of IGT, its affiliates or its licensors. IGT is committed to responsible gaming and encourages positive and informed play. All Rights Reserved.

Editor’s Note

CASINO The magazine for the owners and management of international casinos

Published by Outsource Digital Media Ltd


Editor: David McKee Editor EMEA: Damien Connelly Associate Editor Asia: Bill Healey Victor H. Royer International Correspondent Associate Editor EMEA: Aydin Guney aydin.guney@outsourcedigital International Correspondent: Lyudmyla Kyrychenko lyudmyla.kyrychenko@outsource

Production: Designer: Stewart Hyde Accounts: Helen Holmes IT Director: Pasha Kuzminskiy Publisher: Peter White Tel: +44 (0) 1892 740869 Mob: +44 (0) 7973 273714 Volume 18: Issue 149

Welcome... Those who set store by the fable of the tortoise and the hare must be chagrined by the rapid evolution of the U.S. sports betting market, in which the race has gone to the swift in state after state. The first movers – DraftKings, Fan-Duel, BetMGM – are also the clear leaders in market share and (elusive) revenue. True, in New York State (where $1.5 billion in wagers were placed during the first month of online betting) the early lead went to Caesars Sportsbook, formerly William Hill. But it is fading back into the pack, falling behind the Big Three. Late entrants have little hope at all. Against this backdrop, both WynnBet and Churchill Downs’ Twin Spires subsidiary have decided to call it quits altogether – and Fox Bet may soon follow. Their reasons are becoming familiar, mainly that it is costing too much to acquire customers and that market share is too little. Indeed, so profligate are companies being in their marketing efforts that some are spending in excess of 100 percent of their revenue on promotions. The real winner is the bettor, who can pick and choose between the most generous flutters on offer. No wonder Penn National Gaming is wedding itself ever more closely with Barstool Sports, a media outlet that – by being employed as a promotional tool – keeps marketing costs low enough that Penn has a viable chance of profitability on sports wagering. (FanDuel eked out a $14 million profit last year; DraftKings may not post a return on investment until 2028.) With that kind of cost-containment at hand, Penn CEO Jay Snowden is all the more resolved to stand by Barstool founder Dave Portnoy, despite some pretty ugly charges of sexual harassment aimed at the latter, ones that have made regulators sit up and take notice. The bottom line is that consolidation in sports betting may come bigger and faster than anybody but FanDuel CEO Amy Howe predicted. Wynn Resorts and Churchill Downs should find eager buyers for their sports betting divisions but so much of the market is already spoken for, profit is so marginal and taxes are so high that those assets may be more valuable on paper than in reality. Last but hardly least, do not forget to attend ICE London (April 12-14 at the ExCeL center) and its companion, ICE VOX (April 11-14). It’s a chance to mix with the movers and shakers of the European casino industry – and we’ll be there. Then, jet halfway around the globe to sunny Anaheim, California, for the annual Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention (April 19-22), which we are proud to co-sponsor. Tribal gaming gets bigger, more lucrative and more cutting-edge by the year. Don’t miss your chance to stay ahead of the curve.

DMcKee David McKee Editor 3

Contents 3 Editor’s Note Sports betting in the U.S. is not for the slow, and ICE London and IGA Anaheim loom ahead by David McKee 5 Welcome! Looking forward to the European Dealer Championship and bringing us up to date on Ukraine by Damien Connelly 6 Together never felt so good A brisk stroll through the upcoming ICE London and iGB as the industry convenes by Stuart Hunter





8 Sustain and grow Les Ambassadeurs CEO Kevin McGowen shares his company’s vision by Peter White 14 Providing consistent guest service in hospitality Are we really educating our employees about the process? by Robert Ambrose 17 Gaming law update New legislation in Austria, Bulgaria and Germany by Andelovic, Siketic & Tomic 20 Stunted Growth How the Russian invasion of Ukraine has prevented the casino business from developing by Anton Kuchukhidze 23 Leader of the pack International Game Technology continues its momentum with a diverse portfolio of hardware and games 27 Gaming Academy guide 2022 A syllabus of courses from which every casino executive and manager can benefit 30 Weathering the storm DR Gaming Technology CEO Jurgen De Munck tells how his company rode out the Great Pandemic by Peter White 34 Tribally focused Velvix prepares to display at the inaugural Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention 37 Tribally powered New products and partners highlight SUZOHAPP’s debut at the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention 40 Helicopters in the canyon Joey Essex chaperones the winners of Aspers Casino’s Vegas 100 competition on a jaunt to Sin City 43 Anything is possible Las Vegas’ Neon Museum approaches its 10th anniversary by David McKee

43 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.

Foreword: Damien Connelly

Bienvenu. Karibu. Welkom. Kaabo. Tervetuloa. Üdvözöljük. Anaadhufu. Benvenuto. Barka da zuwa. Fáilte. Bem-vinda. Wamukelekile. Bienvenidas. Välkommen


ongratulations to JOA and to my friend Laurent Lassiaz for successfully securing the first accreditation in France for Responsible Gaming from the European Casino Association. As Laurent noted, “it’s key for us to keep doing it the right way!” Well said Laurent, and well done team JOA. Monte-Carlo SBM will be the host for the 2022 European Dealer Championship, which will be compered by the marvellous Pascal Camia. Casino Life regularly visits and covers the EDC – over the years, we have often been the only media in attendance. You can read our insightful article with the still-reigning EDC Champion Tamas Adam in issue 129 of Casino Life. may_2019_digital_high_r/3

Scott Campbell Cowan deserves a pat on the back and our support for being the co-founder of the Egyptian Casino Association. Scott knows that market inside and out, having managed the Egyptian operations of Caesars (now Metropolitan Gaming) there for many years. An intriguing analysis in March 2022 from Deutsche Bank’s Carlo Santarelli came to the same conclusion I noted in my 2019 article about Golden Nugget Online Gaming, which we published in our sister publication Sports Betting Operator. Our joint conclusion being that iGaming is complementary to land-based but not a game-changer in terms of positive cash flow unless patron acquisition costs are tightly managed. operator_issue_004_v_34c4a276c38643 Volume 18: Issue 150

Our colleagues at Casino Life Ukraine are (mostly) safe and will, God willing, see out the current situation in good physical and reasonable mental health. We are endeavouring to secure exit routes for them and their families should such

action be required, and we gratefully thank all those people who have contacted us with their concerns and offers of support. We are in regular contact with our colleagues who remain in Ukraine and we can only emphasise to you how important it is to them to know that you care about both them and the situation in their country. Finally, please read our current issue of Sports Betting Operator in which I analyse Formula 1. Formula 1 has confirmed what we at Casino Life have known for quite some time now, given our industry contacts – there will be a 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix. It will be held on a Saturday night – cue Whigfield’s “Saturday Night,” which I now can’t get out of my head … “Thank you, Formula 1!”

Damien Connelly

Editor EMEA


Guest Comment: Stuart Hunter

Together Never Felt So Good


ogether never felt so good,’ the creative strap line that has been deployed in support of ICE London 2022, has never felt so appropriate as it does now, penning this column less than two weeks before the world’s favourite gaming show returns to ExCeL London. Two extremely long years (26 months to be more accurate) have passed since the last edition of ICE London closed its doors and bade farewell to the global legions of buyers who made their way back from London to reunite with loved ones and rejoin colleagues working in businesses located throughout the world. No one could have predicted what was to follow. A global pandemic that paralysed the entire world, followed by the gut-wrenching and appalling events that we witness unfolding in Ukraine. Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, not least those industry personalities and companies that cannot be with us. Reflecting on where the industry is two years down the line, it is clear how much impact Covid has had on the land-based sector – in many countries the first to be forced to close and the last to be permitted to open. The return of in-person events could not have occurred soon enough. There’s something really positive about being able to sit down with colleagues, to share a drink or a meal and to talk face-to-face about opportunities, solutions, collaborations, and what the industry does in order to rehabilitate and recover. Of course it’s possible to use video conferencing as a method of keeping updated but, as a good as the technology is – and where would we have been without it? – it can only achieve so much. This is a people industry and people-based sectors thrive on the oxygen of social interaction. Data from the events industry confirms that every returning exhibition has come back in the region of 6

Stuart Hunter, Managing Director, Clarion Gaming

30 percent smaller than its pre-pandemic version. Certainly visitors will be a part of a different version of

ICE London but still one that delivers an outstanding experience. ICE has always set the tone for the year ahead and the stands at ExCeL London will be brimming with the many hundreds of new products and services being launched in London, and that have the potential to transform the industry. My aspiration is for our customers – visitors and exhibitors – to rediscover why they hold ICE and the co-located iGB brand in such high esteem, and to leave ExCeL London in a positive, upbeat and confident mood, equipped with all of the ideas, energy, imagination and determination to put the last two years behind them, and plan for a prosperous future. ICE London remains the event where ideas are formed, new strategies formulated and where the future is written. I look forward to welcoming you to what promises to be an historic edition of ICE London. To register:

Feature: Les Ambassadeurs

Sustain and Grow Kevin McGowen, Chief Executive of Les Ambassadeurs. Interview by Peter White


Feature: Les Ambassadeurs


hen visualizing a posh, private, highend London casino, centuries-old Les Ambassadeurs is what comes to mind. CEO Kevin McGowen walks us through its history, its future and what it is doing to promote safer gambling. Upon joining Les Ambassadeurs what surprised you most about this famous and iconic establishment? I was pleasantly surprised about the diversity and charm of the workforce, with staff from nearly all cultures and corners of the planet. This is very fitting given that our members include suitable wealthy international players from similar locations. Additionally, the level of confidence and consistency of standards provided by our croupiers and other staff was the most impressive I have ever seen in my career. I was delighted to discover that one of my favourite films (Sir Sean Connery as James Bond 007 in Dr. No) was filmed in the building we operate in, at 5 Hamilton Place. Knowing that numerous royals and celebrities have visited this building in its various lives over hundreds of years was the icing on the cake. Over the last few years, there has been a significant change at Les Ambassadeurs in Volume 18: Issue 150

how it is branded, marketed and operated. Can you summarise what your customers (new and existing) can expect when they return? At Les Ambassadeurs we pride ourselves in having the highest possible standards in safety, value, product and service. Both returning and new members will notice a major emphasis on putting stakeholders and good causes at the front of nearly all initiatives. For instance, we are currently offering a Good Causes Jackpot Zone in the outdoor-garden gaming area, where members are encouraged to donate a meaningful amount of their winnings to good causes. We are seeing the goodwill of our customers in supporting some fantastic good causes that promote levelling up, and our WorkFamily’s career growth and upskilling. Our members have embraced this more caring approach where they share their good fortune with others in a pay-it-forward approach, and in a fun and positive manner, which we believe is another unique and special element of the Les A experience. Our members also support our recent announcement to contribute one percent of our gross gaming yield to GambleAware for the 2022 calendar year, where they know that a portion of their gaming activities automatically go to this excellent organisation that focuses on prevention and treatment.


Feature: Les Ambassadeurs

At Les Ambassadeurs we pride ourselves in having the highest possible standards in safety, value, product and service. Both returning and new members will notice a major emphasis on putting stakeholders and good causes at the front of nearly all initiatives.”

200-year-old Georgian mansion that provides the very best members-only experiences. Being entertained and playing in the building that was used to film Dr. No and The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, and an incredibly rich history over hundreds of years, provides compelling experiences for members and their guests. Les Ambassadeurs is an impressive building in the heart of Mayfair that has a lot of spacious rooms, many with outdoor terraces with magnificent views and fine dining. Do you have any plans to optimise facilities further? We intend to promote these elegant spaces for more private hire and fundraising activities. We have

Aside from this primary objective with the customer experience, what do you think are other factors that have led to Les Ambassadeurs’ continued popularity and longevity? Knowing the DOs and DON’Ts for each member, knowing their individual preferences and having a consistency of bespoke offerings is critical. Our ability to rapidly adapt to changing market conditions without disrupting the overall club experience is very well received and appreciated by our members and staff. How would you describe the Les Ambassadeurs experience to VIP business and vacation travellers? A one-of-a-kind entertainment venue in a unique 10

significant space to look after our members and to host many other non-gaming activities, with an emphasis on events that promote good causes and improve society; in turn this will help our WorkFamily. What are the key factors to delight and retain customers, particularly with regards to membership and the bespoke privileges packages? The key factors are knowing our members’ preferences and making sure we can deliver these delights consistently. The vast majority of our members are wealthy international tourists who travel and play in other gaming destinations across the world. They value a very high level of service, personal attention and access to private events and benefits that are truly bespoke and not part of a traditional loyalty programme. It is very much a relationship business where members enjoy the protections and escapism that only a private members club can provide.

Feature: Les Ambassadeurs

The key factors are knowing our members’ preferences and making sure we can deliver these delights consistently. The vast majority of our members are wealthy international tourists who travel and play in other gaming destinations across the world.”

An important driver of the luxury economy has also come to a halt, with shoppers not being able to travel outside of their home country. How do you anticipate the luxury VIP sector responding with restrictions lifting worldwide during 2022? Given that behaviours have changed and certain technologies have accelerated during the pandemic lockdowns, we believe that the luxury VIP sector will respond with more of a hybrid experience that is digital first. In particular, member apps and Web3 Metaverse experiences will roll out over the near and mid-term, with traditional visits to luxury facilities being more about quality than quantity. There has been much talk of the “new normal.” What changes do you see in the luxury industry as being permanent? We suspect that the use of digital apps will continue to explode and that overall travel frequency will shift more to digital activities over the remainder of this decade. Data suggests that the wealthy became even more wealthy over the last two years and wish to share their privileges and good fortune by contributing more to good causes and sustainability initiatives. This would further suggest that spending habits will shift more to brands that have evidence of higher standards, a strong purpose, and have offerings that include positive contributions to society in different ways. Half of luxury consumers do their research online. How has that aspect affected your marketing strategy? Volume 18: Issue 150

Kevin McGowen, Chief Executive, Les Ambassadeurs

We have a rapidly growing presence online with our brands and social media standpoints. This will continue as we invest in Web2 and Web3 initiatives. How would you describe your role at Les Ambassadeurs? I am the custodian of the brand, our licenses and of our WorkFamily. I believe in the service profit chain approach that starts with happy employees at its core. We create meaningful career and life experiences for our team, our members and good-cause recipients. I am privileged and blessed to be a part of this process. On a personal level, what motivates you? What are your own sources of inspiration? Helping people grow and achieve personal and career goals motivates me. Finding creative and 11

Feature: Les Ambassadeurs efficient ways to create value and remove biases is inspirational to me. Seeing a member of my team grow through learning, and for them to develop and implement new ideas is absolutely thrilling and inspirational to me. Can you tell us about the recently launched Les Ambassadeurs Remote Casino? Yes, this new product offering is built with enhanced safety and harm-minimisation elements, with an emphasis on raising standards as we offer access to live-dealer gaming, broadcast directly from Les Ambassadeurs’ gaming floor. Whilst we primarily serve our existing members when they are not able to visit the Club, we also allow new online members to join and enjoy our very unique offerings. We likely have the highest standards for know your customer (KYC) and affordability factors in the world with our online product. We believe in continuously raising standards, with a focus on prevention and building lifetime relationships with our customers. One area that is very different to our market peers, is the age restriction that we have put in place to access our online product. Whilst the legal age for access to online casinos in the UK is 18 years old, we opted to start at 21 years old. We follow the research concerning young adults being potentially more at risk of developing gambling-related harms. So we see this as a logical mitigation for younger people because we are unable to observe in person, as we can in a land-based casino environment. Further, we are challenging our platform suppliers to create enhanced player journeys that offer safer experiences when it comes to annual spending limits and betting limits that are suitable for the specific level of KYC evidence and assessed affordability. We believe in learning as much as possible about our online customers through the onboarding process and throughout our business relationship with them. We believe that capturing KYC information, customer preferences and affordability evidence means that we can better protect our clients with suitable products and pricing, and create a fun and healthy relationship for decades to come. What are your thoughts on the Gambling Review and what are the positives that the review can bring? The Gambling Review has the opportunity to not only improve sensible controls but also to remove 12

Feature: Les Ambassadeurs

The Gambling Review has the opportunity to not only improve sensible controls, but also to remove unintended and outdated parts of the Gambling Act.”

unintended and outdated parts of the Gambling Act. It is also a chance for the industry to have clearer expected standards where, at times, the message from the regulator has been confusing. All operators want to adhere to clear regulation and not to be held to unachievable or unclear standards. Achieving clear regulation and agreed minimum standards will improve compliance, help the industry’s reputation, and encourage operators to improve their offerings and overall experiences in refreshing and fun ways. Land-based casinos, currently the safest of all gambling offerings due to the face-to-face nature of the business, and the impressive ratio of well-trained supervisory staff and management to customers, have the potential to revitalise their offerings as attractive entertainment venues and remain a meaningful part of the hospitality and entertainment sectors. I believe that innovative new KYC/Affordability tools will roll out to Volume 18: Issue 150

meet the market’s needs in short order, as we all move more rapidly into the brave new digital world. Are there any geographical markets that you will be targeting in the next 12 months? We have historically focused on suitable wealthy foreign nationals across the world. With a sensible Gambling Act Review outcome, we anticipate this continuing, along with a stronger emphasis on providing compelling experiences to suitable UKbased customers. 13

Feature: Robert Ambrose

Providing Consistent Guest Service In Hospitality


Are we really educating our employees about the process?

e know that providing superior guest service doesn’t just happen. It requires a team of highly skilled employees to deliver a consistent service product. To achieve a great experience for the guest, the employee must be focused on keeping their own service “bar” raised, in order to offer the guest a memorable and consistent experience. In my lectures, I have stated how a team that is developed through education-based programs in service can reach that goal. It is up to management to make sure the employees receive such an education. Providing your employees with an on-going series of educational programs is important. It will help your organization reach that positive “moment of truth,” within your customer base. The Dictionary of Business defines a customer moment of truth as the moment, “the customer is given the opportunity to form an impression about a company…” This means the customer has formed an opinion in reaction to the services delivered. The guest service decisive moment in the hospitality and tourism industry occurs every time a guest and employee have an exchange. That opinion could change several times during a customer’s visit. It is based on the collective encounters each customer has with all the employees of your organization. From an employee’s face-to-face encounter to an automated product presentation, the levels of service an organization offers are the sum of that special moment of truth. When an employee suspects that a guest may be experiencing a negative moment of truth, it is important that they recognize it. The employee must take control and turn it around to produce a positive employee/guest experience. If they suspect the customer is not satisfied, they must bring in the next level of management support, hopefully turning a negative into a positive. Front-line employees are one-to-one with customers. That is why it is so important to prepare the employees for these interactions by defining your organization’s culture and laying out the “parameters of operation,” 14

through facilitated learning programs. Employees, through your organization’s strategic

educational programs, can learn about the result of their action or inaction when they are faced with a customer moment. The learning experience regarding the moment of truth is important for long-term employee growth; accordingly, it must be part of your organization’s culture of employee education. In the book Moments of Truth, by Jan Carlson (1987) strategies are explained to address a customer-driven economy. In it she states, “Get rid of the horizontal barriers to communication. Turn middle management away from the role of administrator and into leaders and facilitators for the frontlines…” Your operation managers must be involved in the ongoing analysis about the moments of truth in order to continue to work with the front-line employees for the consistency of the operation. And finally, understand through the “social media channels” that a customer’s moment of truth can be shared in an instant. Good or bad, it is out there for all to see. If your organization has suffered a service wound and you read about it on a social media platform, own

it, and take immediate steps to face it publicly to repair the damage. Customers can be very forgiving when they know that someone is listening. A moment of truth validates an organization in the marketplace. It’s important not to lose the opportunity to make it a positive one. “Strategic marketing” initiatives, through niche opportunities, are about a more focused view that takes advantage of specialized opportunities of service. This could include a more definable approach to the generational differences of your customers, the messaging of non-gaming amenities offered by your property, and a sensible analysis of where technology can be applied to keep the customer momentum going during their stay. The use of smart-phone apps or kiosk check-in for a hotel, technical management systems, and software enhancements for restaurant and bar management have all contributed to a more consistent operating

Feature: Robert Ambrose environment. It has scaled down the chance for some negative experiences. However, as reliable as technology is, have a plan in place and make sure your employees are prepared to react hands-on when it fails. Note that the complex infrastructure of hospitality is continually tested by shifting customer interest, a variety of changing regulations, local facility integrity and unionrelated issues. We know that an organization’s energy comes from its employees. Employees that understand hospitality, and how the “wow” factor and its relationship to the organization’s bottom line have no limits in going above and beyond for the guest. Great employees welcome guests, are cognizant of service cues and make each touch point of service truly special, leaving the customer more than satisfied. Leadership -Team building is about education and applying the right mix of management talent to coach and lead the employees. It is about on-going training in your organization that encourages development keeping all employees at a consistent customer service level. Remember, as a leader, it is important for you to look for ways to raise your own service level. Stay hungry for your own personal best. Do not be satisfied with the status quo. Personal humility is a virtue in hospitality. Be open with employees, solicit feedback and encourage ideas. Everyone benefits from this approach and the property moves forward. Your efforts as a leader in team building should be focused on building strongly motivated employees

through a culture that stands for honest, open discussion and leading by example. • Team building is the right mix of management talent to coach and lead the employees. • A team of consistently trained management staff will lead and coach while treating all staff with dignity and respect • Keep all employees at a consistent customer-service level. Be there for them with consistent educationaltraining programs that encourage their development and empowerment. Empowered employees will take that extra step for the guest. • Be sure employees understand the total property marketing strategy. • Members of management must listen to employee and customer feedback scenarios.

Leadership includes team building, managing people skills, and placing employees in positions where they are most challenged, most productive and complement the team. Team building relies on a mix of educated talent that coaches and leads a diverse, multi-generational group of employees reflecting the property culture. The outcome will be successful. Case in Point: In 2008 I was a key member of a development team contracted to design and manage a casino in the U.S. Within six months of that property opening the casino was voted number one in slots by the readers of Southern Gaming Magazine 2009 and again in 2010. It was because of the unity of employee spirit that opened that casino with a commitment by all departments to team building and educating employees. Opening this property within a very tight deadline was a total team effort to plan and put into place all the components for operation. I will add that this property came together from start to finish in 100 days. Today’s customers are extremely advanced in their use of new technology and have become increasingly more discerning about where they spend their entertainment dollars, making it essential for hospitality organizations to deploy equally sophisticated and differentiated offerings. In my past articles I have written that a great guest experience requires a mix of technological hardware, software and the personal touch by staff. Technology has given the employees the technological tools of hardware and software to perform the tasks of the job more efficiently. Once the technology is in operation, the focus must be on continued educational initiatives for employees within a coaching model, so that the best is achieved from the staff-resource mix. As hospitality leaders, we too should always be in a state of learning in ways to better serve the customer. Remember, as technology advances on the service side of the industry, no matter in what hospitality discipline you are employed, caution must be used that the high-tech culture does not alienate some of the (multi-generational) guests by limiting the personal touch of the employee. By using the formula of mixing the technology with a focused employee-support program, a property will provide an enhanced service experience to the guests.

*Robert Ambrose is a former executive in gaming operations and now teaches hospitality and gaming management at several universities in the US. Twitter@bobambrose Volume 18: Issue 150


Feature: Legislation Report

Update Report on Gaming Legislation in Austria, Bulgaria and Germany


Gambling, casinos, and lotteries in Austria are regulated by the Law on Games of Chance and are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance, which is also the supervising authority. The Finanzamt Österreich (Tax Office Austria) is the regulator that governs the games of chance that fall within the scope of the federal monopoly on games of chance as defined in the Gaming Act. As a courtesy, the betting act which is in force in some federal states dates back to 1919. Certain exceptions to the above (e.g. betting activities, low-stakes games of chance, games of skill, etc.) exist and are in part regulated by nine Federal States of Austria and their regional laws. The gaming law does in a way differentiate between Volume 18: Issue 150

remote and land-based gaming, and distinctions need to be made based on the type of gaming under review. In addition, all nine states’ betting laws require some sort of physical presence (brick and mortar) in the state territory, such as outlets or servers, for operators to fall within the ambit of the state betting laws. Licenses for games of chance regulated under the federal monopoly are limited in number and subject to a public tender procedure. Only one license is available for lotteries, electronic lotteries (online) and VLTs, i.e. constituting a monopoly, while licenses for operating sports betting are not limited in number, and anyone who fulfils the preconditions of the relevant state betting law may be granted a license. Five states (Vorarlberg, Salzburg, Upper Austria, Tyrol and Lower 17

Feature: Legislation Report Austria) even contain additional regulations for online offerings. Regarding land-based casinos, Tax Office Austria may grant up to 15 licenses. Twelve of the 15 casino licenses have already been granted with a term until 2027. Also, five of the nine states (Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Carinthia, Styria and Burgenland) elected to regulate slot machines outside of landbased casinos within their territory and offer licenses for operating this type of gaming. These licenses are limited to three per state, and nationwide only six companies in total received licenses. Maximum


Land-based gambling in Bulgaria was legalized in 1993 while online gambling in Bulgaria was regulated only in 2012. Regulatory authority, issuing licenses and supervising the activity of operators is the remit of the State Commission on Gambling, which is an administrative body that reports to the Ministry of Finance The Gambling Act of 2012 (“Gambling Act”) defines a list of permitted gambling games, which can be organized by state-owned or private entities under a license (without restrictions on the number of licenses in total or to a single operator or other type of monopoly). The Gambling Act does not define online gambling as a separate category of gambling but as a specific way of offering the categories of gambling games allowed – i.e. it provides that any gambling game 18

duration of a license is 15 years. A ban on advertisements of non-licensed games of chance is included in the Gaming Act as a mechanism of control whereby it does not provide for IP or payment blocking. Nonetheless, all state betting laws include their own provisions on administrative criminal offences in respect to non-licensed games of chance. In the past year, the Ministry of Finance has taken actions with the aim of strengthening player protection and measures against illegal games of chance, such as the introduction of DNS/IP blocking.

allowed by the Gambling Act can be organized online via the internet or other electronic means of communication, except of course instant games, raffles and similar. Games of chance can be organized only after the issue of a license by the State Commission. With respect to land-based games of chance, the license is game-specific, and it indicates clearly terms and conditions under which the specified categories of games must be organized/performed. A separate license is needed for each casino or a gaming hall. In the licensing process, the applicant (organizer) must provide evidence that it has invested certain amounts in activities or assets related to the licensed operations. Licenses are issued for a five-year term (or shorter if requested). A license can be issued for an extended 10-year term if the applicant has proven

Feature: Legislation Report in the licensing process a higher level of planned investment and can be renewed for the same term on a request by the licensee. ISP-blocking measures are imposed at the local level and the State Commission is entitled to identify and publish on its official website a list of websites offering gambling in Bulgaria without a license (i.e. blacklist). No express-payment-blocking measures are provided for in the Gaming Act.


After years of negotiations on the federal and state level (16 federal states), German policymakers in 2020

agreed on a reform of the regulation, and as a result, a new Interstate Treaty entered into force on 1 July 2021 (“Treaty”). Even though of newer vintage, it still follows a more rigid approach in comparison to other European Union countries. The Treaty, as opposed to the previous one (with the exception for Germany’s most northern state, Schleswig-Holstein, which issued online casino licenses), finally provides for the licensing of virtual slot machines and online poker. It remains to be seen what the approach with regard to online casinos will be and will the same be available for private operators or will it be run by state-owned companies with a monopoly? Regarding licensing, the approach remained mostly unchanged. Land-based gambling is subject to a

Direct advertising of gambling, including unsolicited electronic messages containing information about gambling, is prohibited whereby licensed operators can sponsor events supporting sports, culture, health services, education and social welfare. As regards upcoming changes, based on publicly available information, no significant reforms in the legal framework of gambling in Bulgaria are currently planned.

variety of licensing systems on a state and municipal level, whereby the licensing regime in general is more

favorable to private organizers and only national lotteries remain the sole domain of state monopoly. Licenses for land-based casinos are granted for a 10year term and licenses for all other games of chance are granted for an initial five-year term (subsequently it will be a seven-year term). Bearing in mind that the previous treaty in 2012 removed IP blocking as a tool for the authorities, the Interstate Treaty 2021 reintroduced IP blocking as a means of enforcement. Internet service providers can, therefore, be forced to implement IP blocking for websites that offer unauthorized gambling. Respective blocking orders will only be issued if other measures against an operator prove to be impracticable or not favorable and plausible. The Treaty also introduced payment blocking as an enforcement tool.

DISCLAIMER: Law Firm Anđelović, Siketić & Tomić d.o.o. wish to avoid inaccuracies and, whilst every precaution has been taken to ensure that information contained in this report is accurate, no liability is accepted for errors or omissions, however caused. Volume 18: Issue 150


Feature: Anton Kuchukhidze

Stunted Growth


Russian aggression prevented the gambling business in Ukraine from accelerating its development by Anton Kuchukhidze

he war that Russia has waged against Ukraine has become a major test for our state, from both a military and economic perspective. And the crucial thing is that we are successfully dealing with these two challenges. The armed forces of Ukraine and territorial defence units have caused substantial losses to Russian troops along the entire front line. The support of Ukraine’s Western partners is unprecedented. The assistance is provided in both the defence and economic sectors. We also continue to work actively on the diplomatic front, fighting for harsher and more effective sanctions against the aggressor country, seeking the highest political support of our Western partners. At the same time, maintaining relative economic stability in Ukraine in wartime remains one of the key tasks of economy sectors not directly involved in supporting the army and conducting combat operations. Today, paying salaries and taxes, as well 20

as securing supply chains, in particular food and fuel, are critical to maintaining the country’s stable operation in times of war. However, it should be noted that in wartime the country’s economy is surviving and cannot develop effectively. According to the most conservative estimates, the damage that the Ukrainian economy has already suffered is more than USD 100 billion. Clearly, this war poses a great threat to the country’s further economic development. Even in the best case scenarios, we will need two to three years to reach the pre-war level of economy. Today, almost 50 percent of Ukrainian enterprises have partially or completely suspended their activities. Gambling is no exception. Its further development is questionable both from an investment and legislative perspective. The war prevented the adoption of the specialized tax bill 2713-d. The flow of tourists in an armed conflict is also out of the question.

Feature: Anton Kuchukhidze

However, even in wartime, legal gambling companies continue to work. They not only support the state’s economy by paying taxes and maintaining jobs, but also provide direct assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine and volunteers. For instance, the Ukrainian Gambling Council, the largest union of legal gambling representatives

in Ukraine, continues its work, uniting 80 percent of market representatives. UGC has not only maintained jobs, but also provided all possible financial support to the army. The Association’s members also help the state. 1. Parimatch withdrew the franchise from Russia and increased its support to Ukraine to UAH 60 million. 2. Slots City, one of the biggest operators of landbased slot machine halls in Ukraine, contributed UAH 1 million to the Ukrainian army. 3. Cosmolot, one of the largest brands of online casino in Ukraine, transferred UAH 1 million to the state. 4. First Casino, the Ukrainian legal gambling operator, also contributed UAH 1 million in an extreme gesture to the army. 5. GGPoker.UA contributed UAH 1 million to humanitarian aid for Ukrainians. The legal gambling sector, traditionally part of the entertainment industry, has demonstrated its ability Volume 18: Issue 150

to provide effective support to the state even in an extreme military environment. Most legal operators not only adjust their business processes to the wartime economy, but also provide direct financial support to Ukrainians and the state. Thus the majority of legal gambling operators continue to maintain their companies and provide all possible support to the Ukrainian economy. We hope that the war will soon be over and the legal gambling industry will find healthy conditions for development and generate billions of dollars in revenue for the state budget. 21

Westfield Stratford City


ONLY 10 MINUTES ON THE DLR FROM EXCEL Plus, show your ICE London pass to receive

20% OFF of food at Tanzibar Sunday 10th April to Thursday 14th April 2022.

Guests are required to show either valid photo identification or an Aspers World rewards card at point of entry.

Feature: IGT

Leader of the Pack IGT continues its momentum with a diverse portfolio of hardware and games


xpanding its portfolio of performancedriven content, International Game Technology continues to build upon its substantial footprint in the European market with next-generation game offerings that take player experiences to new levels. This year, IGT’s headliners span several categories and include impressive new games, intuitive hardware and striking multi-level progressives.

Delivering Elevated Experiences

Maintaining its commitment to delivering best-in-class video slots to players and casino operators alike, IGT continues to extend its global portfolio of in-demand video slots across multiple cabinets, formats and markets worldwide. Featuring innovative mechanics Volume 18: Issue 150

for a thrilling progressive video slot experience, IGT’s international sensations Regal Riches, and its sister game, Prosperity Pearl, will continue to offer players the excitement of progressive wilds free games and guaranteed wilds wins. Driven by vibrant, multiplier-rich content with similar mechanics, IGT’s Regal Riches and Prosperity Pearl video slots build entertaining progressive wilds play. Introduced in the U.S. to great success, during the base game, Regal Riches allows players to collect gem symbols that are transformed into wilds and increment on the progressive minor-, major- and mega-wild games meters. The meters, which change from session to session, enable players to shop at different bet levels. Adding to Regal Riches’ appeal, the frequent guaranteed wilds are awarded randomly, 23

Feature: IGT

delivering the number of wilds collected in the meter during any base game spin. Prosperity Pearl and Regal Riches will bring a new layer of progressive-play excitement to casino floors. Adding to IGT’s library of highly desired video slots titles, each game is available on an expanded offering of cabinets, including Prosperity Pearl on the portrait display CrystalCurve cabinet. Regal Riches will be available on the PeakSlant32™ featuring three seamlessly integrated, high-definition 32-inch displays, and a refined, dynamic player panel.

MLP Double Down

Long a cornerstone of IGT’s best-in-class content portfolio, multi-level progressive (MLP) slots show no signs of slowing down. Over the past few years, the increased demand for compelling MLPs in every market has upped IGT’s commitment and output in this important product segment to meet changing 24

player preferences and customer needs. IGT’s latest library of MLP games will continue to maximize the innovative features available on a wide range of cabinets spanning both the core and premium segments. Building on the growing trend of players embracing frequent jackpots and exciting progressive wins, IGT’s game designers have leveraged new and proven mechanics to develop the best content and games to launch the most diverse MLP library in the company’s history. This year, IGT’s MLP highlights include Olympus Link, featuring player-favorite components such as free games, stacked wilds, and the lock and respin feature. Keeping the momentum of entertaining games, one of IGT’s hottest new MLPs, Bu Bu Gao, will offer a new level of entertainment and performance potential. IGT’s compelling MLP library is available on a range of cabinets, including the stunning PeakSlant49 and PeakSlant32 cabinets.

Feature: IGT

Make the Multi-Game Switch

Continuing to evolve the player experience, IGT is introducing the newest addition to its successful USwitch multi-game hardware, Clover Edition Purple, to the European

market. The modern, multi-game experience will be redefined with IGT’s innovative, new game pack featuring a library of 40 preferred themes. Fulfilling IGT’s objective to offer performance-driving themes for maximum player entertainment, the Clover Edition Purple portfolio of games can be programmed specifically to a region’s play styles and preferences. The categories include number games, poker games, fruit games and classic favorites. In addition, as part of IGT’s commitment to maintaining a pipeline of fresh titles for even more variety, 13 of the games will be brand new to the market. Clover Edition Purple’s game-pack highlights include Glorious Roulette Deluxe, which offers a unique play experience with a modern user interface and additional statistical information, plus an opportunity to place new side bets. The game pack will also introduce 40 Hyper Hot, a new twist on a classic fruit game with thrilling wilds, and the Celtic-themed Power Coins Leprechaun.

Clover Edition Purple also incorporates proven IGT titles like Regal Riches, Fortune Coin and Lunar Disc, giving players optimal variety. The updated Clover Edition Purple interface offers an at-a-glance overview of all games across four pages, allowing players to conveniently pinpoint their favorite content. In addition, the redesigned userfriendly game groupings will ensure that players find their titles of choice with ease. The Clover Edition multi-game pack will be available on the stunning PeakSlant32, available in an exclusive Black Edition, and Cobalt 27 cabinets. Both cabinets are compatible with the energetic, bolt-on Blazin’ Flames Progressives. IGT’s three-level must-hit-by progressives will add instant appeal to casino floors with upbeat win celebrations. For more information on IGT’s latest products from its industry-leading gaming portfolio, visit Volume 18: Issue 150


April 19-22 2022 Anaheim, CA - USA

Stand 1862

Your Trusted Hardware Partner! Sports Betting ∙ Cashless ∙ Gaming ∙ Amusement



From start to finish, SUZOHAPP can build a complete solution to fit all your sports betting hardware needs. SUZOHAPP.COM/SPORTSBETTING

Feature: Gaming Academy

The Gaming Academy Guide 2022 The Gaming Academy is a training and consultancy agency made up of a fun team of diverse gaming professionals that work in all areas of the gaming space


he organisation helps every operator regardless of where they are on their journey...from startups to established organisations searching for operational excellence, the Gaming Academy provides accredited training courses. All courses are currently live streamed via ZOOM and are available in three formats: 1. Free, one-hour, sample workshops 2. Open courses – up to 25 people from all over the industry 3. Private in-house training for 10 people from one company. Included in the full-course enrollment fee: 4. Course materials 5. CPD points, accreditation, and certificate from the CPD standards office 6. Post-course, private, one-on-one consultation with our trainer Casino Life Readers 10% Discount code: CASINOLIFE10

Calendar of Courses

Sportsbook Academy: Online Fundamentals 26th & 27th April The evolution in customer habits over the past year has created some challenges for sportsbook operators. While live sports coverage was down, clients found alternative products to feed their hunger, such as eSports and virtual sports. This has caught many operators by surprise and sent them scrambling to mitigate this risk. Volume 18: Issue 150

Sportsbook Academy: Retail & Online Trading, Tools & Promotion 24th 25th & 26th May

One thing the last year has shown us is that the sportsbook sector globally is vulnerable and the market has been forced to adapt. As the industry attempts to get back on track and navigate operations through the market’s transition into the new normal, there are some key operational aspects that must be benchmarked and improved. Whether you are an established sportsbook or just entering the market, this course will help you to create more future-proof, efficient processes, allowing your sportsbook to sustain healthy growth well into the future. Lottery Modernisation Academy: 24th & 25th May Regardless of what has happened over the past 12 months, lotteries globally and inherently suffer from an unwillingness to change and innovate. Lotteries must find new ways to engage and excite their customers in this evolving sector. 27

Feature: Gaming Academy The three main challenges facing lottery leaders and product managers right now are: • Poor-performing digital product that’s not capitalizing on its potential • Failing to understand consumer needs • Changing regulation in the face of increased competition Table Games Academy: June 21st & 22nd Table games going forward are certain to save that sector of the casino operation. Slots and electronic table games are encroaching from every angle and taking space away from traditional table games. The challenge is what can table games executives do to preserve their space in casinos and maybe even increase it. Three core challenges for table games operations are: 1. How to readapt to the current and future Covid situation. Are some changes we made during Covid beneficial as well to post-Covid table games operations? What else did we learn during this time? 2. How to use analytics that can help casinos make table games more appealing to younger crowds who are flocking to slots and ETGs. 3. What more can marketing and player-development executives contribute to the expansion of table games? Who is this course for? Land-based operators. Role function ideas: General managers, Gaming managers, table games managers, table games assistants, marketing managers, customer experience managers, casino managers, finance managers CEOs, CFOs and CMOs. Slot Academy: September 12th, 19th & 26th Electronic gaming products are a vital and still growing part of land-based gaming operational revenues. Most of those operations face a similar problem; they know how to connect with their current electronic-gaming player base, but they struggle when trying to attract, retain and connect with new types of visitor profile in a meaningful way. 28

Responsible Gaming Academy: October 18th & 19th Three licensing objectives support the whole basis of gambling regulation: • That crime should be kept out of gambling. • It should be conducted in a fair and open way. • Children and other vulnerable persons should be protected from harm or exploitation from gambling. Most people who gamble do so safely most of the time. But gambling can be harmful for some. Excessive play due to inexperience or binge gambling, periods of loss of control and more serious gambling addiction. The harm suffered is not restricted to the gambler, but also felt by families, friends, communities and employers. Proactively interacting early enough and in the right way can help someone keep control of their gambling and you will retain them as a customer, instead of them choosing to opt for a self-exclusion or closing their account entirely. In the long term, this approach is more sustainable for your business. Anti-Money-Laundering in Gaming Academy TBC For far too long, opportunities for intervention to protect your players and business have passed under the radar due to business silos. Since the pandemic, online traffic has skyrocketed, causing the AML risks to rise also. To avoid prosecution and remain competitive, operators must be careful not to place too much reliance on automated solutions but be sure to equip their staff with the knowledge and processes needed to effectively combat money laundering. The challenge our industry is now facing is how do you balance protecting your players, whilst remaining commercially successful? This course will take a deep dive into AML and its causes, whilst equipping you the most relevant knowledge needed to create a robust AML strategy in a postpandemic market. Join our LinkedIn group for the latest course updates and offers!


TWO GREAT OFFERS – TWO GREAT CASINOS! Offer limited to exhibition days only, simply present your ICE pass at Reception.

£10 Free Bet, Complimentary Drink and Chicken Wings in the Kings Sports Bar

£10 Free Bet, Complimentary Drink and Panini

Terms and conditions apply.

NOT A MET CARD MEMBER? JOIN IN CLUB TODAY! Over 18s Only | Challenge 21 (25 in Scotland) Policy in Operation | |

Feature: DRGT

Weathering the Storm


DR Gaming Technology™ CEO Jurgen De Munck talks to Peter White ow have the last 12 months been for DR Gaming Technology™? All things considered we can’t complain.

I think being a global service provider has assisted us significantly in enabling us to weather ‘COVID year 2’ relatively well. Notwithstanding that, when the pandemic hit in early 2020, and during that initial period when lockdowns were the norm, the entire planet was adversely affected; we were always of the view that as a global supplier we would be able to mitigate our exposure to market risks due to our geographical spread, but as we all know that was not the case. Luckily we managed to weather the initial land-based storm, and as jurisdictions started to open we were all able to start generating revenue again. How have the care and safety provisions the organisation now provides assisted land-based gaming operators from casinos to slot halls during the pandemic? As soon as the World Health Organisation started to understand the pandemic, and how to mitigate 30

it’s spread, we began looking at what might be the simplest and easiest ways to assist our customers in meeting those new operational regulations in as efficient and quick a manner as possible.

The first product augmentation we made was in respect of social distancing, in that we updated our management system functionality to: i. auto lock the EGMs on either side of an EGM as soon as it was activated (in so doing automatically enforcing social distancing); and then ii. auto unlock those EGMs after game play and lock the EGM that had just been played. In addition thereto, an automated ‘Please Sanitize’ message is sent to staff to notify them that a specific EGM was no longer being played and needed to be cleaned, and then made available again for game play. This tech was adopted by many of our customers almost from the get-go. It was also a solution we were able to deliver relatively quickly, in fact it was available to operators as early as May 2020. A key success

Feature: DRGT factor here was not only the ability for operators to meet new distancing requirements in a cost-effective manner, but also the benefit of not having to switch off any EGMs on their floor, in so doing making all EGMs available for possible game play. We also added some facial and temperature recognition hardware to our access-control technology integrating it into our drGate (and footfall count) solution, and offering it as a stand-alone option too. DR Gaming Technology™ provides probably the largest selection of jackpot configuration options in the world. Can you explain to readers a little more about how jackpots can be tailored exclusively for specific loyalty levels as well as the options they provide operators? Historically, casino operators would purchase or lease a jackpot system with its own patented theme, game, and machines, and as such be limited to the slot machines, themes and configuration parameters defined by that manufacturer. As player demands have evolved, the above scenario has become more and more restrictive with an expectation now of multi-level jackpots and features on almost every machine. What our systemdriven jackpot technology affords operators is a costeffective and player-centric solution that is extremely flexible and easy to implement, with the ability to now integrate our jackpots into existing slot machines on their casino floor.

of cashless gaming when that game play data is leveraged to drive local and/or wide-area jackpots. When presented with third-party jackpots, in other words stand-alone products that are delivered with their own hardware, configuration and reward options (as referred to earlier), operators are limited in terms of what they can and can’t do with that product; whereas if their jackpots are system-driven, as in our case, the options are almost limitless. Jackpots and cashless gaming can, and in many cases do, operate independently, but with all of the game play data that cashless provides operators it really does make sense to utilise that in every effort to make a player’s visit as entertaining, as rewarding and as personalised as possible. Our technology does

The philosophy at DRGT™ is that cashless propositions complement perfectly with your jackpot offering. Please, can you explain? Cashless as a win-win for players and operators alike is a given; that said, we are of the view that even more can be had from the data acquired as a result

Can you explain cashless and cardless systems, and their capability to assign better game play data to specific players? I think the answer here is pretty logical. The more game play data you track the better your business intelligence, and your ability to then use that intel to tailor offerings to specific players, or specific types of players, in the form of the system-driven jackpots I referred to in your earlier questions, as well as bonusing and bonus games, raffles, loyalty rewards and loyalty points. The Peter Drucker quote of ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,’ rings 100 percent true here. Any casino manager worth their salt wants to ensure the most rewarding experience for all their players and the more they know about them the better they are suited to providing those players with that experience.

Due to the fact that our jackpot technology is driven by and out of our CMS, casino operators are able to configure any number of reward parameters, whether they be based on the loyalty levels you refer to, or playing time, average bet, time of day, birthdays, points earned or any number of other possible parameters or combinations thereof. In addition to the above, what our drMediaManager then provides operators is the ability to design their own themes too; all in all an extremely powerful technology solution that, when managed well, should consistently surprise and delight players.

Volume 18: Issue 150



Feature: DRGT

Although there has been massive disruption to land-based casinos over the last two years it has not stopped casinos from continuing to invest. Can you provide some examples of work DR Gaming Technology™ has taken on during the last 24 months and has it been more in some regions? You’re quite right. What has kept us really busy has been operators utilising the enforced downtime to not

Notwithstanding the fact that operators are our primary customer, if the solutions we provide them to operate and manage their casinos do not ultimately make for a better player experience then we will have failed them as a service partner. I realise it sounds rather obvious, but one can often get carried away with ideas, features and functionality. What our design mantra does is ask a simple

Can you explain what is meant by ‘Player First’? ‘Player First’ is our design mantra. Without their players operators would not be able to operate, and if they’re not operating neither are we.

How has the company coped with component supply stocks? To be honest, Peter, it has been and remains extremely challenging. Notwithstanding the physical shortage of components, there are a number of

only upgrade their infrastructure but also augment their product offering. That said, the investments you refer to have been undertaken in an extremely measured and prudent manner, one that I think the industry as a whole can be very proud of. There is always scope to do things better, and I think the past 24 months have provided operators and service providers alike with not only an added reason, but also (within reason) the time, to do so. In our case we were in a fortunate enough position to be able to ensure ongoing and uninterrupted levels of support throughout, and as such we were ‘always there’ as upgrades were done, new products installed, and casinos reopened.


question. If the answer is no, then we stop what we’re doing, as simple as that. We re-assess why we’re doing it, the challenge or opportunity we are trying to overcome or create, and make a revised call how to proceed, if at all. I used the word ‘partner’ at the start of my answer because, as systems and jackpot developers, we aren’t merely selling a product to a customer. We are in the business of enabling operators to do their job better, which means consistently creating ways and opportunities to (again) surprise and delight their players in respect of both their product and service offering.

Feature: DRGT further issues that are at play. In an article from mid-January reference was made of the fact that although many electronics manufacturers had hoped that the issue would be resolved before the end of this year, Stuart Carlaw, chief research officer at global technology intelligence firm ABI Research, seems to see no real short-term end in sight for the current global supply chain disruption. He said, “Although the pandemic has made supply and order volume extremely volatile, it is not the only factor at fault. A combination of factors will take until 2023 to resolve the semiconductor shortage issues: production constraints, verification of real demand versus panic, port congestion, re-shoring efforts and the inflationary impact on consumer spending on products.” In addition to the global component shortages we had already been managing, the recent invasion of Ukraine will in all likelihood have a further impact on our timelines. To this end, The Australian Financial Review quoted Hiroyuki Sato, the head of Toshiba’s Devices Unit on 7 March 2022, who was of the view that supply challenges for electronic components were unlikely to cease for at least another 12 months, noting that: “The sense of shortages hasn’t changed at all, we expect the current tight supply will last until March next year at the earliest.” To the above ends, we will remain vigilant and continue to use our best endeavours to meet all commitments to our partners in the shortest time frames possible.

What are amongst the main objectives for DR Gaming Technology™ in 2022? Our goal was to get to 100,000 installed devices by the end of 2021; it is a goal we have had to, understandably, adjust; that being said, the progress we have made, particularly in the last 10 months or so, remains extremely encouraging. The upswing we have seen has not just been in terms of new business partners, but also as a result of the augmentation (and upgrade) of our product offering at many of our existing partners. What I am referring to here are things like the addition of our system-based jackpot technology or the expansion thereof, the adoption of cashless, as well as operators who have opted to add our table management system to their CMS. Systems and jackpots remain at our core, and will always be our strategic focus. Volume 18: Issue 150


News: Velvix

Velvix includes a variety of game themes that will engage Eastern and Western audiences

Tribally Focused V

Velvix is attending the inaugural Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention (IGA 2022) in Anaheim, California

elvix has announced it will participate in its inaugural showcase at the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention (IGA) from April 19 to 22, 2022 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. The participation will mark the gaming manufacturer’s first foray into the show and introduce the brand to American Indian gaming operators, a major focus for Velvix in the United States. Founded in 2019 in Los Angeles, California, Velvix is part of the XSGroup. The company will be showcasing its launch products at the tradeshow, including three unique cabinets and game titles across both linked and stand-alone progressive options. Focused on the American tribal gaming markets, Velvix will rely on game design through market research and feedback from both players 34

and operators, allowing it to quickly develop new titles that will meet the needs of operators across jurisdictions. Visitors to the Velvix booth will experience three cabinet products, including the flagship c-curve “CurlX” product, as well as its “Climax” and “Twimax” products, which each offer portrait and landscape gaming experiences. Large, high-definition, touchscreen panels and virtual button decks are combined with amazing edge-lighting effects and customerfriendly innovations such as a wireless phone charger to deliver an attractive, modernized gaming experience to patrons. Sixteen unique game titles will be available for demonstration, including the flagship game “BaoBaoKing,” a linked progressive product based on the Chinese zodiac that features an engaging battle

News: Velvix

ABOUT VELVIX LLC Velvix LLC is part of the XSGroup and was founded in 2019 as part of the rebranding of the group’s electronic gaming machine (EGM) division. Based in Los Angeles, California, Velvix is a developer of both EGM cabinets and software for the North American market. With client management and logistics support throughout the United States, Velvix offers state-of-the-art, attractive hardware technology with exciting game titles that include themes that fit both Eastern and Western audience tastes. The company prides itself on customer service and fast turnaround, allowing player and client feedback to directly translate into the development of new and exciting game titles. BaoBao King is Velvix’s premier linked-progressive product

feature that pits players against each other to win credit prizes. Other titles will be on display, including a mix of both Eastern- and Western-themed games. Chris Wieners, managing partner of Velvix, stated: “The Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention is one of the most important shows we will attend this year. As a newcomer to the market, we understand how important it will be to put our best foot forward

201 Continental Blvd. Suite 260 El Segundo, Ca 90245 +1 212 729 8043 and showcase what makes us unique, in hardware, software, and most importantly, reliability as a partner for casino operators. We are excited to forge new relationships within the tribal gaming community and look forward to supporting our partners in every possible way.”


Sports Betting Operator provides new product and technology features and the latest Sports Betting News, keeping Online gambling companies up to date with the fastest growing Gambling Sector in the world. Volume 18: Issue 150


We stand with Ukraine

Pray for peace and love

Feature: SuzoHapp

Tribally Powered New products and new partners highlight SUZOHAPP’s debut at the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention


UZOHAPP is excited to be exhibiting at the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention (IGA) from April 19-22 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Entering its 35th year, the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention is the premier event for the Indian gaming industry with the largest gathering of

Todd Sims, Vice President of Sales Americas, SUZOHAPP Volume 18: Issue 149

tribal leaders and casino executives in the country. This will be the first year that SUZOHAPP has exhibited at IGA since the beginning of the pandemic and SUZOHAPP will be showcasing its new sportsbetting ecosystem along with its new partnership in the cash redemption terminal (CRT) space with CountR. Both product lines allow customers to create a selfservice, omnichannel experience every step of the way from getting the initial voucher, to placing bets and continuing all the way to cashing out. “With the recent surge in the sports betting market there is so much opportunity for growth in this space,” says Todd Sims, vice president of American sales at SUZOHAPP. “As the tribal community looks at innovative avenues and methods to acquire young gamers, sports betting is one direction that will certainly help attract new players. SUZOHAPP is here to ease the burden and design custom retail solutions for our customers, using our years of expertise and knowledge 37

Feature: SuzoHapp of the industry, our flexible and fast design capabilities, and our globally renowned network of partners.” SUZOHAPP continues to bring customer-driven innovation to the market and has partnered with industry-leading platform developers to design the high-quality, effective terminals it will be showcasing this year. “We are very excited to bring our ecosystem to the tribal community,” says Sims, “We had readyto-go terminals available in full kiosk format, tabletop and over-the-counter formats but our ability to create custom terminals suited to your specific needs that can work in any venue and be platform-agnostic is really where we have such great opportunity to help our customers to stand out.” SUZOHAPP will be also exhibiting at Interfun Expo from April 26-27 in Leeds at Booth #49. At this year’s event, SUZOHAPP will be showcasing a wide array of amusement products including both customer favorites and new offerings. In particular,

SUZOHAPP will be highlighting products such as redemption tickets, tokens, cups, printer rolls, billiard products and a new change machine. As a major innovation, SUZOHAPP will Tim Kennedy, Vice President of Sales Europe, SUZOHAPP be displaying its new Dual Change Cashless, designed to accept contactless payment cards (debit or credit, dependent on local legislation) and banknotes to dispense notes and coins or tokens, automatically or manually. This latest change machine addresses the requirement for contactless payments in arcades and bingo as consumer spending habits have shifted over the last few years. “SUZOHAPP has served the amusement industry as a trusted hardware

partner for over 30 years. We are experts here with our in-depth knowledge and expertise to help OEMs design solutions for their amusement centres. We also offer one of the broadest portfolios in the industry of aftermarket replacement parts. Just about anything you need, we can source it,” said Tim Kennedy, vice president of European sales.


Outsource Digital Media Powering connections

Contact or call +44 (0) 1892 740869

Feature: Aspers USA

Helicopters in the Canyon Following the Vegas 100 promotion at Aspers Casinos in October 2021, the 100 lucky winners had a successful, fun filled trip to Las Vegas last month.


ot only was this a trip of a lifetime but the winners were also accompanied by Joey Essex! The prize included a four-night stay for two people at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, return direct flights, an amazing helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon and tickets to a current Las Vegas show of choice, which included Katy Perry and David Copperfield. On arrival the group sat down with Joey for a welcome dinner at the STK restaurant part of The 40

Cosmopolitan, a luxury resort and casino hotel on The Strip. The group travelled from London Heathrow on Tuesday 8th March and returned on Saturday 12th March. An experienced management team from Aspers also went on the trip to ensure all guests were looked after. Joey Essex said: “It was the most amazing trip thanks to Aspers Casinos, the team from Aspers and all the guests/winners were brilliant company. Aspers really know how to throw a party”

Feature: Aspers USA

Guest quotes, both from Aspers in Stratford...

We really had a wonderful and amazing time on the trip. It took us a while to switchgear back to our regular office life last week. The trip was very well planned and organised. Everything was very smooth. For us, it was our first time in Las Vegas and big thanks to Aspers and you to make our first experience so exquisite and amazing. The highlight of the trip was the Grand Canyon tour via helicopter. We have definitely made incredible memories that we will cherish throughout our lifetime” Namatra

It was such a well organised event. We were so well looked after by the Aspers PR team, from the first day at Heathrow, transfer to hotel..dinner... helicopter tour....the show...during the stay and back home. We had the most amazing time.” Stephen

Volume 18: Issue 150




INDIAN GAMING TRADESHOW & CONVENTION As the largest gathering of tribal leaders and casino executives in the country, the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention is the place where tribal and commercial gaming come together to conduct business, learn, and network.


Feature: Neon Museum

Anything is possible Las Vegas’ Neon Museum approaches its 10th anniversary. By David McKee


istoric preservation has never been high on Sin City’s list of priorities but the Neon Museum, just north

of Downtown, is helping to change that. Founded in 2012, it catalyzed a scrapyard of defunct signage into a beautiful, curated collection, fronted by a visitors center that was created from the lobby building of the curvilinear La Concha Motel, a handsome, 1961 vestige of Googie architecture that used to adorn the Las Vegas Strip but moved to 770 N. Las Vegas Boulevard in 2006. Out back is a massive array of neon signage (and some not-soneon, like the Treasure Island marquee that is best viewed by satellite) mainly from casinos, but also from restaurants and other bygone Vegas landmarks. Last year, the Neon Museum achieved accreditation from the American Association of Museums, the highest such honor in the U.S. Other accolades include being shortlisted as one of Las Vegas’ top-10 attractions by such media outlets as MSN, Vegas. com, and USA Today. Most of the 2.27acre footprint of the Museum is taken up by the Neon Volume 18: Issue 150

Boneyard, a term whose origins are explained below. Donors to the Boneyard have notably included Young Electric Sign Co. (popularly known as YESCO). The

collection, which includes signage dating back to the 1930s, began being incorporated as a nonprofit in 1996 and has been growing exponentially ever since. The newest augmentation is “Brilliant! Jackpot,” an immersive audio-visual installation that revives through the magic of photography, drone footage, 3-D photogrammetry, Adobe Illustrator and 80,000 lumens of light antique signage that had seemed irretrievably defunct. And that’s just a small sampling of what the Neon Museum has to offer. To learn more, we turned to Executive Director Aaron Berger, who was lured to Las Vegas from Atlanta, trading humidity for dry heat … and all the preservation challenges that come with it. We spoke with him from his Vegas office. What was the genesis of the Neon Museum? The museum itself is really attributed to a small group of individuals that, in the Nineties, were smart enough to say ‘We need to find ways to preserve Las Vegas’ 43

Feature: Neon Museum

history,’ and it is remarkable to me. This city is one that tears down and builds up, and tears down and builds up its landscape, so when our visitors come, you can come every year and there’s a new skyline in one way or another. So there was a group of people that had the foresight to say that we need to make sure that we’re preserving these landscapes as they

talk about moving La Concha, for example. To move an historic property, designed by a famed architect, Paul Revere Williams, we moved that in eight separate pieces down Las Vegas Boulevard on a series of flatbed trucks, shutting down traffic and doing that with a building that, at the time, was 60-ish years old. That was an architectural feat in itself and it was then

How difficult was it to bring it to its current estate, with the La Concha Motel as the visitors center and the curated tours? There’s no finish line. We’re always continuing to grow and improve, and we have a lot of things that are on our horizon for expanding our programming. But you

How are the collection and transportation of vintage signage underwritten? It can’t be cheap. No, I wish it were. It depends. So we get a series of— usually—panicked phone calls. Someone is calling us that Property X has been sold and we’re getting rid of the sign, and you have to have it Monday or it’s going into a landfill. We do have a very, very small budget for transportation. But often we ask the donors to provide that transport to our collection-storage facility. At that point it’s assessed for rehab and we determine whether that piece is something that can go out into our Boneyard for display or if it has another future use

change. So we started off by collecting the signs that promoted some of the greatest destinations in Las Vegas but were renowned throughout the country, and being able to preserve those signs and have those available started off totally volunteer. We opened in our current location 10 years ago this October and have just been overwhelmed by the response that we’ve gotten from the public to learn about Las Vegas’ history. I kind of describe us as the memory of the city. By doing that, we’re telling these stories using the signs as a catalyst for how to tell you about the history of what’s taken place here.


reassembled in its current location. It was just amazing and it’s an incredible example of a Black architect who was renowned for his work and yet not as accepted as one would be, had he been white. It’s a great opportunity for us to tell a lot of stories just through that building itself.

Feature: Neon Museum

where it can be displayed properly. But the costs are exorbitant, there’s no doubt about that. What was the biggest such operation? We have several big signs. Obviously the Hard Rock Cafe guitar, which stands 82 feet tall, having that put in place was an amazing act of engineering. We have

a joke in Las Vegas that the state bird is a construction crane and we certainly used our share of cranes to put that in place. But most recently we added the Planet Hollywood restaurant sign, which is a globe that has the words “Planet Hollywood” in neon that circle around that globe. That is 25 feet across and it’s a monster, so right now it’s segmented like an orange, which is the way it had to be transported. We shut down Las Vegas Boulevard and transported it at two o’clock in the morning, when traffic was at its lowest. It has a mechanism in the center of it that turns the globe. The mechanism alone weighs 12,000 pounds. So there’s a lot of consideration when we’re moving these pieces. We have approximately 800 pieces that are in our permanent collection, about 250 of which are on display at the Museum. We also have nine that are out on what’s called a scenic byway on Las Vegas Boulevard. What we’re hoping to do is expand that Volume 18: Issue 150

so that we can get more of these signs that are in storage out into other communities. Whether those communities are in and around Las Vegas or whether they’re in and around Nevada or throughout the country, we would love to see these historic markers given as much attention and appreciation as possible. Which signs are the most popular and what are the Neon Museum’s hidden gems? It depends. There is a rivalry, let’s say, between the Stardust sign, which is just so iconic and really is visually impactful—it’s this amazing, larger-than-life sign that captures the Space Age, the time that this was created, it’s mesmerizing to look at—the other one is the Moulin Rouge sign. The reason that is also so attractive is its historical significance, which is that the Moulin Rouge was the first integrated casino and hotel here in Las Vegas. So it has some really important history behind it. Two, it was created by Betty Willis. She was the designer who made the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. It is actually written in her penmanship. So the font that is used in the Moulin Rouge sign is actually Betty Willis’ handwriting. History aside, the other part of this that’s so exciting is that it is featuring two types of pink in the neon, 45

Feature: Neon Museum so it stands out so beautifully, it’s so vibrant. It has a coral pink and then it has sort of a bubblegum pink. The coral pink is original to the piece, so that dates back to the mid-Fifties. So it gives you a testimony to how glass can survive the harsh conditions of Las Vegas, our 120-degree summers and our belowfreezing winters, our windstorms and our monsoons. It survived that, as did the neon inside. Then that bubblegum pink, that’s where we’ve had to do some restoration and the restoration to the work is new neon that’s been created. We did our best to match the color as possible. It does give a bit of insight into that piece. So those are the two that are the most engaging. The hidden gems, oh boy, for me actually relate to the Stardust sign. So the Stardust sign was massive, almost 190 feet tall, this enormous structure, and we have all of the components to it but they are lying on their side in various parts of the Boneyard. The structural point to understand that these pieces are made in the Fifties, again, they’re made to grab your attention, to draw you in. They’re doing that through either motion or light or just height. So that hidden gem is seeing the structural elements of the Stardust sign throughout the Boneyard and imagining what it would look like if assembled and reinstalled, which would be so terrific to do. I would love that. Just as a side note, the reason we call it a ‘boneyard’ is a term that we use in the sign industry, referring to when a building is built. Oftentimes the sign manufacturer leases the sign to the building. So they’re separate. So if the building changes hands or names or goes under, the sign manufacturer simply takes the sign back and puts that sign into a boneyard where they use it for other projects. They may grab the ‘C’ from this piece and the metalwork from another piece, and assemble a new sign as a result. So it becomes a boneyard of materials available to sign manufacturers. Our environment is made to resemble a boneyard as best as possible, so you could see how a sign manufacturer would walk in, and try and pick different pieces to create something new. That gets back to where the Stardust sign is, in its various pieces, disassembled around the Boneyard. How was visitation affected by the pandemic? We have been fortunate compared to some of my colleagues in the museum world. It’s largely because we’re an outdoor venue. Ninety-eight percent of our 46

Feature: Neon Museum

experience is outdoors. You enter through La Concha but once you’ve checked in you’re outdoors for the rest of the time. Because of that we’ve been able to meet the needs of visitors who have been coming through the pandemic. Visitation is coming back strong. In the last 60 days or so, especially around holiday weekends, we’re seeing a really significant

use up to 20 percent of the fund every year to rehab or fix or care for the signs that are on display or in the collection. It’s also important to say, too, that with the signs that are completely defunct, that are beyond repair, we’ve moved those into the North Gallery, where we showcase “Brilliant Jackpot,” a 360-degree,

How difficult is the restoration and preservation of vintage signage? Again, getting back to the harsh conditions of the environment back here in Vegas, these signs come to us—we just took one today that’s 40 years old and it’s been indoors and yet it still has some major wear and tear to it. What we do is go out to the public, to those who are enthusiasts and connected to signs in particular for financial support. We have done crowdsourcing around them. We also have something called the Sign Conservation Fund, which is where people can donate directly into this fund and we will

What kind of outreach are you doing to raise awareness of the museum’s mission? I’ve been on staff now for a little over six months and that has been my primary focus. We’ve really worked at developing programming that is outside the

jump in our traditional attendance. Now that the restrictions are lessening around the country, visitation is back, but there’s also a part that for people who are still concerned about the pandemic, they feel a little safer in an outdoor venue like ours. People are happy to join us, knowing that we are an outdoor venue.

Volume 18: Issue 150

immersive, audio-visual experience. In this gallery space, which is outdoors, you’re going to see about 80 signs. We have an artist named Craig Winslow who has used a process called ‘projection mapping,’ where he uses a series of projectors to pinpoint light so accurately that each individual light bulb will come back on, on these signs. And he does it to a very iconic Las Vegas soundtrack. So in this 30-minute experience, you’re going to hear the Rat Pack and Frank Sinatra, and Elvis … all kinds of fun, exciting music that just screams ‘Las Vegas,’ and see these signs come back to life in the process. Even when they’re dead, they’re not always dead yet.


Feature: Neon Museum We want that diversity to be a key component and I also mentioned inclusivity. We realize that there’s a ticket price that you have to pay to enjoy our offerings and that can be a barrier for some people. So, as part of our outreach efforts, we are looking and talking to sponsors to provide a free period a month where we can allow all people in to experience the Museum. We don’t want money to be a barrier to people to enjoy and learn from what we have to offer. Is the Museum and Boneyard’s limited footprint becoming a problem, and if so, how do you solve it? Well there’s a six-hour answer! We are landlocked, I will say that. We are looking at how we can expand our offerings. Right now I have a staff of just under 50 people, half of which don’t work at the Museum. They work at a remote location. So we’re physically separated in that regard. In addition to that there’s education space. Because we’re almost entirely outdoors I don’t have an education space where I can bring together a class for teachers or a community event. Thirdly, we really want to see a fabrication studio become a part of what we are. So our team is envisioning having a studio space where if you want to take a two-hour class, you can make a small moment of your trip in neon and be able to take that home with you. Or, if you’re more local or regional, over a course of five or six weeks you can learn the artistic side of neon and learn how to bend glass to create art pieces. So that’ll be something that will be coming down the

Museum’s walls and that is going to be announced in the next couple of months. But we have a series of things to look forward to that are ways to engage and celebrate Las Vegas’ history that won’t necessarily connect you physically with coming into the Museum’s walls. That’s being deliberately ambiguous and I apologize but we’re close to making those announcements. Outreach, I would say, is the forefront of what we’re doing now. We’re thinking of it through several different lenses. One is diversity and inclusion, so making sure that we are telling the stories of the Black community, we’re telling the stories of the Latin community, the LGBT community, the story of women and also the story of the indigenous people, the Native Americans who lived here before Las Vegas was Las Vegas—and who still live here. 48

line as we look at how to create more space for us. That’s part of our strategic plan and definitely where we’re headed in the near future.

What are you most excited about for the future? Is it a program? Is it a piece of signage that you covet? What could it be? I have to say that it’s actually the reason that I took my position here. Anything is possible in Las Vegas, absolutely anything. This town is one where you can have an idea and the right support, and it’s like it’s been fueled with rocket fuel and it takes off. What excites me the most is the possibilities for the future. Whatever idea we come up with or are presented with, we’re not limited by budget, we’re not limited by staff, we’re not limited by geography. We’re limited by our own imagination at this point. So that’s what’s the most exciting for me. That’s what gets me up in the morning. That’s what keeps me going late at night.

Feature: Raymond Chan

The Web 3.0 Hype for Absolute Beginners The challenge of a blockchain-based Interet is difficut but not impossible. By Raymond Chan


eb3 draws its name as the third generation of the internet, one which harnesses the web with blockchain technology, aiming to reduce the control of big corporations such as Google or Meta (formerly Facebook). When the Web 1.0 was considered readonly static pages and Web 2.0 added the ability for interaction such as social media and online banking, the concept of Web 3.0 is going to combine the characteritics of both Web1 and Web2 on a new network layer. When a new technology disruption is introduced, there is no doubt it will bring enormous opportunity to early adaptors and first movers, and Web3 is going to be no exception. However, for individuals who are absolute beginners in the technology sector and just want to invest into the future, it is probably going to pose a challenge but it is not impossible. Web3 is a combination of Web1 and Web2, on a new network layer as explained. If we want to know what opportunities are presented ahead of the newweb hype, the historical data and success stories from the dot-com bubble (Web1) and mobile era (Web2) may be able to give us a hint.

Cryptocurrency and online banking

In a Web3 world, the data is an asset itself stored on the blockchain in the form of token. A majority of the tokens can be classified as cryptocurrency and there are still arguments for the future of that form of asset. However, there is one usage of the token that poses no argument – media as a store of value. Web3 is going to create opportunities to help people managing that store of values and we can foresee the opportunities are similar to the dot-com and mobile hype, where history will repeat itself again on this new layer. The new device is a crypto-wallet “living” in an Volume 18: Issue 150

internet browser or mobile phone, and different kinds of banking or investment products are/will be created similar to what we are used to in the conventional market. Currency exchange platforms are the first mover to the market and we shall see more financial products, i.e. hedge funds and market-making businesses buy into the hype soon, if it has not yet happened.

NFT and marketplace business

eBay from the Web2 era has created a lot of economic opportunity where buyers and sellers around the world can be doing creative exchanges. The trading of NFT are more inspiring than the 49

Feature: Raymond Chan physical goods trading on Web2 because of the smart contract – a technology giving the ability to automate the trading and tracking of the virtual product itself. NFT exchange platforms similar to are among the first movers to the market and we shall see eBay- or Airbnb-like products joining the Web3 soon in this section.

Metaverse for gaming and communication

The metaverse is definitely having a moment these days after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the world about his ambitious new initiative. Metaverse isn’t just gaming, even though gaming is supposed to be the largest player in the metaverse, as stated by the Facebook CEO. We also can foresee people effectively using this new media as a primary communication tool similar to WhatsApp or Skype across different computing platforms like VR and AR, and also traditional websites, alongside mobile devices and game consoles. Simply said, a realized metaverse could be the next best thing as a new gaming device as well as a communication tool for our industry to grow upon.

Harvard Business School professor Dr. Clayton Christensen had demonstrated to us how big corporations like Nokia and Kodak could do everything right, and still lost their market leadership as new disruptive technologies rose and took over. Web3 is a disruptive technology where developers and entrepreneurs around the world can be doing creative work around this new layer of the internet. I’m really looking forward to playing some role in building out this next chapter for the internet, or investing in those who are capable of doing so. ABOUT RAYMOND CHAN: Raymond is a software engineer, tech founder and venture partner. He cofounded Alphamirai Ventures and Alphaslot Foundation to back the daring from Seed to Series A. He also serves in management consulting roles for companies taking advantage of digital transformation and global expansion. Previously, Raymond cofounded two technology companies, served as CEO to lead the in-depth customer intelligence and technology business from 2007-2018. Earlier in his career, Raymond was part of the founding data science team for E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley, and played a key role in the design of the TiVo customer intelligence system for the internet unicorn in Silicon Valley.

5 design services under one roof We create high quality design to satisfy your print and digital marketing needs






We organise both the print and delivery of all products designed to remove any hassle on your part



T 0330 223 0550 E W 50

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.