Volume 15 Issue 125
MANAGE YOUR ENTIRE CASINO… FROM THE PALM OF YOUR HAND!
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Editor’s Page Welcome to Casino Life...
Per Jaldung in his role as Chair of the European Casino Association starts off our first edition of the year with a review of the ECA’s achievements in 2018 and an outline of what the future will bring. Year on year the ECA grows with confidence and we wish it well especially with its 3-year plan. This year, perhaps more than ever, the industry needs to draw together and become greater than its constituent parts. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has recently been our venue of choice for staying and playing, so who better to interview than Trudie Yau, Director of Player Development EMEA. Peter White and Damien Connelly find out more about how this iconic venue attracts and retains high value guests. Diversity and Inclusion are not buzzwords. Tracy Damestani CEO NCF and Tracey Stevenson Chairman of DICE tell us more about how they are trying to get the casino industry to recognise gender bias and build more inclusive senior management representation. I find out more about the initiative and the practical ways that DICE is planning to make a difference. Aristidis Tsikouras Managing Director GeWeTe chats to Rebecca Green ahead of ICE about the company’s significant success over the past quarter century and what it has planned for this year’s show and beyond. Our man in Vegas, Victor Royer, catches up with Tracey Chernay, Senior Vice President, Global Casino, Gaming and Lottery, TransAct Technologies. Tracey provides great insight into how the company is faring and its plans for the future. Nimble. I like that word. Meanwhile, Albert Yu shares his views on his latest venture as Chief Operating Officer, ALPHASLOT. Blockchain may be new to some but it’s here to stay and Albert is leading the way. Read more on his exploits. Andrew Spencer is Head of Education and Training at ‘The Totally Gaming Academy’, Clarion Events and talked to Peter White about the future courses on offer for 2019. ICE is around the corner so we take a peek at what we can expect on the exhibition floor. Finally, Damien Connelly has the “last word” with a timely look at Ocean Resort Casino and the need to diversify your offering to continue competing — something The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has done in spades. We look forward to seeing you at ICE.
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5 Guest Comment Per Jaldung, Chairman, European Casino Association 6 Following the Money Trudie Yau, Director of Player Development EMEA for Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Interview by: Peter White and Damien Connelly 16 Diversity and Inclusion Glyn Thomas chats to Tracy Damestani CEO NCF and Tracey Stevenson Chairman of DICE 19 Changing Times Aristidis Tsikouras Managing Director GeWeTe chats to Rebecca Green 24 Epic Edge for Casino Operations Interview with Tracey Chernay, TransAct Technologies by: Victor H Royer 30 Alphaslot Albert Yu, Chief Operating Officer, ALPHASLOT by: Bill Healey 34 Progress with Knowledge Andrew Spencer, Head of Education and Training at ‘The Totally Gaming Academy’, chats to Peter White 36 ICE London Preview 2019 Apex Gaming • DRGT™ • Zitro • AMATIC Industries • CasinoFlex Systems • Aristocrat 50 The Last Word by: Damien Connelly
Editorial Policy: The views and opinions expressed in Casino Life remain principally the views of contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or publishers. The publishers wish to avoid inaccuracies and, whilst every precaution has been taken to ensure that information contained in this publication is accurate, no liability is accepted by the editor or publishers for errors or omissions, however caused. Unless otherwise stated, articles appearing in this publication remain the copyright of the publishers and may not be reproduced in any form without the publisher’s written consent. Printed in the UK by MPC Ltd.
Guest Comment, Per Jaldung The same procedure as every year – While ICE London is rightly the customary start to every year, 2019 promises to be a great edition that I very much look forward to. Clarion Gaming has chosen the spirit of genius as the theme for this year, which will become apparent when visiting the show floor. The genius of ICE London and its diversity is however also very much connected to the people attending and the conversations this allows. With suppliers, operators, regulators, politicians, academia and global thought leaders in the audience, it will be an opportunity for exchanges on the highest levels. This will certainly be the case at the International Casino Conference (ICC) that we are proud to jointly organise with our partner Clarion Gaming for many years. The last year has been a success for us as European Casino Association (ECA). In May we held the largestever European Dealer Championship in Montenegro at the stunning Resort & Casino Maestral. The annual ECA Industry Forum, a coming-together of the industry’s leading figures was held in Monaco at the beautiful Monte Carlo Casino. This was a fantastic event in an outstanding location, which also offered us the opportunity to discuss two key topics for our industry: Trends and developments in anti-money laundering & best practices in diversity and inclusion. We also proudly welcomed Casino Schaanwald from Liechtenstein as 28th and newest member of the ECA in February and were delighted to award the first-ever gender diversity scholarship for the Executive Development Program. This was a collaboration with our partners Clarion Gaming, the University of Nevada, Reno College of Business and Extended Studies, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas International Gaming Institute and the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM). Looking towards the next year, we are finetuning the next three-year strategy that promises high ambition in further supporting and promoting Europe’s licensed land-based casino industry. Our strategy includes a strong focus on continuing ECA’s positive engagement with policymaking and developing further activities that make a real difference to our industry on the casino floor.
Per Jaldung Chairman, European Casino Association
We are looking forward to seeing you at the ICC, our stand at ICE London (N1-142) and the show itself. Per Jaldung Chairman, European Casino Association
Following the Money Trudie Yau, Director of Player Development EMEA, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Interview by Peter White and Damien Connelly
he Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas stands out in a standout city. Its staff are great (CoStars, as they are known internally), its focus on the customer is noticeable, its Strip location is superb, and its food and beverage collection is incomparable. If you look at customer reviews online, you can see The Cosmopolitan is among the highest rated in Las Vegas. That speaks volumes of all the hard work that has been put in, and that has been devoted by the team at this property to ensure The Cosmopolitan is memorably successful. I know industry people who only stay at The Cosmopolitan when they visit Las Vegas… if industry people rate it so highly, it must be good. The resort opened December 2010, and then was purchased by Blackstone Group in 2014, with a foreseeable massive redevelopment goal ahead of them for the resort. It’s not only a redeveloped resort, but is shining brighter than ever in Sin City, as Trudie Yau helps explain:
Can you briefly summarise your career to just prior to your current role? I started as a Croupier/Dealer back in 1982 in Launceston, Tasmania, which was my first taste of the gaming and hospitality industry. In 1997 I made the move to the UK, to which I started my 20 year career working with Grosvenor Casinos Luton with a fabulous team that continuously encouraged me. Moving into London in a Senior Manager Role opening the Hard Rock Casino, on to the Connoisseur, Gloucester Road, Park Tower and Barracuda. I was fortunate enough to move to VIP Acquisitions headed by Paul Mettam. I then had the opportunity to work for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas by Danny Ruiz establishing our London branch office with Paul at the helm. How did you start your career in Player Development? I don’t think there was ever a definitive start to it. I was
with it. Networking and relationship building are key, as well as a vast learning of multiple languages. What is your typical day/week? Basically, what does someone in Player Development do? My week varies and is never the same, which is one of the things I love most about my job. I start the day with a series of communication, as Iâ€™m consistently keeping in touch with my players, many of whom are internationally based. Much of the time I am traveling from various markets to both establish new and maintain my existing relationships. Networking is key, and you can never make enough connections. I pride myself on my work ethic and being there for my guests and new opportunities whenever they may arise. If I have a player arriving at the resort, no matter what time of day, I am on the phone ensuring they land safely and are checked-in and the situation with their room stay. We have a tremendous team on the ground at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, however I always ensure that I am available should my guests have a need during their stay. This goes a long way with relationship building. Can you explain to readers the recent promotion you hosted in London with a temporary Cosmopolitan Bar? It was organised by the resortâ€™s Brand Team and was geared toward travel groups and corporate businesses visiting The Cosmopolitan. We became involved to show our support with being an extension of our property with our London branch office as a part of the resortâ€™s international marketing team. It was a fabulous event bringing a small bit of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to always able to build excellent relationships with people, and that naturally lead me to this business. I pride myself on understanding the individual needs of our guests, so with that, this career was an instinctive direction for me to take, and wish I had done it earlier. Most of the customers I work with I have known for 20 years or more, and I still to this day can pick the phone up to them like it was yesterday. Many readers are beginning their career in our casino industry. Some will be interested in advancement and may be considering moving into a Player Development role? I would recommend gaining insight in operations, and finding a true understanding of the business, as it will directly help with player development and relationships. Additional helpful points include playing a little, to begin to feel and understand the game and the emotions associated
London. What skills do you find help you perform your role as the Director of Player Development EMEA for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas? I am fortunate to have a natural ability to build relations and talk with pretty much anyone. I listen, observe and try to be pro-active rather than reactive. I research my customers and their needs. Additionally, I have a strong gaming background that helps me relate to our guests during their journey playing with us. What advice would you give someone looking to move into a Player Development role? Truly get to know your customers. Also, the small things do matter. Understand it is always about the customer and their personal needs. Stay grounded. Be prepared to work hard and always, always be positive and sincere.
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Outline the specifics of your role of Director of Player Development EMEA? To source, maintain and develop player relations on behalf of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. I facilitate their booking at the resort from start to finish, and ensure every experience is an ideal one, to then hope for a trusted
complete redevelopment of the resort, and with that, we always have something new and exciting to showcase to our guests.
relationship that in turn results in repeat visits. I strive to be associated as someone who is the best in this field.
The younger generation have a different attention span to the older. They do not tend to play as long and sit for hours upon hours, but would rather play for a bit, leave to experience something else, say have a dinner, explore the resort or city, and then return to gaming. Itâ€™s key to be a part of those varying needs and wants, with highlighting the resort and also building in tangible, experiential moments for guests in addition to the gaming element as well.
What aspects of your role do you find most satisfying? Knowing that my guests have had the most amazing stay and that all their expectations have been exceeded. Making others happy and establishing relationships is a pure delight. What are the key factors in your opinion that contribute most to The Cosmopolitanâ€™s popularity with VIPs success in these competitive times? The Cosmopolitan is a more modern take on a luxury brand, whilst at the same time offering an exclusive VIP experience. The resort is fresh and constantly evolving. The Cosmopolitanâ€™s restaurant collection is outstanding with some of the most respected restaurant offerings in the entire city. The past few years have been devoted to a
What trends have you observed with VIP clientele over recent years?
What is your view on gaming industry & innovation? I think we will see big changes in the next decade as digital gaming becomes more high profile. I like the involvement of sports betting as well, as I think this is a market that we will see continue to grow. If you are allowed to say, who was your most surprising guest or guests during 2018?
All my guests are surprising and interesting. One stands out a 72 year old man who hugged me when he left and said thank you for making me feel young and alive again. It was a wonderful experience. What has been one of the highlights as Director of Player Development EMEA in recent years? For me, there is a highlight every week. I am fortunate to work with amazing colleagues and guests, who bring so much to the table and that Iâ€™m learning something new from every day. It is a highlight to work with our esteemed
guests and to receive the respect from these successful individuals. I know I have done my job right if they continue to visit the resort again and again. How does the Resort Casino ensure that the highest levels of service are maintained for Cosmopolitan VIPs? The attention to detail and our communication. Every department is key in ensuring that the guest has an exceptional stay. What in your opinion are amongst the most impressive
Trudie Yau, Director of Player Development EMEA, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
approach to VIP Comps involving its Privilege and rewards program? We have one of the best reward programmes in our Identity Membership & Rewards, and pride ourselves with being one of the most compelling in the Las Vegas market. Our specialized offerings and personalized promotional offers direct to players provide them with a distinct way of rewarding their dedication to our brand, and in turn have them returning for more ways to experience the resort.
facilities for VIPs at the Cosmopolitan? The Cosmopolitan has so many, that it is hard to narrow in on a select few. I love our restaurant offerings, as we are known as a destination hotspot among foodies. Additionally, our Butler team is outstanding with the immense attention to details that goes into each individual playerâ€™s stay. Additionally, our complete remodel of the resortâ€™s more than 3,000 guest rooms this past year offers high design and residential functionality for our guests. Could you provide an insight into the organisations
Millennials are an important age range. How does the Cosmopolitan cater for this market? The options are endless at The Cosmopolitan. We have Marquee Nightclub and Dayclub, the newly debuted Block 16 Urban Food Hall, innovative technology offerings in our resident chatbot, Rose, and so much more. The resort is constantly refreshing our offerings as a means to stay innovative in the market and relevant to our varied guests. What would you say are amongst the many unique aspects that single out The Cosmopolitan from the rest? The Cosmopolitan offers a decidedly different approach to hospitality, with the resortâ€™s distinct style and approachable luxury.
What innovations at The Cosmopolitan in recent years have most impressed you and why? The resort’s Restaurant Collection has continued to develop and flourish throughout the years, now with more than 27 unique-to-market concepts for guests to choose from. The Cosmopolitan’s 21 unique, exclusive Boulevard Penthouses continue to be a major draw among our high-end clientele, as there is nothing else like them in the market. What advice would you give someone looking to move into a Player Development role? Work hard, have good values and always maintain your integrity. Be flexible in your hours and also your opinions, and work hard. Listen A LOT – the more you listen, the more you will find you will learn. The most important factor – be kind. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas launched at a very difficult time for our industry. Everything I hear in our industry is very positive about The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. What’s it like working for this property? Fresh, exciting, vibrant and full of energy! The core values of how the resort takes care of their employees, or CoStars, is the foundation for its popularity. The resort prides itself on employing veterans, which I think is truly commendable. For example in our resort onboarding program (induction in UK terms), a question is asked among the group of new-hires, “who has served for our
country?” From there, the resort management team invites this group to stand and a round of applause and acknowledgement is given. It leaves a lump in your throat and makes you immensely proud to be working for a company with such high regard and appreciation for its employees. Are you based in Las Vegas, in Europe, or you travel so much you could be based anywhere in the world? I am based out of our London branch. My job is to source, secure and look after customers, so I need to be constantly mobile. Looking beyond 2018, what do you see as amongst the main aims and ambitions for 2019? My main focus in 2019 is to welcome new players to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. On a personal note, I would like to be known as the ‘go-to’ person for Las Vegas in this industry and market. Finally, when you are not at work – how do you relax? I adore Netflix and sports (though watching them more these days than participating). I live in the country so I love the quiet life with close friends who are like family. I am lucky I get the best of both worlds.
Casino Life would like to thank you for taking time from your busy schedule for this interview
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Diversity and Inclusion Glyn Thomas chats to Tracy Damestani CEO NCF and Tracey Stevenson Chairman of DICE
Please can we commence the interview with an outline of this new initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in the Casino sector? “The National Casino Forum, which represents the landbased casino operators, has set up DICE (Diversity and Inclusion for Career Enhancement) to create greater awareness of gender and diversity issues and to help operators combat unconscious bias in recruitment, retention and promotion. This has become an increasingly important issue in the business world - the BBC pay row, the gender pay gap and the MeToo movement have all made headline news in the last couple of years – and Sarah Harrison, the outgoing head of the Gambling Commission, challenged the casino industry at last year’s ICE to promote more women to senior leadership positions. So, it seemed like a good idea to give the tree a shake. But this initiative is not a box ticking exercise, it is about
making the casino sector an attractive place to work for everyone. Around 30%-40% of the workforce comes from Europe and after Brexit we will face a growing challenge to recruit and retain staff. I am already hearing from operators that recruitment is a growing challenge – DICE is a tool to make their lives easier”. What are the main aims of DICE? “The aim is to have a balanced, inclusive workforce at every level of the casino industry, encompassing disability, race and gender. DICE will provide strategic leadership, advising on best practice and supporting operators. The starting point is to get an accurate picture of the current casino workforce. What does it look like now? Is it representative of society at every level? We are conducting a survey of the UK-wide workforce so we can deal with facts rather than assumptions. We can then find out if anything is putting off people joining the industry, particularly those from certain backgrounds – is it not sufficiently financially rewarding or is the environment not considered attractive? Or does the way companies are recruiting need to be re-assessed?
We also want to find out why people are leaving the industry. Are there bottlenecks in certain positions or at certain levels? If so, we need to look at what can be done to address that, whether it is better networking opportunities, more mentoring, or something else entirely. Our aim is to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion, identifying any potential barriers and developing best practice for operators. How can the industry best assist with this new initiative? We have asked all operators to share their data so our employment survey is comprehensive and will give us a roadmap from which to work. We also want them to share examples of best practice and initiatives that have proved successful in their own businesses so other operators can learn from them, just as we do with every other area of the business through the National Casino Forum. The NCF sponsors a Diversity and Inclusion award at the British Casino Awards and it would be great to see as many operators as possible nominating initiatives for next year’s award.” Who in addition to Tracey Stevenson are the other members of the board? “We are fortunate to have several experienced and well respected industry figures serving on the board alongside Tracey and myself: Mike Rothwell, Managing Director, Caesars Entertainment EMEA; Marieanne Carmody Weir, Head of Regulatory Compliance and Audit, Aspers Group; David Livermore, Compliance and Security Director, Les Ambassadeurs; Alison Sullivan, General Manager, Park Tower - Grosvenor; and David Smith, Gaming Director, The Hippodrome Casino. Can you explain about the Industry Workshops and how well attended were the first two events? “The first two industry workshops, held in 2018, were very successful. The first was aimed at senior leadership figures and the second at middle management. We looked at the arguments for a more inclusive workforce and at any factors that might prevent women reaching senior leadership positions. We examined examples of unconscious bias because it is something that affects us all, whatever our background, and how it might influence the way we recruit. It was important to start at the top because if initiatives like this are going to work they need buy-in at boardroom level. Middle management is also crucial and the challenge is to reach people in operational positions, as well as those
in head office because in bigger companies they can be detached from day-to-day life on the casino floor. The next workshop in 2019 will be aimed at mid-management positions. If we are going to achieve the changes we want to see in the industry we need to embed the right culture at every level of every business”. Questions for Tracey Stevenson What comprises your role as Chairman of DICE? “DICE has been set up to promote diversity and inclusion in the casino industry so my role is to bring together ideas, generate a debate and champion the best initiatives which the industry can embrace”. How did you get into the Casino industry and what aspects of it do find most rewarding? “Like many people, I fell into the industry by accident. I joined Crown Melbourne, aged 19, working in customer service, hosting and doing administrative work, then I moved into compliance and have worked in this area for over 10 years. I moved to Crown Aspinalls in December 2016 and have now been in London for more than two years. I love the variety of the casino industry. There are so many facets to it and so many different career opportunities. When the compliance role came up, I liked what it offered – it involved working collaboratively to effect an operational framework”. Can you explain to readers your role of General Manager Compliance and Integrity? “I oversee the Compliance and Surveillance functions of the business, however, the ultimate goal is to protect the operator licence by ensuring the company is meeting all the conditions it has agreed to. There are however, so many diverse aspects of the job such as training staff, writing policies and reports audits and analysis, just to name a few... When I first came to Crown Aspinalls from Australia, I had the opportunity to look at the business with fresh eyes. There is so much more now that the role encompasses – you never sit still because you need to make sure the business is always ahead of the curve, creating awareness
at all levels of the company about new regulations and setting the tone and strategy of our commitment to that. My job is to protect the customer by ensuring the casino is a safe, fair environment, as well as a successful compliant business. I’m very lucky because the people in the business are very engaged with the social responsibility agenda. The industry, generally, has done a great job in promoting this through the work of the National Casino Forum and Playing Safe, but we proactively look at ways we can continue to improve”. If you could change one aspect of the Casino industry what would it be? “I would like to change the perception of the industry. There are so many positive things happening in the industry and I would like to see more focus on this. As an industry, I believe we are pulling together in the right direction. I would also like to see the casino industry become a more inclusive workplace, particularly at boardroom level, with a more proportionate representation of women and members of the BAME community in senior roles”. What advice would you have for anyone from the BAME community who maybe interested in making a career for themselves in the Casino sector? “The casino industry is a very welcoming place. There are people from all backgrounds working in casinos and so
many opportunities to carve out a long-term career. You come across so many people who have been in the industry for more than 20 years and that tells you that casinos can be a great place of employment for people from all backgrounds and it is not uncommon to see people stay within the industry, make a career and even return to the industry. I came into the industry almost 16 years ago and it has offered me a great career. What is the appeal for your support and involvement with this new endeavour? “I have been very lucky in receiving support from role models who have been invested in my career, such as Michelle Fielding, General Manager Compliance in Melbourne, and I want to give that same support to other women who are building their own careers. It is important to give back, inspire your staff and know what makes them engaged – to ensure they are happy in their current role or help guide them if they have aspirations to take on a new role. The appeal of getting involved in DICE was to create awareness and push boundaries in a positive direction. The industry itself has people from many different backgrounds, but casino boardrooms are still male-dominated. We are making progress, such as the establishment of the DICE initiative and collating data to help identify the answers, but there is still much work to be done”.
Aristidis Tsikouras, Managing Director, GeWeTe
Changing Times Aristidis Tsikouras, Managing Director, GeWeTe talks to Rebecca Green
What is unique about GeWeTe? It is a combination of several important factors that makes us unique in the market for change and redemption machines. They are our: history, great sales and support team, indeed all our staff, corporate philosophy, reputation, proven track record, focus and priceperformance ratio.
Why do your customers select you over your competitors? The answer to this question really relates to our unique qualities. First and foremost it is because we offer the right products with ‘made in Germany’ quality at the right price – with the service to match. We develop all our products ourselves – we manage the whole process.
We already have the strongest product range in the industry – literally the right solution for every application. As we manage the entire process – from development right until production – we are able to look to the future in a bright and professional way – I mean here that we can anticipate demand for new technologies or payment requirements and develop the solutions to match. We are very much focused on the future. We enjoy an excellent reputation – we have over 75% market share in the German market for example. Today I am proud to say that we are truly an international company with our own subsidiaries in key countries and a strong growth and investment plan. Our customers know they can trust us – we take them seriously and are there to help – just as much after the sale as before it. We know how important it is to support our customers – our machines are extremely important to their businesses. Relating to trust – we have been in business over 25 years now and our parent company is the
Gauselmann Group. We are part of a very successful group that is exceptionally strong. Our customers know we are here to last – this is also a decisive factor as change and redemption machines are built to last and a customer wants to have the right feeling that this company will remain in existence throughout the duration of the machine’s life and more. Which machine has been GeWeTe biggest success so far? This all depends on the market segment you are looking at. Our Cash-Center range is the most successful in the casino industry, especially the Cash-Center-Compact-Casino. This offers all forms of cash redemption, including tickets and cards. It is intuitive to use, it is extremely secure and as a policy we only use tried-and-tested components. The feedback has been excellent in the market place and the number of casino installations continues to rise. Why has the company chosen a PCbased technology? How does, for example, that option assist with
cash and cashless solutions together with TITO? It is all about embracing new technologies and making the most of these. The PC-based technology brings a redemption machine to life. It can be connected to the casino management system through the SAS port. Operators can then gain real-time information on the machine’s contents and the transactions that have been made. Any potential problems can be quickly seen and thus swiftly resolved – so maintaining machine uptime. The integrated touchscreen makes it more attractive for the players to use. Operators can also make use of features using the touchscreen. Another recent introduction developed on the back of the proven popularity of contactless and Chip & Pin transactions via debit and credit cards. GeWeTe has evolved to incorporate the facility to handle card transactions. How has this additional facility been received by your customers? Once again answering this question shows how future proof GeWeTe is. This comes back to creating the right solution for every application. There are countries where people prefer to use an electronic purse more than cash. We are faced with the situation that a player may be standing in front of a gaming machine only with cards and smartphone in their pockets. No operator can afford that such people leave their premises because of this ‘problem’. A problem is always a positive challenge for us. Thus, we have integrated the Chip & Pin solution into our machines so that players can access cash to enable play. Since our last interview we have observed your new website. The previous was very good but this new version makes it even easier to navigate. As we continually grow our product range, adding new features and new products, this information all has to be added to the website. We were aware that this could ‘overload’ our website. We all want to find exactly what we are looking for as quickly as possible. With that
in mind, we have updated our website to make it as customer friendly as possible. Individual product data sheets and videos are now much easier to find. Having recently celebrated GeWeTe 25th Anniversary, what are the big future opportunities for the business and the sector as a whole? Celebrating our 25th anniversary in 2018 was a very special occasion for us all. It showed us all how far we have come in that time and how faithful our customers are to us – for which we are very thankful. Our opportunities will arise from continuing to serve our customers as best as possible and creating new solutions to respond to changing market requirements and technologies. When we continue to do this, then the big opportunities will come by themselves. We have a great sales and support team with much experience in the industry – we are well equipped for global growth. As with all businesses in all sectors, technology is calling the shots. How successful are you at attracting tech skills, in consideration of the much-debated skills shortage? We are in the thankful situation that we have a very loyal workforce. Many of the team have been working for us for a long time, some since the company’s beginnings back in 1993. We have a flat management structure. We all know and respect each other and communicate openly. My door is always open to everyone – that is the way we work. That fosters a strong and happy working environment. When new people come and see if they wish to join us, this plays a very important role. Also, as we are a growing company, there are opportunities to gain more responsibility – so we can offer bright careers. How would you describe GeWeTe solutions to someone who wanted something similar, only cheaper? I relish such a question. Price is a winning component for the customers of GeWeTe. Our customers save in the long
CASINOFLEX & ICE 2019 STAND # S5 - 102 www.casinoflexsystems.com
term. You can buy the wrong thing cheaply, have potentially lots of problems and then have to re-buy something else. Or you invest and buy the right thing that works excellently over time. A redemption machine is key to an operator’s business. If it stops working, then players cannot access the machine. Think about casinos that use only redemption machines – thus have no cage. What would you do then if you were an operator? That potential worry – what if the redemption machine goes down again – typically during the weekend when I am most busy but then I cannot access anyone to help me? Such problems don’t exist for our customers. They can relax and focus on their business and leave the GeWeTe machine to do that it is supposed to do. And that for many years. Investing in GeWeTe saves time and money. That is why I firmly believe we offer the best priceperformance value in the industry. How do you manage a new product launch? What tactics, strategies and processes do you use? Wait and see. We will be revealing an exciting new product for the casino industry at ICE. We have all the necessary information and our team is trained and ready to inform everyone who wishes to know more. Just come to our stand at ICE to find out! The Cash-Center-Compact-Casino is a proven winner with Casinos of all sizes. What are the key aspects that have made it such a winner? The Cash-Center-Compact-Casino has
proven itself to be ideal for casinos. It has a modular design and offers the ability for payment / change in coins, banknotes, cashless, magnetic cards to name just a few. A ticket printer can be included or a card reader. Therefore, it covers the full range of payment possibilities and can be easily updated in the field should the local requirements change. It goes without saying that it is a GeWeTe product – thus extremely robust, secure and built to last with all the key requirements included. Sports Betting is a growth sector. Have the CashCenter, Cash-Center-Compact and Cash-CenterCompact 7” LCD also proven popular in these venues? That is very true. We are strongly active in the sports betting market. We work together with over 40 sports betting providers in Europe, including the Gauselmannowned sports betting companies XTiP and Cashpoint. We are recognised as experts for redemption machines for this market – with products that you mentioned in your question. We offer individual solutions and invite sports betting operators to come and see us at ICE to find out how we can support them. With the countdown to ICE London underway with only weeks remaining what can visitors expect to see on the GeWeTe booth 2019? Expect to see our latest innovation for the casino market that we will be revealing at ICE 2019! Naturally you can expect to see a great choice of GeWeTe solutions for the casino, sports betting and street gaming market. Our team is looking forward to seeing you all. You are all welcome! Have you anything else you would like to add? I’d like to finish this interview by thanking our customers for their loyal support. Without such fantastic customers GeWeTe would not be the company it is today.
Tracey Chernay, Senior Vice President, Global Casino, Gaming and Lottery, TransAct Technologies
Epic Edge for Casino Operations
Interview with Tracey Chernay, Senior Vice President, Global Casino, Gaming and Lottery, TransAct Technologies by: Victor H Royer Tracey, first I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me. As you know, Casino Life Magazine takes great pride in interviewing leading industry CEOs and Senior Level Management members to better understand both the companies that they work for or own, as well as what the key attributes are for their success. Please tell our readers about yourself and your role at TransAct. Thank you, Victor, I appreciate your kind words and the opportunity to share with your readers. I serve as the Senior Vice President in Global Casino, Gaming and Lottery at TransAct. My responsibilities include developing and executing TransAct’s global business strategies for our gaming sales division, including product development, sales, and marketing planning for our Epic line of printer hardware and Epicentral software. I directly manage the global gaming sales and technical team worldwide. I joined TransAct in 2005, and it has been an honor to be a part of
We have a multi-prong go-to-market approach at TransAct for the Casino, Gaming and Lottery markets. We sell our printer hardware, firmware, accessories and parts directly to manufacturers of EGM, VLT, and lottery terminals. In addition, we call on casinos to educate, inform and create demand for our Epic line of printer products and the Epicentral software system that allows casinos to communicate directly to players while they are playing at the slots. TransAct also partners with strategic distribution partners around the world. Our direct representatives work with local partners to ensure our shared customers receive the best possible customer service and support in their time zone or geographical region.
this company that continues to grow and set itself apart in the gaming industry.
We have been fortunate to build long-term relationships with so many global casino group customers over the past twenty plus years. Many of our customers started working with us using our roll-fed printers even before ticket-in, ticket-out (TITO) technology was adopted and have been loyal users of the Epic 430, Epic 880, Epic 950 and now the newly launched Epic Edge. We are grateful for the relationships we have built with casino groups worldwide, such as Caesars Entertainment, Wynn Las Vegas and Macau, Penn National, Resorts World / Genting in the U.S., UK, Hong Kong and the Philippines, The Hippodrome, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Macau, MGM Macau, and Melco in Macau, Greece, and the Philippines.
Please explain what is TransAct, and what the company does? TransAct Technologies is a global company that develops software-driven technology and printing solutions for high-growth markets, including casino and gaming, lottery, restaurant solutions, point of sale (POS) automation, and oil and gas. Thanks to millions of printers, software, and terminal installations throughout the world, our topquality labels, receipts, tickets, and coupons can be found throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean Islands, and the South Pacific. Who are some of the partners with whom TransAct does business, and what kind of services do you provide for them?
What has been the most successful approach employed by TransAct for business relationships with gaming-resort destination properties?
How is TransAct positioned today – in today’s competitive business environments? Thanks in part to our immense success with the Epic 950 ticket-in/ticket-out (TITO) printer, which launched in 2005
and is now considered an industry standard, TransAct continues to stand out as a leader in the casino printing industry. The numbers reflect our place in the field with continued year-over-year market share gains, generating a 62 percent year-over-year growth in our casino and gaming sales during the 2018 third quarter alone. We also continue to set the bar high with the launch of the Epic Edge– the only 300 DPI TITO printer in the industry. In the software solutions sector we lead with Epicentral, the only field-proven enterprise software solution that allows the casino operator to get more out of their ticket printers than a cash out voucher across the entire casino floor. In sports betting, the company’s Epic 880 printer is the preferred roll printer that is incorporated into all the leading sports betting kiosks. Why is this so? The Epic 950’s reliability and efficiency has set the stage for the next-generation casino printer, which is the Epic Edge. The Epic Edge is truly one of a kind because it features a 300 DPI print resolution that delivers a 50 percent improvement over all current casino ticket printers. This upgrade provides an increased acceptance rate and razor-sharp barcodes. The printer is currently being tested and rolled out by EGM OEMs, and we are confident that these features will demonstrate why TransAct remains a competitive company in the industry. With sports betting steadily on the rise in America, we are pleased to say that casinos are installing TransAct’s Epic 880 printers, which are used in established sports betting markets across the world. The latest installation can be found at the DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. Known for its reliability and flexibility, the Epic 880 is used extensively across gaming sectors where the most dependable, robust product is required. As the number of jurisdictions approving sports betting expands in the United States, TransAct looks forward to continuing to lead the path in this exciting gaming sector. What would you say makes TransAct unique as a choice in these fields – in Las Vegas as well as worldwide?
The Epic Edge TITO Printer from TransAct Technologies
At TransAct, we excel in printing. Printers, and the associated firmware and software, are our bread and butter, and our near record quarterly casino and gaming sales reflect TransAct’s continued success in leveraging our industry-leading technology. Our recent introduction of the Epic Edge printer, which brings next-level print resolution to gaming floors worldwide, highlights again our commitment to lead this market through consistent innovation and unmatched reliability both locally and worldwide. How have the TransAct products and services evolved in recent years? I would say our most prominent product evolvement is the Epic Edge, our latest iteration of the casino TITO printer. The Epic Edge was built on the proven, long-term performance of the Epic 950, which is currently installed in over 750,000 slots throughout hundreds of casinos worldwide. How has TransAct developed over the years in its ways of providing support options to its clients? Because we have clients from all corners of the world, we are committed to providing support to each region. In addition to partnering up with TBG in Australia and APE Macau in Asia, we have also made some great strides in Europe. In the past year, we launched a European direct sales team to better address our customers in the area, and we also expanded our warehouse in the United Kingdom to provide fast, just in time delivery, and quick turn product repairs when needed. Additionally, since 2015, we have doubled the size of our software team in Las Vegas to further develop Epicentral. We are also happy to say that David Block, TransAct’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, received VEGAS INC’s 2018 Top Tech Exec Award in the public business category, further showing the great success that TransAct’s software team has garnered in the past few years.
What is the percentage split between casino and non-casino clients for TransAct? Are casino-related programs offered by TransAct more of a “core” business model? Our revenue mix varies from quarter to quarter but in our most recently reported results, Casino, Gaming and Lottery represented approximately 50 percent of TransAct’s revenues for 2018 yearto-date. That said, we have made significant strategic investments in our Restaurant Solutions Group, which will yield increasing results as the food safety and restaurant back of house automation industry continues to expand. In the casino environment, how does the general tourist or visitor or casino player, benefit from services provided by TransAct? At TransAct, we are not only committed to designing technologically advanced products for casino operators, but we also ensure that they are tactical and user-friendly for the players. Epicentral is a result of this goal, as it is designed to directly benefit the players by providing them with unique, customized coupons while they play their favorite slot machine or electronic table game. The promotions are created by the casino operators using an intricate system that allows them to create games within games, segment players by tier, promote to different levels of carded players, and much more. The possibilities are endless! How have these products and services, provided by TransAct, been received by the gaming industry as a whole? We’re pleased to say that we continue to receive very positive feedback on our gaming products. The Epic 950 printer is currently installed in more than 750,000 slots throughout hundreds of casinos worldwide, which speaks volumes about its reliability. This industry award-winner is casino-tested and casino-preferred for TITO casino printing. We have received great feedback on the Epic Edge printer, so much so that it will be released ahead of schedule due to the selection of the Epic Edge by Wynn’s
The Epicentral Product Suite from TransAct Technologies
Encore Boston Harbor slated for opening later this year. Does TransAct provide any direct-to-consumer services? If yes, what are they. If no, why not? When customers purchase our products, we provide training support both on-site and online. To keep our customers’ printers printing, TransAct also has a comprehensive service, support and supplies system in place to provide customers with every conceivable part, consumable and service request. We offer individual parts for sale, which is very cost-effective for our clients, so that they don’t have to re-purchase whole products for minor issues. Promotions and incentives are an important mix of customer loyalty. Does TransAct provide any such incentives to its customers and clients? If yes, what are they. If no, why not? We are always looking for ways to work creatively with our customers to develop solutions that will meet their particular budget and financing requirements. As a debt-free company, we have the ability to offer flexible
financing, innovative inventory management options, and trade-ins on our own and competitive products. Our representatives welcome the challenge to work closely with our customers to land on the right set of product and financial solutions for them. We pride ourselves as being a nimble company that can respond quickly to our customers’ changing needs. Quality and affordability have been two key words associated with casino resorts for a long time – how does TransAct assist their gaming clients in providing such value to their guests? The quality and value of our products is stellar. We are happy to report that the Epic 950 printer is so reliable that less than .03 percent of casinos have experienced any sort of failure with the printer during our initial warranty period, and many of our casino installations have used our printers without fail for 10 years or more! We also set out to make products that are cost-effective. The 62 percent year-over-year increase and 50 percent year-to-date rise in casino and gaming sales are clear indications that the value we provide customers has never been higher. How would you sum-up the future for TransAct in Las Vegas? And elsewhere in the world? TransAct’s plans for the future are well established, both in Las Vegas and around the world. We continue to expand our Las Vegas facility bringing more software engineers into our Software Center of Excellence, and we continue to expand our global sales, operations, and technical support staff in our European and Asian locations. We are excited about our product road map for both hardware and software with an emphasis on growing our software solutions to maximize the value of our printers for our customers. Our leadership team is strong with over 100 years of combined experience in the Casino, Gaming and Lottery industries. In short, our future has never been brighter! In your career, what would you consider to be the highlights? The greatest satisfaction that I realize from my career is always related to the long-term relationships that I have built over time with customers, partners, and co-workers. On the customer front, I derive a great deal of pleasure in helping casinos achieve their goals of revenue growth and guest loyalty. There is nothing better than seeing an individual customer receive a promotion as a result of a program that we have helped them develop. For our
Tracey S. Chernay Senior Vice President, Global Casino, Gaming and Lottery Tracey Chernay, Senior Vice President, Global Casino, Gaming and Lottery is responsible for developing and executing TransAct’s global business strategies for TransAct’s Global Casino, Gaming and Lottery sales division including sales, marketing, and product development planning for the company’s Epic line of printer hardware and Epicentral software. Chernay manages the global gaming sales and technical team worldwide. Chernay joined TransAct in 2005 as Senior Vice President, Marketing, bringing in-depth understanding and extensive experience in global marketing strategies to TransAct as the company expanded international initiatives and implemented growth strategies across its entire business. In 2006, she was named Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing for the Point-of-Sale and Banking Business. In 2007, Chernay moved to Las Vegas and assumed responsibility for product sales and marketing for the Casino and Gaming industry. Chernay was promoted to her current position in 2010. Prior to joining TransAct, Chernay had a successful 22-year career at Xerox Corporation, and was Worldwide Marketing Manager, Production Color Marketing at the time of her departure. Chernay holds a B.S. from Palm Beach Atlantic University and an MBA from the nationally ranked Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Chernay serves on the Board of Health Bridges International and is an active participant in the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM). partners, I strive to be a reliable, fair and, responsive representative of our company while helping them achieve their goals. From a co-worker perspective, I am only as successful as my team is. I thrive on their wins, celebrate when they hit their targets, and strategize with them on their careers. I have found the most success and satisfaction when I focus on the team’s success. Thank you, Tracey, for your time, and for sharing this with us, and the readers of Casino Life magazine.
Alphaslot Albert Yu, Chief Operating Officer, ALPHASLOT. Interview by Bill Healey
When was the company founded and what was the inspiration behind its creation? Alphaslot (www.alphaslot.io) was founded in July 2018. The inspiration behind our project was the realization that it is extremely challenging for land-based casinos to attract new players. We believe blockchain technology can bring about new opportunities in the gaming industry by attracting new customer segments from eSports, mobile, online social games arenas and connect them to land-based environments, truly embracing the O2O (online-offline) experience. For those of our readers that are not familiar with Alphaslot can we commence this interview with a brief history of the organization? Alphaslot has its office in Hong Kong and technology office in Shenzhen. Since then, we’ve become the first blockchain gaming company to be a member of the GSA “Gaming Standards Association” (https://www. gamingstandards.com/membership/current-members?qtview__members__block_4=2#qt-view__members__ block_4), a notable development as the GSA is the leading body bridging gaming regulations, compliance, industry and adoption of new technology (including blockchain) for gaming. Honorary President of the European Casino Association (Ron), a true veteran in the gaming industry along with the partner at Pantera Capital from Silicon Valley (Paul) have bought in on this vision and joined Alphaslot as our advisors. Our vision is to make the O2O a reality for the gaming industry, enabling the widespread adoption of blockchain technology to create a new entertainment world. Are the company’s growth ambitions Global or Regional? Starting from Asia, as a Hong Kong based company, we will move our expansion into Europe & America in the near future. The scale of our ambition is to be dominant at a global level. Not only are we targeting the land-based casino industry, we will expand our reach to online, mobile, social, console and most importantly the eSports
segment. The beauty of blockchain technology is that it is without boundaries. Can you explain to our readers the Alphaslot Ecosystem? The Alphaslot Ecosystem is ultimately a bridge between players and casino floors, bringing three significant benefits for the gaming industry:
1. Alphaslot as a CRM channel. We see Alphaslot becoming the epicentre for gaming whether online or land-based, with players engaging with Alphaslot whether in casinos, at home or other entertainment venues. Casinos and other commercial interests can access their customers and engage them on Alphaslot and incentivize trip visitation using SLOT, all to complement their existing loyalty program. 2. With SLOT token rewarded from playing EGMs and purchasing ALPHABOT avatar from Alphaslot APP, casino operators can stay engaged with players even after they have left their property; players using their mobile device will be able to play and earn SLOT token even when they are at home, they can also use SLOT tokens earned to equip their ALPHABOT avatars, engage in buy, sell and trade all within their mobile device. All these fun interactions will enrich the O2O experience. 3. The Alphaslot Ecosystem will bring in new players from eSports, online and mobile games (over 500 million players globally), along with crypto enthusiasts (over two million user accounts in crypto exchanges globally). Alphaslot Ecosystem seamlessly allow players to have
Alphaslot CEO Raymond Chan at Sora Summit in Macau
more fun, to keep and develop the virtual assets they earned, and can be used in any game environment whether online or land-based. Is the company looking to partner with for example a leading EGT manufacturer? Alphaslot is partnering not only with EGM manufacturers, but also casino operators, social & mobile gaming operators, eSports associations as well as all major gaming regulators. We understand the compliance of the gaming industry and the need for regulations, therefore we want to be 100% above board in this respect. After all itâ€™s all about transparency and fairness. Can you provide detail on the Management Team of this relatively new organization and provide detail on their various experience and areas of expertise? The Alphaslot team consists of veterans across the gaming industry, with our core team members shown below: Alphaslot is built from a team with the appropriate
background and experience to execute our vision. From a technology perspective, Raymond has a background in data science aside from his casino hardware experience. William was the former head of innovation at Samsung. From the business side, Professor Chan is an expert in new economies and ecosystems. Wayne has deep experience in marketing for casino operators. As for myself, I have EGM manufacturer/distributor experience. Financially, we also have a strong team of investors led by Sora Ventures from China, Credito Capital & Shinobi Capital from Hong Kong, TRG from The Netherlands and Primitive Ventures from Silicon Valley to name a few. How have the last 12 months been for the company? Alphaslot has achieved significant milestones despite the uncertainty in the overall blockchain/crypto space. On top of becoming the first blockchain company accepted as a member of the GSA, Alphaslot was also speaking at the first blockchain-focused summit held in Reno together with Melco, IBM, Oracle & Intel just to name a few (https://www.gamingstandards.com/sites/default/files/
documents/asian-melco-resorts-entertainment-alphaslotspeak-gsa-tech-summit.pdf). Alphaslot was also able to release a beta demo and an open API at two major conferences back in November 2018 - Sora Summit (http://www.sorasummit.com/) and Sina Global Digital Entertainment Summit (https:// www.abc-7.com/story/39588697/alphaslot-positionedto-reshape-the-100muser-entertainment-industry-withblockchain-at-china-sina-entertainment-summit) in front of both blockchain and gaming audiences.
week (Singapore). We welcome any interested parties to schedule a meeting with us at upcoming shows. For more information, please check out the news section on our website (https://alphaslot.io/en/news/) for a list of our upcoming events.
What are the next exhibitions and events that readers can visit your booth for themselves? What events and conferences can readers expect to see Alphaslot represented in 2019? Alphaslot will attend ICE London, G2E Asia/Vegas & MGS. For blockchain-related events, we will be present at all the major conferences including Consensus, Distributed,
Is there anything else you would like to add? We believe blockchain technology is going to play a major part of our future and from a gaming industry perspective, it could completely alter the direction and landscape of the business moving forward. Alphaslot is leveraging our expertise in both of these fields to create a limitless future, whether it is for land-based gaming suppliers, online gaming developers, casino operators, eSports associations or simply gaming/crypto enthusiasts. New players will be willing to try out EGMs in landbased casinos because they are no longer just a boring game which they do not understand how it works, they will find out there is much more entertainment value playing games both online and offline via Alphaslot Ecosystem. We have a strong belief in digital assets ownership, and in my opinion, it is literally the best way to bridge online/offline gaming environment. Imagine having your avatar battling others inside a land-based casino, visually displayed on a huge jackpot signage where everyone could see, all the while earning SLOT tokens and able to be rewarded with special items to equip your avatar. Wouldn’t that be one hell of an experience? Why can’t we own what we are paying for to play? And why can’t games be more fun? After all, entertainment value derived from the games are what drives the industry -
Hong Kong Blockchain week and Binance Blockchain
games that are not fun are simply software.
What do you plan for the rest of the year? Will you launch any products? 2019 will be an extremely important year for Alphaslot. In terms of development, our Alphabot (ERC721) avatar will be ready for testing by Q2, with deployment in Q3. The Alphaslot platform and protocol are targeted to be released in Q4 with full integration of the Alphaslot wallet at the same time. With our open API being released to our selected partners, we will also be announcing new gaming and strategic partners. Therefore, it will definitely be an eventful year ahead.
Andrew Spencer Head of Education and Training at ‘The Totally Gaming Academy’, Clarion Events
Progress with Knowledge
Andrew Spencer, Head of Education and Training at ‘The Totally Gaming Academy’, Clarion Events chats to Peter White Can we commence this interview with a brief explanation of the Totally Gaming Academy? TOTALLY GAMING ACADEMY is a provider of training to companies operating in the gaming arena, whether operators, vendors, online or land based. The training is provided by industry practitioners and aims to develop the skills and knowledge of Gaming, usually management level, professionals
‘wins’ that will make a difference tor their own businesses – whether generating new business or operating more efficiently. They also enjoy the spin off benefits of meeting the other delegates at the event. It’s not just about presenting facts and knowledge. Its about developing skills and ideas, and crucially understanding – the point is to equip people to change the business through developing people
What are in your opinion some of the main aspects of these courses that continue to prove so popular with Gaming Operators? The operators want to see credible, experienced gaming professionals at the front of the room. They want to be able to take away from a course a set of straightforward
How many Countries have these events been hosted in over the years? Around 30 recently, across Europe, South and North America, Africa and Asia.
Are there any new regions being considered for a Totally
Gaming Academy event? We’re looking at how we might service demand in South America and South East Asia more regularly. You are also now involving the Online sector? Yes: it’s a significant growth area, and demands a wholly different set of training requirements. Increasingly, land based operators are having to consider how they adapt and developing their on-line offer, alongside the ‘online only’ providers What have you planned ahead of ICE London? We’ve three days’ worth of activity at the TOTALLY GAMING ACADEMY Theatre at ICE, including taster sessions of our courses, some new course titles and trainers, and a reception on the Wednesday afternoon, profiling some new courses and services What is the timetable for this year’s events? All courses we have scheduled so far this year can be found at https:// www.totallygamingacademy. com/calendar-list, however the list gets constantly updated and we’re looking to bring in more course dates, especially for the second half of the year. What aspects of this training programme are you involved with most? I oversee the portfolio of training – handling the choice of subject matter, trainer and the training delivery. My job is to make sure that we are running a programme to meet business needs, run by credible gaming professionals. There are a lot of events now during a year so why should Casino Executives attend the Totally Gaming Academy courses? I see the courses as being different to conference attendance – a concentrated few days, focussing on your skills and knowledge development in a very specific area is a very different thing to conference attendance – both valuable, but with very different benefits – it’s a cliché, but in answer to the question ‘can we afford to send staff on training?’ I’d answer ‘Can you afford not to and still hope that your team is properly skilled – would your staff want
to work for you if you didn’t provide them with the skills to do the job?’ All expense has to be justified, so what advice would you give anyone reading this interview who thinks they and their Gaming organisation would benefit from attending the courses with their explanation to their bosses of why they should pay for them to attend? Any training should be driven by the business need and benefit – it’s not a perk or reward - don’t just look at it as a cost – it’s an investment so try to estimate what the benefit will be, in financial terms, there must be an ROI - whether it’s more business through a better product and service, or greater efficiency through a better organised process and business. Beyond the obvious mandatory compliance training, it’s about improving the business and solving problems through equipping the team to do the job more effectively. What planning goes into the location of each of the events throughout the year? We try to choose locations and venues for the learner – ease of access and transport hubs as many delegates fly in, but also where possible, venues in keeping with the subject and sector – in London we run courses at the Hippodrome Casino for example. What are amongst the topics presented in these courses and do candidates and operators have the opportunity to also suggest areas of the industry that could also benefit from further training? We endeavour to offer a complete portfolio of training for those managing businesses in the sector – whether land based casinos, online gaming businesses or sports betting. So we’re always open to suggestions for new courses and content. How can readers find out more about the Totally Gaming Academy 2019? Come see us at the TOTALLY GAMING ACADEMY Theatre at ICE, location S8-360 Have you anything else you would like to add? Come see us on the stand at ICE!!
Preview of ICE 2019 Apex Gaming • DRGT™ • Zitro • AMATIC Industries CasinoFlex Systems • Aristocrat
Brand New Clover Link Innovations From Apex Gaming See The Best Jackpot Solution At ICE 2019
Probably the most complete jackpot solution the gaming industry has ever seen
018 has been one of the most successful years on record for APEX gaming – thanks to the global popularity of its complete jackpot game solution CLOVER LINK. APEX gaming has designed an extremely popular jackpot island solution that has gained the hearts of players throughout the world. The beauty of CLOVER LINK is that it is available in three different versions and each with a choice of different Pinnacle slot machines. The BIG ISLAND consists of eight slots in an eclipse design, the ROUND EDITION has four slots in a circular design and the WALL EDITION is the most flexible, as it can be expanded to as many slots as the customer requires. New for ICE 2019 is the introduction of the BIG ISLAND with the 43” Pinnacle Premium Curved slots. This adds even more spice to the CLOVER LINK menu. The screen choice is amazing: the 43” Pinnacle Premium Curved, the Pinnacle Black Series with two 24” monitors or
the Pinnacle Premium Curved with three 27” monitors. Another major point: CLOVER LINK has transformed from a single-game to multi-game jackpot solution. Today it itself consists of four very popular APEX games that have been brought together in a special way. These games all offer unique features in a four-level jackpot that can be both mystery and progressive jackpots, thus motivating all types of players to take part. “CLOVER LINK has been the gaming product of the year”, noted Kubilay Özer, Global Sales Director at APEX gaming. “We were very proud to have received an award for this very recently. CLOVER LINK won the category ‘BEST JACKPOT CONCEPT – LAND-BASED GAMING’ at the Balkan Entertainment and Gaming Exhibition (BEGE) in Bulgaria. At APEX we do not rest on our laurels – we continually develop new solutions and focus on how we can make our products even more popular. For ICE we have both new hardware and game innovations that makes a great gaming concept even better”.
Innovation for ICE: APEX gaming will be releasing a new set of CLOVER LINK multi-games to complement the four already established. APEX gaming prides itself on the strength in depth of its gaming portfolio. The large stand is necessary to house all these solutions. These include the individual Pinnacle slots and the APEX PLAYER STATION (APS) electronic roulette. This expandable solution can be linked to up to four roulette wheels (both live and/or electronic) and operators can include the EVO games on it as well and also played using the APEX MOBILE SLOTS. APEX gaming is the pioneer for cash handling at live gaming tables as the iDROP has proven. The iDROP enables players to exchange their cash or tickets for jetons directly at the live gaming table. Cashing out is simple as the amount is paid out in ticket form by the iDROP. The integrated touchscreen makes it simple to use for croupiers and the fact that it is linked to the management system gives management complete control of the drop. The iDROP family has been extended with the iDROPe and the iDROPs. The
iDROPs is indeed the latest addition. It can manage 250 bills (and tickets) at one time at a validation rate of up to 6 per second, making it ideal when players sit at a table with a large number of bills. It also provides the casino the option to use the iDROPs to exchange a large number of bills for one Tito ticket, meaning the game is not stopped for large buy in’s and hands per hour increases. Live gaming tables and a great array of live gaming accessories, such as the Ball and Dice Tester and the Roulette Wheel Leveller with a leveling base, round off the APEX portfolio. Naturally the APEX Shuffle King solutions will take prominent position. Card shuffling plays a key role in casinos and here the Shuffle King 6 again made a strong impact as it can automatically shuffle up to six different decks of cards. The Shuffle King 2 is the single deck option. APEX gaming will be exhibiting at stand # S5-250 at ICE that will take place between 5th and 7th February at the ExCel Centre in London. “Please come and see us at ICE and see how we are taking gaming to the next level”, concluded Mr. Özer.
5-7 February 2019 ExCeL London, UK
Applied Mathematics Applied mathematics expanded considerably when Pierre de Fermat and Blaise Pascal set the groundwork for probability theory and the corresponding rules of combinatorics over a game of gambling. #spiritofgenius
To experience gamingâ€™s Spirit of Genius visit icelondon.uk.com
DRGT™ at ICE 2019 The world’s largest player interface and jackpot configuration options continue to drive DRGT™’s global systems growth
urprising and delighting customers is a key driver in particularly the consumer industry where commodity items are sold, and repeat business is paramount to success. The Gaming sector is no different, where in almost all cases casino revenue is driven by regular players who play the same games at the same casinos. As operators, the challenge has, and always will be, to make those players’ frequent visits as memorable on as many occasions as possible. At DR Gaming Technology™ we believe that with the correct player engagement tools, and the correct jackpot products, backed up by a robust
reporting and management system, we are able to provide operators with the necessary technology to realise those memorable player moments. At ICE London 2019, we will continue to showcase our ever-expanding range of jackpot configurations, a key driver in creating the ‘surprise’ we referred to earlier. Testament to our success remains the fact that at present we offer the widest range of jackpot configurations in the world, and that in November 2018 we celebrated the 4th anniversary of the installation of SunStriker, a bespoke jackpot design for Sun International, that to date has created over 100 instant millionaires, whilst never
experiencing a single second of downtime. Add to that our Tables Jackpot game BlackJack11’s which too is performing extremely well in both Europe, the UK and Africa, and is presently rolling out in Peru and Mexico, and we have some very real solutions for operators, and exciting jackpots for players. Notwithstanding the jackpots referred to above, if operators are unable to manage their gaming floor, engage with their players and provide easy to earn and use rewards the job is only half done. Our ability through our drScreenFull to stream and display videos, banners and live television, or jackpot hits, to the top EGM screen or the player tracking display provides that engagement opportunity, with the availability of extended account information ‘on-screen’ to both the player and the operator at any time providing practical and user-friendly functionality. In closing, if visitors to ICE London 2019 are looking to replace their existing management system, upgrade part of it, or are in the market for a jackpot or casino management system for a new casino development, please ‘pop by’ and have a chat. DRGT™s promise is a full commitment to finding a solution that works, is robust, reliable and cost-effective, and focused whole-heartedly on ’putting the player first’.
Zitro Proves To Be A Sure Bet At ICE Totally Gaming
We have a very complete and deep range of products, for all kind of players, that have proven to out-perform the best products in the most diverse markets world-wide. On top of that, we offer flexible commercial models to the operators that helps them get our best products and refresh their casino floors, to be able to provide an outstanding offering to their exigent customers.” comments Johnny Viveiros Ortiz, founder of Zitro. The rapidly growing product portfolio has forced the company to book again a larger booth at the London show than the previous year. “Our expansion plans are materializing well above expectations as we have entered into more markets this year than any other year before. Priority for us is therefore to keep investing in R&D and further deepen our various product lines. Visitors at ICE will see first-hand how choosing Zitro products for their operations will
premiere will make Hit Me up 2! After the successful presentation of Hit Me Up! at G2E Las Vegas, this second version has also the exciting 6-level mystery progressive meter, however the math of the game is conceived to attract high stake gamblers that like to win high. On the booth will also be on display classic standalone multigames such as Pick & Win, Hot Deal, Spin Hit and Smart Spins, and the multigame LAP banks such as Blazing Pearls, Guns & Gold. As the world leader in Video Bingo, Zitro is once again bringing a new twist to video bingo with its super-hot Power Bingo Link, a linked Video Bingo LAP with a 4-level progressive jackpot and innovative game mechanics that differentiate it from the traditional Video Bingo games, without losing the essence of what players look for in this category. Zitro will also showcase it’s updated Video Bingo games library that includes thrilling titles such as Fireworks, Lucky Children and Maximus, with impressive and unique Bonus features. Zitro
secure their investment. Zitro is now, more than ever before, a sure bet!” Johnny adds proudly. Within the BRYKE Video Slot product range, the world’s best slot product of the moment ‘Link King’ will take center stage of Zitro’s booth. Link King has been demonstrating a tremendous success all over the best casinos in the global market making its way up and maintaining performance at the very top of the venues. Link Me, also a multigame LAP bank with panoramic
Interactive will have its very special place at Zitro’s booth showing for the first time in public its totally new freemium application ‘Let’s Winup!’ that includes Brykes best performing video slot games and Zitro’s leading Video Bingo games in one single social Casino. For online casino operators Zitro Interactive will show its full range of Bryke online slots as well as the proven Video Bingo games. “Zitro is the undisputed world leader in Video Bingo, and now, with the deeply diversified and proven Bryke Video Slot product lines, that are outperforming some of the world best slots, a true global leader of the gaming industry and a sure bet for any casino operator in the world.” finalizes Sebastián Salat, CEO of Zitro. Zitro will be at booth#N6-160 at ICE Totally Gaming in London, which will be held from February 5th to 7th at the Excel London Convention Centre.
sign is demonstrating the same kind of success where it has already been installed and will reach the casinos on an international scale very soon. Link King and Link Me, are both an absolute sure bet! Within the same product line ‘Link Shock’ will make its global debut. This high energy multigame progressive Link promises to keep players electrified with its mystery shock feature. Another
AMATIC Industries to display a Firework of Innovation at ICE
MATIC Industries is set to raise expectations with a firework of innovation at the forthcoming ICE that will take place between 5th and 7th February at the ExCel Centre in London. AMATIC Industries is recognised as the MULTI GAME company with over twenty five years of experience. All the AMATIC games have been developed in-house â€“ a policy that has enabled AMATIC to set MULTI GAME standards in the global gaming industry.
Every year AMATIC releases a multitude of new games to the industry in London and ICE 2019 will be no exception. Great care, detail, attention and focus have flowed into these games â€“ that promise to raise the hearts of players with their new ideas, graphics and features. These are naturally driven by the HARDROX platform to guarantee the display excellence. The AMATIC team has always ensured that their MULTI GAMES are housed in the most exquisite and secure cabinets possible. Style and elegance are the hallmarks of
AMATIC’s gaming machines. Look forward to seeing brand new future-proof cabinets. All will be revealed at ICE in February. As every year, the AMATIC team will be there in force to give detailed information on the MULTI GAME solutions and new gaming machines. Two other major corporate pillars of AMATIC Industries will also be housed on the stand: the Roulette Grand Jeu 24HX automated roulette and the AMANET© online gaming solutions. The reputation of the Roulette Grand Jeu 24HX speaks for itself. In Spain alone AMATIC has sold more than 1,200 of these automated roulettes so far. AMATIC`s attention to design, quality, security, reliability and just to every single detail are a few reasons of this success story. In its standard version, the Grand Jeu provides space for up to 8 players around the table. Each player has their own gaming terminal equipped with a brilliant 24” Full HD monitor
that provides all necessary statistics and graphics in pinsharp quality for increased comfort. The Grand Jeu is also available in a flexible version – with the Solitaire electronic roulette wheel and an individual number of connected Satellite terminals. AMANET© online gaming remains the fastest growing pillar of AMATIC’s business. The combination of wellknown land-based games and new games especially developed for the online market gives players an extensive choice. The number of jurisdictions that have approved AMANET© games continues to rise. All games are in HTML5 format, meaning that they can be played on all possible devices. The whole AMATIC team looks forward to your visit. AMATIC Industries - The MULTI GAME Company - can be found at the same stand position as last year, namely # S5-240.
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Tim Klok and Bas Baarbe of CasinoFlex Systems
CasinoFlex Systems to bring key systems innovations to ICE
Larger stand mirrors company growth
he CasinoFlex Systems International team sends out a warm welcome to come and see the key innovations that will be released at the forthcoming ICE between 5th and 7th February. The stand number is # S5-102. This young and dynamic company has always put customer requirements first. Each casino or gaming location has its own specific needs and requirements. There is no one solution that fits all. Furthermore, casino managers cannot always know which solutions best fit their own requirements. Here specific, detailed on-site advice takes away any uncertainties. “We at CasinoFlex Systems International team have decades of experience in systems technology. We have worked for many years both for gaming operators and manufacturers. We have seen the weaknesses in the market and have focused from day one in creating a stronger portfolio with the dedicated service to match. We firmly believe in investing the time and focus with our customers to ensure they are made fully aware of the opportunities a system offers and secondly that they are
trained to make full use of these”, comments Tim Klok, Managing Director at CasinoFlex Systems International. Visitors to the stand can see how they can benefit from the new innovations. The Player Tracking Module is even more interactive. New marketing tools will be released. In addition to that, customers can now make use of a new TFT colour screen – available in any size. Video content can also be streamed. Bas Baarbe, Technology Director at CasinoFlex Systems International, explains, “It is not just about having new features – it is also about how these are then put into practice. For example, video streaming can be popular for players who wish to watch a certain sports event, such as a football match. Operators can steer this desire to provide this service only when the slot machine is in use – making it a win-win for both the operator and player. We place particular emphasis on providing different ways to manage our system – making it unique for each customer.” Please visit CasinoFlex Systems International at ICE to learn more.
Aristocrat combines brands, trends and innovation in stunning ICE line-up
ristocrat Technologies is bringing a breath-taking array of new products to London’s ICE 2019 show, incorporating a mixture of popular brands, trending game mechanics and innovative developments in hardware and software design. Stand S5-150 in ExCeL’s South Hall will offer a glimpse of the EMEA region’s biggest ever display of the latest market-leading gaming content and cutting-edge hardware solutions drawn from the Company’s extensive global portfolio. Erik van den Berg, Vice-President of Sales & Business Development for Aristocrat’s casino interests in EMEA, said, “Our diverse portfolio strives to meet the broad range of needs across and within varied European, Middle Eastern and African markets.” “Our global design and development teams continue to build on previous successes with a balance of proven and brand-new maths models, imaginative ways of using renowned characters and stunning, new methods of delivery to ensure our customers’ gaming floors can continue to deliver for players across the region.” Following hugely successful introductions in North America and Australia, the Helix™ XT cabinet now begins its roll-out across selected EMEA markets, offering a premium-style housing for standard sale games. This upright cabinet displays portrait content on a 4K 42-inch P-curve screen, complemented by an LCD topper and enhanced virtual button deck.
“Many new Aristocrat games are now being developed in both dual-screen and portrait formats, allowing operators even more flexibility in gaming floor presentation,” explained Erik van den Berg. “And we have taken steps to ensure that this new cabinet form factor is well supported with a proven game library from launch.” Aristocrat’s new range of C-Series™ core games offers outstanding diversity, with highlights including: • Trending persistence and metamorphism in Joe Blow™ Gold and Joe Blow™ Diamonds, combined with character theming inspired by Where’s The Gold™; • Block Bonanza™ adds a metamorphic twist to reel games, with cash-on-reel prizes from a laterally spinning wheel dropping down onto the reel set. In addition, Rio™ and Hawaii™ offer two distinctly exotic base game themes; • 9 Princes of the Dragon King™ sees Asian-themed Koi™ and Tiger™ adding more metamorphic game play elements along with escalating returns and player-selectable multidenom options; • The Wild Wild™ series of games, fronted by Wild Wild Nugget™ and Wild Wild Samurai™, brings new frequent wild features, together with reel growth, free games, replacement wilds and wild multipliers; • Brand extensions of some of Aristocrat’s most popular characters include: Buffalo™ Max and 5 Dragons™ Gold Max, with extended free games selections and scaling
volatility; Sun & Moon™ Gold, a classic favourite injected with reel growth, multi reel sets and a new re-spin feature; Fortune King™ Rapid, with more choose-your-volatility options and special scatters introduced; and 5 Kings™, a 5 Dragons™ derivative resplendent with mythical Korean styling; • Timeless Classics, faithfully reproduced with upgraded graphics, include Brazil™, Choy Sun Returns™, Pompeii™, Wild Panda™ and Wings over Olympus™. Aristocrat is also launching inspired new concepts in the J-Series™, for those who love jackpots, comprising: • Ultimate Wheel Blast™, with its industryfirst metamorphic jackpot wheels and upgrade mechanics across two base game themes, African Fortunes™ and Alaskan Dreams™; • Cash Boost™, with superbly animated themes Mystical Jungle™ and Mystical Light™ offering scalable bonus prizes, free games, win multipliers and random wild reels; • Cash Panther™ and Thunder Wolf™, two new themes in the mid~high denom Hit it Hot Jackpots™ SAP family, with ‘must hit by’ mystery triggered jackpot progressives. Innovations in the E-Series™ collection of entertainment games, consisting of: • Two new Mighty Cash™ games, Vegas Wins™ and Outback Bucks™, with ‘reveal symbol’ unveiling jackpot awards on completion of feature; • Four Mighty Cash™ Double Up games – Lucky Tiger™, Money Dragon™, All Gold & Diamonds™ and All Jade & Diamonds™ – with a 50 per cent ante bet rewarding players with an extra reel set during the Mighty Cash feature; • Two Mighty Cash™ Xtra Reel games, Guo Nian™ and Ji Cai™, that add a sixth reel on which high value cash-on-reel symbols can appear; • Fu Fu Fu Panda™ and Fu Fu Fu Tiger™, featuring a metamorphic element as well as wild showers, What You See Is What You Get
jackpots, multipliers and unlimited free games; • Panda Lanterns™ and Dragon Lanterns™, with on-trend floating wilds, WYSIWYG credits and jackpot awards extending the Wild Up! ™ family of recently released games, Dragon Lanterns™ and Ocean Song™; • 8 Claws™ and 8 Stripes™ – dual platform games packed with random multipliers, expanding reels, wild showers, wheel features, jackpots and free games. Aristocrat is also showcasing more M-Series™ multigame and multi-reelset ingenuity, including: • Wonder 4™ Boost, an extension to the extraordinary Wonder 4™ series, hosting highly popular titles Buffalo™, Wild Ameri’Coins™, Rhino Charge™ and Whales of Cash™ and offering a bonus boost of up to eight concurrent reel sets and extreme free games; • Player’s Choice™ Opal Edition, an 8-title multigame with 3-level progressive jackpot, variable denominations and 10 operatorselectable games including 5 Dragons™, 5 Dragons™ Gold, Big Red™, Big Red™ Gold, Buffalo™ Gold, Cash Bull™, Fortune’s Way™, Miss Kitty™ Gold, The Phantom™ and Queen of the Nile™; • Two dual game packs in the new Pay Rise™ series, White/Black Scorpion™ and Roxy’s/Robby’s Rabbit Hole™ both offer low and high denom game variations with integrated 3/4/5-of-a-kind dynamic scorecard and a 2-level ‘must hit by’ deterministic mystery SAP. Erik van den Berg concluded, “We continue with the theme ‘It’s all about what’s inside’ at ICE 2019, reflecting a sharp focus on innovation, people and products and we look forward to sharing our vision of ‘what’s next’ with our valued partners and stakeholders on Stand S5-150.”
The Last Word by Damien Connelly
Casino With An Ocean View, Atlantic City Welcome to The Last Word.
Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City has a new majority shareholder. Formerly known as Revel, can Ocean Resort Casino grow? Yes, I think it can. Even though the Atlantic City market is mature and saturated, and the East Coast market has changed beyond recognition in the last 10 or so years, Atlantic City remains a rough diamond in my opinion. Mind you, Atlantic City has been a rough diamond for decades. I discussed servicescape in ‘The Last Word’ published in Casino Life issue 124. If you compare the Marina District where the Borgata is to the Boardwalk and the surrounding blocks, the differences in servicescape are considerable. The Ocean Resort Casino can ‘fix it’ by benchmarking The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Read our exclusive interview in this issue with Trudie Yau of The Cosmopolitan to get some ideas about what the Ocean Resort Casino could do to improve its fortunes. The Cosmopolitan fixed its issues. It had location on its side being on the Strip, pro-casino politicians, and of course the positive halo of being in THE casino town. The Cosmopolitan, in my opinion, took an inside-out approach. For me, Ocean Resort Casino should take more of an outside-in approach. A focus on improving its servicescape is a priority that will help it grow revenues. Atlantic City remains underinvested. Atlantic City faces a squeeze from many angles as one can see from the revenue reports from the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) which indicates revenue cannibalisation is occurring.
To stop and reverse revenue cannibalisation, you need to attract new business. Easier written than done. Everybody needs to eat. If you get your food offering correct in terms of range, price and quality, your casino can become a destination for food. As Trudie Yau in our article on The Cosmopolitan mentions, focusing on a great restaurant collection is an effective angle to win new business that will be repeat business. I have seen this repeatedly in my visits to successful and not-so-successful casinos—those with great food offerings at highly competitive prices for their local market win more repeat business than the properties whose food offerings are average. Also, that repeat business allows the successful casino properties to weather any downturns or pressures should their casino revenues slow.
If you look at the numbers from New Jersey’s DGE, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City (formerly Trump Taj Mahal) is delivering stronger financial performance than Ocean Resort Casino—I reference Hard Rock AC as it opened the same day as Ocean Resort Casino. You can read more about Hard Rock AC in our unique interview with Hard Rock’s CEO Jim Allen published in Casino Life issue 121. A major reason for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City performing so strongly so quickly is its entertainment roster and its customer positioning as an entertainment venue—high brand awareness is incredibly helpful as well. To me, positioning your property(s) as an entertainment venue is critically important to help future-proof your casino resort—to focus only on gambling will, in my opinion, leave you weak in 10+ years as older Millennials move into the disposable income position of being able to actively select (or not) your casino resort to spend their time and money in. On this front, Ocean Resort Casino signed a deal December 2018 with a major concert promoter to expand its entertainment offering. While it is behind the curve compared to Hard Rock, most operators are behind the curve compared to Hard Rock given the entertainment history and contacts Hard Rock has.
Look to the Recent Past
My final points as advice to Ocean Resort Casino…the late Dennis C. Gomes had it more right than wrong with his thinking for Resorts Casino & Hotel. What Mr. Gomes was doing at Resorts would help Ocean Resort Casino position itself for future growth. Damien Connelly has developed better customer experiences for casinos, big box grocery and convenience retailers — one client was recently sold for over US$5 billion. He has worked consulting and client-side in Strategy, Marketing, Branding, and Sales roles. You can contact Damien on +31 6 5206-7402 and at firstname.lastname@example.org
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