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Singer/Performer, Leee John

Volume 14 Issue 114

Your Entertainment Our Pleasure

CASINO 2OOO


I T ’S A L L A B O U T W H AT ’S I N S I D E

From the inspired artists at our globally-based design studios to the technical expertise of our hardware development teams, our core value of passion drives everything we do. Our goal is to give you more of what works for you and your customers. More revenue and leading-edge cabinets to transform your floor. Visit us on Stand S3-250 at ICE 2018 to see how we can build on your success, together.

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Editorial: Editor in Chief: Glyn Thomas Mob: +44 (0) 7727 969299 glyn@ace123.com Features Editor:

Damien Connelly

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

Associate Editor North America David Mckee

dmckee@ace123.com Special Assignment Correspondent: Jack Bulavsky

jackbulavsky@yahoo.com International Casino & Gaming Correspondent: JJ Woods

jjsilks@eircom.net Technology Correspondent:

Editor’s page Welcome to Casino Life...

With time of the essence and a premium on space in this issue, I thought I’d simply wish you all a fantastic show in London. But it would be churlish not to mention some of the magazine highlights. Foremost, literally, is our Guest Comment slot kindly filled this edition by The Gambling Commission who also concentrate on ICE with their reference to the Consumer Protection Zone – a new initiative led by them this year. Timely also that the Government’s consultation on FOBTs has just ended and will no doubt be a key discussion item there and elsewhere at the show. I share the views of many of our readers that their presence in uncontrolled settings is a mockery of any pursuit of responsible gambling but let’s see if common sense prevails over greed. Back to this issue and we have a wealth of casino content – from me catching up again with Guido Berghmans at Casino de Jeux du Luxembourg; our feature with Vedran Bajat at Casino Adjara, Tbilisi; and finally Victor Royer’s interview with Mark Prows, SVP at Entertainment Operations. There’s something for everyone and it’s also all available as hard copy, online and through our App on IOS and Android. With the rising tide of Blockchain and traditional gambling jostling against online and sports betting, ICE is going to be a busy show and it’s why we predict a record-breaking attendance. Have a great show – see you in London!

Rebecca Green

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Production: Designer: Stewart Hyde design@ace123.com

www.totaldesignworks.com Subscriptions: Helen Holmes subs@ace123.com

Glyn Thomas Editor in Chief

Come and visit us! Casino Life: ND6-C ND6-D Bingo Life: ND6-A Bingo Association: ND6-B

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Contents 3

Editor’s page

5 Guest Comment Erica Young, Casino Specialist Gambling Commission 6 Your Entertainment. Our Pleasure Glyn Thomas chats to Guido Berghmans, Director General, Casino de Jeux du Luxembourg 16 Georgia Style Bill Healey chats to Vedran Bajat, Casino Adjara, Tbilisi, Georgia 23 Gaming Education Lee Willows, Founder & Chief Executive, YGAM. Interview by Peter White, Casino Life 30 The Right Gamble How online casino operators will use technology to get ahead in 2018 by James Tweddle 33 Grand Entertainment Interview with Mark Prows, Senior Vice President Entertainment Operations, Corporate Entertainment MGM Resorts by: Victor H Royer 40 Preview of ICE 2018 By Rebecca Green

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

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Guest Comment: Erica Young

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e regulate commercial gambling available to residents in Britain’s retail and online settings as well as the National Lottery. Our overall purpose is to make gambling fairer and safer – this is a theme running throughout our latest corporate strategy which we’d strongly recommend casino businesses to read on our website. It sets out our direction of travel and our expectations of the industry. ICE is a great opportunity for us to network with fellow regulators and industry figures from around the world, and to see what’s new in the gambling market. It often seems that developments are all driven by commercial desires, and in the past we have left the show wondering why information about gambling and gamblers is collected for marketing purposes but not put to full use to promote social responsibility. So we are delighted that this year our suggestion of a Consumer Protection Zone has been taken up. Our Executive Director Tim Miller will formally open the Zone at 2.15pm on Tuesday 6 February so please come along to that, see what else is on offer to make gambling fairer and safer, and visit our stand at CPZ8. Those looking at our three year strategy will see our focus will be to protect the interest of consumers; to do all we can to prevent gamblingrelated harm; to raise standards, and to improve regulation. While numbers of problem gamblers seem to remain fairly stable they are not coming down and many more people are at risk. We expect operators to address this. They must know their customers; their patterns of play; and their source of funds for gambling. They must also develop tools that will allow consumers to help themselves, and must market their products responsibly. The industry must learn from the failings of others and, where we find weaknesses, operators can expect us to take firm action.

Erica Young, Casino Specialist, Gambling Commission

We’re planning events and workshops aimed at raising standards across the industry and, as part of this, we’re keen to hear from operators about topics or issues they’d like support with. We’d also like gambling businesses to tell us where they’re already raising standards, or working to make gambling fairer and safer. Over the next 12 months we will engage with the industry to promote good practice and to drive up standards. In the past year we worked positively with the National Casino Forum on good practice in the prevention of money laundering. Our focus now is on player tracking and self-help tools. Please drop by our stand this year and talk to us about your own success stories, lessons learned and areas we can further support in raising standards. There can be a good story to tell when we gather for ICE 2019. Looking forward to seeing you at ICE. Erica Young, Casino Specialist, Gambling Commission www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk

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Guido Berghmans Director General Casino de Jeux du Luxembourg

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Your Entertainment, Our Pleasure Glyn Thomas chats to Guido Berghmans, Director General, Casino de Jeux du Luxembourg

How has business been since our last interview which took place more than 2 years ago? When we were speaking last time, the long planned concept of integrating all our offers into one open space, that we understand as a “Centre for Entertainment for grown-ups” has just come of age. As one of the last steps, the former hotel lobby has been integrated into that space. Our guests like this concept. Once they have passed by the entrance control, they have direct and unlimited access to our event hall CHAPITO, to the gaming floor, three restaurants, four bars, a hotel and all peripheral offerings. In the last two years, we went through a “trial and error” phase, in order to find out how we could use this new concept and our new infrastructures to their full potential. It has been a fascinating experience for us to see how the entire team has evolved to a new level of professionalism. The whole team has literally been running all the time, meaning it is, for the moment, in a very good shape. What is remarkable, is that our teams constantly seek new goals and approaches to improve their output and to increase the number of activities that we propose to our guests. So the last two years were necessary to learn how to work with our new infrastructures and combine everything in a logical, thoughtful and strategic way. That learning phase will of course never end, but already now we are able to guarantee a smooth interdepartmental work and integration of the new facilities into our day-today business.

The huge expansion of our premises was only possible because of the company’s shareholders, who were eager to invest at the right time. After a period of planning, they did not hesitate to start building the project in 2009, even though the financial crisis also hit Luxembourg that year. This expansion has initiated a wave of engagement and a change to our company culture as a whole, which surprisingly is not limited to the integration of the new concert hall, but spread throughout all other services we offer. To those of our readers who enjoy Casino facilities, what would you say that would urge them to add CASINO 2OOO to their must visit list? In short, CASINO 2OOO is a one-stop location for entertainment purposes, the right place for any entertainment seeker and for people who enjoy having fun, to gamble and to have a good bite. Furthermore, it is a casino with more than 2.500 m², an event space of 1.300 m² with a 270 m² large stage fully equipped with modern sound and light technology, other reception spaces, a hotel with 28 rooms and 3 suites, a luxurious Villa, a gastronomic restaurant, a buffet restaurant and a music & lounge bistro, 4 bars and 210 great people willing to serve, to help and to make you comfortable. We are probably the only “fully” integrated entertainment centre in Europe, as our hotel is also behind the entrance control. Very comparable to the casinos in Las Vegas, not by the size, but in implementing its strategic rule #1: customers have

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to cross gaming spaces before they get to all other places. I am well familiar with many different casinos throughout Europe and think that we combine a lot of good ideas that I have seen elsewhere and do everything to provide the experience and service our customers expect. We are 20 km away from the closest Cities in France and Luxembourg, but we manage to attract half a million visitors every year. Has the percentage of tourists versus locals changed much in that time and have you found any interesting trends? We are constantly analysing the customer base, their interests, satisfaction, habits, consumption etc. There have been some minor changes in the last year and we know the reasons for this; we have even generated changes by making proposals for entertainment and gastronomy to a particular

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clientele. Our casino is located in the Southeast of Luxembourg, on the French border and only a few kilometres away from Germany, so there are a lot of “Tourists”, meaning people from abroad. But as for the overwhelming majority of the European casinos, our clientele is over 90% regional, with locals coming mainly from 3 population reservoirs: the City of Luxembourg and the surroundings, the Thionville, Metz, Nancy area in France and the socalled “Terres rouges” in the south of Luxembourg. With the completion last year of a motorway connecting the City of Luxembourg and the “Terres rouges” to Mondorf-les-Bains, where our casino is located, we have seen our customer base increase, in size and diversity. The fairly new connection was needed and is now very direct, quick, easy and convenient for our customers.


From our point of view, those two topics can no longer be seen as two different marketing tools and need to merge, where one is complementary to the other. We expect a majority of our customers to use a smartphone for visiting our website and to switch to Facebook and other social media. For example: the information about an event can easily be transported and promoted via a video clip in Facebook with a direct link to our website to get more details and from there another link to a service provider that sells the tickets that the customer can directly print at home.

With the advent of social media a lot of people look for memorable experiences which they share with friends on Facebook. How is CASINO 2OOO catering for those people? We are always following new trends, whichever direction they take. When Facebook became popular amongst our regular customers we set up a social media strategy for the purpose of increased customer interaction and engagement. We are pleased to see that our followers on all platforms are steadily increasing. We see positive comments and even debates about our offerings. Moreover we see that a growing number of friends have become real ambassadors. For 2018 we are planning to increase our presence even more. A totally new website will go online later in February, which will facilitate the link between the more static internet and the direct and continuous interaction that the social media allow.

Your casino is located in a cultural melting pot with players whose first language may not be German or French. How do your staff cope with this from a language perspective? Luxembourg is effectively a melting pot. The country has, at nearly 50%, the highest proportion of foreigners in Europe and its population is represented by 174 nationalities. On workdays, 75% of all employees are foreigners, as around 180 000 people cross the borders of Germany, Belgium and France to work in Luxembourg. The 3 most important languages within our casino are certainly Luxembourgish, French and German. The local language has become much more important over recent years and we organize regular language classes for our staff. English has, as ever, been very important in Luxembourg due to the EU institutions and the international (financial) businesses. Most of the Luxembourgers speak 3 or 4 of these languages. Our staff is mainly French, but many of them have multilingual skills. People working in service jobs in Luxembourg mostly speak French and this is also the most used language in our casino. Over the years, how has the venue reached out to embrace the local community? With the increased rhythm of our events, we are able to reach out to new customers and we have increased the penetration of our catchment area, by organizing events with artists that are famous in Luxembourg and in France. We are also engaging more and more in co-productions, where we get in touch with other event agencies to increase still further our brand awareness. Some good examples of this would be the

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A BETTER POINT OF VIEW

Experience it at ICE 2018! A GALAXY OF SOLUTIONS Visit SGgaming.com for more information. The look and feel of the game(s) described and/or displayed herein and the individual components and displays of such game(s) are trade dress of Scientific Games Corp. and its Subsidiaries. Š 2018 Scientific Games Corp. and its Subsidiaries. All rights reserved.


election of “Miss & Mister Luxembourg”, hosting the “World Warriors Fighting Championship (WWFC)”, the “LGX -Luxembourg Gaming Xperience” (e-gaming) and of course we were very happy to have the departure of the 4th stage of the “Tour de France” last year here around the casino. We are experiencing an increasing popularity and brand awareness amongst the Luxembourgish and French populations due to the variety of events we organize or host. The internet has become a strong competitor for land based casinos. How does it challenge your business? All the technological advancements have also brought disadvantages for our industry. In recent years, many illegal gambling offers have affected our business. At the moment we are facing internet terminals used for illegal online gambling and betting purposes in many cafés here in Luxembourg. Estimations range from 1200 to 1400 of these terminals throughout the country, which generate tax free revenue of more than 40 million Euro. We

estimate that a similar figure is lost every year through illegal online gambling websites. Under these unhealthy conditions, we nonetheless achieve good results through our efforts and investments. 2018 could become an important year with regard to the regulation of online gambling in the EU. In my opinion, it is a real chance to install strong national State regulation and control. Up to now, there is an enormous lack of understanding by the general public and many politicians about gambling provided through the internet. More than 18 billion Euro were generated in 2017 in Europe; too often by operators that didn’t have the required national licenses and who profit from low taxation and control. This means that each EU citizen lost round 35 Euros on average. The spending is certainly even higher in the Western European countries. Not too difficult to understand that the estimations by some governments are wrong. I have observed the evolution of this market over many years. So far, in my view, all attempts at regulation are pretty poor. After all those years, I can’t see a serious approach to player protection, the protection of minors

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and vulnerable people, the fight against money laundering and crime etc. This situation is going on day by day and year after year. It should finally be brought under control. My recommendation would be to leave gambling under national responsibility. Each Member country is best placed to decide for their own market. Regulators should be enabled to oversee all gambling products within their country and to steer them in a responsible way, as wanted (or not) by the national government. And all technical means should finally be used to keep illegal gambling out of the market.

the gaming offer and the implementation of the additional loyalty scheme, will be major pillars supporting our sustainable growth strategy.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge to growth? Is it the lack of movement on the regulation front? One of the major future challenges will be to keep and increase our market share. Since 2007, the land based casino market has lost 30% throughout Europe, due to the Financial crisis, the smoking ban, the rise of online gambling and so on. With the intensification of Technology plays such an online offers and an ever aging important part in our lives and it customer base, the competition has certainly affected our leisure Christopher Leeser, Project Manager will increase and every operator time. How has it affected the will try to capture market shares offering within your casino? from its competitors. We are using the new Online gambling will certainly technologies to our advantage grow and probably double its in order to increase our GGR over the coming years. competitiveness and stimulate Thanks to smartphones, people additional revenue streams, by now gamble everywhere and concentrating on improving our when ever they want. As the gaming offer, by adapting the statistics from the French online systems we use to our needs, gaming regulator ARJEL show, by analysing the demands and there is a big mass of rather small results very deeply and by using players, but also the 1% of high Jérôme Rigottier, Compliance Manager all available marketing tools rollers, that alone generate 50% that are able to reach out to our of the revenues. Sports betting target groups. will be the growth driver. Virtual We have just introduced a new sports, Fantasy sports, e-Sports customer loyalty program, which and e-Gaming are attractive we call BONUS. This program will alternatives for the “Millennials”. enable the customer to get back The future of the casinos a certain percentage of his bets depends very much on the game played, in promotional credits, suppliers, the politicians and which can be used for free the regulators. The increase of games, or exchanged for cash. table game revenue was to be 95% of our GGR is generated expected, but will not provide Thierry Corona, President of the Association by slot machines, very similar sufficient profit for replacing the of European Sommeliers to the French market. Having the 75% GGR that are still generated newest and the most attractive games is key for by slot machines in the European casinos. So it will our business. Due to continuous investments in be the industry that has to deliver the next type new games, we are well set for 2018 and beyond. of an electronic game of chance that will help the Accelerating further our event calendar, improving casinos to be successful in the future. Those games

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will probably be more complex, more rapid, more interactive and favour competition amongst players. And they must address more senses, in order to differentiate from computers and smartphones. We live in interesting times. The EU has guaranteed economic growth based on decisions that were taken rather on economic than on democratic grounds. But this could change. With the increased offer and availability of games of chance the total spending has also increased. And certainly also the problems arising from gambling. At a certain stage, politicians and regulators will have to respond. So the question is, will they recognize that the land based casinos have done a good job in protecting their customers and in fighting money laundering and crime? Many years ago you started an impressive initiative for protecting your players. Is it still active? Yes, we started our “Play it Safe” player protection program in 2002. It is a good piece of selfregulation, far above the requirements of the regulator. Our government is very close to the casino, due to the size of the country. Here in Luxembourg we say that everybody knows each other. Therefore, what we do is very transparent. And this counts for everything we do. Play it Safe is a pro-active player protection program that has been successfully audited to the ECA’s “Responsible Gaming Certification

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I like the words “Joy”, “Fun” and “Relaxed” in your question. I think that “Comfortable” and “Secure” are also important. Over the last six years, we have invested more than 42 million Euro, mainly into our event facilities. Architecture and technology is one thing, but without human interaction it cannot provide emotions and personalized experiences. A lot of our efforts are concentrated on this subject. For decades we have been running restaurants and providing entertainment in their widest sense. We see those businesses as important as the casino and our internal discussions, analyses and strategies cover all those pillars equally. In 2017, we prepared more than 140 000 meals in our different kitchens and nearly 100 000 people have participated in our events or those of our clients. So I think that we mix those offers much more than most of the other casinos. And the customer that comes for one of our products will discover all the other possibilities that we offer. In this way, most of them come more than once. Framework” in 2015 as one of the first casinos in Europe. We take it very seriously, as we do other programs; for example, the fight against money laundering. Creating an enjoyable fun and relaxed environment is an important factor in Leisure and entertainment venues. How well is your Casino prepared?

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How do you see the future of CASINO 2OOO? I see the future of CASINO 2OOO as very fortunate. Besides all the challenges ahead of us, we are perfectly set for the future. We have a very great team of experienced and engaged professionals. I absolutely trust that they will find the right answers and solutions to guarantee a bright future for our casino.


Georgia Style Vedran Bajat, Casino Adjara, Tbilisi, Georgia. Interview by Bill Healey

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elebrating their 20th anniversary this summer will be Casino Adjara, the oldest and trendiest casino in the heart of the Tbilisi. Drawing regular guests from both a strong local base and neighboring countries, Casino Adjara is considered the place to play in Georgia. We are fortunate to catch-up with Vedran Bajat, an industry veteran and Managing Director at Casino Adjara.

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Can you give us a bit on your background? What got you into the casino industry and how did you progress to Casino Adjara? I was born and brought up in Dubrovnik, Croatia where I started working in the Casino as a dealer during my studies in economics at university. In the early nineties I was forced to move from my home town due to war escalation in the region. After moving to a couple of cities, I was invited to Moscow to join an ex colleague of mine in one


small casino project. That turned out to be a crucial moment in my career and life in general, as soon after my arrival in Moscow I started working for Solna Leisure, Management Company which was running Moscow’s most popular casino “Metelitsa”. I started as Assistant Pit Boss and during 14 years I progressed through the whole management structure. Unfortunately in July 2009 we were forced to close our operation due to that well known law which was enacted by the Russian Government to ban all casinos on Russian territory. Soon after closure of Metelitsa, Solna Leisure together with our partner decided to purchase Casino Adjara, the most renowned gambling operation in Georgia and we have successfully run it for over 8 years. I took the role of General Manager from the very

beginning and three years ago was promoted to my current position of Managing Director of this great complex. How long has Casino Adjara been serving the gaming market in Tbilisi? Casino Adjara will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary in June 2018 which makes it the longest operating gaming operation in Georgia. It is a great achievement, as it would be hard to find many Companies that have operated for such a long time in the Georgian market. Knowing that the gaming business doesn’t belong to the list of long lasting businesses in this part of the world, Casino Adjara should be even more proud of its achievement. As Casino Adjara will be celebrating its 20th

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Left to right: Vedran Bajat Managing Director Casino Adjara, Justin Whitcroft General Manager at Casino Adjara, Ian Livingstone CEO at Solna Leisure Holding Ltd

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anniversary in the summer of 2018, will there be a celebratory event? Yes, we plan to organize two days of celebration on 15th and 16th of July with outdoor and indoor entertainment and a lottery with a prize fund 500.000GEL (around 200.000 USD) How does Casino Adjara rank in terms of Georgian casinos? Maybe I will sound biased but I strongly believe that Casino Adjara is the best casino in a currently highly competitive Georgian market. With its 37 gaming tables and 250 slots it is the largest operation as well. Average daily attendance of 1300 visitors puts

Casino Adjara on the top of the list according to these parameters. How large is the physical size of the casino? Casino Adjara consists of 3 gaming floors with a total size of 2500 m sq. Regarding demographics, where do most of the players come from? As the casino is in the heart of Tblisi, is there much of an international draw? Casino Adjara has a strong local customer base but it also attracts clients from surrounding countries, many of which don’t have casinos operating within their territories. So we are proud to say that we have a lot of regular customers from Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, UAE, Qatar and several other countries in the region.

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With a strong local customer base, does the casino have a program for responsible gambling? What measures are taken to protect the irresponsible gamblers? Unfortunately we don’t do much in a structured and organized way as all Casinos act jointly to reduce the side effects of our activity. We were active participants in a Responsible Gaming program in Moscow for many years but in Georgia we try to work individually with gamblers that show signs of irresponsible gambling. How many table games and slots are available to guests? We offer 37 live gaming tables including 4 stud poker tables. On the slots side we offer 180 slot machines from various popular brands and 70 electronic roulette stations where players can play

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simultaneously on two automated and one manual roulette wheel. What are the casino’s more popular table games? Roulette is traditionally the most popular game in this market but different variations of poker are also very popular among our customers. Surprisingly, Blackjack popularity is far behind roulette and poker. Does Casino Adjara have tournaments for table games, for slots? No we don’t organize tournaments on live games or slot machines. On the other hand we invest a lot into different lotteries on live games and slots, offering a wide range of prizes which are aimed at attracting everybody, starting from small players and finishing with high rollers. For example, for the next 6 month’s lottery cycle we budgeted around 1.9


million Lari (cca. 750.000 USD). On stud poker we organize regular Cash Festivals which are highly appreciated by our local and foreign players. How active are the restaurants & bars at the casino. Are they a large draw? We have one restaurant and bar on each gaming floor and they are usually quite busy. We offer quite a lot of complementary services to our regular players which obviously increase activity there. Are Casino Adjara and the Holiday Inn Tbilisi part of the same corporate group? Is there a marketing cooperation between the two? No, Casino Adjara and Holiday Inn are different companies but we maintain a close business relationship which is of mutual benefit. From time

to time we have some joint marketing efforts. How active is the casino in social media? We are obviously presented in social media but frankly we don’t invest enough into that kind of promotion.

Casino Life would like to thank Vedran Bajat for his time and insight in contributing to this interview.

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The Right Gamble

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How online casino operators will use technology to get ahead in 2018

ames Tweddle of gaming-focused marketing agency Blueclaw shares his insight into the biggest ways online casino operators will use technology to make 2018 a stellar year. They say that time never stands still, and innovation in online gaming is no different. 2017’s compiled reports from the government’s Gambling Commission saw the total Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) of the UK leap another 1.8% to £13.7 billion, with no signs of slowing down this year. With the increase largely driven by advances in customer and betting technology, 2018 already promises to be another revolutionary year in the casino industry. Although there will no doubt be a wealth of breakthroughs, we believe the technology advances can be largely encompassed into three key factors: mobile gaming, software improvements and shared liquidity.

Mobile Gaming Once upon a time, desktops were king when it came to casino and sports betting. However, thanks to the

advent of newer technology, and a shift in people’s habits worldwide - the rise of mobile gaming has been swift and significant. Industry watchdogs estimate that in 2018, 164 million people worldwide will gamble on a mobile device, with “millenials” (25-34 year olds) the biggest adopters of mobile gaming. As for the most popular platform, the latest figures place the split between traditional web casinos and their mobile versions at around a 70/30 split, but mobile is gaining fast. As load times get quicker, data gets cheaper and the competition yet more fierce - the only way is up. The biggest shift in 2018 will be the expansion of gaming apps in mobile stores. It was only towards the end of 2017 that Apple and Google allowed casino apps on their online platforms, and uptake has been swift. This year will surely see the numbers soar. What’s more, from our work at Blueclaw with a wide range of casino operators, as well as up and coming smaller outfits and ambitious white labels,

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the market agrees. Much like everything from banking to television, mobile is the future. 2018 will be the year where those ahead of the curve will start to pull away, and a large part of that is down to technology and software improvements.

Software Improvements An often overlooked but crucial area, software improvements are essential for allowing casinos to keep up in the ever-increasing arms race to offer customers the latest and greatest slots and games. Improvements are not just limited to increasing the library of slots and table games on offer but, equally, how they look and how fast they play or load. There are too many aging casino sites content to allow slower site speeds, putting off customers quicker and quicker as the months and years go by. At Blueclaw, we are often asked to help improve site speeds and discuss the technology needed to keep a casino-cutting edge, and we’re only too happy to advise. Aside from such improvements, which should be consistently upgraded for online casinos - modern casino software might just be ready to take a leap forward in 2018, as operators look to set themselves apart. One of the biggest upgrades will likely be to the banking platforms, as more operators embrace the benefits of cryptocurrency, including blockchain and its tailored currency - Bitcoin, which is enjoying sky-high popularity at the moment. Several online casinos and bookmakers have already updated their software to accept bitcoin as valid payment, although admittedly none of the biggest players in the market. It remains to be seen who the first major online casino will be to begin accepting the currency, but if it continues adoption and popularity at the current rate, it can’t be long.

Shared Liquidity Despite all the hype about new technology, perhaps the biggest revolution for online casinos in 2018 might stem from an older idea - albeit updated for the 21st century - shared liquidity. On July 6th, 2017, the online gambling regulators from France, Italy, Spain and Portugal came together in Rome to sign a historic agreement, allowing shared liquidity between countries for the first time. That means they will be able to share online poker

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player pools - instantly opening up some of the biggest nations in Europe to playing against each other. Such an agreement has been hypothesised since online poker first launched, but it has taken years for it to happen, as well as the technology to catch up to make it possible. Portugal had to agree a ‘shared technicality framework’ in January of last year just to ensure the whole process was even technologically possible. The first breakthrough was actually in the USA, where Nevada and Delaware signed a pact back in March of 2015 for shared liquidity. They began sharing player pools that same year. Such was the success of the endeavour, that barely three years later - we seem to be heading for the same breakthrough on a much wider, four-country scale. Perhaps one day, we can dream of global poker liquidity - although one can only image the technology needed for that. Perhaps we’ll save it for our 2019 preview... Technology is the lifeblood of online casinos, which is the biggest reason there are so many tech advances across so many different online gaming sectors every year. As we have seen, however, 2018 might just be the biggest leap forward we have seen to date. Only time will tell, but we have a feeling it will be a year to remember. For more information on technology usage in the casino sector, contact Blueclaw on 01132 343300 – or visit www.blueclaw.co.uk to learn more.


Lee Willows Founder and Chief Executive, YGAM

Gaming Education Lee Willows, Founder and Chief Executive, YGAM. Interview by Peter White, Casino Life

For those of our readers not familiar with the charity, Young Gamblers Education Trust ‘YGAM’ could we commence this interview with an explanation of its purpose, aims and objectives? For those of you unfamiliar with YGAM we are an independent UK-Registered Charity with a social purpose to inform, educate and safeguard young people against problematic gambling or gaming. Of the twelve Priority Actions as identified in the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) National Responsible Gambling Strategy, YGAM’s social purpose contributes to delivery of Priority Action Eight; Education to Prevent GamblingRelated Harm. YGAM trains, quality-assures and certifies practitioners and teachers to deliver our education programme. This programme builds digital resilience and financial literacy among young people, students

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and vulnerable adults under 25 years old and increases their knowledge around e-safety and red flags for those who choose to gamble or game. Additionally, YGAM works with partner universities and employs students in part-time Living Wage roles to raise awareness of gambling-related harm as part of student services provision in the host university. The YGAM education programme itself comprises over 150 teaching and information resources, all of which are accredited and quality-assured by the Ofqual Awarding Bodies Pearson and ASDAN and are additionally quality-assured by the PSHE Association. Furthermore, the YGAM education resources and feedback from a sample of teachers and practitioners who participated in the YGAM training have been independently evaluated by City, University of London as part of an eight-month evaluation. No other programme in the UK has


opened itself up to so much independent scrutiny. In 2016/17, almost 30,000 young people accessed our education programme and we worked with 348 organisations. For 2017/18, we are planning on reaching at least 100,000 young people. How does the Charity assist school children with advice on gambling? Some of your readers may be aware that I founded YGAM with colleagues off the back of my own struggles with gambling and after extensive research from similar programmes in the past in the UK and across the globe. We listened to teachers, parents, academics, regulators, problem gamblers, students and young people themselves about what a programme of awareness should contain. After extensive piloting, going through the various quality-assurance process and an eight-month independent evaluation the answer wasn’t quite what we originally expected. Professionals who teach young people and young people themselves wanted an inclusive digital resilience programme, covering far more than problem gambling only. Three years and several revisions later, we have an awareness programme that is educational rich, relevant, highly appropriate and a programme that is well-received by everybody

who engages. The programme itself is structured around what we call the YGAM Curriculum and this curriculum covers Why People Gamble & Game; The Gambling & Gaming Industry; Probability & Luck; Money & Debt; Addiction & Mental Health and Social Gaming. We have developed over ten structured lesson plans / activities for each of these areas and these are supplemented with a further 100 education resources which can be downloaded to support delivery directly to young people or students. Feedback from both professionals who deliver our programme and from young people or students themselves is positive. Everybody comments on the creative nature of our programme as lesson plans / activities include film making, music making, art and drama. All activities are linked to five key skill areas Leadership & Teamwork; Learning & Sharing; Creative Thinking; Research & Presentation and Preparation and Discussion. Finally for the past three years our focus has been on 11-25 year olds; however, in 2018 we hope to launch a parent’s guide as we are being invited more and more to speak with parents and appropriate primary school resources. Do you have an instructional Video for Schools?

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We have a bank of public videos which we have permission to share with teachers or young people; however, we are about to start a piece of work with two operators to develop, pilot and evaluate bespoke video content. What is the reason behind the creation of the Charity? What I find interesting is from my long career within the third sector and education sectors, I never came across programmes focused on problem gambling or gaming for young people. In fact, I never gambled until I was in my late thirties, let alone know people could be affected negatively by gambling……… until it happened to me. It has been important that I move forward positively following my addiction and that I do

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not become defined by it. I am not a campaigner and I totally agree that the majority of people experience no harm from gambling, but similar to drinking alcohol, some customers will. In society today we have a lot of awareness programmes aimed at young people or students around mental health and addictions, but we have very little around gambling, gaming and digital resilience per se. Being described as an entrepreneur by others and having achieved great things and high office in my career at a relatively young age, I wanted to use these skills to do something positive and fill what I now know is a huge gap in young peoples’ education. Do you think society should have a better


understanding and appreciation of addictions than they do currently? And having gone through all the various counselling and therapies and personal challenges along that path to where you are now does it mean that you are able to talk to addicts with a special level of understanding. Society does not understand gambling (or behavioural) addictions. Ask most people and they describe an addict as somebody who is addicted to a substance ‘a drunkie’, ‘an alcoholic’ – terrible labels in my view and there lies one of the problems. As a society we love to label people, perhaps using a label because we do not really understand it. I was born the son of a miner, growing up in a working-class family, I have never been a fan of labels and to my way of thinking, if you have a problem in life, you need to accept

responsibility, get some help, sort it and move forward. There lies another problem...accepting responsibility. I am a strong believer that to move forward from any addiction (behaviour or substance), you need to take responsibility. None of us are born addicts, but our behaviours or actions can cause us to become addicts. Knowing and accepting something is causing you harm and taking responsibility to become abstinent is critical. I often wonder if alcohol was liberated in 2005 as gambling was, would bars across the country have to provide self-exclusion schemes, would there be the huge research into alcohol-related harm as we see in gambling-related harm and would the media have a narrow view, perhaps on one product such as whisky or vodka. Stopping gambling was without doubt the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I loved the escapism and the genuine thrill and buzz. Nothing has come close to that feeling, but I know I need to have balance in my life. Gambling for me, led to a loss of balance and distorted my thinking massively. Why else would I have spent a lifetime worth of savings, taken on huge debt, committed crime and planned to take my own life. Reflecting and looking back, gambling detached me from reality and provided a huge amount of comfort. I loved the thrill so much, like any other addict I wanted more and more and the lengths I would go to get the thrill were staggering. Many addicts only reach out for help when it is actually too late; I wasn’t really aware of the signs of the trouble that I was getting into and that is why I am such a huge advocate for more awareness and education. The mind of an addict doesn’t choose to see all the negative consequences; addicts are optimistic and will convince themselves to do anything to get their fix. In your opinion do you think there are other initiatives those organisations involved in the Gambling industry in the UK can take to assist in educating the public about gambling - including lotteries which, in many people’s minds, have little association with ‘gambling’? The gambling industry is going through a lot of scrutiny now, very similar to the banking sector ten years ago. The gambling industry really needs

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to claim back the story. I cannot help but think of similarities with the banking sector. The banking sector did successfully claim the story back and one thing I have seen from working in the third sector is many banks have now separated out regulation and corporate social responsibility. This has to be the single most important opportunity for the gambling industry right now. The public can tolerate huge profits, if they get a good sense that a company is doing its bit for the local community or planet. Who would have thought it, HSBC devote huge resources to the Water Programme, Barclays are helping to get older people on line, Lloyds are supporting social entrepreneurs and Natwest have championed financial education for young people. Building digital resilience among young people is the number one priority for Personal, Social, Health & Economic (PSHE) education right now and what a powerful message for the gambling industry to get behind in a collaborative way. Digitally aware 18-25 year-olds, often living with parents, tend to have large disposable incomes. They are likely to have an interest in sports and support teams that retain betting industry sponsors. Is there enough being done to ensure this group is aware of the pitfalls of gambling? Sport and gambling are absolutely wrapped together; many young adults enjoy watching a football match and having a bet. With the rise of in-play betting there are now many more opportunities. Is this a problem? Well, no I don’t think it is; in my view many young adults enjoy a couple of drinks during a match and so what is the difference. If we take the view that gambling affects a minority of people, then surely this is the same for alcohol. However, as we know gambling is emotive, whereas alcohol isn’t and therefore going back to what I said earlier about Corporate Social Responsibly, football teams, whether sponsored by gambling companies or not, may choose to take a look at what they are doing to safeguard their fans against gambling harm. There seems to be a great opportunity here to develop something impactful and for football to take the story back. What I do draw the line at, however, is under 18s football kits; these should not be sponsored by gambling companies; it is the right thing to do.

How is YGAM funded? 76% of YGAM’s income for the period ending 30 June 2017 was from direct corporate donations by the gambling industry, with the remaining 24% coming from charitable trusts & foundations, individuals or sales. We are not funded by GambleAware and are working hard to develop a diverse income base for the charity. Our challenges are around restricted vs unrestricted income and developing reserves for the charity, not who funds the work of charity. Fundraising is incredibly hard to do and the ‘norm’ within this sector is gambling companies donate to GambleAware. We have spent a considerable amount of time developing relationships with the sector and I am proud that some operators have got behind our social purpose. YGAM is authentic, delivers exceptional social value and we have been able to offer employee volunteering opportunities to those who support our social purpose which have proven popular. 2018 is a critical year for YGAM and to help us develop our unrestricted income and build a small amount of reserves we have incorporated a trading subsidiary, where all profits will be donated back to the charity. This trading subsidiary will offer the gambling industry bespoke, formal qualifications in identifying problem gambling, risk management and AML and customer service. For those wishing to find out more about YGAM how can they contact you? We love to hear from your readers if you want to support our amazing impactful start-up charity via corporate donations, employee volunteering or to discuss your training needs. YGAM will be at ICE 2018 (Stand CPZ4), please do come and see us or visit our website: www.ygam.org. Finally I can be contacted personally at: lee@ygam.org

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Mark Prows, Senior Vice President, Entertainment Operations Corporate Entertainment, MGM Resorts

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Interview with Mark Prows, Senior Vice President Entertainment Operations, Corporate Entertainment – MGM Resorts by: Victor H Royer

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asino Life magazine recently had the opportunity to interview MGM Resorts executive Mark Prows, recipient of the 2017 Casino Entertainment Award at the 2017 G2E Gaming Convention in Las

Vegas. Mark was integral in the design and development of T-Mobile Arena, which has become a huge hit among sports fans locally, and those visiting for major events. A 25-year veteran of MGM Resorts, Mark began his career in arena management and design 35 years ago, progressing through front-

line positions to senior level management at five different arenas throughout the U.S. MGM Resorts International – a company that today owns and operates many of the world’s greatest casino resorts – including MGM Grand and the famous Bellagio in Las Vegas – began in the late 1960s with its founding father – Kirk Kerkorian – who later became one of the most famous and successful businessmen of his generation. A one-time owner of the renowned MetroGoldwyn-Mayer movie studio (which today has no relationship to MGM Resorts International),

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Park MGM Rendering

Kerkorian is widely credited as among the early pioneers of Las Vegas. He built the International Hotel in 1962—the largest hotel in the world at that time—whose first two performers were Barbra Streisand and Elvis Presley. Just four years later, he built MGM Grand Hotel which surpassed International Hotel in size and was larger, even, than the Empire State Building. In 2000, long after Kerkorian had left the business, MGM Grand, Inc., the holding company he founded, acquired Mirage Resorts in what was then the largest transaction of its kind in the

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gaming industry. The new company, named MGM MIRAGE, acquired Mandalay Resort Group in 2005 and retained the MGM MIRAGE name until 2010, when the Company was renamed MGM Resorts International. Since then, what once was a casino-driven Las Vegas-anchored operation, has become a global entertainment brand, offering the world’s most exciting and diverse portfolio of guest experiences through a singular, unified strategy. No other company with roots in gaming has undergone a transformation quite like this. A conscious strategy to take the best of its history, combined with the largest ambitions for the future, and executed with one common vision, has revolutionized the way MGM Resorts does business. Today, many of MGM’s resorts are showcases of entertainment choices, and their global suite of experiences means that guests can find a little bit of the best of Las Vegas in locations throughout the United States, and in other areas of the world. Mark, 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 to better understand both the companies that they work for or own, as well as what are the key attributes for their success. Please tell our readers about yourself and your role at MGM Resorts.


Thank you for wanting to speak with me; it is an honor to be featured by your magazine. I started in entertainment in college while majoring in finance but got hooked and never went on to pursue the law degree I envisioned. I began working through front-line positions and over the years, and several moves to different cities, was able to garner a breadth of experience across many venue types. I eventually reached senior level management where I am privileged today to oversee all of our major venues nationwide. You were recently honored at the 2017 G2E with the Casino Entertainment Award. Please tell us about this award, and your thoughts about being honored for your 35 year career in the gaming industry. This award is very humbling. It reminds me that learning how to mentor, lead and motivate a team are keys to success. There is no way you can do any of this by yourself. My team and I have worked tirelessly to continue to be the best in order to provide our partners and our guests the service they deserve while creating experiences that will last a lifetime. In your career, what would you consider to be the highlights? We all have favorite entertainers, or celebrities we follow – have you had an opportunity to meet someone you admire? And then work with them? Over all the years I have obviously met a lot of them and it would not be fair to single out any of them one from another. I value, admire and respect all of the entertainers with whom I’ve worked over the years. It takes a tremendous amount of focus, hard work, dedication and diligence for them to develop a career. There’s a lot more that goes into an entertainment career than people realize, no matter what cog in this massive wheel in which you are involved. But one thing is for sure, it all starts and ends with talent. Entertainment is a massive part of the Casino Resort experience – but what is it like for you, and MGM Resorts, to find, secure, and present such offerings, celebrity entertainers, and large events? Please walk our readers through how this happens, and how it is accomplished.

It’s an incredible process that most people don’t understand, nor would they need to if we do our jobs right! This industry, like most, is built on relationships. There is a huge supply chain in this industry and at every level it is based on trust. We leverage that each day and there is no other portfolio of resorts in the world that offers the breadth and depth of entertainment like we do. Over the years, the goal has been to be more than just a gaming company, and we have certainly accomplished that feat. It always is exciting to get a new celebrity entertainer on board. Additionally, this year we have welcomed another level of pro sports to the market with the Vegas Golden Knights to T-Mobile Arena, and the Las Vegas Aces to Mandalay Bay. Securing such great entertainment and overall experiences on all our properties takes a huge effort across many disciplines, and that success can be attributed to all of MGM Resorts’ employees. What has been the most successful approach employed by MGM Resorts for entertainment choices in a gaming-resort destination property? We leverage all of our assets and are forward thinking to develop amazing venues and execute on associated strategies to fill them. As an example, we have helped develop the PBR, UFC and expand Boxing. As stated earlier, the most recent successful venture has been helping develop and integrate professional sports into the city through our company. We are extremely proud to welcome the NHL and the WNBA. MGM Resorts is now a top choice for Las Vegas visitors looking for a well-rounded experience as we provide gaming, resorts offerings and traditional entertainment such as Cirque du Soleil, and can now add other professional sports to that list. Creating an enjoyable fun and relaxed environment is an important factor in Leisure and Entertainment venues. How are MGM Resorts properties positioned today – in today’s competitive business and visitor environments? We pride ourselves on being the most desirable entertainment company. Our resorts include gaming, nightlife, sports and entertainment. You can get the full experience within all of our destination resort properties and associated neighborhoods.

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venues, celebrity performers, and events evolved in recent years? We’ve grown in many different ways over the years. The first is, of course, acquiring more properties throughout the years and developing a deeper, more diverse portfolio. This helped propel our splash into the entertainment industry because our venues have been crafted for the highly acclaimed celebrity performers we host night-in and nightout. The opening of T-Mobile Arena has been an integral part of our continued growth allowing us to host even more high-profile events and deliver other professional sports to Las Vegas. Park Theater has given us the ability to enter the artist residency world, while The Theater at MGM National Harbor has helped us leverage the touring market even deeper on the east coast along with the Borgata and Springfield assets.

MGM Resorts President Bill Hornbuckle

Las Vegas is the king of all of that and we have found ways to mirror our Las Vegas model in the other markets in which we are expanding. We are thrilled with what we are doing in National Harbor (MD) and Springfield (Mass). Others can certainly try but no one can do it like we do, and people vote with their feet and wallets. What would you say makes MGM Resorts unique as a choice in casino entertainment destinations in Las Vegas, and worldwide? I would say our company sets itself apart because of the level of experiences guests receive at our properties, which do not exist anywhere else in the world. We have crafted our company from within to be able to engage, entertain and wow guests worldwide. There is a reason why I have stayed with this company for 25 years. This is an extremely progressive company with an amazing ‘people’ culture. How have MGM Resorts entertainment facilities,

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Is it possible for MGM Resorts to improve yet further on the entertainment facilities and events as they are now? If yes, what are the plans, and who are the entertainers, and events, planned for 2018? Our company always looks to make improvements on our facilities and events. We have done that recently and will continue to follow that aggressive path. For example, since acquiring the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, we are devoted to welcoming the team, its staff and players to Mandalay Bay. The team will play 17 regular season games in the Mandalay Bay Events Center, an opportunity that gives us the chance to renovate the 12,000-seat venue so we are game-day ready. How has MGM Resorts developed over the years in its ways of providing promotions and incentives to its guest in accessing entertainment options, tickets, facilities, and resources? We have evolved by giving guests easy accessibility to our wide variety of amenities. We are constantly working on enhancing processes and systems to book a hotel or get tickets to anything on our properties. We want to help make our guests’ stay as convenient as possible, and that begins at the very idea of visiting the destination. At the ease of their smart phone or computer they can take a virtual tour of what they want to experience with our shows and events.


What is the split between local, tourist and travelling business guests for whom MGM Resorts caters? What percentage of each of these groups access entertainment facilities, shows, and events? What type of entertainment are each of these demographics choosing? We see a nice mix of both locals and tourists visiting our properties. It obviously is heavily dependent on the type of event. We also have a large number of business travellers - a result of being home to many large conventions hosted in our renowned convention spaces. We find our offerings are attractive to all demographics because we have such a variety of entertainment options and venues. MGM Resorts is known for its excellent private suites and salons; how have these private offerings helped MGM Resorts? Is there a correlation between entertainment offerings at MGM Resorts and higher-than-usual occupancy for such private

facilities? I can generally say the strategy for our resorts is to offer the leading experiences and amenities in the hospitality and entertainment industry. It is a priority for us to be the leader in service standards to ensure our guests get what they expect when booking a stay, or an experience at an MGM Resorts venue. Our development and design teams are second to none. Yes, all of this helps us in entertainment booking and operations! What about the general guest, such as the traditional tourist – how do they access the best of MGM Resorts entertainment options and facilities? What do they get? Or can get? And how would they go about getting it? Both locals and out-of-town guests have access to the best of our MGM Resorts entertainment options and facilities. They get the top-of-the-line luxury experiences whether they live in Las Vegas and want

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a staycation, or are travelling from another city/ country and want that ultimate vacation experience. Promotions and incentives are an important mix for patron loyalty. What are the provisions like at MGM Resorts regarding prizes and rewards for patrons? For example – is there a points-system for guests purchasing entertainment services, such as tickets to shows, events, and so on? We want to reward all of our guests every time they visit one of our resorts so we have developed the M life Rewards program for guests to be recognized for their loyalty. Anyone can sign up at any time and join for free. By being a member of the M life Rewards loyalty program, guests all over the world can enjoy the Las Vegas lifestyle along with “behindthe-velvet-rope” access, special offers and many other benefits. MGM Resorts is currently remodeling the Monte Carlo – what entertainment offerings are planned for the newly-redesigned property? As previously mentioned, we have Park Theater at

Monte Carlo that already is home to many A-list performers including Bruno Mars, Cher, Ricky Martin and the recently announced special engagement with Lady Gaga. Once the transformation is complete, I am confident Park MGM will be one of the most popular resorts along The Strip. The entire experience is enhanced by the neighborhood highlighted by The Park across the street and the adjacent T-Mobile Arena. How would you sum-up the future of entertainment in Las Vegas? And for MGM Resorts? Las Vegas is a very vibrant and resilient city. I know it will continue to be the entertainment capital of the world and MGM Resorts will remain as the industry leader when it comes to the wide variety of entertainment options we offer to any market we enter.

Thank you, Mark, for your time, and for sharing this with us, and the readers of Casino Life magazine.

GRAMMY Award-Winning Superstar Lady Gaga Announces Two-Year Special Engagement at Park Theater in Las Vegas Beginning December 2018

Lady Gaga with MGM Resorts President Bill Hornbuckle, signing her contract

Recently MGM Resorts also announced the signing of Worldwide Super Star Lady Gaga to an exclusive engagement at the Park Theater, which is located inside the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino. Six-time GRAMMY Award-winner, Golden Globe Award-winner and Academy Award-nominee superstar entertainer Lady Gaga will bring her one-of-a-kind talent and creativity to the stage at Park Theater at Park MGM in Las Vegas beginning in December 2018.

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Lady Gaga said, “It’s the land of Elvis, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra, the Rat Pack, Elton John, Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli. It has been a life-long dream of mine to play Las Vegas. I am humbled to be a part of a historical line-up of performers, and to have the honor of creating a new show unlike anything Vegas has ever seen before. I’ll tell you exactly what I told my MGM and Park Theater partners - you can count on this performer always for one thing … I’ll leave my heart on the stage every single night. Thank you to my fans for always believing in me. Meet me in Las Vegas baby, we did it!” Bill Hornbuckle, President of MGM Resorts International said, “Our announcement today of Lady Gaga joining an amazing lineup of talent at Park Theater is monumental for Lady Gaga fans, MGM Resorts and the Park MGM brand. We have all been wowed by Lady Gaga’s raw talent, but the passion, commitment and creativity she is prepared to bring to this engagement will truly be transformational…Las Vegas, get ready to become the Entertainment Capital of the Universe.”


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Preview of ICE 2018 Zitro •Amatic • Flex Systems • Aristocrat

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SPOTLIGHT

Zitro at ICE 2018 – ready to win!

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itro is ready to win! During the Ice show 2018 in London, Zitro’s booth located at N1-460 will showcase the most complete product library ever presented by the company, including products that will have their worldwide premier at the show and promise to be the absolute industry highlights. “We are anticipating an incredible ICE show this year with tons of novelties and spectacular innovations. Our great team has worked harder than ever, and we could not be more proud about the results. I can’t wait to present it all!”, says Johnny Ortiz, President and Founder of Zitro. Backed up with a whole new product suite on the one hand and with unprecedented results in the Casinos all around the globe on the other, Bryke is consolidating as one of the top Video Slot brands in the gaming industry, and at ICE, visitors will see why. Taking center stage will be the various brand new super-hot progressive links that will have their worldwide debut at the show. In addition, the company will showcase the beautiful progressive bank Blazing Pearls, presented on the Fusion Slant 27/27 cabinet, a high technology cabinet with an ultra-slim design, that occupies less space than any upright cabinet in the market. Another major highlight will be the already proven and award

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winning multigame series Pick & Win, as well as new multigame series, that will be revealed at the show and will take Bryke’s Video Slot games to the next level, adding more fun and excitement to each title “Having a full library of proven performing products, and the capacity of creating outstanding innovations is what is setting Zitro apart. We can now offer the best content on the extremely competitive Fusion platform, an absolute must for any Casino”, adds Sebastian Salat, CEO of Zitro. World leading Video Bingo games will have its special place at Zitro’s booth at ICE. Wrapped up under the Zitro Partnership Program, Zitro presents a full range of games and solutions, including the loyalty system Club Vip Zitro, a system that allows the casino operator to engage their players by offering personalized extra fun and bigger wins just by playing at their usual Casino. Zitro’s industry transforming series of games “Showprize”, that will dramatically change how Video Bingo is played, as well as endless new game titles that have been designed by Zitro’s Video Bingo experts, to provide the best entertainment to the player and the highest return to the operator, will also be exhibited at ICE. With this full range of products and solutions, Zitro is ready, ready to win! Discover what’s inside Zitro’s booth at ICE 2018!


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SPOTLIGHT

Amatic Industries: 25 years of innovation New stand, new games and more at forthcoming ICE

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MATIC Industries is celebrating 25 years in business during 2018. Videobased MULTI GAME is standard today in many gaming jurisdictions yet that was not the case 25 years ago. AMATIC Industries was founded in 1993 with the clear focus on MULTI GAME. 25 years of innovation and success have followed.

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AMATIC Industries will naturally be taking a strong presence at the forthcoming ICE that will take place between 6th and 8th February in London. This time, the company will be exhibiting at the new and larger booth # S4-240 in South Gallery Suites where visitors can look forward to seeing a brand new stand design and a lot of eye-catching attractions. The stylish and trend-setting gaming machines – the


slant-top PGA (Performer Grand Arc) and the upright Amarox C24 will be adorning the stand with their HARDROX (HX) platform. These gaming machines have set the standard for how customer-appealing cabinets should look. This is another example of how innovative AMATIC is, being prepared to break the mold and lead in creating new cabinet designs in the industry. MULTI GAME stands at the heart of this company and explains its enduring success throughout the 25 years. A range of new and completely in-house developed games will be introduced to the global gaming market at ICE. As ever, these games cover a wide range of tastes to ensure that all kinds of players can continue to enjoy the new AMATIC

games. The focus on MULTI GAME has seen AMATIC Industries strongly grow its footprint in the online gaming market in the past years. AMANET is the online gaming division from AMATIC – showing that proven land-based games will be popular in the online gaming market as well. AMANET was the division that grew the quickest in 2017 at AMATIC. The number of jurisdictions / countries where AMANET is available rose correspondingly in 2017. With many years experience and innovation in the development and production of electronic roulette solutions – the Roulette Grand Jeu 24HX will naturally be taking centre place as well. 2017 was a very special year for this division as AMATIC celebrated selling its 1000th Roulette Grand Jeu in Spain. AMATIC Industries will be exhibiting at the new stand location # S4-240. The whole team from AMATIC looks forward to welcoming all visitors.

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SPOTLIGHT

CasinoFlex Systems – the rising systems star – looks forward to ICE

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The right systems solution – each and every time

asinoFlex Systems International – the rising star in the global systems market – will be exhibiting at the forthcoming ICE that will take place between 6th and 8th February at London’s ExCel Centre. Although CasinoFlex Systems International was founded only back in 2015, this company has thousands of slot machines and table games connected on a global basis and is already market leader in Bulgaria. This growing popularity is attributed to the fact that CasinoFlex Systems offers the right systems solution each and every time. “Our origins are in casino operations and we know how much difference the right system can make”, explained Tim Klok, Managing Director at CasinoFlex Systems International and co-founder alongside Bas Baarbe. “We have the right solution for any gaming operation – from the most modern right to older sites. This is where we stand out in the systems market”. Visitors to the ICE can see how their operations can be optimally managed through CasinoFlex Systems. Naturally this company can integrate all modern slot machines with full SAS support. The complexity increases when operators have a mix of older and newer machines – which is often the case. CasinoFlex Systems can provide mechanical meter interfacing and coin emulation – so enabling TITO and cashless for older slot machines as well.

Operators thus benefit from the same features and functionality for their complete machine park. The CasinoFlex Systems range covers all bases and includes Slot Systems, Table Systems, Multisite, Jackpots, Player Tracking and System Preview. Each customer is provided with a set of individual solutions to create the system that fits ideally to their gaming location(s). “We know ourselves how important the systems choice is in the global gaming market. That is why we decided to create CasinoFlex Systems in 2015 – to give the market the systems choice it requires – each and every time. We send out a warm welcome for visitors to come and find out more and we are naturally looking forward to seeing our valued customers at ICE”. CasinoFlex Systems will be exhibiting at stand S5102 at ICE.

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SPOTLIGHT

Aristocrat looks inside out at ICE 2018

F

ocusing on the theme ‘It’s all about what’s inside’, Aristocrat Technologies will be offering visitors to ICE stand S3-250 a unique commercial edge to celebrate the EMEA release of its new Helix+™ cabinet, heralding the arrival of a vast array of new game content for 2018. Based on the same footprint as the popular Helix™ cabinet, Helix+ incorporates two 27-inch screens offering 40 per cent more visible gaming space over its predecessor. A virtual button deck also comes as standard, adding even more interactivity at players’ fingertips, whilst further enhancements have also been made to its security and serviceability. “All new orders for Helix+ placed on stand will benefit from an extremely attractive show special deal offering operators additional hardware benefits bundled together with the latest and greatest software content,” said Erik-Jan van den Berg, Aristocrat’s Sales Director for EMEA. “Allowing for more choice on gaming floors, much of the new game content in the 2018 portfolio is also compatible with both traditional dual-screen format for Helix/Helix+ and the premium portrait Arc™ Single platform,” he added.

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Exciting new C-Series core games on show include: • Extra Extra Bonus Wilds™ titles Wild Fiesta Coins™ and Choy Coin Doa™ Dragon Ingot, extending the franchise of the hugely popular ‘Wild Showers’ mechanic; • Mega Pay™ games More More Chilli™ and More More Hearts™, offering a bonus feature with up to 24 reel sets playing concurrently and a 100x multiplier; • Buffalo™ Max, a brand extension of the legendary Buffalo title with scaled ante bets for playercontrolled volatility; • Two new Cash Fusion™ themes; Peacock Riches™ and Valkyrie Thunder™, offering ‘Cash’ and ‘Fusion’ features; • Goblin’s Gold™, a progression of the popular Pure Gold™/Pure Magic™ with ‘Triple Spins’ in the bonus round; and • Joe Blow™, an innovative twist on persistent wild games, taking graphical inspiration from Where’s The Gold™ and sporting a standalone progressive jackpot. Fresh E-Series entertainment games featured at ICE include:

• Dragon Lanterns™, the first in a new generation of ‘Floating Wilds!’ games. Debut titles with the jackpot-chase J-Series segment include: • New Gold Stacks™ titles Prosperity Cats™ and Prosperity Princess™; • Welcome to Fantastic Jackpots™, two complementary themes with prize ladders escalating 3- and 5-of-a-kind wins; Spin It Grand™, two themes featuring a laterally-scrolling top screen wheel dropping prizes onto bottom screen reels below; • Cash Panther™ and Thunder Wolf™, two new themes for the high denomination Hit it Hot Jackpots™ SAP family with ‘must hit by’ mystery triggered jackpot progressives; and • Pure Cash™, another new high

• The highly successful Mighty Cash™mechanic families Long Teng Hu Xiao™ (Dragon Flies™/ Tiger Roars™) and Nu Xia™ (Red Blade™/Green Blade™); • Nu Wa™ Bu Tian™ and Xao Ren™, extending the popular Max Stacks™ series; • American Bison™, offering free games, wild multipliers, wheel and jackpot features; • Makin’ Cash™ and Rockin’ Cash™, with ‘Slash the Cash’, wheel/jackpot features and optional progressive link; • Double Happiness Panda™, a ‘2X Stacks’ game with free games, player-selectable jackpots (up to six levels) and win multipliers up to 64x; Fu Fu Fu™, incorporating ‘Wild Showers’, 2x and 3x wilds, free games and free game multipliers, 5-level jackpots and jackpot multipliers, and 5th reel trigger symbols to initiate special free games and jackpot features; and

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denomination SAP family with three jackpot levels and two bonus prizes. New portfolio additions in Aristocrat’s multigame/ multi-play M-Series incorporate: • 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; • Players World™ Classics, a multigame offering jackpot-free classic games 50 Lions™, 100 Lions™, Miss Kitty™ and Wild Panda™; and • 5 Dragons™ Empire, a 5-game multipack of 5 Dragons™ in original, Deluxe, Gold, Rapid and High Limits formats. Aristocrat has also ported some of its most popular classic games onto the latest Gen8™ Helix/Helix+ platform, featuring original maths models and enhanced hi-res graphics and audio. Games on display at ICE will include Queen of the Nile™, Dolphin Treasure™, Pompeii™ and Choy Sun Doa™. Mr van den Berg continued, “As a further addition to the Aristocrat portfolio in EMEA, we are introducing a series of enhanced premium pods including signage, branded chairs and themed packaging. These are designed to position the most popular game families across all of our game segments in flat pods of two, three or four – and four, six and eight in double-sided banks – allowing for feature destinations of the very best titles on gaming floors. “Aristocrat’s ICE 2018 for sale offering for the EMEA region combines a wealth of cutting edge hardware to bring the very best of new content derived from proven and popular game mechanics that players will instantly recognise and revel in. We are very excited at the prospect of sharing the inside knowledge of this portfolio with both existing and new partners at London’s ExCeL centre,” Mr van den Berg concluded.

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MAY 15 - 17, 2018 | 2018年5月15-17日 THE VENETIAN MACAO | 澳门威尼斯人 G2E系列展会 A G2E EVENT

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Casino Life volume 14 issue 114  

www.casinolifemagazine.com

Casino Life volume 14 issue 114  

www.casinolifemagazine.com