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Volume 15 Issue 130

Casino Madeira

The Life of the party

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

sophielbehan@gmail.com International Casino & Gaming Correspondent:

Robert Ambrose

r.ambrose16@gmail.com Technology Correspondent: Rebecca Green



Editor’s Page Welcome to Casino Life...

We begin with a mature viewpoint from Kate Chambers who echoes the way the industry appears to be tackling some of the bigger issues affecting us socially plus bringing the spotlight to bear on Gaming and how it can have positive effects. ICE Africa is ideally placed in both position and time to be a great catalyst for responsible gaming on this continent and to promote the positive benefits it can bring. Leading our features is Casino Madeira where I talk to Carlos Campos, General Manager, Casino da Madeira “where everything happens”. Jim Firth, General Manager, Genting Casinos UK has taken a leaf from that book and describes his career path to Peter White, from dealing roulette in the 80’s. David McKee Previews Triton London Millions Poker Tournament whilst Greg Wolfenden explains how an antimicrobial treatment can lead to a healthier workforce and players whilst Liz Karter, Leading UK Therapist in Gambling in Women, explains how addiction is not solely a male problem. Over on page 44 this thread continues with Dan Waugh, Partner at Regulus Partners considering how many are now citing Gambling as a threat to Public Health. I caught up with Jurgen De Munck, the CEO of DR Gaming Technology™ and we talked through their integrated approach which he defines as Seamless Gaming Integration. Robert Brassai has hopefully returned from being stranded in Yerevan by the time you read this. He looks at the divide between landbased and online gambling and debates whether the two sides will ever meet. Online is certainly an emerging market when considering investments as Morgan Stanley comment. Finally we end with Damien Connelly who comments on both of these and provides a good round up of the issues we’ve covered in this issue. As we are close to print we hear of the untimely passing of two men who were prominent entrepreneurs and constant fixtures at exhibitions and events over the past three decades. Steve Treharne owner of PST and Les Meddick of Central Glyn Thomas Displays will be missed by family, friends Editor in Chief and colleagues alike. Sandton Convention Centre South Africa 2 - 3 October 2019

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Shining a light on Africa’s gaming ecosystem For more information and to register, visit www.iceafrica.za.com


Contents 3

Editors page

5 Guest Comment by Kate Chambers Managing Director, Clarion Gaming 6

Casino Madeira The Life of the party

Carlos Campos, General Manager, Casino da Madeira chats to Glyn Thomas 16 Living the Casino Life Jim Firth, General Manager, Genting Casinos UK speaks to Peter White 25 A Very Big Deal

David McKee Previews The Triton London Millions

29 Gaming Health

Greg Wolfenden chats to Damien Connelly

34 Dealing with Addiction Liz Karter, Leading UK Therapist in Gambling in Women Chats to Peter White 38 Seamless Gaming Integration Jurgen De Munck, the CEO of DR Gaming Technology™ talks to Glyn Thomas 44 Up in Smoke? The Public Health Threat to Gambling By: Dan Waugh, Partner at Regulus Partners 46 Manage this

By: Robert Brassai

48 Morgan Stanley Online Gambling Europe: Assessing Private Equity Attractiveness 49 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, Kate Chambers Great b2b events can shine a positive light on the industries they represent. Fundamentally exhibitions are about bringing together the right community of buyers with the right community of sellers, at the right location, at the right time in the calendar and in an environment that is conducive to profitable business. While that represents the core rationale there’s an awful lot more to the chemistry than that and the event itself can make an important contribution to the development of the industry or sector in which it operates. ICE London was recently described by one industry thought leader as being the ‘Davos of gaming’ - which was a hugely flattering comparison. Davos brings together the most influential economic and political leaders in the world. ICE London does a similar thing in so far as we host international gaming regulators, industry thought leaders, the CEOs of every major international gaming organisation, elected politicians and the vast majority of trade associations drawn from every continent. The coming together of so many influencers means that many of the key decisions that impact the global industry have been discussed and debated in London. Equally, regulators view the industry through the prism of ICE London, which for many is the most important gaming show in the world. When an event really engages with its stakeholders, these type of credentials start to come to the fore. To a certain extent we are beginning to experience this with ICE Africa, the event that we launched in 2018 and the second edition of which takes place in October in Johannesburg. ICE Africa is significant for a number of reasons, not least because it was the first occasion that we had taken the ICE brand outside of the UK. It also has great significance for the pan-African gaming industry, in so far as it brings the entire gaming ecosystem together and provides a professional shop window through which politicians and regulators can view the industry. John Kamara, the brand ambassador for ICE Africa and

Kate Chambers, Managing Director, Clarion Gaming

one of the most respected thought leaders across the panAfrican industry, believes October’s event will help develop a deeper understanding of the contribution gaming can make in relation to the development of many national economies in Africa. By bringing this to the forefront of the debate it is possible to have meaningful conversations concerning the far ranging benefits of a robust, socially responsible gaming industry and what that means in terms of employment, taxation and contributions to GDP. So while the most tangible metric may be measured in the volume of business written or the numbers attending, there’s much more to b2b events than might immediately meet the eye. For more information on ICE Africa, Clarion Gaming’s two day free to attend conference and exhibition, being held across 2-3 October, Sandton, South Africa, visit: iceafrica.za.com



Casino Madeira The Life of the party Carlos Campos, General Manager, Casino da Madeira chats to Glyn Thomas



Carlos Campos, General Manager, Casino da Madeira

asino da Madeira is in a superb location on the Island of Madeira as it’s only 5 minutes from the center of Funchal, and 23 km from the airport, which works out at about 25 minutes by car.

All the Casinos you have worked at will have had their unique special qualities but Casino da Madeira must be the most impressive. What would you say are some of the unique aspects about Casino da Madeira? Casino da Madeira is part of a complex founded on an original idea by the renowned Brazilian Architect Oscar


Niemeyer and executed by the illustrious architect of the Escola do Porto, Alfredo Viana de Lima. The building, which includes the Casino, the Pestana Casino Park Hotel and the Congress Center, is very impressive and was acquired by Pestana Hotel Group in 1985. In 2007, in the same year that Oscar Niemeyer celebrated its centenary, Casino da Madeira underwent a remodeling based on a project of another Brazilian architect, Jaime Morais, who maintained the Niemeyrian spirit. More than 40 years after its inauguration it is one of the jewels of the Pestana Hotel Group in Madeira. For those who like the adrenaline, Casino da Madeira


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has a gaming room that offers a series of options ranging from American Roulette, Poker, Punto y Banca, Black Jack, to Electronic roulette, Keno, Poker, Rolls among others and the possibility to try out about 200 slot machines. The most sought after games are video games with new technologically advanced platforms. Casino da Madeira occupies a unique place in the entertainment of Madeira, because it offers a wide range of events. It is frequented


both by locals and tourists, who seek to have a good time, whether in one of the many shows or on the Casino Floor, the feeling is the same, the search for strong emotions Could you provide an insight into the organisation’s approach to its Privilege and Rewards programme? At this moment the Casino da Madeira is in a process of transition regarding its program of customer loyalty. It

was necessary to innovate the loyalty program using the available new technologies. An entirely new program has been created, which is still in progress. Customers of the casino have the possibility of having a WelcomeCard card, which guarantees them quick and privileged access to the facilities, without having to go through the registration and identification process, as well as immediate discounts on the consumption of food and beverages, either in


the gambling room, Copacabana Disco Club or even in the showroom (Casino Congress Center). For the most savvy player we have the LuxuryCard, a unique card that grants privileges with immediate discounts up to 100% in the several dining areas, as well as free tickets to the shows, free entrance and access to the VIP area of the Copacabana Disco Club among many other privileges. How popular are the Casino da Madeira Poker Tournament Events and do you welcome participants from across Europe, and how much is the winning prize money? Does the casino’s location mean that it benefits from the Cruise Ships? The Casino is actually near the Port of Funchal, which is the Capital of Madeira Island. So during the cruise season, which happens from March till October, it is common to see ship’s crew coming in. However only those ships who


stay overnight are important to us, as we only open doors at 3pm and the majority of the ships leave at 5pm. Still the Cruise Ships are a vital part of the Island’s economics. What are the most popular Table Games at Casino da Madeira? The most popular table games in the Casino, as in almost all casinos, are roulette and blackjack. What is the highest pay out for slots in your Casino and what have been the biggest pay outs won in recent years at the Casino? Well the biggest pay out won was a jackpot of 100.000 euros, In a bet of 15.00 euros. Recently we have paid several jackpots between 30.000 euros and 50.000 euros on an average of 1 per month.

How have guests treated Casino Da Madeira? Is it as much a Party, Entertainment and dining venue or as a

Copacabana Club, with Electronic Music selected by some of the best Dj’s on the Island.

casino? Our slogan is “Where Everything Happens” which means that it is as much a party, entertainment and a dining venue. In addition to the gaming room, Casino da Madeira has two restaurants, three bars, a nightclub, a multifunctional space and a congress center that consists of an auditorium and a conference room. For example, the Bahia Restaurant, located on the 4th floor, with a magnificent panoramic view over the city of Funchal, hosts weekly entertainment shows and concerts with some of the most renowned national artists. But, we do not stay here: our nightclub Copacabana is the cathedral of the Madeiran night. With a sound system as powerful as you can imagine, lighting and videoprojection system of excellence, this nightclub is the scene of very lively nights and themed parties, as well as some of the very best Dj’s and acts. Outside there is another nice surprise, the Garden, an extension of the

The Madeira Congress Center is comprised of an Auditorium and a Conference Room, and hosts hundreds of national and international shows each year. One of the last conferences that took place in here was related with the Future itself. “Innovation & Future Conferences” was a great opportunity to learn about the Digital Revolution.


Has the Casino a cashless gaming option and, if so, is it operational on all gaming devices? All casino machines are equipped with easypay system. The player has the option to enter cash or tickets to play. Has the casino got a lot of displays which is popular at the moment on gaming floor either on the walls showing various videos or football and sporting events? Yes, our Casino is equipped with several static and dynamic screens that promote events and, above all, broadcast the major sports competitions.

For example one of the great sporting moments that we have lived in the recent years was in the Euro 2016. We

on this, especially with our events. Following the trend of Las Vegas, Casino da Madeira has introduced, over the

created a “fan zone” on the outdoor on the terrace of our Restaurant Rio, with a video Wall, a special decoration and also the typical meals of these sporting events. The result was a success, especially with Portugal’s victory in the tournament final.

years, a series of outdoor parties, namely at the Casino Rooftop, which aim to capture a new type of customer, looking for new emotions. The Rooftop of Casino da Madeira has been small for the huge demand that these events have. One of the highlights of the year is the obvious New Year’s Eve festivities, which includes the World Guinness Record Firework Show. The arrival of the decorative lights in the streets of the city center of Funchal, during the month of December, sets the beginning of the Madeira Christmas and End of the Year Festivities Program. These festivities culminate with the famous fireworks show, officially recognized in 2006 by the Guinness Book of Records, as the largest fireworks show in the world. By this time Madeira is completely full of tourists, and once again, the Casino da Madeira is the right place to be on this very special night.

What have been the best performing slot machines and EGMs at the Casino? Novomatic VIP II are currently the machines that have the best results. At the top of the range also electronic roulette are highly sought by our patrons and Aristocrat Helix machines. What is the ratio of locals to tourists and business visitors to Casino da Madeira? As much as we love the idea of welcoming tourists in our Casino, our patrons are mainly locals. I would say that only 15% are tourists. We are working hard to improve


Jim Firth, General Manager, Genting Casinos UK



Living the Casino Life

Jim Firth, General Manager, Genting Casinos UK speaks to Peter White

im Firth represents that increasingly rare breed of casino executive, one who worked his way up from the gaming floor into the ranks of the elite. In Firth’s case it meant starting as a dealer behind a roulette wheel. (Before that, he had been a waiter.) From there he went on to be a pit boss and into middle management before emerging at the top, where we find him today. That’s how and where he met wife Jackie, a deputy casino manager who proved to be an understanding helpmate to her upwardly mobile husband, especially as his career took him from one end of the British Isles to the other and back. Casino Life sat down with Firth and learned his precepts for success in the business world. We also found a man in a state of contentment with where his career has brought him. Genting continues to grow in the United Kingdom and Firth is positioned to be an integral part of one of the biggest movers and shakers in the world’s casino industry. Looking back over 30 years what are some of your standout memories from your time in Casinos? My first day on the tables dealing roulette – I still remember the customers names and faces. It’s a terrifying experience and anyone who has gone through it never forgets. 1st Training school – 6 weeks to train raw recruits to deal American Roulette and Blackjack then they are deposited on a table to do what they have learned.

The inspectors and Pit Bosses always complained about trainees for a while until they got better! I have an abiding memory of my director’s White licence interview by the Gaming Board for Great Britain in Holborn – having already attended a panel interview to test my knowledge of the 1968 Gaming Act and all the related legislation and statutory instruments for my Managers Licence, I was required to repeat the experience when I came to London as a Casino Director. It was certainly ‘character building’. How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way? I did pretty much every job in the Casino from starting on the Casino floor as a waiter all the way up through the


ranks of dealer, inspector, Pit Boss, Manager, etc. My wife, Jackie, has always been there to support me and has been the most important influence keeping me healthy and focussed. She was a Casino Deputy General Manager so she understands the business and that makes long hours and moving a lot easier. Back in the 90’s the expectation was that in order to gain experience, you had to move, so we packed up and moved where the opportunities appeared from the Midlands to Scotland, London and the North. I’ve had some amazing mentors - Chris Maskill, who


was the General Manager of the Stakis Regency Casino in Nottingham, started me on my journey into Casino Management. I’ve been very fortunate to have good examples; Fernando Garea looked after me when I was appointed to my 1st London Casino in 2001. John Kelly, the founder & CEO of Gala Ltd and Neil Goulden, the MD were hugely influential in my early career. I learned a huge amount working with Patrick Noakes and the Gala Exec team. More recently the Senior Team at Genting Casinos including Paul Wilcock, Mark Seargent and Tony Pearce who have created and maintained a fantastic

people working in our industry and that has been my observation in every Casino I have worked in. What was your first big break in the industry? Being selected for the training school at the Wilton Sporting Club in Nottingham in 1989 having been working in hospitality as a valet on the gaming floor. When and how did you first become interested in the Casino industry? I’d never been in a Casino before I worked in one. It was an unfamiliar and alternative world that was exciting and mysterious. I was immediately hooked. Growing up, what kind of future did you envision for yourself? I think like many people in our industry, I didn’t have a plan as such. I was happy to be given the opportunity to be able to prove myself in the world of work. I’m interested in people and what makes them tick so having a job that allowed me to interact with them and deal a game didn’t feel like working to me. I’m really grateful because the Casino business afforded me the opportunity to experience different cultures, customs, languages and food that I would have never been exposed to in any other profession. What is on your wish list for your next five years here? To continue the great work already carried out here and add measurable value. I think there are always opportunities to seek out in order to keep the business current, vibrant and growing. That will be the challenge in a business of this size and complexity.

workplace culture that is driven by a phenomenal passion for our business and a genuine care for the people who work within it. The real heroes who helped me along the way are all the people I’ve worked alongside over the years who just do an amazing job every time they turn up for work. In every business I have worked in, there are superstars at all levels and how they are engaged in the business has a direct effect on delivering financial expectations. We have some very talented and hardworking

What advice would you give to recent new entrants? Sustainable, responsible and ethical operations are key to driving a successful business. Treat your employees well and engage and empower them, they will over deliver. Treat your customers with respect and look after them, they will keep coming back. If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be? No-one. I’m quite a content person now. I love the Casino business and feel most at home hearing the comforting rattle of chips moving across the layout and dropping into the chipping machine on a gaming floor. I like the variety, the people and the complexity, it doesn’t feel like work.


What are the big future challenges for the business and the sector as a whole? Keeping the bricks and mortar businesses relevant and exciting for experiential players with ongoing investment into our casinos is key. In the last 12 months Genting have carried out extensive renovations to several Casinos including; Palm Beach Mayfair, Luton, Cromwell Mint, The Colony Club and Westcliff. Online gaming continues to grow and we have been investing heavily in our online gaming offering and we have seen a very positive response from our customers to new launches such as our unique dual play system. Online gaming has been available to UK residents since 2005 and there is no doubt that internet gaming has claimed a significant chunk of total gaming wallet as well as unique online players. However, bricks and mortar gaming has adapted by becoming much more experiential and service driven as a result. Ultimately Tamas Adam from Swiss Casinos


there will always be a market the player who enjoys face to face participation and quite often, that same player may also enjoy a flutter online. We understand that the world of gaming is changing and as a result we innovate by offering players who have online accounts with us a cashing out service that allows them to withdraw their online winnings in our bricks and mortar Casinos. What is your assessment of the impact and effectiveness of ETG’s on the industry to date? I recall seeing the 1st generation terminals in the Golden Horseshoe Casino in London in the early 2000’s. I don’t think anyone had any idea how popular they would become. Individual automated roulette terminals were a ‘game changer’ for the industry and for the player. They are the ultimate in personalised gaming experience. Over the

years I have observed electronic gaming income grow to be roughly in line with table gaming income which is remarkable. Younger players are ‘digital natives’ so playing on a device is second nature. ETG appeal is universal and they are a great product that gives the gamer a choice and options around what tables and games they play. It’s a bespoke playing experience and that is a good thing for the player. What has been the approach in developing the appeal of the food and beverages to the regional Casinos? F&B is a huge part of our business. Customers are far more sophisticated than ever before so there is not only an expectation of a great product; the service also has to be exceptional. Feedback is also instant through social media and review websites so the pressure is on the operator to ensure the customer experience is first class. We have recently invested circa £2m to refurbish

Genting Westcliff Casino and a large portion of that went into our main bar. Ensuring we have the very best offer is a big deal. In order to remain current, we have to figure out what is ‘on trend’ and ensure it’s appealing to the Instagram influencers. It’s interesting to observe how many people actually take photos of their food and drink so whatever we serve, we have to be mindful that it will appear on social media. I was really pleased to find out that as well as the a-la-carte and bar menu, we have a Vegan menu which includes an amazing plant based burger. It makes sense as people make decisions about where they eat on quality and choice and we want to be inclusive to those people. Entertainment is also a factor in broadening Casinos appeal especially outside of major cities. What has been


Neat, Baby D and Kele-Le-Roc to five star tribute acts with live bands on the main stage. We also run very successful comedy nights as well as live music with Sunday lunch. All our events are listed on our website and Facebook pages and in July we launch our Jazz club with Tom Seals headlining so as you can see, entertainment is a big part of our business.

your approach to involving cabaret along with singers? Entertainment is the key factor that differentiates Westcliff from any other UK Casino. We are well known as a ‘destination’ Casino and have a great reputation when it comes to live entertainment. My PR and Marketing Manager, John Harland works very closely with our suppliers to ensure we have the ultimate in entertainment for a demanding clientele. To that end we have big brands like ‘Show me love’ with DJ Luck and MC


What appealed to you about this new role for you at Genting Westcliff? I was also delighted to have the opportunity to work for Genting Casinos again. Westcliff is a key Casino for the Genting estate and it is a hugely successful business that has become a landmark destination for gamers and leisure customers alike. What impresses me most about the Westcliff Casino business is the seamless marriage of a really strong live gaming offer, great hospitality, best in class slots and electronic product and the highest quality entertainment I have experienced in a UK Casino. It’s unlike anything else I have been involved with.

It’s a massive space, 57,000 sq. feet total with 26,250 sq. feet of Casino space. It’s exciting, complex and has many moving parts. Having only started recently in your new Role at Genting Westcliff, are you in a position to outline any of your plans for the Casino? For me, growing business is about engaging, inspiring and empowering your best people to deliver amazing results. We have some very talented people in Genting Westcliff and I’m looking forward to seeing them unlock the extra potential they have. We have a really strong set of values in Genting Casinos that underpin how we do business. We believe that these values help us understand our customers and their needs, drive us to be the best we can be and develop and empower our people to deliver an awesome experience. Customers today are more sophisticated than ever and have a minimum expectation around product, experience and service. I recognise this and aim to constantly review

our offer in order to exceed those expectations. We also recognise that each Casino is quite unique and one size doesn’t always fit all. To this end, a degree of ‘local flair’ is encouraged in our businesses that may take the form of specialised local dishes on the menu or an important community initiative that requires support. This approach differentiates us from the rest of the market and ultimately encourages people to be drawn to our properties.


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International Professional Poker Player, Jason Koon

A Very Big Deal


David McKee chats to the organizers of the Triton Super High Roller Series and Triton London Millions hank you for your time as I can appreciate you must be extremely busy in lead up to the event Triton Super High Roller Series and The Triton London Millions at the end of this month.

What is the history behind the Triton Super High Roller Series and Triton London Millions? The Triton Super High Roller Series was first launched in 2016 with the aim of creating a premier poker tour that would appeal to the most affluent and accomplished masters of the game – as well as donating sizeable contributions to charity. The Series was founded by Malaysian businessman and philanthropist Richard Yong whose vision was to host

exclusive high-stakes tournaments in some of the most luxurious locations in the world as well as give a helping hand to charity. The series has a unique formula which gives high net worth individuals the chance to battle both against each other and against the world’s top poker pros in the pursuit of preeminence. The chance to watch world-class poker players clash with entrepreneurs and global titans of business has provided a thrilling experience for viewers. World-famous poker pros such as Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Fedor Holz and Daniel “Jungleman” Cates have already scored major victories at Titan High Roller Series events and securing a Triton High Roller Series win is now a major goal for the world’s top competitors.


“What really makes this event so incredibly exciting is the massive stakes involved – this is the richest buy-in of any poker tournament ever held anywhere in the world and winning the Triton London Millions will give unprecedented status to whoever emerges as the eventual victor!” The Triton London Millions will be a UK record-breaking poker event with the ultimate winner winning a fortune and will make history as being amongst the one of the all-time biggest winning prizes in professional Sport. Each £1,000,000 buy-in comes with an additional £50,000 entry fee, the entirety of which will go direct to charity, assuring several million pounds for a variety of worthwhile causes including Credit One World Charity Foundation, REG: Raising for Effective Giving and One Drop What are the reasons behind choosing London for the final of the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series? Since launch, the Triton Poker High Roller Series has aimed to host events in some of the world’s most glamourous locations. There have been eight extraordinary events so far, all with monster buy-ins. Destinations so far have included Montenegro, Manila, Sochi, Macau, the


Philippines and Jeju in South Korea. London was the obvious next choice for the Series. The UK capital is one of the most historically rich, beautiful cities in the world and it’s a highly aspirational destination for players. The event is being held in the heart of Mayfair, the most luxurious area of the city and close to all London’s most famous tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and Oxford Street. It’s more than fitting that this history-making event will be taking place in such a significant location. What are the primary credentials entrants must comply with in order to buy into the Triton London Millions Poker Tournament? The Triton London Millions has a unique formula so the primary credentials for taking part are either to be invited directly by Triton Poker or to be an invitation holder’s nominated guest. The majority of Triton’s invitees only are businessmen/women and recreational players who share just two things in common: they love poker and they have enormous bankrolls. These invitation holders are then permitted to invite one guest to join them at the Series – with their official “plus-ones” likely to include the very best poker players in the world. To be honest, very few of the players confirmed so far could be dubbed total unknowns as the entrants are typically either well-known business figures or among the world’s leading poker pros. What really makes this event so incredibly exciting is the massive stakes involved – this is the richest buy-in of any poker tournament ever held anywhere in the world and winning the Triton London Millions will give unprecedented status to whoever emerges as the eventual victor! Huge names have already confirmed they will be taking part including multi-millionaire businessmen and top poker pros who are rarely seen competing in the UK. These include Triton Ambassadors Tom Dwan and Jason Koon, David Peters, Rui Cao, Christoph Vogelsang, Igor Kurganov, Stephen Chidwick, Sam Trickett and Bryn Kenney. Between them, these players have combined winnings of hundreds of millions of dollars – it’s an

incredible roster of talent and we’re very excited to see how the tournament progresses. Any recreational players who have not been invited but who would like to take part should contact vip@tritonseries.com where they will be put to a voting committee in order to take part. Will there be facilities for those that may like to visit the event? There will be limited opportunities for media and other interested parties to watch the event live at the Hilton – but fans are also encouraged to watch the live stream which will run throughout the £1,000,000 buy-in charity event and can be viewed on the Triton website, Twitch, YouTube and facebook as well as several Chinese TV channels. What are the dates for the Triton Million event and the Triton Super High Roller Series. how would you advise those whom would like to find out more information about participation? The Triton Super High Roller Series runs from July 31 to August 8 at the Hilton Park Lane. The Triton London Millions is from August 1-3. Full structures for all tournaments taking place during Triton Poker High Roller Series London can be found here. The live stream will run throughout the £1,000,000 buy-in charity event and can be viewed on the Triton website, Twitch, YouTube and facebook as well as several Chinese TV channels. If you would like to find out more please email vip@triton-series.com

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Sandton Convention Centre South Africa 2 - 3 October 2019

Shining a light on Africa’s gaming ecosystem

For more information and to register, visit www.iceafrica.za.com

Greg Wolfenden, Principal CEO, AMPC Global

Gaming Health

Greg Wolfenden, Principal CEO, AMPC Global chats to Damien Connelly Could we commence this interview with a brief history of your career to date? My background started in the jewelry industry, where I gained knowledge about silver and its healing properties. People don’t think about how and why silverware was developed. Silver is naturally antibacterial. The reason utensils were made of silver was because people did not

have hot water to sterilize their utensils. Settlers would put silver coins in their milk to stop their milk from spoiling because of lack of refrigeration. History dates back to Aristotle who documented the first use of silver and its healing properties. As Vice President of Sales for my family’s company Michael Anthony Jewellers which was later bought by


Berkshire Hathaway, (a Warren Buffet company), I would educate buyers and consumers about silver jewelry. I later was offered a position at Waterford Wedgewood as General Manager, it was there that I was educated on finance and accounting while running a 500-million-dollar

game. Our once-a-month gathering of about 25 players dwindled down to only 6 players. Upon asking the question “where is everyone?”, many said no one wanted to catch the flu and everyone was staying home. Two days later, I went to a local poker room and they were

company. After 3 years of running Waterford Crystal, I found myself working 80 hours a week and traveling 4 days a week. As my children were growing up without a dad, I decided to step back and start my own company. Silvermoon Creations was my next step in my career. Silvermoon Creations’ main business is in the costume jewelry and accessory business. We supply major retailers from Meijer to Walmart and specialty retailers such as Hot Topic and Spencer Gifts to name a few. I opened another company in China called Golden Moon to support the USA business. I am happy to say the group of my companies and my partner’s Quality Gold of Cincinnati company are doing over 200 million in sales annually.

experiencing the same situation. I asked the dealer “where is everyone?”, and he said it was slow since the flu was going around. I went online and tried to buy antimicrobial-treated playing cards for my home games, but no one produced them. I couldn’t believe it – and so AMPC Global was born.

What was your original inspiration to develop playing cards enhanced with antimicrobial product protection, and what has it entailed? Interesting question. It all started from a home poker


What has been involved in your research and development of these bacteria-resistant playing cards? I started this project 2 years ago. I worked with several antimicrobial companies, each promising results. However, as with many new ideas, there were several set-backs and disappointments. The testing process is very intensive and expensive - we invested over $100K in testing fees alone. We finally solved our QA issues by working with Microban International, the global leader in antimicrobial product protection. Microban’s team of experienced scientists developed an effective antimicrobial treatment that is

added to the playing cards at the stage of manufacture. This treatment is registered with the EPA and notified with

of stain and odor-causing bacteria. This ensures our compliance with legislation worldwide.

the BPR as safe to use. Can you explain what Microban antimicrobial technology is and how it works to enhance Medicus playing cards? Microban® antimicrobial technology is built-in product protection that works continuously to inhibit the growth of spoiling bacteria on the surface of a product. Unlike disinfectants, Microban® technology remains active 24/7 and for the expected lifetime of the treated product. Global biocidal regulations stipulate what we can and cannot say about Medicus playing cards in specific territories around the world. AMPC Global are fully aware of these restrictions and we always utilise the appropriate claims language when marketing our antimicrobialtreated products. In Europe, we can openly talk about the cards and their ability to resist the growth of Salmonella enterica, E. coli, and S. aureus by up to 99.9%. In the US, we refer to the cards as being resistant to the growth

In terms of how it works, Microban® is added to Medicus playing cards at the stage of manufacture. The technology penetrates the cell wall of any contaminating bacteria and inhibits their ability to grow and reproduce. The result is a playing card that stays cleaner, fresher and looking better for longer. Not only does antimicrobial technology enhance the quality of the cards, but it also minimizes the risk of cross contamination and delivers peace of mind for the people that use them. Is Microban antimicrobial technology safe to humans and the environment? Yes. Microban® antimicrobial technologies have undergone extensive independent laboratory testing and have a long history of safe use. The biocidal active components of the Microban® antimicrobial additives utilised by AMPC Global are notified with the EU Biocidal


Products Regulation (BPR) No 528/2012 and are registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). After more than 35 years of use in numerous consumer, commercial and healthcare applications around the world, there has been no evidence that Microban® antimicrobial technologies cause the development of resistant strains of bacteria. Unlike antibiotics, Microban® antimicrobial technologies have multiple modes of action, making it harder for bacteria to become resistant to its effects. Do your playing cards work like other cards in shufflers and shoes? We have tested over 40 types of shufflers and at no point have we experienced any issues. Our cards can be produced in the same shape, weight and thickness as casino grade cards, or to the specific requirements of our clients. How long does the antimicrobial treatment you have applied to the playing cards last for? The antimicrobial treatment lasts for the expected lifetime of the playing card. It will not wash off or leech out. ‘Why fix something that isn’t broken’ is a popular saying and in fairness the Casino industry has been guilty of falling into that trap. So, have you found Casinos to be interested enough to make the change? We officially opened on June 1st this year and have already started working with several casinos, a TV network, and major retailers. The demand is there. The biggest obstacle I see in the casino industry is in promoting the benefits of using our cards. While your statement may be true about casinos not wanting to change, why would they not want to use playing cards that stay cleaner longer? Not only do Medicus playing cards resist the growth of harmful bacteria, but they also offer added protection for your reputation. The rise in antibiotic-resistance means we all have a responsibility to help reduce the presence of harmful bacteria. Casinos understand this and are taking steps to be proactive. They have already chosen to incorporate antimicrobial-treated products into their environments, including pagers and dispensers. Casinos will see the benefits. If you gain the interest, will the price of your cards increase significantly? The technology adds about .25 cents to the deck of cards. We can also work with existing card suppliers but prefer to work with our own factory.


Can the application be also applied to casino chips and dice? Yes, but several patents would have to be challenged. Microban® is used to protect thousands of different products around the world including sportswear, kitchen utensils, and even building materials. That’s why we entered into an exclusive partnership agreement with Microban® for playing cards. Are Medicus playing cards featuring antimicrobial product protection better for the environment? Yes. The technology activity inhibits the growth of degrading bacteria on the surface of the playing cards, meaning they benefit from an increased shelf-life. Antimicrobial technology also helps the cards to retain their aesthetic properties for longer. As a result, the cards are less likely to be prematurely disposed of, presenting sustainability and environmental benefits. Disclaimer AMPC Global products featuring Microban® antimicrobial technology are sold worldwide. Due to regulatory differences, not all of the claims information provided in this article is valid in all countries or regions. AMPC Global products enhanced with Microban® antimicrobial technology may only be marketed, sold and used in conformity with official regulations, including restrictions and advertising claims pertaining to the specific country/region where the product is being marketed, sold and used. For more information, please contact AMPC Global directly. Microban® antimicrobial technology is not designed to protect users from disease-causing microorganisms and is not a substitute for normal cleaning practices

Let’s talk about safer gambling... To find out more and get involved visit: www.responsiblegamblinguk.org

ResponsibleGamblingWeek.org @RGWeek19 #RGWeek19

Dealing with Addiction

Liz Karter, Leading UK Gambling Therapist chats to Peter White To commence this interview could we start with a brief history of your life to date and how it brought you to where you are today an expert on compulsive gamblers involving how they become addicted to recovery treatment. My life path to being considered a leading UK therapist in gambling addiction has been a rich and varied one: a combination of personal experiences and professional training. I have never had an addiction to gambling but personal experiences such as loss and grief and even ending up raising my children alone has given me a deep empathy with the key underlying triggers for gambling addiction, such as stress, depression and anxiety. My professional career started 20 years ago. Since then I have worked with the leading UK gambling addiction treatment agencies, been a pioneer in developing treatment methods for women, established my independent practice, Level Ground Therapy in 2010, published 3 books on gambling addiction in women, appeared as consultant therapist on TV and radio and have a portfolio of gambling companies with whom I work as consultant. I help review their safer gambling policies and procedures and train staff to feel confident in conversation with customers who have a gambling addiction. It sounds hugely busy – I do practice what I preach and make time for my partner, family and a little time just to myself, too! When did the Women Gambling Treatment Programme get started and is this in response to an increase in the number of women whom have become addicted to gambling? I started developing treatment for gambling addiction in women in 2006 when I established the first UK weekly recovery group for women. Back then, women with gambling addiction always reported problems with slot machine and hardly ever sought help. They would imagine


Liz Karter, Leading UK Gambling Therapist

they were the only women who had a gambling addiction as it was viewed a very male problem. Men were gambling on sports and casino tables and addicted to the buzz. Women were gambling on slots to feel numb. I started to develop ways of working with women that treated their gambling addiction and their problems underneath that drove the addiction. Often these were problems with partners and families. Even though now over 98% of women I treat have an addiction to online gambling, in 2019 the reasons for the addiction in women remain the same. Do you think mainstream society should have a better understanding and appreciation of addictions than they do currently? I think that even though we talk about gambling addiction more than ever before it remains the most misunderstood of all addictions. Because it involves money and gambling most people mistakenly think someone gets addicted to gambling because they are greedy for money or are

too stupid to know the odds of winning. They don’t understand that loss chasing and obsession with money is the consequence of the addiction, once someone has got themselves in devastating debt. The cause of the addiction that someone getting addicted to the way they feel when

lose, they feel a crashing low and crave more gambling. They all gamble at all costs to their finances, jobs and relationships because they crave their fix.

they gamble – addicted either to a buzz and a thrill from fast moving products or feeling numb from staring at a slot machine or computer screen. They get addicted because something in their lives is causing stress, depression or anxiety and gambling is their emotional medication. If more of us understood that I think we would have more empathy. We can all relate to struggling with feeling sad and scared at times.

a sector that employs worldwide millions of people and the vast majority involved are hard working professionals whom have very high personal moral standards and its those high standards are a major factor in their being employed in this industry. So do you think public opinion should reflect that and not be stuck in the 1950’s and 60’s? Working with leading casinos I know how so many employed within this sector really do take professional pride in doing their best for their customers. They also take personal satisfaction in feeling they have helped another person who is suffering: especially once I have helped them to truly understand the issues driving the addiction. I also provide them with tried and tested key phrases to have a short and productive conversation with a customer. Staff tell me they feel more confident in their interactions. I think that if the public understood that the motivation for gambling addiction is frequently stress, depression

Can you define what conduct and actions that in your opinion define an ‘addicted gambler’ from someone who likes to gamble often? Many people like to gamble often, like many people enjoy a glass of wine or a beer, and never develop a problem. They spend time and money they can afford and, win or lose, can walk away feeling okay. If someone is an addicted gambler, they feel they have no choice but to gamble. If they win and get a high, they crave more gambling. If they

The land-based Casino industry is heavily regulated and is


or anxiety they might understand that the problem cannot be taken away just by ever increasing restrictions on gambling products and advertising. Yes, we need to continue reasoned conversations about these matters, yes, we need good regulation. But we also need to recognise and address the social and mental health factors that contribute to someone developing a gambling addiction. Yes, mental health problems are the consequence of a gambling addiction, but frequently they are a cause, too. What are the main areas you concentrate on when treating recovering gamblers? When treating recovering gamblers, I help someone to stop the gambling behaviour. This can be achieved in 4 weeks. I published a self-help book “Gambling Addiction in Women: Four Weeks to Freedom” to help women who cannot come to see me to help themselves. To achieve life long, rewarding recovery I then help someone identify what was triggering the addiction and give advice, guidance and support to make positive life changes. This can take a few months – it is certainly time well spent. Most of my clients come back and tell me they remain gambling free at 1 year after treatment. Many keep in touch here and there and tell me about happier, successful lives, new jobs, marriages and new babies. Are there any determining factors with regards to those who become addicted gamblers, such as age, sex, income level or education or is it like others across all? Six years ago I would have said that women I treated were those on low income, often single parents, gambling on slots on arcades. Now, I see just as many middle-class professional women. Online gambling has crossed the social and gender divide. Women now have access to gambling in their homes, offices and handbags. I am also treating young men with addiction to online gambling and they also are addicted to numbing their feelings with online gambling. These look like a very different group of people, but they have similar determining factors for their addiction. They are struggling with thoughts and feelings about unhappy lives. Often, feeling they cannot express these feeling they suppress them through their addiction. You are also a published author. What is the theme of your book and what was your inspiration behind writing it? I have written three books on gambling addiction in women. I was inspired by the hundreds of women I have treated. I wanted to be their voice and help others


who have the addiction, and their family and friends, truly understand what leads someone into the gambling addiction trap and how to get out of it. I work with such courageous, creative, empathic and intelligent women and all of this gets buried underneath the addiction. I want to inspire women to become their whole self again – and wiser and stronger for their experiences. In your opinion do you think there are other initiatives those organisations involved in the Gambling industry can do to assist in educating the public about Gambling that includes the likes of Lotteries? I think a great message the gambling industry could give the general public is that if anyone regularly gambles when they are feeling stressed, depressed or anxious then they are at risk of losing control and developing an addiction. Teenagers and the 18 to 35 demographic are the generations most wired into the digital world. Do you think there is enough being done to ensure this cohort are aware of the pitfalls of Gambling? Teenagers wired into the digital world can find it a short step from using games consoles and smart phones to gambling online. Part of the appeal of life online is losing touch with reality. When it comes to gambling online that is also a large part of the problem. Someone gambling for the first time does not understand they can easily lose touch with reality of how much money they have spent, then panic and start a cycle of loss chasing. Given you have extensive experience of gambling addiction can you therefore provide those that enjoy gambling advice on how to continue and remain in control? To keep enjoying your gambling and remain in control only gamble with affordable amounts of money and time. Only gamble when you already feel good mentally and emotionally. Avoid gambling if you have had too much to drink, are taking recreational or strong prescribed medication, are feeling physically unwell, hungover, or very upset about something. Any of those things can make it hard to make sensible decisions about when to stop gambling. Are there any signs people can use to tell if a friend, work colleague or relative is getting into gambling too heavily and is there anything they can say or do that can make a difference? If someone you are close to is developing a gambling

addiction unlike a drug or alcohol addiction it is very easy for them to hide it. But there will be signs. • Mood swings • Seeming preoccupied, anxious, short tempered or depressed • Lacking interest in people and activities they would usually enjoy • Sleep problems • Staying up using smart phones or computers late at night or getting up in the night to use them • Seeming restless and agitated when away from digital devices • Becoming secretive about using digital devices • Asking to borrow money or you notice money going missing If you are concerned that someone you are close to is developing an addiction to gambling, however you are feeling, remain calm. Think about how you can mention your concerns in a non-confrontational way. They are likely to feel ashamed and scared of giving up their addiction as their cravings may feel too strong to overcome. Try mentioning your concerns over coffee or whilst going for a walk. Calmly tell them you are concerned about them and give examples of the changes in their behaviour which concern you. Let them know that you understand there are always reasons anyone gets addicted to gambling and that with help anyone can overcome their addiction. If they do share anything with you, just listen – you don’t have to have all the answers for them. Give them some contact numbers for professional help. Invite them to

addiction to gambling we must also look at the life of the whole person. That is what I believe because that is what my experience continues to show me. Speaking

talk to you again if they wish to. Don’t expect change to happen instantly. It may take the person time to act and they may even behave defensively towards you. But in the future, they will appreciate what you did for them. Remember to get support for yourself if you need it. If your loved one has a gambling addiction it can cause you to feel stressed, depressed and anxious too and you deserve support.

on a safer gambling panel, at a recent industry event, a question from the audience was what did I think is the key protective factor against addiction? My answer was emotional intelligence. Our ability to identify what we feel and look after our most troubling thoughts and feelings is vital to our health and happiness. The happier and healthier our lives are, the less we want to escape from them via addiction.

For the vast majority of adults that gamble it is a fun enjoyable pastime viewing sporting events has that edge if you have a stake in the outcome, wouldn’t you agree? Yes, for most people gambling is great fun and it can be exciting to watch sport and have a bet. I myself have attended race meetings and had a bet on a horse and played roulette at a casino and was excited to win my taxi fare home. As with alcohol It is not the product alone that causes problems. To truly help those who develop

How can those interested to find out more about your books and counselling consultancy services get in contact with you? If anyone wishes to contact me concerned about someone who might have a gambling addiction, or to discuss my consultancy services, my contact details are: Email: info @levelgroundtherapy.uk Tel: +44(0)7792166328 Twitter: @liz_karter


Jurgen De Munck, the CEO of DR Gaming Technology™

Seamless Gaming Integration Jurgen De Munck, the CEO of DR Gaming Technology™ talks to Glyn Thomas DR Gaming Technology™ (DRGT™) seems to be exhibiting at more shows this year than ever; how has the reception been from visitors so far? Thanks Glyn, that is a nice compliment, and I say that because we are actually attending the same number of shows we did last year. What I think has created the impression that we are indeed exhibiting at more shows than ever before is the fact that we are seeing a genuine upswing in the interest in our products and technology from both a media and operator point of view, which is extremely encouraging. So, to answer your question; the reception from show visitors to date remains ever positive and talks to what I


have mentioned many times before: market demand for cost-effective and reliable solutions that do what they say. Consumers in general are getting more and more spoilt for choice, and if you can’t meet their needs there is bound to be someone else who can. I’m just really glad that at the moment we are meeting these needs, and in many cases driving them. You and Michiel (van Dam, co-founder and CTO) started DRGT™ initially as a systems company, and then evolved to include Slots Jackpots, and now Tables Jackpot Games. Your Blackjack11’s game is doing really well in both Central and South America, and Africa, any feedback from

the Casinos on the popularity of the Game? The response to BlackJack11’s has indeed been good, and it remains arguably the most profitable Tables Jackpot game on the African continent ever, with our most recent installations taking place in May at Peermont’s Rio Casino, and at Sun International’s iconic Sun City resort which co-incidentally is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019. These follow additional installations at Sun Carnival City, Sun Sibaya, Sun Windmill and a number of other Sun International, Peermont and Tsogo Sun Casinos, as well as casinos in Belgium, Cyprus, the UK, Angola and the Seychelles. In Central and South America, it has proven successful at venues in the Dominican Republic and in Peru, and most recently in Mexico, where we opened an office just over a year ago. In fact in Mexico we currently have seven tables installed across some of the Miravalle Group’s casinos, a number which we intend to increase significantly across the rest of the Group over the coming months, adding to what already is a list of in excess of 50 new BlackJack11’s tables requests across a number of Mexican operators’ casinos in 2019. For those readers not familiar with BlackJack11’s can you explain the game? The game really is dead simple, for both players and dealers alike, and I have no doubt that this is the reason for its success. The bet is a single chip, which makes dealing the game and understanding it simple, and in order to win players need to get dealt a total of eleven with their first two cards, and that’s it. Then as an operator, further value lies in the fact that the game offers fully configurable reward and jackpot levels with flexible RTP options and linked jackpot functionality across all table games, across different table pits, or across a wide area. You must be very pleased with both Alex (Stiglich, MD: LatAm and the Caribbean) and Alfredo’s (Moreno, MD: Mexico) successes? I am; Alex and Alfredo continue to drive what remain two key regions for DRGT™. The relationships they have created, and customers they have secured and supported have aided our global expansion considerably. 2019 sees us celebrating the 7th anniversary of our office opening in Lima, and over that time we have managed to roll-out our technology to in excess of 15,000 devices across over ten countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. I’m confident that Alfredo will reach similar success in Mexico.

What other products are proving a hit in 2019? We launched a new Tables Jackpot game called Poker21’s at ICE earlier this year, and like BlackJack11’s it too is really easy to learn and easy to play. Simply get dealt twenty one with the initial three cards received in a 3-card game of poker and win – again really easy. Add to this the ability, like BlackJack11’s, to operate the game as a standalone, across multiple tables or a wide-area, as well as a number of RTP and reward and jackpot options, and we believe we have another really compelling player first solution that will drive operator revenues. The DR Gaming Technology™ management system has always been at the heart of your business. Recently there have been a number of upgrades to the Tables Management System, correct? Quite correct. As you well know, slots have been at the forefront of management systems development for some time based simply on the technology they use. Table games on the other hand remain quite manual and as a result labour intensive, in so doing creating great customer engagement opportunities, but unfortunately also a


technology lag in terms of their ability to accurately track game play, and as a result award Tables players loyalty points and rewards. Our Tables Management System now seamlessly integrates Tables game play data into our accounting, cage and reporting modules, in so doing bridging the technology lag referred to above and affording Tables Managers the ability to offer their players the kind of functionality and rewards available to Slots players and Slots Managers. An example of this is that operators are now able to offer double loyalty points to players of our BlackJack11’s and Poker21’s side-bet jackpot games. Customer service is vital in building a strong reputation, you’ve never made any bones about that. That said, in Asia specifically, your expansion has without a doubt been significantly aided by your strategic partnership with long-standing customer RGB International? Without a doubt! RGB’s presence and reputation in Asia,


along with their unwavering commitment to customer service have proven invaluable. We have managed to forge a truly symbiotic partnership to the benefit of our customers, and its success is evidenced by our continued expansion in the region. Our showing at G2E Asia in May was well supported, and together we were able to address and engage with local Asian customers and jointly present our range of technology solutions. To date our systems and jackpot installations have taken place in Laos, Vietnam, and The Philippines, amongst others. One of our most recent Asia installations was a full installation at the Grandz VIP Club in Caloocan, Manila which opened with our world-leading 8.8” drScreenUltra player tracking units and our casino management system.

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buying power to the benefit of their customers through special offers and price reductions, Wide-Area technology allows casino operators to drive the number of players contributing to a specific jackpot. That, however, is no longer enough, and I believe that Gaming managers now more than ever need to work hand-in-hand with their Marketing and CRM managers to create bespoke jackpots (and other rewards) for specific players or groups of players based on either their individual wants and needs; our jackpot, management systems, and reporting technology can do that, and it is this data that must now be used to drive business intelligence and as a result the way we understand, provide for, acknowledge and reward players. Attracting and retaining players has to now be driven by a truly integrated product and marketing effort and I firmly believe that we offer operators the tools to do that really well. How are you attracting new customers? At the start of our chat I mentioned the upswing in interest we have seen of late in our products and technology from both a media and operator point of view; a key driver of our growth remains these 3rd party endorsements and referrals. This sort of marketing is something that cannot ‘just’ be bought. Belgium and Switzerland are perfect cases in point, where our expansion in both of these countries has been assisted tremendously by operator endorsements. In Belgium for example, I can now proudly say that all 9 Belgian casinos manage their operations using our Looking forward, where will the focus be for your company in 2019? At present DRGT™ operates its jackpot, tables, and casino management system solutions on approximately 50,000 devices across in excess of 50 countries. Our short-term goal is to expand on that install base as quickly as possible, but not to the detriment of our service standards referred to earlier. As such 2019 will continue to be a focussed balance between strategic product development and deployment, and our on-going commitment to providing operators with robust, user-friendly technology (that is

system, and in Switzerland, where just over a decade since installing our first system in Grand Casino Bern in 2008, we have expanded that footprint to over ten casinos, resulting in us now being the leading gaming systems supplier in the country, by some margin.

well supported) that puts the player first!

customers. That said, the truly global appeal of the G2E Global Gaming Expo, and Las Vegas itself, affords us an audience with operators from all four corners of the globe, and the ideal stage to showcase our full jackpot, management systems and marketing technology product bouquet. We’ll be there with a ‘bang’ and look forward to welcoming visitors to our booth No. 4405.

What specific technology are you referring to? I’ve referred many times before as to how consumers in general are becoming more and more demanding of tailored offers, and this includes casino players. Just as retailers, for example, leverage their bulk


We are well into the second half of 2019, where and when will DRGT™ be exhibiting next? Our next showing will be in Las Vegas in October, and this, as always, provides the perfect platform to engage primarily with our Mexican, Latin American and Caribbean

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Up in Smoke?


The Public Health Threat to Gambling By: Dan Waugh Partner at Regulus Partnership

ambling, we are told on an increasingly regular basis, is a “public health issue”. Translated into plain English, this means that the activity of gambling is something from which the population at large (including those of us who do not gamble) requires protection. It is a view that puts gambling on a path already trodden by tobacco – a path that leads to the marginalisation of opportunities to wager and moralistic campaigns against the gambling consumer to render his enjoyment socially unacceptable. The promulgation of this view in a growing number of developed markets represents a profound shift in regulatory philosophy and possibly an existential threat to the gambling industry as we know it; but is it justified? In Britain and a range of other jurisdictions – including New Zealand, Italy and Spain – the public health lobby now dominates policy discourse and is dictating the course of re-regulation. This represents a significant threat to the industry precisely because it frames gambling as an inherently harmful activity that the population at large needs to be protected from. This marks a departure from

do at least have the virtue of being carried out in public, subject to clear terms of reference with their findings and recommendations made public in reports that are then subjected to scrutiny by national legislatures. The rise to ascendancy of public health has taken place

21st century orthodoxy (perhaps best articulated in the ‘Reno Model’) which considered harm prevention as a question of balance and moderation. What is remarkable is that this shift – which may have profound implications for the industry – is taking place without any formal examination and virtually unopposed. There is no universally ‘right’ approach to gambling legislation. In general, we respect the rights of different cultures and different nations to adopt particular attitudes to what betting and gaming opportunities to permit and how – and we understand that laws will shift over time in response to changes in supply and societal attitudes. Typically what happens is that governments convene specialist independent bodies to review policy (such as the old Royal Commissions in Britain or the Productivity Commission in Australia). Such assessments are of course influenced by a degree of inherent bias (e.g. through the selection of committee members). However, they

without any such process; via infiltration rather than formal review. It has also occurred against a conveniently hysterical backdrop of claims about “a problem gambling epidemic” and “a public health emergency”. It is not simply the case that very little (if any) primary empirical evidence is presented to support these contentions; but that these assertions often ignore much of the evidence that is available. Reported rates of problem gambling (typically fairly low at a population level) appear to be falling in a large number of developed markets around the world – despite some profound changes in gambling supply (casino expansion in some markets; online growth in others). This is of course inconvenient for industry opponents who argue that even though problem gambling rates are declining, harm is increasing. There has been some progress in recent years in attempting to identify, measure and monitor specific


Dan Waugh, Partner at Regulus Partnership

gambling-related harms (as distinct from problem gambling). This is important work but it is still in its infancy. In most developed markets, the evidence simply does not exist to support the language of a public health crisis. As a result, the industry’s critics fall back on the assertion that this is a “hidden epidemic” or a “hidden crisis”. The idea that some harms are not easily visible seems valid – and this should prompt enquiry – but the fact that we cannot see something does not necessarily mean that it is concealed; it may simply not be there. Too often in the past, the pro-gambling lobby deliberately conflated absence of evidence with evidence of absence; but public health has pulled off the neat trick of interpreting absence of evidence as proof of existence. It is becoming sufficient to allege harm without actually having to demonstrate it. Part of the problem here is that attempts to define harm tend to be loose, subjective and subject to wilful misidentification of correlation as causation. As a result, it is possible for those opposed to gambling to diagnose harm at pretty much any level of involvement (as any session of gambling will result in the loss of either time or money or both). This is the point that Delfabbro and King made in their 2017 essay noting the difficulties of aggregating very low-levels of harm to create a sense of population-level emergency. They wrote: “A question…has to be raised as to whether [low-risk harms] are genuine forms of harm. If one were to spend more money on shopping, subscribing to a new television channel, or going to sporting events, would not the same sorts of harm occur? The danger here is that if one softens the definition of harm, then it

case that gambling harm is not taken seriously enough by governments; and almost certain that treatment services are under-resourced in most jurisdictions. It is plausible that harm may be increasing in severity (at least for some) as consumption shifts from traditional modes (analogue with long feedback loops) to digital modes (continuous gambling on video enabled devices); and that regulatory tightening is required in some areas. However, there is no empirical evidence to support the language of disaster. The public health lobby has raised a number of valid questions about the changing nature of gambling; but there is a strong ideological tang to its arguments. Too often its claims are advanced unsubstantiated while other views (and hard evidence) are marginalised or ignored. The British left-wing think tank, the Institute of Public Policy Research has recently claimed that consumer choice ought no longer to be a consideration when looking at alcohol, gambling and fast food. They argue that, where these industries are concerned, there is no choice. Instead, consumers are conditioned into pursuing unhealthy behaviours and that these are reinforced by unethical marketing practices. This nihilist and deeply patronising philosophy - where we are all victims of circumstance - is troubling. It reflects a depressing negation of the idea of free will and reduces humanity to the level of the lab rat, haplessly responding to malign commercial stimulus. It seeks to undermine any sense of personal responsibility or individual autonomy. It also attempts to white-wash over research showing that most people who gamble gain positive well-being effects from doing so.

becomes possible to show that harm occurs at any point on the continuum.” We seem to have lost the capacity to distinguish between forceful assertion of opinion and scientific evidence. We are also unable to discuss gambling without resort to hyperbole. Words such as “crisis” and “epidemic” are fast becoming meaningless through overuse. The public health lobby now rages against a wide array of “crises”, ranging from consumption of sugar, salt and alcohol; the marketing and sale of crisps, muffins, pizza, sandwiches in hospitals and even salads; ‘bad sex’ and ‘super-gonorrhoea’; scarlet fever, scurvy, rickets and gout;

This is not to deny that some industries (including perhaps elements of gambling) are exploitative; but there is a rich irony when a tiny metropolitan elite bent on controlling what adults should be permitted and not permitted to do accuses others of insidious influence. At a population level, there will always be a degree of tension between being allowed to pursue well-being through free choice and the harmful consequences of some of the choices we make. Those genuinely interested in the health of the public should focus on achieving greater sympathy between these two realms.

and of course monkeypox. We can only guess at the effects on our mental health of this incessant promulgation of anxiety. This is problematic not simply because of the potential to distort market regulation but also because it distracts from what is important. It may well be the

This article is extracted from the essay, ‘Waiting for the Great Leap Forward – Why we Should be Cautious About this Cultural Revolution’. The full essay is available at www.reguluspartners.com


Manage this by Robert Brassai

The curious divide between online and brick and mortar gambling


ome of you might remember the days when on major gaming shows table games and tables related manufacturers still took up quite a bit of floor space. Having started my gaming carrier almost 30 years ago on the tables side of the land-based gaming industry, I always kept a tag on technological advances and change in general. Change and the way people react to it always fascinated me. The first decade of the new millennium saw slot machine manufacturers take over the shows, exhibiting on bigger and bigger stands. While some of the major manufacturers are still a prevalent feature of major industry exhibitions, companies serving the online industry have visibly become the favourites of show organizers. I always wondered at the divide between these two principles of gambling. Why is there such a marked separating line between them? What makes them so utterly different while they are seemingly based on the same basic principles. When you ask respected figures in the land-based industry to name 5 major online companies, they will have a hard time. And to the question as of how many contacts they have “on the other side of the fence” they will either draw a blank or give you one of those funny smiles. While show organizers keep labelling all these guys as belonging to the same industry, thus inviting them to their “gaming exhibitions”, they couldn’t be farther apart. One would logically assume that online grew out of land-based gaming with the advancement of technology


Robert Brassai

and the proliferation of the internet. While roulette will have the same rules and house edge on both sides, how it’s being sold and to whom differs immensely. Just like the early casinos weren’t exactly known for their AML programs as Bugsy Siegel would be able to tell you, was he still among us, online businesses started out as, and to some extent still are the investment choice of adventurous entrepreneurs, who do not have a board of directors dictating to them which laws they should abide by. And it is this very distinct origin which makes it so

different from what we know as traditional gaming. Lately I have been involved with companies in the online sphere and to my surprise I learnt that the laws of gravity don’t work the same way here as in land-based casinos. Talking to seasoned online professionals in charge of huge companies, one would have to revise their casino dictionary. Hold percentage all of a sudden becomes “profitness”, the concept of theoretical win simply doesn’t exist, and ADT segmentation gives way to player profiles based on how easy it is to take their money. On the other hand, while the land-based industry still very much struggles with data and how to make sense out of it, our online friends take all of it for granted and can be considered more like IT people with a gaming twist. At

the end of the day, the product works, the numbers grow like they never have in the brick and mortar world, and the industry is swarming with new self-made millionaires. I believe you see now, how these two industries or rather the people running, building and growing them come from very different backgrounds and why joint ventures of great companies on both sides are so rare. As most industries have a tendency towards consolidation, I believe it is only a question of time till true online gaming giants will emerge and give companies like Sands and the like a run for their money. The big question is will there be mergers of online and land-based companies shaping the future of gambling as a whole or will the divide remain in the longer run as well?

Biography Robert Brassai, consultant, strategist and gaming expert. Robert is the founding principal of the gaming consulting firm “Sense4gaming.” The firm takes on projects from casino concept and management to marketing and operations. Robert brings to the casino industry a wide range of experience and expertise. Robert, a leading casino executive has used his wealth of experience to establish and transform many casino businesses. In the past 25 years he has opened and managed properties for some of the industry’s leading companies like Sun International, Queenco and Kerzner International.


Sports Betting Operator provides new product and technology features and the latest Sports Betting News, keeping Online gambling companies up to date with the fastest growing Gambling Sector in the world. www.sportsbettingoperator.com


Online Gambling Europe: Assessing Private Equity Attractiveness


iven recent P2P transactions elsewhere in Leisure and bid speculation on Flutter, we assess attractiveness of gambling to PE. We see a wide spread of illustrative LBO IRRs (12-28%), with leverage, regulation, US exposure, and consolidation key considerations. Remain Overweight GVC and William Hill. High PE interest in Travel & Leisure. Recently the European Leisure sector has seen heightened interest from private equity with three public to private transactions proposed/agreed in the last three months: theme park operators Merlin Entertainments and Parques Reunidos, and hotel company Millennium & Copthorne. Swedish gambling operator Cherry was also taken private in a Bridgepoint-backed MBO in January. Following PE bid speculation around Flutter (formerly Paddy Power Betfair), which pushed the shares up 22% intraday on Wednesday, we revisit our previously published analysis to assess the attractiveness of gambling stocks in our coverage going private. Assessing industry attractiveness. ‘Gambling Goes

are all privately owned, with PE firms including Apollo, Blackstone and CVC). Finally, the (unequivocally, in our view) most successful company in global online gambling, Bet365, is and always has been held under private ownership. Illustrative IRRs show a wide 12-28% range across our coverage. We show that our coverage generates a wide spread of hypothetical returns (using 5-year averages for exit multiples and a consistent (conservative) 3.5x net debt/EBITDA assumption). Interestingly given recent speculation, Flutter screens as offering the lowest IRR (12%) largely thanks to its more expensive valuation relative to peers. If recent speculation indeed has basis (the company has commented that it knows of no material reason for the shares’ recent move, and no potential purchaser has been named), this could suggest the sector as a whole is attractive to PE, or that other long-term opportunities such as US sports betting for which Flutter is strongly positioned (we model IRRs on a 5-year view) are severely undervalued. Playtech (28%) and William Hill (20%) screen as offering the highest IRRs. We also discuss

Private’ was one of our 5 Possible Surprises in our January sector outlook note (here). On the one hand, gambling does not have the same asset-backed characteristics as theme parks (see discussion here) or hotels, and also has higher regulatory risk, which both limit the leverage that can be placed on the business. On the other hand, FCF generation is strong, valuation multiples are low for what is largely an online business model, and there are strong structural growth tailwinds given the low level of online penetration (globally ~12%), liberalisation of new markets (notes here and here) and consolidation opportunities. Private equity might also be better placed to deal with exposure to regulatory uncertainty, investment phases (e.g. for US sports betting), and grey market exposure, all of which can unnerve shorter-term public equity at a time when ESG focus is growing. We note that there is a strong history of PE ownership in gambling (William Hill, Gala Coral, Sky Betting & Gaming, Sisal, Tipico and Cirsa were/

various company specific factors and considerations. Consolidation angle. Gambling is a fragmented industry, with the top 5 operators commanding a ~33% global share; we discussed the logic of further consolidation in this note. Online gambling is a scalable business model and combining businesses could create synergies to offset cost pressures and can help product and geographical diversification. This could add another angle for a private buyer to achieve higher returns. Our top picks in the space are Overweight-rated GVC, which has a superior and more diversified growth profile than peers in our view, trading on 11.6x 2019 P/E for a 21% 2019-21 EPS CAGR, and William Hill (Overweight) which is the most levered stock in our coverage to the US sports betting opportunity, an underappreciated and strengthening business there, and strategic optionality.


The Last Word by Damien Connelly

Online Grows. Land-Based Goes Niche Welcome to The Last Word. 50 years ago, humans landed on the Moon during Project Apollo. That remains one of the greatest achievements of humankind. However, most people’s daily lives were not really impacted by that achievement because post-Apollo we stepped back from the Space Race due to its costs and the fact these were not shared internationally — the USA and the USSR could not finance large-scale, ongoing space projects on their own. From the Space Race the precursor of the Internet was formed to help share research — it was called ARPANET. It connected U.S. universities and specific sites. ARPANET went international in 1973 when Norway was connected to it, followed soon after by the UK. Which is where an Englishman enters my story…

During his time at CERN, Sir Tim Berners-Lee created HTTP and the first web browser. Importantly, he released the source code and allowed anyone to access and use it for free. This decentralised and democratised the Internet by creating the World Wide Web — when I started working in the Internet as a Technical Support Representative for Microsoft during my second Master’s studies, the difference between the Internet and World Wide Web was both obvious and significant; today, that difference is marginal and, to most people, invisible. Nowadays we use the word ‘online’ to refer to the Internet’s / Web’s digital ecosystem where most of the

assets are intangible. For the opposite of online we have many words including offline, land-based, bricksand-mortar and onground. In 2018 Sir Tim Berners-Lee publicly noted his disappointment in how ‘the Web’ has developed. From his decentralised and democratised ambitions, what we see today is closer to certain economic models of market efficiency and either monopolistic or oligopolistic commercial behaviour that is more akin to the path taken during the Soviet Communist period — perfect Communism is theoretically amazing. However, the primary weakness of Communism is it relies on humans. Humans are imperfect and irrational. Some humans seek power and some have a desire to follow the behaviour of the masses. As Morgan Stanley highlights in its research article about online gambling, the big companies in this sector are getting bigger; such as GVC, William Hill and Bet365. And as Robert Brassai notes in his article, he feels it is purely a matter of time before online gambling giants emerge to challenge land-based operators. Which brings me to the principle of economies of scale. Our industry has seen economies of scale in practice. Witness the transition towards integrated resort casinos — where market and geo-political conditions allow — and the superior financial returns these IRs produce compared to the smaller / older commercial casino model which has at best four revenue pillars: gambling; F&B; live entertainment; and hotel.


The intriguing question Robert Brassai asks is will there be online / offline mergers to create truly omni-channel operators, or will the divide remain? The answer may be in our exclusive and unique article with Genting’s Jim Firth. Jim comments how it is crucial to keep “bricks and mortar businesses relevant and exciting for experiential players”. This focus on experiential is brilliantly featured in our article with Carlos Campos, the GM of Casino de Madeira. Carlos’ article reinforces the importance of focusing on niche customer groups.

Focusing on niche experiences — likely also time constrained experiences — is, I think, where the differences can be created and leveraged to the benefit of both online and offline casino operators. Whereas online has the ability to better leverage global economies of scale by creating digital experiences that have no physical borders, offline should go niche to create unique and exclusive experiences that are highly targeted at unique cohorts within your consumer groupings. The growth in online is constant and forecast to continue for quite some time. However, the recent issues faced by the online-only retailer Asos emphasises the skills required to operate big businesses in the online world require offline experience and skills. And as Robert Brassai notes, the data analysis skills inherent in online operators tend to be lacking in offline operators. Damien Connelly innovates and achieves growth for both people and companies. His experience spans Cloud, food and drink, gaming, retail, and TMT. One client recently sold for over US$5 billion. He specialises in Content, Marketing and Sales. You can contact Damien at dconnelly@ace123.com

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Profile for Casino Life Magazine

Casino Life Issue 130 Volume 15  


Casino Life Issue 130 Volume 15