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September 2016

G2E Las Vegas 2016 Preview

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE Award-winning gaming paired with global destinations


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Editorial:

Editor’s page

Editor in Chief: Glyn Thomas

Welcome to Casino Life...

Mob: +38 976 007 007 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: Rebecca Green rebecca@ace123.com

Production: Designer: Stewart Hyde design@ace123.com www.totaldesignworks.com Subscriptions: Helen Holmes subs@ace123.com Web & IT: Sudip Banjeree

...and for many of you, welcome to Las Vegas. Whether you see eye-to-eye with Victor Royer or not probably depends on your age and disposition. This month he picks up a common thread to his regular features with us – that of Las Vegas becoming a shadow of it’s former self; of it becoming a convention city / car park / day club with gambling a mere add on. And to an extent I have to agree. Yes, I am of that certain age where I can remember nostalgically many of the old venues he describes – some of them in later years were very bad, but as he says they could have had their facade maintained and had new facilities behind. They’ve achieved it in Stratford-upon-Avon... why not Vegas? Perhaps it’s because the US is so young that there’s a view that there’s nothing really that old to preserve? I’ve got a vintage car and it causes a stir wherever I drive it... people smile and generally appreciate what was – and can still exist now. But, we can’t stay rooted in the past and have to cater for the new customer... ultimately Las Vegas needs to make money; money from day clubs and conventioneers. Plus, whilst we’re all sick to death of hearing that Millennials can’t concentrate for more than a nanosecond and have no interest in gambling... perhaps preserving the past and offering the future in a sexier way could have got around the issue. We start this month with an interview by veteran reporter Steve Karoul with Jim Abbas, Senior VP of Operations at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. Most interesting for me was the fact that in their 14 ship fleet they’ve made sure their casino offering is the same across all the brands – no matter how old the ship; and the emphasis on their loyalty programme. David McKee takes a closer look at MGM – from their National Harbor project in Washington to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and it’s a very comprehensive report on the state of the company – where it is, where it’s going and why. Peter White chats to Harald Kaiblinger Managing Director 8 UnlimtedRRD Ltd (the RDD is Relentless Digital Development apparently) whilst Tim Cullimore talks about his casino consultancy and the importance of location... Carl “The Dean” Sampson offers his views on whether casinos are maximising the revenue from their poker offering and Kubilay Özer, Global Sales Director, APEX Gaming talks to Rebecca Green about how the company is expanding their gaming solutions. Finally we close by taking a closer look at some of the products that will be on show soon. See you at G2E and yes, I’ll drop by the Neon Museum on my trip to get a taste of what Vegas used to be.

sb@ace123.com Publisher: Peter White Tel: +44 (0) 1892 740869

Mob: +44 (0) 7973 273714 pwhite@ace123.com

Glyn Thomas Editor in Chief

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Contents 3

Editors Page

6 Freestyle Cruising Jim Abbas, Sr. Vice President Casino Operations at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd chats with Steve Karoul 16 Not everything needs to be about making a dollar MGM Resorts International bucks casino industry orthodoxy. By David McKee 20 For the Games People Play Peter White chats to Harald Kaiblinger Managing Director 8 UnlimtedRRD Ltd 26 Integrated Experience Tim Cullimore Director Cullimore Casino Consulting chats to Glyn Thomas 30 Do Land Based Casinos Maximise Value From Their Poker Market? Analysing the Casino Poker Arena: By Carl “The Dean” Sampson 32 Optimal Player Satisfaction Kubilay Özer, Global Sales Director, APEX gaming speaks to Rebecca Green 36 eSports events, a matter of time before it becomes part of the casino landscape The future is taking shape now … By Robert Ambrose 37 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly How Las Vegas started out as Good, then went Bad, and now has become the Ugly – by: Victor H. Royer 41 Spotlight G2E Las Vegas Preview 2016 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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Freestyle Cruising Jim Abbas, Sr. Vice President of Casino Operations at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. chats with Steve Karoul 7


Jim, you have been with Norwegian Cruise Lines since 2008. You have created some really great casino experiences on board the ships that you oversee. Can you please tell our readers about yourself including past experience in the casino industry and how you migrated from land-based casinos to onboard casinos and what you feel are the big differences? I originally broke into the industry as a craps dealer back in 1994 while I was finishing up my undergrad degree. After graduating with a BBA in Management Information Systems, I found myself looking to start a career in my major, which led me back to the casino industry. With a lot of hard work and support from great leaders, I quickly progressed in my career, reaching the position of vice president of information technology for a casino in Louisiana at a very young age. A few years passed and a gentleman I previously worked with asked me to work for him. We agreed that I would build a world class IT team for the property and, when I completed the assignment, I would be trained in casino-gaming operations so that I could further my career. I took quite a pay cut but I knew it was the right decision to achieve my long-term goals. Consequently, I started my career path overand

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worked my way up in the gaming ranks, where I eventually landed at Norwegian Cruise Line with a huge new challenge to revitalize and grow the fleet’s entire casino division. Upon first entering the cruise-line industry I realized that I needed to change my perspective on gaming. No longer was gambling the dominant force as in most land-based facilities. Instead, we were an international resort and destination company which offers casinos to a broad mix of international guests who are primarily on board for a vacation to lavish and exotic locations. Demographics on board constantly change, the facility moves on a daily basis, and the guest-repeat rate is measured in years versus months or, in many cases, days for local casinos. One of the largest differences between land and onboard casinos are the team members. We have team members from over 50 different nations. These folks are simply amazing; you will not find a better group of people with a passion for delivering outstanding service. Many of our customers come to our ships as our guests and leave us as family. Norwegian Cruise Lines is one of the market leaders in an incredibly competitive industry.


What are some of the key communicate. This same factors that differentiate your philosophy we are now onboard casinos from those porting over to the Oceania and of competitors as well as from Regent Seven Seas brands as we land-based casino operations? make significant investments When we redesigned casino into their facilities to make them operations at Norwegian, and the most luxurious in the uppernow Oceania Cruises and Regent premium and luxury-cruise Seven Seas Cruises as well, we segments. focused on delivering a product Today, it does not matter if that our guests want. you are sailing on a brand-new One item that I found cruise ship, or one that’s been in frustrating was the fact that the fleet for 10 or even 15 years, each ship delivered a completely if you are traveling on one of our different casino experience. The brands, you can expect the same gaming product and technology great gaming experience. of each casino was based on the We didn’t stop with gaming Jim Abbas, Sr. Vice President Casino Operations age of the ship. product and technology. We To resolve this inherent went the extra mile by adding challenge, we made it our top priority to create a multiple casino hosts on each and every Norwegian consistent gaming experience on all of our ships. ship to support our best-in-class player-loyalty To accomplish this goal, we invested heavily in program, Casinos at Sea. Our program is very similar new slot machines and player-tracking systems. In to the most sought-after casino-loyalty programs fact, we are the first cruise line in the industry to offered by land-based casinos. Our guests are have a player-tracking system whereby players can rewarded by earning points on both slots and table choose the language to which they would like to games whereby guests can earn rewards such as

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The Waterfront Exclusively on Norwegian

complimentary cabins, spa treatments, and shore excursions. Points are earned on all of our ships and very soon our guests will be able to combine their points to elevate their Casinos at Sea tier in an enhanced program being launched in 2017. Can you tell our readers about your casino marketing organization? How is it structured and where are your primary target markets for casino players as opposed to general tourists? Is there a difference as to how you treat players from casino co-op programs, casino Junkets or from house accounts? While there are many elements of our program that are proprietary and I’m not able to share, I can certainly say that we treat all of our guests equally based on their play, regardless of how they come to us. NCL has worked closely now with the German ship builder Meyer Werft over recent years and the relationship continues to grow. How has their experience as a premier shipbuilding company helped you with customer satisfaction? Meyer Werft is a great, family run organization that takes great pride in the ships they build. We work

closely with the architects and the yard to design our casinos from scratch. We have spent countless hours educating each other to build the best casinos in the industry. Our casinos feel spacious, have the widest selection of slots and table games available and have features that allow us to adjust the layout to meet the constantly changing products that our guests want to play during their vacation. I have actually been on a NCL cruise with my wife who is a pretty good slot player. We both enjoyed the casino and were very impressed with the professionalism and friendly customer service. We also enjoyed the “Free Style Cruising” concept along with the “Resort Casual” atmosphere. How do you maintain such high service standards across a large fleet of ships located in so many different parts of the world? And, along the same line, how do you monitor all of your casinos? What are the key metrics that require constant review and are these different from those in a land-based casino? Our team members on the ships are simply amazing. With more than 50 nationalities working with us, we are a melting pot of experiences and personalities. We hire only the best and at every level we instill

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a customer service culture to ensure that our guests have an exceptional time on their vacation. Each ship is evaluated based on the results of their guestsatisfaction score cards, and we have a friendly competition between the ships. I do know that a few of our managers have even challenged their counterparts on other ships on their guest service scores, pushing each to do better. Norwegian’s signature Freestyle Cruising resonates with those who enjoy gambling. Many gamblers are leaders within their fields and free thinkers. They like the openness of our dining programs where you can eat when you want, where you want and with whom you want. If you are having a good run on blackjack, that last thing you want to be thinking about is whether or not you are going to miss your dinner. It’s the ideal atmosphere for guests who enjoy gaming. Being a market leader is difficult but expanding market share can be even more difficult. Can you tell us anything about future plans for NCL in addition to Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruise Lines? In the past year, we have spent a significant amount of time and money updating the casinos on all three

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brands. With the Norwegian Edge™, a $400 million investment program across our fleet of 14 ships, we are bringing forth a new level of guest experience with enhanced products and experiences on all of our ships, including the casinos. In 2017, Norwegian Joy, our newest ship, designed and built specifically for China, will have its inaugural cruise sailing out of Shanghai. These new ships sailing on brand-new itineraries will dramatically increase our marketable audience, allowing us to continue leading the way within our industry. If you had to pick only one story to tell what would be the funniest or most unusual thing that has happened during your tenure at one of the NCL casinos? The tale of a $1,000 coffee: Sailing around the world creates a unique set of technological and operational issues, as one of our fleet managers found out the hard way. This fleet manager was heading out to perform a ship visit to meet with the onboard casino manager and their team. After flying to the port of call, he headed to the ship. On his way to the ship he spotted a nice coffee shop with a beautiful ocean view just minutes from the port. He checked his watch; it was 4:50 p.m. local time and


The Norwegian Edge brings forth a higher standard of excellence that embraces the entire guest experience

ship was leaving at six, so he decided to partake. While sitting enjoying a nice cup of coffee looking out to the dark-blue ocean, his ship sailed by to its next exotic location. What he had not realized is that the ship was not using local time. Because ships change many time zones during their travels, they don’t always change to the local time zone - this is referred to as ship’s time. What started out as a ship visit, turned into a $1,000 cup of coffee.

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Jim, on behalf of Casino Life Magazine, I want thank you for your time and also thank you for sharing so many interesting stories and experiences about yourself and about Norwegian Cruise Lines with our readers. Many of our readers are experienced cruisers and gamers so this interview will be of great interest to them. We also want to wish you much success and good luck with all of your new projects and new ships


that are currently being built. Safe sailing and continue to “Cruise like a Norwegian” with your unique “Free Style Cruising” concept. Steve Karoul is a recognized casino consultant with over 37 years of hands-on experience with the best casinos both within the United States and internationally. He is also expert in all aspects of casino marketing. Steve has lived in numerous

countries and has conducted casino marketing activities in well over 100 countries around the world. He is an author, a lecturer and an educator who often injects his own hands on experiences and openly shares his ideas and thoughts with fellow industry executives. Telephone + (1-860) 536-1828 or skaroul@euroasiacasino.com or see www.euroasiacasino.com

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Not everything needs to be about making a dollar MGM Resorts International bucks casino industry orthodoxy. By David McKee

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I

t’s been a busy year for MGM Resorts International and the company is far from done. At year’s end, it will open $1.3 billion MGM National Harbor, across the Anacostia River from Washington, D.C. Already MGM CEO James Murren is predicting it will be the highest-grossing U.S. casino outside Las Vegas. The company banked a sizeable payday when it and partner Dubai World sold the Crystals shopping mall at CityCenter, in Las Vegas, for $1.1 billion. And, despite having both MGM Grand Garden Arena and Mandalay Bay Event Center for big-ticket shows, MGM and partner Anschutz Entertainment Group elected to build T-Mobile Arena, which got an immediate infusion of content when local businessman William Foley landed a National Hockey League franchise. Just outside T-Mobile, MGM unveiled a new public space, The Park, culminating in a luminescent, bluetinted sculpture, “Bliss Dance,” part of MGM’s ongoing crusade to promote public art. The adjacent Monte Carlo hotel-casino has begun undergoing a makeover that will add a 5,000-seat showroom and split Monte Carlo into two hotels, Park MGM and NoMad, the latter being the creation of Sydell Group. MGM has also entered the lists in the joust to host a National Football League-sized stadium, offering its Rock In Rio festival grounds as a potential site. Further afield, MGM is busily preparing the site for its Springfield, Massachusetts, casino and pressing the flesh for a resort in Atlanta. Despite deploying 17 lobbyists to Georgia during the last Legislature, MGM couldn’t muster the necessary votes and also has to cope with the opposition of Gov. Nathan Deal. In Japan, MGM has had to contend with delay, delay and yet more delay from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government. However, recent electoral gains by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party should liberate it from antigambling coalition partner the Komeito Party. Already the Abe government is making noises about at least two integrated resorts, although hopes have been raised and dashed several times in the past. Even so, MGM continues an assiduous courtship that has included such Japonaiserie as a Kabuki spectacle staged in the middle of the Bellagio lagoon and an art installation at Crystals. In Macao, MGM is making a $3.1 billion bet on mass-market gamblers at in-progress MGM Cotai. The megaresort will open without VIP table games. Mass-market players have been very good for MGM in Macao and it’s further hedging its bet by postponing the opening of its Cotai Strip casino until the second quarter of 2017, by which time Macao is forecast to be in recovery mode, powered by such megaresort openings at Wynn Palace and Sheldon Adelson’s Parisian. But we start in Las Vegas, where MGM is taking a look at revising nearly all of its Strip properties. Casino Life sat down with MGM President Bill Hornbuckle to discuss the company’s many irons in the fire.

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President MGM Bill Hornbuckle

With two arenas already in the fold, what was the importance of adding T-Mobile Arena to the repertory? Strategically, we thought we had a pretty good handle on entertainment and the activity that comes to Las Vegas. The reality was we were talking about arenas that were 10 and, in one example, pushing 20 years old. Although they had seen some amazing events – and they have – they weren’t exactly state-of-the-art facilities. So it was important to us … we started looking at this, oh gosh, when I became president of MGM in 1999 and came to the conclusion that Grand Garden couldn’t be expanded because of infrastructure that surrounded it. We got into heavy dialogue with AEG, pre-’07, about activity potentially south of Mandalay [Bay] or on Mandalay. We picked that up again after we got through the financial crisis but they didn’t want to lose control of it to us. We finally got them to agree to that where we’re the operating manager of this joint venture, and then ultimately decided on the site where it currently sits and got going in earnest. For what we spent and what we have, we’ve simply got an amazing arena that’s been greatly accepted by artists, by the investment community and really provides an epicenter for us around the center of the Strip in terms of activity. Counting the addition of a NHL team, how is T-Mobile performing up to expectations? Spot-on. We’ll have 70-odd events this year, which is the stub year. We’ll have in excess of 120 once the hockey team starts. We get 44 scheduled dates out of that, preplayoff. Interestingly, Mandalay Bay this year is doing


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better than it did the year before. Grand Garden is down a little bit. Overall, we were like 72 events last year. This year, it’s 134 so far, so the collective-activity case has been good for the company and for the city. What is the importance of public art like “Bliss Dance,” something that doesn’t show up on the bottom line? At the end of the day, these buildings were built in an unincorporated city called Clark County. They were designed and developed to compete with each other, so they basically went wall-to-wall, where everything was inward-facing and the way the story went, the way the reality is, there’s not a lot of civic and public planning, from a locals perspective. What really changed the dynamic were customers who are becoming more and more urban-oriented. When you talk to Millennials, it’s what they’re used to. So you’ve begun to see – and we’ve probably led this – the opening up of places like New York-New York, Monte Carlo. We’re talking about opening the front of MGM Grand over time. So the introduction of that idea led to a great piece of land that we had center-Strip. What could we do that was not just another casino? We didn’t need one of those nor, frankly, did we need more hotel rooms. So it led to the notion of a park that would a different proposition that people could come and enjoy. They could meander. It provides a great gateway to the [T-Mobile] Arena and, opening now, the Park Theater, so it’s set itself up well for that. The notion of making it attractive is something that was driven by the passion of our chairman. Jim is an avid art collector as well as a proponent for public art in the right places. It just drives the better good, whether for tourism, for locals and pride, for our employees. Not everything needs to be

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about making a dollar. Why was this the moment to reinvent Monte Carlo? Because of, more than anything else, the investment around it. CityCenter is next to it, so there’s a $9 billion asset sitting next to it. We have redone the whole façade, most notably, of New York-New York. We have added the arena and The Park. You start adding it up, you’ve got $10.5 billion worth of investment in the immediate community. It now became more of an epicenter and Monte Carlo has always been a great location. The brand itself, of all of our brands, has been the one that has least resonated, every time we do brand surveys. The asset was pretty vanilla and it had been there awhile without a whole lot of refurbishment. So it was time to do something anyway and, when you look at our portfolio, the space that’s missing and the place that [Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas] of note has picked up on is more of a gathering place for Millennials to come and pick up on some of the urban chic that other cities have done so well. Our company had a void in that space, so we’ve partnered with the Sydell Group, the folks who brought things like NoMad to life in markets like New York. We’re focused heavily on it over the next couple of years. What changes can we expect to see at your other Strip resorts? You’ll see constant reinvestment. Bellagio is going to see some casino-refresh coming up. Looking at the front of MGM Grand and what we can accomplish there is something that we’ll study over the next couple of years. Taking advantage of the real estate on the Strip around and by Luxor and Excalibur is something that


we’ll focus on. To a certain degree we’d focus on Mirage in the same context. You’ll see us expand convention space at MGM and ultimately here at Bellagio. We’ve done exceptionally with the convention/corporate market. You see the same thing happening at Aria. We’ve closed the “Zarkana” showroom and that’s becoming convention space, so we’re going to push that agenda as well, because it’s been very productive for the company and the city. There used to be a mentality that conventioneers weren’t high-priority customers because they didn’t gamble. That has obviously changed. When one of the most successful resort-casinos in the world, Bellagio, has 70 percent of its revenue coming from non-gaming, the whole dynamic has changed. While gaming is a key element that we’ll stay focused on and is part of the economic horsepower of why we can do the things we do, reality is that rooms, food and beverage, entertainment, catering, conventions are a key foundational piece of our business going forward. MGM has offered its Rock In Rio festival ground as a potential site for the NFL stadium that’s being discussed. Was the Rock In Rio concept a flop? I wouldn’t say it was a flop. We crawled our way into the festival business, first at The Village. Then we extended the relationship with Rock In Rio at the Circus Circus site. One hundred and sixty-eight thousand tickets were sold over two weekends. It was far from a flop. The promoter and the economics around it hurt, to be truthful, but they are considering coming back in a different format but with a similar kind of energy in terms of entertainment and lineup. It was early days for the festival business in the city and it was their first foray into North America. Mandalay Bay now sports the biggest solar roof in the United States. Why is sustainability such a high priority for MGM? It makes good business sense. Corporate America and meeting planners are asking the key question of what activity we have around sustainability. So we’ve been on that track in some way, shape or form for the better part of a decade. As we’ve proven to be more successful in terms of our own economics, in terms of what the marketplace is looking for and ultimately now demanding, and ultimately just the greater good, it’s become a core credo and part of our values and our mission. Maryland is Gold LEED-certified. We’re building to that, going forward. We’re going to do the same thing in Massachusetts. It’s just become part and parcel of who we are as a company. We think it as well, we think it’s the right thing to do, we think it represents the industry well. And it’s how we’ll move going forward. Speaking of Maryland, MGM National Harbor will be

a major new landmark in the Washington, D.C., area. In addition to competing for existing business, how do you believe you’ll be able to expand the market? I was there last week and it is absolutely a stunning piece of architecture that sits along the Potomac River. When you fly into Reagan Airport you literally can’t miss this. We lit up the MGM sign last week. It will take a significant presence, as you look to the south. Because of its scale, its scope, its focus on quality – the restaurants, the retail, the entertainment – we’ll be able to stretch well beyond what the market currently does, even from a regional perspective. No discredit to some of the other facilities, but they’re not what we’re doing. We’re taking what we do here in terms of scale, quality and scope, and we’re bringing it to the Potomac. It will be noteworthy. It will clearly dominate that market. We’ve got 500 people in the field, in offices as far away as Thailand, that promote our business. If people internationally are in and around the area – and there’s about 53 million folks who visit D.C. every year – it’s likely that we can motivate a trip out of them as well. The facility is every bit as good as anything else we have, so inviting some of our very best customers is what we’re going to focus on. The other thing that’s going to be different is our presence on the East Coast. We’re building in Massachusetts. We’ve completed the acquisition and ultimately control of Borgata, and its database, and now we’re going to be in Maryland,

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so our presence on the northeast corridor will be commanding and we think we drive business from some of those markets to come on down and take a trial. There is an NBC newscast that broadcasts the [D.C.] skyline behind it sometimes and, literally, the night we turned the light on, you could see it. [laughs] They were facing south. It was between the Capitol and the Washington Monument, and over the guy’s left shoulder was MGM’s logo. We’ve just got a deal of energy and activity around: José Andres, the Voltaggio brothers, this kid out of Harlem called Marcus Samuelson, who’s going to do an amazing restaurant. It’s going to be at a different level than anything they’re accustomed to in that region. Having taken complete ownership of Borgata, how does this affect the company’s stance – if it has one – on the referendum on northern New Jersey casinos? We’re going to remain neutral. Obviously, we have studied it extensively, the better part of the last two years. It was part of the decision tree and process in taking on the balance of Borgata. We are going to stay neutral and see what happens. Time will tell. Now it’s considerably behind in the polls – but one day at a time. In contrast to MGM National Harbor, MGM Springfield is a low-profile project, focusing on historical restoration. Why did MGM take that approach for that market? The story of Springfield is very interesting. It’s a city that, 70 or 80 years ago, was part of the industrial capitol of the Northeast. Indiana Motorcyle, Singer, Smith &

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Wesson – it had a huge presence in a lot of markets as a key manufacturing entity. A lot of the city over the last 40 or 50 years has gone backwards and in a fairly large way. It was fortuitous, at least for us – actually, no one was killed – a tornado went through the community in June of 2011. It leveled about three city blocks. We were poking around at the time. We ended up partnering with a gentleman named Paul Picknelly who owns two hotels there and an office complex. We scooped up three blocks of a downtown city, which is hard to do in any community. But, given its heritage, given its location right on the I-91 corridor, given the exclusivity of the licenses, it wasn’t like we needed to stand out from the guy next door. There’s only three of these [resorts] in the state and you’ll see this thing clearly as you’re coming down the I-91 corridor, which is the main delivery corridor for transport. We thought it would be important and respectful -- and ultimately won us the day -- to pay heed to the city and its architecture. So the building isn’t over six stories. The architecture speaks to the street. It’s got 22 entrances where you can go in and out of retail environment, a restaurant environment, a hotel environment, entertainment facilities and not necessarily go into the casino. But if you continue straight through, you end up there. It’s surrounded by this activity case. It literally has no back end. It outwardly faces Main Street and the equivalent to their town hall. There’s a courtyard and an entertainment environment we’re creating. We opened it up, we scaled it effectively, and tried to make it look and feel like it had always been


favorable. Economic motivators continue to drive their decisions there and the good news is ours are being talked about, aggressively talked about in places like Osaka and Yokohama. But there’s one thing that’s true here and probably in Korea: It’s up to the boss. If Abe decides it’s time to go forward, he’ll push the agenda. The same in Korea. We remain active, particularly in Japan. Osaka has called for a request for concepts, which we’ll be submitting later this year, as well as will others. It’s challenging, always, but there are not a lot of $20 billion marketplaces left in the world. We ultimately believe Japan could be that kind of a market.

there. It’s an interesting experiment. To the extent that it works in an urban environment like that, it proves that you can deliver something like we do in an environment that is not only not disruptive but can be melded into the community and ultimately be productive. MGM pushed hard for a casino bill in the Georgia legislature this year but ultimately came up short. How do you evaluate your chances in the next session? We’re back at it. It will get down to how the Senate feels about it. We made some great headway. Nothing happens overnight. We’re being patient about it and we’re hopeful. But we’re active and pushing the agenda, and will see what happens next spring. Are there any other states that are ripe for expansion? No, I wouldn’t use the word “ripe,” because a lot of other states which constantly talk about it, for varying reasons, it just doesn’t come to fruition. I’ll just use Florida as the key example. It’s been up and down, and everywhere in between. Atlanta probably offers the best opportunity for the industry today. In Japan, the consideration of casinos is constantly being postponed. When do you think the parliament will reach a moment of truth on the issue? We hope, again, this fall. A couple of things have changed. In another election [Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe got empowered. He then had an upper- and lower-house election that occurred this summer. In both instances, the Liberal Democratic Party came out winners. They now actually have a majority of the upper house for the first time in a long time, I think by one vote. There was one guy who switched over in the last month. The General Ministry and the cabinet are

Since you mentioned South Korea, could you elaborate on your prospects? Can an integrated resort succeed there without locals being allowed to play? I don’t think so. Part of the essence of who we are as a company is scale. It enables us to bring a lot of things to the table. To the extent that you take away scale by making it boutique gaming – i.e., foreign only – it’s just not something that we’re overly focused on. The time, the energy, the distance is a challenge for us. There is some dialogue of recent about yet a second locals casino but it’s again way out in the outskirts somewhere, so we’re hard-pressed to get excited about that. We’ll keep in touch, we’ll keep looking but it would be important for us that it would have to be a major city, it would have to include locals. Whether it’s the Singapore model or not, which has proven successful, that’s up to them. But there would have to be some element of that activity. Last but far from least, what are the chances that by postponing the debut of MGM Cotai you’ll catch the market on an upswing? Favorable. We’re hoping there’s a lot of energy behind Wynn’s opening, our opening, the Parisian. The VIP market, as we have known it, has basically been pummeled, so it can’t go much lower. Mass continues to do well for us. You probably saw our quarterly results. We’re not alone in that. [Sociedade de Jogos de Macau] had a decent quarter and so people are still coming to the market. While it’s been beaten about, if you will, the last time I checked there’s only one $25 billion market in the world and that’s Macao. We will all not get the returns that we ultimately thought we would get but the returns are still amazing. We’re hopeful we catch it right. We’re hopeful we’re part of the spark that pushes it to the next level. The [Hong Kong-Zhuhai] bridge, the light rail, some of the other significant infrastructure projects, we hope will be further along, and are needed and meaningful in the context of bringing mass tourism back to the market. So we’re favorable and we’re positive but nobody has the final answer about when that might switch.

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For the Games People Play Peter White chats to Harald Kaiblinger Managing Director 8 UnlimtedRRD Ltd Your organisation has been involved with many projects for major names in the gaming sector; indeed, the list is a veritable who’s who of the industry. What were their reasons for choosing your organisation from among other operators in this highly competitive sector? Their reasons for choosing us include our ability to deliver new and unique ideas and concepts; our ability to acquire efficient and experienced resources; evidence of past successful execution and delivery of complex projects; our integrity and honesty. Can you explain how you came up with your company name “8 UnlimtedRRD Ltd”? It’s a bit of a mouthful, I agree. Eight is a Chinese ‘lucky number’, unlimited refers to ‘no limitation’ in terms of what we can offer, and ‘RDD’ is an abbreviation for ‘relentless digital development’. What aspects of your original role at Sun International where, in reflection, decisive in your choice to make this industry your career? I originally attended a hotel school in Salzburg, Austria, where I trained in hospitality. Sun International gave me the opportunity to apply my IT skills, starting with POS and inventory systems, then rapidly expanding into the casino realm with cashless and loyalty systems. What, in your opinion, are the biggest challenges that lay ahead for Casino operations both large and small? Casinos will continue to have taxation eating into profits, as well as live gaming areas facing increased staff and operating costs. Future challenges will include attracting a younger player generation – largely by selecting appealing game concepts and the appropriate technology. I would see a combination of ‘young’

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fun and gaming lifestyle concepts paired with technologies such as augmented reality, 4D and virtual reality. Moreover, mobile [cashless] payment will increasingly become a necessity and this must be seamlessly incorporated into the payment processes. Your expertise covers development for both land-based and online operations. You must therefore be aware that while these have developed in conjunction with one another in many ways, they might enjoy faster progress if development was better coordinated? Although there are now operators and suppliers covering both land based and online, following more than a decade of online gaming in many parts of the world, there are still ‘silos’ separating them one from the other. My observation, especially with the big players, is that the crossover is largely confined to adapting games - for example, taking the graphics and maths from land based into online. In my opinion, developing an overarching concept between land based and online, especially with regards to marketing and promotions, would achieve at least a 10 percent increase in ROI/ revenue. Technology will play an important part in this and utilising systems that enable you not just to ‘know your customer’ but also to ‘understand’, predict and direct your customers’ behaviour will be key. Modern databases and cloud computing will enable this. Is it all about creating the next big breakthrough game, and can operators do more to assist those organisations that provide content systems, hardware design and development departments? I have been in this industry since 1990 and creating ‘breakthrough games’, in my opinion, is still a bit like


reading tea leaves. There are games that sometimes pop up and through their features (maths) and themes (graphics) appeal to a wide spectrum of players. Yet I have seen the same maths fail with a different theme and vice versa. Again, technology aimed at gathering data about player behaviour - so-called ‘big data’ - can provide better insight into what works for different player spectrums in different markets.

introducing new technology to analogue games, while the second is a cloud-based system based approach to the collection and analysis of gaming data in order to predict - and direct - player behaviour. The third is a unique device-independent game with collaboration across land-based and online/mobile, plus optional links to social media. We are aiming to present these three innovations at the next ICE in February 2017

Development is costly with no guarantees of success. Do you think that’s why so many games look so similar? Games development nowadays is utilising a lot of ‘cloning’ whereby a successful game is used as the base and ‘clones’ of this are spawned with different themes and sometimes slightly different maths.

Have you an example of where you have been contracted to assist with the development of a game and gained cooperation from land-based operators? We were approached by an online operator to set up a cooperation with an EU-based supplier and adapted a successful land-based game, optimising it for online use.

Once the new game idea has been turned into an actual physical working prototype and the operator gives the thumbs up, is that ‘job done’? Now that would be nice! The reality is that the prototype is the easy part as it is merely the application of technology into something tangible. The most difficult part is to take that prototype and make it into a commercially successful product. Is it true to say that online regulators are often more open-minded to agree to new technology as opposed to those overseeing land-based? By and large that seems to be true, especially in pure online jurisdictions. So with more coordination between land-based and online, would you say that there are more benefits to be had with the regulators? Whilst certain aspects would not necessarily be enthusiastically welcomed by operators and suppliers, regulators could benefit in terms of streamlined legislation and certification processes. If used correctly, data could also provide a political tool to demonstrate responsible gaming applied and working. The subject of land-based and online clearly has benefits for both markets so the question is: do we think it gets talked about enough? There are frequent discussions about the subject, but very few actual case studies are published. Have you come across any innovative new gaming product or system over the past year that has particularly impressed you? I have seen some good augmented-reality game concepts and some great virtual (or fantasy) sports applications. On the home front, we are currently busy with three innovative new gaming product developments that are all set to be game changers. The first one is a complete new hardware solution

Last year this industry lost Jens Halle, by most peoples’ reckoning one of its most successful and charismatic personalities, admired and respected in equal measure. I got to know Jens in 1990 whilst working at Sun International and we became friends over the years. Jens was responsible for getting me into Novomatic, and was my role model and confidant. He was a ‘Mensch’ and a good friend and will be missed. ‘Think globally, act locally.’ Does that term work for you or should it be the other way around? The industry may have some global trends, but to be successful you have to ‘think and act’ locally. The ultimate is to streamline your development, manufacturing and operating processes and deploy them into a local environment and market. For me, the key words are ‘flexibility’ and ‘adaptability’ – being able to react quickly to constantly changing requirements. Would you say that the practical realities of regulatory issues, combined with global differences in terms of culture and government, are more difficult to address than those relating to technology? In general, technology is never an issue. There are very few issues that cannot be solved technically, given unlimited resources. The limitations are always practical and commercial in the context of regulation and culture. How would you like to see the industry developing over the coming years? Generally, I would like to see more integration of R&D; the removal of silos from manufacturing, regulations and operations; and the development of open regulatory/technology standards. I would also like to see responsible gaming dealt with in a more open and transparent way to address long-term political issues. Outside of business hours how do you relax? Spending time with the family especially my seven year old son.

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Integrated Experience Tim Cullimore, Director of Cullimore Casino Consulting, chats with Glyn Thomas What aspects of your original role at Casino de Montreal over 30 years ago were in reflection decisive in your choice to make this industry your career? Previous to my appointment at the Casino de Montreal I had taken the classic route of starting as a dealer in the U.K. It was in the early Eighties, and then more than ever, the U.K. industry was so limited in its scope and ambition. I had seen quite a bit of North America when working on the Cruise Ships and had then experienced the insular environment of Nineties French casino gaming. So to arrive in Montreal, where ambition and enthusiasm were everything, was such a breath of fresh air. Opportunities were given without reservation, so I quickly became responsible for running the school where we had hundreds of trainees per year, not the couple of dozen in a typical European operation, and if there was a problem you were told to solve it, not wait for orders. Very soon after the opening a decision was made to expand the car park due to undercapacity, not by a hundred or even a thousand, but if memory serves me right over two thousand new spaces were created in one fell swoop. You would have needed an edict from the Pope to do that in Europe. This attitude taught me to think big and get things done. I quickly got my first taste of management which I loved. Being shift manager responsible for over a hundred tables gives you such a buzz. During your gaming career you have had an exclusive view of the international growth of the industry. How do you see the industry developing in the coming years? Growth has been so slow in some regions where it should have boomed, nowhere more so than in

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Europe, and that I can put down to political machinations. I remember giving a speech to a meeting of regulators back in 2005 when I was building the Grand Casino in Brussels. I said then that convergence of legislation on the licensing of gaming equipment, social responsibility requirements and creating pan-European gaming licenses would save the industry millions of Euros, and encourage greater cross-border investment. In the same period, you have a region like Washington in the U.S. Northwest which has grown from zero casinos when I was there in 1986 to over 30 today with two more coming on stream. Why some parts of the world see the advantages in jobs, investment, infrastructure and state revenues, and others only see the downsides of the industry, which we all recognise, is a mystery to me. At the excellent Future of Gambling Seminar Series organised by the Parliamentary All Party Betting & Gaming Group in London recently I asked if there wasn’t time for a new look at U.K. gaming [laws] after the debacle of the 2005 act, which made us in the U.K. look like a banana republic. I postulated the notion that the road would be long but it had to start somewhere and why not now. Even the representatives of the landbased industry, the segment that has been treated the least fairly, had no appetite for it. So the future will happen in developing or more dynamic countries, always I hope well regulated, learning from past experiences of older jurisdictions and not trying to reinvent the wheel each time a territory opens. What in your opinion are the biggest challengesahead for casino operations large and small in theyears ahead? It is interesting to see that operators in Macau are counteracting the downturn in gaming revenue by


promoting shopping opportunities, even rewarding high-net-worth shoppers with bonus schemes, the same as for players. This seems a bit like the strategy Vegas took when it re-invented itself as a family resort, which was of course a wrong step, resulting in Vegas returning to its adult-playground ethos, so you can imagine that Macau may try to change the product it has, but in the end it will just have to weather the storm and rely on gaming. I think they have great scope for improving their slot revenues and rely less on baccarat. The opening of the roadway from Hong Kong should have a consequential impact. Elsewhere some smaller and more agile operators are benefiting from the difficulties some of the larger groups find themselves in. Fremont Street in downtown Vegas is now becoming the hipster hangout, and may well detract from the popularity of the Strip. Remember, the product, whether blackjack, roulette or slots is essentially the same, only the presentation changes. So if the mood swings toward smaller, hipper boutique style casinos we may see a whole new ambiance being created. Of all the casinos you have visited during your international career, which are amongst your favourite and why? The place I love to stay the most is the Wynn in Vegas, I love the layout, the fact that there is daylight in most public areas and that there are plenty of outdoor dining and relaxing areas. I remember on one of my first visits to Vegas, when I was quite inexperienced, I stayed at one of the big older Strip hotels. It took me 15 minutes to walk from my room to reception, and there was nowhere to eat breakfast outside in the sunshine. The Venetian in Macau is truly amazing; the gaming floor really is as big as a couple of football fields. And of course The Ritz, where I was CEO, remains probably the most beautiful gaming room in the world. Out of business hours how do you relax? As a mature father of three, with two kids under the age of 10, most of my time is taken up with them, but I try to get to the gym, and my drums are gathering dust so I really should catch up with my old bandmates. From your experience, have new slots and new table games that have proved very popular had an effect on the operational profits of casinos at which you have been employed? Do you always recommend trials of new games and machines at casinos to insure they maximise their operational effectiveness? There is always a great hunger for new product with slot players. An innovative line of games can bring new dynamism to a slot floor, although some older models

keep making great revenue year in, year out. It is interesting what cultural variances can bring to the success of a slot mix. Machines that are extremely popular in Swiss casinos will not work 20 kilometres away in France. But a good game, with a good pay table and enticing graphics will always work even if the theme is unfamiliar to the player. I remember installing an American TV series-themed machine in CransMontana, Switzerland, and although the players had never heard of the TV series, the machine was a great success because it was simply a great machine. I think new table game products take a while to bed in and some work well whilst others don’t have a chance. Pai Gow poker back in the day was such a complicated game to teach the dealers, and in turn to teach the players, but a certain type of player kept coming back for more. They were determined to know the rules better than the dealers. Tradition still means a lot to table players, so suppliers such as Abbiati bring something special to the table games area. You could see players at the Ritz wanting to touch the Abbiati tables just to feel the quality. It is remarkable when you consider that they use the same system as Rolls Royce to choose the wood they use. But security is just as important as style to them, so they keep modernising the traditional. Of course trialling games can be a bit of a nightmare because of what I said earlier about certifying the product. If you are working within a small market it is not really in the manufacturer’s interest to go through the certification procedure to sell a couple of dozen machines. Is a casino’s success like retail, simply a case of location location location? How big a factor in your experience is that in the operational effectiveness of the venture? A good casino in a bad location is going to struggle. An average casino in a great location will do well. In some places you only need to open the doors to be successful, but of course a good location will attract competition, especially in cross-border situations. Then it is hard to change attitudes and become a more efficient and hungry unit, but not impossible. I find evolution rather than revolution more effective but sometimes you have to knock down the walls and rebuild from the foundations. Casinos’ operating costs can fluctuate as a result of many different situations, how does your expertise assist casinos with getting back on track? In a new operation you have to calculate what you think the revenue stream is going to be, then cut it by 30 percent. You can now calculate the operating costs. Occasionally the figures will not balance, so it is best to walk away. Too many project managers think that the

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revenues have to fit the costs. So do not have three restaurants and nightclub if the market isn’t there. Do not install gold faucets in the restrooms when ordinary ones will do, and do not spend a fortune on carpets, nobody looks at them. With existing operations who are struggling I always ask what they would do if it was a brand-new operation, using the knowledge they now have of the business. The old adage about asking the way to Dublin and the old countryman saying that if it was him he wouldn’t start from here rings true. Write a business plan as if it was a new operation but with the advantage of having some historical data available. Are all casinos no matter where in the world they are located have the same or similar operational setup or have you found significant differences? Other than regulatory operational issues such as advertising and comps, and taxation regimes, I would say the biggest differences are in staff relations and costs, plus attitudes to anti-money laundering procedures and social responsibility. As GM of the Grand Casino Brussels I spent fully 40 percent of my time with [human resources] affairs, including making sure relations with the unions remained cordial, whereas in Switzerland an enormous amount of time is spent directing AML procedures andensuring robust

player protection. In all the years of your experience in the casino industry, can you comment on the impact integrating casinos with leisure retail and entertainment has had on the effective operational success of the casinos? I sometimes wonder if we don’t have it the wrong way round. Instead of integrating the casino into a wider leisure/retail operation we should integrate new leisure opportunities into a larger casino environment, and also be learning from other leisure-revenue drivers. In Europe, franchising has never really taken off like in the States. Why not have a micro-brewery attached to the casino or have a food hall like you find in current shopping malls with pop-up street-food stands? Away for the mega-gaming centres and fully integrated resorts there has been a slow uptake in retail leisure and entertainment integration, and again you have to ask the authorities who license casinos to take a great part of the responsibility for that. One and a half hours from London is a high end outlet shopping venue called Bicester Village. It is the second-most visited site by Chinese tourists in the U.K. after Buckingham Palace. I wouldn’t mind an integrated casino there.

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Do Land Based Casinos Maximise Value From Their Poker Market?

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Analysing the casino poker arena: by Carl “The Dean” Sampson

he game of poker in all of its various forms has been with us since the days of the old Wild West and frontier towns. The game has steadily grown in that time and it took the legendary heads up match between three-time World Poker Champion Johnny Moss and the prolific gambler Nick “The Greek” Dandalos to really drive the game forward. Then we had the arrival of the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas in the early 1970s and poker started to gain momentum. However it was the arrival of the internet and the televising of poker in the late 1990s that quantumleaped the game into the monster that it is today. Millions of people all over the world play online poker every single day. There are countless poker tournaments played daily and million-dollar online events are now commonplace. The new, young breed of poker player was choosing to play online than to drag their bodies to a local casino. The big problem is Inertia The ultimate knock on of this was that more and more players were staying clear of card rooms and choosing to play online, where they could get advantages that live casinos and card rooms couldn’t offer. These were sign-up bonuses, rakeback, playing more tables, around-the-clock action and varying stake levels. In the early days of online poker there were safety and credibility issues. Once this problem had been resolved and players felt safe with their funds, then online

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pokerreally surged forward and enjoyed huge growth for several years running. The live card rooms were also showing increased business as the popularity of televised poker was making the game mainstream in the public eye. One key problem that land based casinos have to overcome is inertia or the lack of desire to want to travel to a card room to play poker when you can easily get a game online. This is a problem that isn’t easily solved since younger players of today often view live poker games as being too old - ashioned and slow. After seeing hundreds of hands per hour online playing multiple tables and getting extra bonuses then the slowness of live play is a big problem for these players. Everyone is a potential poker player It has always been my belief that every single person that enters a casino is a potential poker player, even the ones that have never played before. Rather than compete with online poker and try to extract the serious grinders into their clubs then the key way forward to maximise their poker market is to utilise the people that are already walking through their door. It is clear though that some casinos do not have the space for designated card rooms and these places are not really the focus of this article. At the end of the day though, live casinos cater more for recreational people. They have numerous casino games operating, bars, restaurants and even live entertainment. So their footfall is very good yet this is often not being maximised on their poker tables. In many landbased


casinos the cash tables are usually empty for long periods of time. The solution to the problem I often think that the solution for land-based casinos when it comes to getting their clientele onto the poker tables is to first make them visually aware of poker. In other words, to stir their interest! It would be very easy to show live footage from the poker tournament if they were actually running one on screens around the casino floor. Another alternative would be to show old footage of World Series of Poker events or WPT final tables, or even episodes of High Stakes Poker with people like Daniel Negreanu and Doyle Brunson competing for huge pots. This then gets people thinking about poker. Formuch of the time in land-based casinos their cardrooms are empty either because tournaments have yet to start or have finished, or cash games are not running at that time. With numerous members of staff available who know how to play poker then it would be in their interests to run poker schools. At the end of the day, poker (and especially Texas Hold’em) is a very easy game to learn. People that attended poker schools could be given information sheets to take home and tutorials on DVD or lessons placed could be uploaided on the casino website. Firsttime players could be given special start-up bonuses. Increasing the Numbers Most land based casinos have huge numbers of customers on their member lists and even small provincial casinos have 20,000 members or more. However only a small percentage of that figure are active and as many as half of that 20k figure may not be regularly attending the casino! So a large potential poker market is being lost due to inertia or to online poker, or due to the fact the landbased casinos are often not maximising the potential of their own customer base. Mailshots and promotions would help to get many of these people active on the poker tables and playing poker. Because there is such a huge luck element in poker many of these new players would enjoy winning and would enjoy the experience of actually playing poker much more. The adversarial nature of poker is what makes the game so appealing and once people play the game then they are often converts for life, even if they don’t become regular players. So the lesson is painfully clear to the land-based casinos: improve and maximise your own client base or run the risk of losing them to online poker forever. Carl “The Dean” Sampson is a professional poker player and coach and can also be seen on his website at www.pokersharkpool.com

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Optimal Player Satisfaction Kubilay Özer, Global Sales Director, APEX Gaming speaks to Rebecca Green

How was 2015 for Apex Gaming and how has 2016 been so far? 2015 was a focal year. Our goal was to further strengthen our product range – to provide even better and more entertaining gaming solutions. We set the goal high – as our credo is to take gaming to the next level. We spent much time talking with and listening to our customers. 2015 was the year where we widely expanded our product range and the markets / countries we deal in. We introduced the iDROP to the market and placed new focus on the U.S.A. 2016 has been the year to reap the benefits from our efforts we sowed last year. There is great demand for our EVO platform with the exciting, high-definition games. The iDROP is revolutionising the way cash handling is managed at live gaming tables. We were presented with two major gaming awards in the U.S.A. for the iDROPe during the Casino Marketing & Technology Conference that took place between 12th and 14th of July at ParisLas Vegas. The two accolades for the iDROPe were in the categories ‘Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products’ and ‘Attendees’ Choice.’ Our APS multiplayer brings new, added value to this market segment. And our

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mobilegaming offer continues to expand. 2016 has so far been better than we expected. And we will continue to innovate and bring new solutions to the market. Can you explain the benefits of the EVO three-games platform? We have further optimised our gaming platform. That means the games can be played in an even better definition. The new platform includes new HD games and bingo. The games are better configured for simple operator use and player satisfaction. The features have been created with different player mentalities in mind. The optimal solution from us is the EVO3 platform with our APEX Pinnacle Premium VIP solution. The largescreen monitors, in particular the curved gaming screen and high-end chair make this the perfect way to enjoy the EVO3 games. From a European aspect, the German, Austrian, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Swiss, French, Belgium and Luxemburg markets have proven successful for Apex Gaming. Is that success contributing to further opportunities with operators across North and South


Eastern Europe, that can be seen with the deal with Bulgarian Operator Impera Games earlier this year? We work in a global market. Our customers often are looking for possibilities to expand their business and grow internationally. Operators who have their focus purely on their own domestic market still remain interested to learn what is happening outside their borders. It is a vital source of information for operators to know about the general success of the gaming products they have on their floor. One of our latest successes is – as you mention – at Impera Games in Bulgaria. This great feedback stems from the longstanding hard work we have invested in creating top-rate gaming innovations. We are naturally proud to have received such a glowing report from our valued customers. Westspiel Flagship casino in Spielbank Duisburg selected eight Pinnacle SL slant-top premium slot machines from APEX Gaming. Michael Wiebeck, slots director at Spielbank Duisburg, explained the decision by saying, “The graphics are excellent – the HD quality and the way the games are shown – that attracts players. APEX offers a wide range of entertaining games in varying volatilities and so appeals to all types of players” These endorsements from leading casino operations must be very satisfying for you and everyone at Apex Gaming? Just like the international focus of our customers, the players are global as well. That means we have to cater to all types of players and all types of cultures. Our focus is on the player psychology – to create the games that players want to play. It’s as simple as that. Yet that requires great experience and continuing hard work. That is what we invest into the market and the response at Spielbank Duisburg reflects the dedication we put into our work. Our games provide the player entertainment to take gaming to the next level. Can you explain to readers what is involved in the Apex Slot Challenge www.apex-challenge.net This website offers a range of popular APEX games for free play. The games can thus be accessed from any mobile/computer device. People interested in APEX games can get to know them. Some people like to play test their luck against others and the Apex Slots Challenge is the perfect way to do this. This is just another example of how we at APEX are providing the right solutions for mobile gaming. The integration of mobile gaming into casinos is something we are particularly excited about. The Apex Player Sstation (APS) is the terminal-based roulette solution proved a big hit at ICE Totally Gaming 2016. What are its key features and what have been amongst the main comments and observations you

Kubilay Özer Global Sales Director APEX gaming

have received from visitors to your booth at exhibitions to this eye catching EGM? Yes, that’s true – our APS attracted a lot of attention at the ICE. It boasts a really stylish/ergonomic design and so people first came just to look at it. When we explained how flexible and modular it is and how it can be run with several roulette wheels, then we developed in-depth conversations how we can support operators in providing optimal multiplayer solutions. The APS can be linked to four roulette wheels – these can be both electronic or live. This gives players more options and means they don’t necessarily have to wait between each spin to place their bets anew. The APS can be supplied as a stand-alone with separate terminals or we can provide a complete multiplayer solution. This technology enables operators to find exactly the right APS that fits to their gaming location. Furthermore, we can link the APS to our Pinnacle slots or slots to APS – so that APS players can play EVO games and Pinnacle players can bet on the APS. Even if no Pinnacles are present on the floor, we enable EVO game play on the APS. Last but not least – we enable operators to link roulette onto tablets. Even when all the seats are taken, by offering tablets to players in the casino, they can also participate in roulette at the APS. All these benefits together made the APS a real star at ICE. What has been the response from casino operators to the possibility of incorporating mobile gaming right within the casino is made reality thanks to APEX MOBIILE SLOTS? This is a great extension of the choice we offer. We can provide the right solution according to the regulations of each gaming jurisdiction. Whether slots games or roulette, operators have optimal flexibility to ensure that their customers get the best of the APEX products on their floor.

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What has been Apex Gaming’s approach to the growing market in Africa and countries that include South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi and the Seychelles? There is no doubt about it that the African continent holds plenty of opportunities for gaming innovators. We are well set up with our own APEX Africa subsidiary that is managed by my colleague Andy Hudson. We have just introduced a new way to enjoy gaming entertainment in Africa and the feedback has been excellent. What do you think are they key features of the Pinnacle gaming machine family that have made it so popular and what are the latest enhancements such as incorporated in to the VIP Pinnacle Premium package? We at APEX gaming have in-depth information of operator requirements as we manage our own operations throughout several countries. Players often enjoy gaming more when they can play on top-class gaming machines. That is why we focused right from the start on creating a cabinet that oozes style yet provides all the latest technology and security features. The result was the Pinnacle family of slot machines. The latest member is the Pinnacle Premium VIP slot machine. The large curved monitor has been positioned for optimal player comfort. The casino chair is of the highest quality. Having the game buttons and loud speakers integrated into it means that the player can lean back and really relax and enjoy the APEX gaming experience. What are the essential features of the iDROP & why should a Casino go ahead with the expenditure to incorporate the iDROP System in their Casinos? The iDROP is the cash handling solution for live gaming tables. It is a win win-win scenario for the operator, croupier and player. The operator knows that all tickets and banknotes are securely counted and stored within the iDROP – and has instant information on how much is in each iDROP. The croupier can accept tickets and notes directly at the table and simply place them into the iDROP – even in a bundle of 50 at a time. The iDROP validates and securely stacks them one at a time. A player who cashes out their tokens receives the value in ticket form. The player can then use the ticket on another live game or on a slot machine. Players no longer have to go to the cash desk to change their

money for jetons – they do this at the table. This saves time. It also saves money as the operator requires less jetons (as they remain on the table and don’t have to be also available at the cash desk). Indeed, an operator could renounce upon a cash desk. The iDROP enables an operator to offer complete electronic cash handling. Players can also use a player card to purchase/redeem jetons. The gaming industry has had companies state claims of revenue optimization and increased productivity, all provided to impress and sell. Can iDROP provide statistics and an example of a casino operation where your system has an impact? Casino Leuna-Günthersdorf in Germany was the first casino in Germany to integrate the iDROP into their live gaming tables. The head of IT and security, Karl-Heinz Lager said, “The benefits for us as a casino operator are overwhelming as well. We have complete and direct feedback and control of the drop. Furthermore, we purchased about half the amount of chips a casino would normally need – as the chips all remain at the tables as none are required for a cash desk”. We are very proud of having just won a major award in the U.S.A . – as one of the Top 20 Most Innovative Products in the entire gaming industry – bestowed on us by Casino Journal. With an ever-increasing capabilities of computing hardware that is enabling game developers to create even more complex levels of game interaction and complexity, what are the key aspects of the EVO Platform that you consider make it the first choice for casinos ahead of those provided by other manufacturers and supplier? The games have been further optimised for the players: the new range of games, the high-resolution display, the games graphics, the game mathematics, the game offer. This is our strongest range of games we have ever had. For those of our readers attending this year’s G2E Las Vegas Show, can you provide details of your booth at this year’s exhibition? Our booth number is 2050. We will be showcasing the iDROP/iDROPe, the Pinnacle with EVO platform, the APS and Mobile Gaming. All the major information can be seen on the G2E website. We have a wide range of videos on our solutions on our YouTube site as well. And finally what are the company’s main goals for 2016? We will continue to focus on taking gaming to ‘the next level.’ Our strategy will remain to focus on real gaming innovation that increases player entertainment and adds value to the operator’s business.

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eSports events, a matter of time before it becomes part of the casino landscape The future is taking shape now…By Robert Ambrose The future is taking shape now… We recently saw a great example of the future of eSports (Electronic Sports of Competitive Gaming- Organized video game competition) in Las Vegas with the opening of an eSports lounge at the Downtown Grand. It was a panel topic at the 16th International Conference on Gambling & Risk Taking this year and you will see sessions at G2E. All things gaming seem to start in Las Vegas but recently Columbus Ohio was the center of the Universe for eSports in July as Major League Gaming, in collaboration with Gears of War and The Coalition, hosted the Gears eSports MLG North American Open. The nation’s top 32 teams were invited to compete for $50k in prize money, streamed live on www.twitch.tv/GearsofWar and on www.MLG.tv. This event was a millennial hotspot. My son Rob aka (“immortal Spawn”) and a serious pro player himself was an on-air talent and colour commentator at the Ohio event. I watched the team competition unfold on “twitch” (a network to view esports). What I saw was no different from any other sporting event. It had action-based competition, team commitment, strategies and passion, presented in housed in a

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model of community with celebrity players, adoring fans and big-money sponsorships. The eSports events host serious team competition. It has drawn a host of international company sponsorships, which contribute to equipment, travel, salaries and boosted prize pools. ESports has all the parameters for a regulated form of wagering within the competitive team environment just like any other sport. Currently eSports is still in a courting relationship within the casino environment as operators, manufactures and regulators are still getting acquainted with, since as it is a multigenerational relationship. ESports is part of the future of the casino gaming within the interactive, skill-based model. If you ignore eSports’ potential in the gaming industry, you will be left behind. As the next-generation player is studied by the gaming industry, eSports has to be part of the Millennial product. Bob Ambrose is an instructor at the Gaming & Hospitality Center for Hospitality & Sport Management at Drexel University


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly How Las Vegas started out as Good, then went Bad, and now has become the Ugly – by: Victor H. Royer

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ecently, early in the morning Pacific Time here in Las Vegas, the Riviera casino came tumbling down – yet another victim of the mad rush to destroy all things from the past. It was a sad sight – the neon sign at the top flashing: Riviera, resplendent in the old gas-neon light of the 1950s, all came crashing down. About halfway, as the tower fell, the light of the Riviera sign flickered briefly, as if trying for one last breath of life, and

then it flickered and died, and fell to the ground in a pile of rubble. And so came the end for yet another iconic and classic Las Vegas landmark. Only one of the hotel towers came down that night. The parking garage went earlier, and the other hotel tower will be imploded later this year. But it was still very sad. I have been in Las Vegas for 33 years, and I remember most the great casinos of yesteryear – and some not so great – but now all gone: the Sands, Stardust, Silver Slipper, Dunes,

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Desert Inn, Landmark, Silver City, Aladdin, Marina, Hacienda, El Rancho, Castaways, Showboat, Barbary Coast, and Glitter Gulch Downtown, with the Mint, The Las Vegas Club, Sassy Sally’s – which was once THE place to visit – before it was all ruined by that stupid canopy, noisy crap music blasting all day and night driving visitors out of their hotel rooms, zip lines, street peddlers and hooligans, and other such garbage that now makes Downtown totally a waste of time to visit. Also gone are places like the Glass Bottom Pool Motel on the South Strip, the La Concha, and other old Vegas landmarks as well. And so once more we are out with the old – and that’s all that seems to be in the minds of those who have the money – and the political power – to cause this kind of mayhem and destruction. I never could understand why these people are so hell-bent on destroying everything! Instead of crashing it all down, why not keep the old and build the new in the back? Make the front the “Classic Vegas”, and then build the “new” at the back and call it the “New Vegas.” That would have preserved everything that was iconic about Las Vegas, including the nostalgia factor, while at the same time allowing for the building of the “new” Las Vegas around it. And all without one interfering with the other. But no. Not that. This would have required forethought, and understanding of what actually made Las Vegas great and world famous. There was plenty of room to do this. And the cost would have been less, because there would not have been the expense of imploding the old, then having to clean up the sites and get rid of all the debris. All in all, that would have been a far better course of action. But, it was not to be. And not for the Riviera, either. Las Vegas used to the great Neon Jungle – the “go-to” place for everyone around the world. Even astronauts could see it shine from space. Now all we have are a bunch of palm trees blocking what’s left of the neon, and we are tearing down casinos to build convention halls. Yuck! Conventions do NOT bring steadily profitable business to Las Vegas! They bring congestion, traffic jams, and jack up the cost of everything. Conventioneers do not gamble – but they DO

have EXPENSE ACCOUNTS and so they don’t care if they have to pay $600 per night for a room or $300 for a buffet. Or, in some cases, $300,000 for a dinner party! This makes everything far too expensive for the true visitors to Las Vegas – those who have always been “the goose that lays the golden eggs.” The gamblers. But now the casinos are shrinking, casinos are being imploded and what’s left over is being converted into convention halls, parks, shopping malls, sports arenas, and all sorts of other crap that does nothing to distinguish Las Vegas from any other city – specifically, any other conventionoriented city. Las Vegas used to be DIFFERENT. It used to be GREAT and GRAND. Now it’s just another stop on the convention calendar, with hotel rooms that are too expensive, restaurants that aren’t worth the money, traffic that isn’t worth the trip, casinos where gamblers are no longer prized guests, and parking garages where you have to pay to park even when you’ve lost thousands in the casinos, and spent many hundreds more in the shops and overpriced restaurants. I remember a Las Vegas where you could get a $2 steak dinner at Binion’s Horseshoe, with soup, salad, a full-sized steak and all the trimmings, a glass of beer, and desert. And you were considered a VALUED guest at the same time! And you know why? Because when you were done eating this great feast for $2, you then went to the casino, and spent the rest of the night playing. And you didn’t mind losing a thousand dollars for the night, even if all you went there for was the $2 steak dinner. And THAT was the reason WHY Las Vegas was ALWAYS great – because everyone UNDERSTOOD that we are ALL in the GAMBLING BUSINESS. Not in the convention business, the shoppingmall business, the parks-and-forests business, the sports-arena business, or the garage business. We were all – players as well as casino owners – in the GAMBLING business. First, second, third, last, foremost and always. And THAT’S what was GOOD about Las Vegas! Gamblers didn’t mind losing, because they were all treated like kings and queens! Great rooms for an unbelievably LOW price.

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Great food for practically pennies – or entirely FREE. Same for the rooms. And all the other amenities as well. No such garbage as “resort fees” back then. Or “room taxes” to support an organization which is now hellbent on destroying everything that made Las Vegas great, and replace it with endless rows of dull convention halls. And so then came the 1990s, when all of a sudden Wall Street bankers, hedge funds and junk bond dealers saw a chance to scoop up cheap real estate among the old casinos, float junk bonds or other equally dubious financing methods, and started to tear down everything that made Las Vegas what it had been. Over the next 20 years, these East Coast financiers and their cronies – lawyers, CPAs, MBAs, and so on – whom they put in charge of the casino business, of which they collectively knew nothing – wormed their way into the marketplace and succeeded in destroying it all. Instead of Glitter Gulch Downtown – worldfamous for its Neon Jungle – we now have a horrible canopy, underneath which are merchandise peddlers and street hooligans (who call themselves “performers”), noisy bands and music blasting from speakers which are so loud that many of the casinos had to close their hotels altogether, because no one could stand being there! And now we have the zip lines, and other crap all over the place, and what was the result? The Las Vegas Club Casino has CLOSED. So did others. Slot and gambling revenue took a major slide in recent times, as did other forms of revenue. And why?

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Because no one wants to go to a place that has been so horribly trashed to a point where it’s no longer something you want to see and experience. Total destruction of what was once the greatest street in the world! Just look at some of the movies from the 1960s, 70s and 80s, or photos, or go to YouTube and look. It WAS GREAT and GRAND. Now it’s just another messy mall, which happens to have a few casinos left around as an afterthought, none of which are anything like they used to be in the glory days of Las Vegas. And the same goes for the Strip. The casinos there are no longer CASINOS. They are everything BUT. They are condos shopping malls, convention halls, Walgreen’s drug stores, minimalls and so on. It’s a shame, and a disgrace! Las Vegas has gone from the Good, to the Bad, and now to the downright UGLY. And with the Riviera now a pile of dust and dirt – well, I’m glad Uncle Frank isn’t around to see it. So, sad days for Las Vegas. Too bad that those who have the money, and the power don’t have the vision to go with it. We could have preserved all that was Classic Vegas – and build the “new” around it. Victor H, Royer is President of Gaming Services & Research. He is a 33-year veteran of Las Vegas gaming, a 26-year consultant to the gaming industry, author of 48 books, and more than 4,000 articles on casino games and gaming. In addition, he has researched and authored over 300 industry reports on the subject of player preferences, marketing, player development and customer relations. He can be reached at: DrVHR@aol.com


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“G2E is the one-stop shop for the gaming industry.”

Elizabeth Tranchina VP of Legal Affairs, Isle of Capri Casino

Discover new technologies. Source new vendors. Stay current with industry trends. Energize your career with world-class education and professional development. And make valuable new connections. It all happens at the gaming industry’s premier event: Global Gaming Expo. Join Elizabeth and thousands of other gaming professionals at G2E. Register today at globalgamingexpo.com

GLOBAL GAMING EXPO SEPTEMBER 27 – 29, 2016 SANDS EXPO CENTER LAS VEGAS


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Advancing on all fronts A new Alfastreet Roulette heading for the 2016 G2E Las Vegas

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he buildup before this year’s edition of the G2E show in Las Vegas is intense, as there is great anticipation for the new roulette cabinet, that represents quite a radical design change for the Slovenian company. The existing R8 has become a true classic on the casino floors worldwide and set the benchmark for all competitors. The modern, compact solution paired with familiar user interface and the highest quality standards will provide a valid alternative to venues that cannot accommodate the bigger version. The careful material selection and a fresh, modern shape of the machine is destined to find its way into many gaming venues, seeking the cutting-edge technology and trademark player ergonomics that everybody associates with the brand. The elegant, round shape is built around the same automated electronic wheel that players know and appreciate from other applications, with optimal space usage and some new solutions, that will become future standard on the complete product lineup. The company’s patented multigame and simultaneous play options will of course be available, making it the most powerful and versatile solution in its class. As with all of the Alfastreet products, there’ll be full interconnectivity between the equipment, giving the clients virtually endless possibilities for system expansion. Alongside the preparation of this machine, a new online management system and an evolved remote-play solution is being unveiled, providing a complete package solution for the future gaming-venue requirements.

Speaking about the solutions for the future, there’s also an Alfastreet take on the live/ electronic roulette cylinder that is now ready to enter production, and represents the company’s vision of the game evolution and possible applications. The exterior features have been sculpted by a 25-year experience, guaranteeing beauty, longevity and ultimate performance. The company would like to extend a warm invitation to everybody involved in the gaming industry worldwide to put the appointment in their calendars, and is eager to meet and greet them from 27th of September 2016 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, booth number 2448.

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Option Packed A World of components & solutions to be showcased at G2E from SuzoHapp: a complete range from excellent components to world-class solutions

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ount Prospect, Illinois - SUZOHAPP – the industry’s leading component, parts and cashmanagement- solutions provider market will yet again be making a strong statement at the G2E in Las Vegas that is set to take place between 27th and 29th September. SUZOHAPP will be introducing a series of brandnew components and solutions to strengthen its already industryleading product range. Special focus will be on displaying the individual components – SUZOHAPP prides itself in offering best in class throughout – either as developed in-house and manufactured products or as a master distributor for key suppliers. In-house components include the new SH1950 video topper, the RM5 HD electronic coin validator, the Cube and Evolution hoppers, the Vision PRO monitors and the bill-tobill note recycler. A prime example of a key product series is the TransAct Epic printer. SUZOHAPP will be introducing a new innovative

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product at the G2E – namely the Picture Key Technology (PKT) from Fairlight. The new buttoncontrol panel can be driven by a range of different video sources, such as HDMI or DVI, each button can be individually programmed. This panel can be found in the interactive-gaming area of the SUZOHAPP booth, together with the new skillbased controller and a wide range of innovative

components. With such experience and the continuing drive for innovation, SUZOHAPP does not only provide the components that fit inside the slot machine – but the entire slot machine itself. There is a specific demand in the industry from some gaming


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SPOTLIGHT - G2E PREVIEW companies that wish to reduce their = production time and focus more strongly on their core competency of game development. This year’s G2E Las Vegas will see the introduction of new great solutions - SUZOHAPP DualPro and SoloPro customizable metal cabinets with powerful 15W speakers and two 22’’ LED LCD displays. Game developers simply plug in their game board to have a complete slot machine solution. A wide array of SUZOHAPP cash-management solutions will be on display. SUZOHAPP will be showing its world-class solutions for the gaming industry, including RCS600, able to transform the cash handling into smart cash management. Casino operators can look forward to seeing the DisplayPro – the new 42” HD screen that is ideal for visual campaigns. It can be put to varied use – for example, for information, promotions or thirdparty advertising. The content can be transferred using USB media playback or the contentmanagement

system that allows varying messages at differing times to be portrayed. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about the Shift Interactive PRO™ Table. This makes full use of its interactive 42” touchscreen and is available in three heights – bar, dining and lounge. Its 10-point, multi-touch interface makes it possible to interact with one, two, three or four independent screens at once. Ron Partridge, president for the Americas at SUZOHAPP, sends out a warm welcome to visitors of the forthcoming G2E, stating, “Our constant innovation is again leading the industry and we are particularly excited that we can now provide our customers with broadest range of components and solutions. This year’s G2E is of special importance as SUZOHAPP North America is now celebrating 30 years in business. We are truly a global team with global solutions for the global gaming market.” SUZOHAPP will be exhibiting from booth #4233.

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Terminal Velocity

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See the latest stunning roulette wheels plus lots more on display from Cammegh

ammegh, manufacturers of the world’s finest roulette wheels, will once again be exhibiting at the G2E Las Vegas show in September, building on the company’s tremendous success in both the local Nevada market and with casinos right across North America. Installations at 10 different Vegas Strip properties in the last 12 months have seen 66 Mercury 360 wheels and 22 double-sided billboard display find homes on the gaming floors of some of the world’s most highly respected and recognised casino brands. The Cammegh team is extremely excited to return to Las Vegas to build on the relationships created in the four years since making the leap into the market. “When we put our first wheels into Nevada we had a blank scorecard,” confirms Andrew Cammegh. “To have progressed to a significant percentage of wheels on the Vegas Strip in such a relatively short period of time is testament to the quality of our product and the support of those who have found advantages in operating them. There’s fantastic cooperation between Cammegh and the operators in this marketplace in terms of specifications and delivery lead times, which has resulted in reported percentage hold increases for

roulette in Las Vegas.” In addition to local success in Nevada, Cammegh has continued to build its portfolio of licensed North America territories with recent installs of wheels and displays at both the Falls View Casino in Ontario and the Golden Nugget in New Jersey. Its unique and innovative side-bet, Spread Bet Roulette, is currently heading to Atlantic City at the Tropicana, while Cammegh has chalked up another win to supply wheels and displays at a new, Midwestern casino opening shortly. Revealed for the first time at this year’s ICE show, Cammegh is bringing its show-stopping Aurora Halo Wheel to G2E, where it will be linked to a table demonstrating Spread Bet Roulette. The Aurora

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Halo is both an eye-catching and innovative product, making full use of Cammegh’s in-rim sensor technology. LED lights chase the ball around the wheel adding illumination and a touch of glamour to the game. “We are excited to see how the Aurora Halo Wheel is received by visitors,” says Andrew Cammegh. “It’s a product that fits perfectly with the glitz and glamour of the Vegas Strip, which is also beautifully executed and builds on the concrete reputation of the Mercury 360 wheel. For the young, fun, glamorous gaming market, this is the perfect product.” Adding to the product lineup in Vegas, Cammegh is flying the flag with a customised Union Jack wheel featuring the EyeBall and 32’’, double-sided billboard display. There will also be a standard Mercury 360 roulette wheel and the 23’’ and 27’’ variants of the billboard display, the Slingshot 2TT and a baccarat card table including a billboard display featuring the MultiBoard Mini for the first time in the U.S. At a glance, MultiBoard Mini allows players to see results at neighbouring tables on any given display, which is perfect for anyone targeting sectors, favourite numbers or trends. Finally, Cammegh will be launching its Billboard LED side-strip features, which can be colour-coded to automatically tie-in with table maximum or minimums. Visitors can also expect the traditional warm and hospitable welcome in Booth 3830 from the Cammegh team, with Andrew, Richard and Neville Greenfield meeting new friends and old acquaintances at the show. “I think it’s going to be another great event,” comments Andrew Cammegh. “Having made a major investment in this market it’s been wonderful to see our dream turn into a reality. Building our market share in Las Vegas has really been one of the most satisfying experiences of my career. This is a market that we not only really enjoy, but one that also radiates confidence in the Cammegh brand. It’s been a fantastic achievement to be involved in this market and we couldn’t be happier with the results so far. We look forward to welcoming everyone to our stand at G2E.” Stand No. 3830

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Innovative Entertainment

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Zitro Reinvents Itself at G2E 2016

n May this year Zitro announced its New Start, the commencement of a transformation process that sets out to convert Zitro into a global leader in the Gaming Industry, going beyond the video bingo market segment, where the company is an undisputed leader. According to the the company’s announcement, the Zitro’s New Start is based on four strategic foundations: new product lines, new business models, greater visibility of Zitro content in online casinos and a wider range of services and entertainment via the social networks. At the next G2E trade show in Las Vegas, Zitro shall announce the major advances made in its widely announced transformation process.

New product lines On its Blackwave platform, Zitro shall present up to 30 video bingo games recently launched at the Zitro Experience 2016 event, held in Mexico City last June. Some of the games combine bingo games with traditional casino gaming, such as Royal Craps or Royal Roulette, and offer winning experiences never seen before by video bingo players, who can win up to 5,000 and even 10,000 times the bet. Zitro’s video bingo games are available for markets in Europe, Latin America and especially for the

Philippines, where bingo is very popular. In addition to its range of video bingo games, Zitro, which stands out for creating systems that enormously enrich the game playing experience, is going to present its Big Time product at G2E, which has already been installed with great success in more than 40 Mexican casinos. Big Time is made up of four promotional systems called Big Hour, Crazy Jerrypot, Super Botín and Mega Air Cash, and each enables promotions to be programmed on days and time slots selected by the operator. Zitro’s Big Time ends with the concept of the static bingo game machine to introduce the bingo machine concept that can be adapted every day at all hours to the business needs of the gaming room. A new product line to be presented by Zitro at Las Vegas is the lotto gaming machines. The first two games, Lotto Touch and Majestic, offer a novel experience to players, without losing sight of the need to keep the gaming mechanics and the prize structure extremely simple, which is a feature of lotteries. Finally, as regards new products, Zitro shall present its Advanced Bingo System, or ABS, at Las Vegas, which is a revolutionary new electronic management and operation system for on-site bingo that will change the landscape of bingo halls, and which will drastically increase the fun

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SPOTLIGHT - G2E PREVIEW content of a game that is very popular in many countries. ABS shall be available for Spanish regions such as the Community of Madrid, in its Bingo Dinámico version, and Andalusia, in its version of Bingo de Sala, as well as for other markets in Latin America, Asia and Europe, where on-site bingo is commonly played.

New business models Zitro offers, under the name of the Zitro Partnership Program (ZPP), a package of products and services that covers the supply of Big Time promotional systems, expert advice in the design, programming and management of promotions, and advertising them at the point of sale via computer media. With the ZPP, Zitro goes one step further in operator relations, and goes from being just another equipment supplier to being a close cooperator in promoting and attracting new customers to casinos. More than 40 casinos worldwide have contracted the Zitro Partnership Program. The promotions of casinos that subscribe to the ZPP are advertised every day at www.zitrogames.com/big-time/ to enable players to see what promotions are taking place at their favourite casinos and to decide which one to go to.

Greater online presence of Zitro games Zitro Interactive has made significant progress since May. The games of Zitro Interactive are now part of the catalogue of European online casinos, including Suertia and Codere, and of Latin America casinos such as Caliente, Playbonds and Betmotion. The sizeable demand for Zitro games worldwide and the capacity to offer fast and safe integrations with the most widely used aggregation platforms in the market means that Zitro can forecast rapid growth in this area of business.

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Greater ranges of services and entertainment via the social networks After announcing its New Start, Zitro has launched new games for its highly successful World of Bingo social casino. Loteria Mexicana, Calaca, Burger Bingo, Mexican Gold, Purple Night and Beetle Bingo, as well as the tournament functionality have been included in the entertainment range on offer in World of Bingo, which shall soon be available on mobile devices. In addition, the wide experience acquired by Zitro Interactive in communications via the social networks has been a vital factor in the success of the Zitro Partnership Program, which is designed to discover new users for on-site bingo halls via online attraction. “At Zitro we combine the best ideas with cutting edge technology, to offer players unbeatable experiences using the newest, most profitable and successful products in the gaming industry,” said Sebastián Salat, CEO of Zitro. Johnny Ortiz, President of Zitro, showed his satisfaction when he declared that “The outstanding advances made since we announced our New Start confirm our firm commitment to carry on being the world leader in video bingo, to compete and grow in other segments of the gaming market, with innovation, differentiation and excellence as our watchwords.”


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Casino Life September G2E Preview 2016