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Volume 13 Issue 111

G2E Las Vegas Visit us at Stand 3626

Editorial: Editor in Chief: Glyn Thomas Mob: +38 976 007 007 Features Editor:

Damien Connelly Associate Editor Asia: Bill Healey

Associate Editor North America David Mckee Special Assignment Correspondent: Jack Bulavsky International Casino & Gaming Correspondent: JJ Woods Technology Correspondent: Rebecca Green

Production: Designer: Stewart Hyde Subscriptions: Helen Holmes

Web & IT: Sudip Banjeree

Publisher: Peter White

Tel: +44 (0) 1892 740869

Mob: +44 (0) 7973 273714

Editor’s page Welcome to Casino Life...

...If you’re reading this edition at G2E then it will be year sixteen for me I think, having missed just one show through illness but we still managed the show immediately after 9/11. Those who were there will remember the sombre atmosphere but overwhelming camaraderie that such an emotional event brings. That year brought a sea change in security world-wide but also oddly a refocusing in gaming – on the potential for threats and in turn an emphasis on the customer. Unwittingly 9/11 was a catalyst for change in the industry. This year, as with almost all others that have followed we should see an upbeat show with more emphasis on the fun and the next leap in technology - but this year more on skill gaming and the potential of online, e-sports and sports betting. Back to this issue and we start with an interview with Erwin van Lambaart CEO of Holland Casinos, his first substantial interview with any media since being appointed in March 2016. I love his phrase where he describes the need for casinos to be “cool and trustworthy”... and admit it, you too will Google “Hoofdorp”. Next up Bill Healey chats to Pat Bassney, General Manager, Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino. As well as boasting over 10 restaurants, 300 slots and 85 tables the casino recently hosted the rock band Kiss – something to compete with the noise of the famous landmark within walking distance of the venue. Nobody likes being called stalwarts so lets call them veterans. Johnny Ortiz and Sebastian Salat are celebrating 10 years of Zitro on page 24 so congratulations all round! The Zitro experience can be sampled here: Over in Lubbecke a few weeks ago, the Gauselmann Group celebrated their 60th anniversary in style with world famous violinist David Garett wooing the crowds with 80’s hits and many VIP guest appearances. More about this landmark event on page 29. Peter Naessens, Director at the Belgian Gaming Commission casts a critical eye over the growth of sports betting in the country and how its influence is much wider globally; This influence on the individual is explored further in Peter White’s interview with Rolf Slotboom at the Centre for Responsible Gambling. Finally with no poke in the eye by Victor Royer this month, Mark Wayman picks up the implement instead and offers the view that loyalty has died Glyn Thomas in Las Vegas. Editor in Chief


Contents 3

Editor’s page

6 Gaming Momentum Damien Connelly and Peter White interview Erwin van Lambaart, CEO Holland Casino 18 Diamond Life Interview with Pat Bassney, General Manager, Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino By: Bill Healey 24 Innovation at Work Interview with Jonny Ortiz President and Sebastian Salat CEO Zitro By: Glyn Thomas 29 Merkur Gaming 60th Anniversary Thousands celebrate Gauselmann’s 60th anniversary 33 Show your Mettle: How Much is Integrity Worth in Sports and Games Peter Naessens, Director at Belgian Gaming Commission 37 “Prevention is always better” Rolf Slotboom, from the Center of Responsible Gaming 41 Las Vegas…and the death of loyalty By: Mark Wayman 43 Preview of G2E 2017 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.




Stand Number

3 23o

Opening soon soon our new new office in in Las Vegas! 2221 NW 79th Ave, Ave, Miami, Miami, USA USA 33122 33122 | | Tel: Tel: +1 +1 305 2221 NW 79th 305 513 513 4041 4041 | |

Erwin van Lambaart, CEO Holland Casino

Gaming Momentum Damien Connelly and Peter White interview Erwin van Lambaart, CEO Holland Casino


New Sports bar image at Holland Casinos Rotterdam Casino

Thank you for sharing your time with Casino Life Mr. van Lambaart. Your career has focused on hospitality and entertainment. Please tell us a little about yourself so we have a better understanding of you, your experience, and how that brought you to Holland Casino. I have the privilege to be heading Holland Casino for well over a year now. I have worked in the international hospitality and entertainment industry for over 30 years. The common grounds in all my career steps were hospitality, marketing and people, and in my capacity as CEO of Holland Casino I needed that experience. It is a complex and unique industry. Mathematics, hospitality, entertainment, stakeholder management, entrepreneurship and a deep sense of responsibility: it all comes together in the world of casinos. Well, at least in our world of Holland Casino! You joined Holland Casino in March 2016. This is one of the first interviews with any media worldwide, and Casino Life would like to thank you for this opportunity. How do you define your role


at Holland Casino? I do not see my role as that of a lone leader; I believe in cooperation, in doing things together. I strongly rely on the capabilities and professionalism of the men and women in our organisation and I encourage them in their roles to and help develop Holland Casino. Of course, I am the CEO and at times strategic, clear and strong leadership is required. For example, Holland Casino is preparing itself for fundamental changes in legislation. It is my responsibility to ensure that all my colleagues have this at the forefront of their minds. One needs to realise that running a successful business today, requires acting now on tomorrow’s events whilst preparing for the years ahead. Maintaining the status quo is simply not an option. If you had to describe your mission, what would it be? The global casino market is working on the casino of the future. Of course we are too. First question: what will our land-based casinos look like in 2020 and beyond? Second: will we have achieved the

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maximum integration of land-based and online gaming? Can we say by then that we have achieved a true and inspiring omnichannel proposition for our guests? Third question: Who are our guests. How can we raise the interest of the so-called ‘millennials’ without neglecting our current guest communities? In other words: how do we manage to be both cool and trustworthy at the same time? Our mission is to find the right answers to all these questions, based on the optimal mix of realism, innovation and entrepreneurship. We will go into partnerships where we need to and lead where we can and must. It’s a mission, but it is also a dream: creating an exciting future together. What are you finding are the main challenges facing Holland Casino? We are living in a time of rapid change. The world around us is shifting, putting us in a highly dynamic playing field. We cannot exactly predict the future, as we are not steering the majority of those changes ourselves. The Lower Chamber of Dutch Parliament has already passed legislation and we are now awaiting decisions by the Dutch Senate. This legislation, if


it all goes through, will change the casino market fundamentally. Firstly, the lawmakers will open the market for remote gaming, online casinos. Of course Holland Casino will apply for a permit in this market, and with our partner Playtech we are preparing ourselves for the moment the Senate approves this law. Secondly, the Dutch land-based casino market will undergo a major change. The country will be divided into five regions, where 16 casinos may operate. The current 14, managed by Holland Casino, and two new licenses. Holland Casino will maintain 10 of its current 14 casinos, and 4 will be sold, to a new owner. Which four? We don’t know yet! That can only be decided once it has passed the Senate. Moreover, fast changing consumer behaviours demand from us that we act and react promptly. And more important, that we anticipate. By not doing so, we risk an open door to illegal suppliers who are faster and more aggressive than ever before. We do not want that, as it may hamper our license to operate. What would you say makes Holland Casino unique?

Slot Floor – Rotterdam casino

I would say that we have a very strong proposition in our internationally lauded Prevention Policy. All political parties in The Netherlands, from left to right continue to praise Holland Casino and its staff for this. I dare to say that this policy is not just “a” policy; it is in the DNA of our dedicated staff. When we have an omnichannel product we aim to offer our guests the best games and experiences possible. But that comes with a responsibility to protect our guests in the best way we can. Let me make another point here. We know that in our industry there is an urge for the development of more and more skill-based games. That makes gambling and gaming converge. We call for a controlled transition in this development if we want to organise this new branch in our market properly. We at Holland Casino will not target 1823 years olds in our marketing specifically as we know that this group is more prone to addiction. That kind of statement is what I consider to be part of our responsible entrepreneurship. At the same time we have proven that we have the best dealers in Europe. Over the last 2 years we have won gold-silver and silver-bronze at the European Dealer Championships. We are proud of our 5-star

hospitality and we have the knowhow to create original marketing ideas and deliver a healthy result for our shareholders. Over the last few years, there has been a significant change in how Holland Casino has been branded, marketed and operated. Can you summarise what your customers (new and existing) can expect when they visit one of your venues? Yes, there have been many changes, and the experience one would have walking into a casino, say, 15 years ago is very different from a visit today. But let me name one big change, a very recent one for us. In our Rotterdam Casino, we recently started with a 24/7 service to our guests. All our casinos close at 3 AM, but Rotterdam stays open. That is our answer to a changing society. A modern city with a modern economy needs a modern entertainment proposition. Holland Casino is very proud to have the permits in Rotterdam – and aims for permits in Amsterdam – to provide a 24/7 service to our guests. Our first experiences for both guests and our teams are very positive. Another example is that we want our venues to


Artist impression of the Casino to be built in Utrecht, with a planned opening in 2019

Our philosophy is that our premises should be recognizable as a ‘Holland Casino’ but we will always decide project by project as we believe that each new casino should be unique.



Tables at Rotterdam casino

be much easier reached by car and any means of public transport. Our guests expect us to make it easy for them to find us while at the same time we are much more connected to our environment. We believe that the “old” image where a casino has no daylight at all is behind us and we believe that we are part of a community in a city in many ways. An example is our integrated product marketing strategy. We Sponsored the new daily version of “Wheel Of Fortune” on Dutch national (SBS) television while at the same time te latest slots with the whole Wheel Of Fortune branded content were launched in our casinos. The results were good. And there is more to come along this strategy line. Holland Casino is making extensive refurbishment investments. Can you provide details on the key suppliers to Holland Casino, such as roulette tables and live table displays? We work with many of the best partners and suppliers in the world like IGT, Scientific Gaming, Aristocrat, Novomatic, Konami, Interblock, Gaming Support and Cammegh for our slotmachines and tablegames but also Gensler for our casino design and Heineken our famous dutch beer brand. We are also proud of the fact we designed our own gaming tables. Gaming Support produces them and we will show them to our international colleagues at G2E. Our philosophy is that our premises should be recognizable as a ‘Holland Casino’ but we will always decide project by project as we believe that


each new casino should be unique. We do not want any venue to be just a simple copy of one of our existing casinos. But of course we are smart enough not to overspend and keep that which worked well in all our 14 venues at the same time. Holland Casino has a reputation you must be very proud of, based on a foundation of high quality and highly trained staff working throughout the organisation. How are the staff responding to the challenges and opportunities facing Holland Casino? Thank you for that question. Yes indeed, I am most proud of our staff. They are the base of the success of Holland Casino. That is why I believe in investing in people. That means training, vitality programs and a well-balanced collective labour agreement. Thus we try to provide a certain and stable future, no matter what changes we are facing. Meanwhile we invest in training young and new staff. They will assure stability and continuity for our company. It is not easy for them when so many changes are happening around our company at the same time and we are glad that after several months of tension we have been able to secure a long term labour agreement until 2020 so that we can jointly work towards new horizons. You must be delighted with the success of Holland Casinos Croupiers at the European Dealer Championships?

After winning gold and silver in 2016, Holland Casino won silver and bronze in 2017 at the EDC Runner up Gilbert Ho Kang Jou HC Scheveningen

Yes we are! We are very proud of our recent results: In 2016 Ray de Rozario won the Gold medal with Ted Bakker winning Silver. In 2017 we won two medals again: Silver for Gilbert Ho Kang Jou and Bronze for David Luijten. This tells you that Holland Casino dealers are world class professionals and that we are able to maintain the highest standards. Do you spend time looking at what other casinos are implementing or innovating in neighbouring

3rd place David Luijten HC Eindhoven

countries, as well as further afield (such as in Las Vegas and Singapore)? Or do you prefer to draw more from the internal ideas of the company, and its past and present, for what is one of the most established names in gaming, and add to that your own experience in hospitality and entertainment? Of course! There are many brilliant colleagues around the world who are very good at what they do. As expressed earlier in the interview, we are all looking for the Casino of the Future. We also believe


Choice is at the forefront with Holland Casinos

in our own powers of innovation. I dare to say that we are quite good at, for example, cross-medial propositions. But we also have a few ideas – I am not about to reveal here – that may catch the interest of our competitors. I once joked that the day may come when everyone at the big casinos in Las Vegas or Macau will know where Hoofddorp is. But if you knew me, you would also know that this is more than just a joke… Technology plays such an important part in our lives, and it has certainly affected our leisure time. How has it affected the offering within your casinos? We have a comprehensive program with data


analytics. We are learning more and more – and on a scientific basis – about the behaviours and present and future needs of our guests. I am confident that this will enable us to anticipate our guests’ expectations and fulfill them at the earliest opportunity. We monitor trends in gaming behaviour and build a deep understanding of our players and guests. Offering an omnichannel experience, where a guest can find both online and offline the same propositions, the same loyalty programs and yes the same “hospitality”, is just one example of that thinking. Can we expect greater use of social media in the marketing mix of Holland Casino in the future?

Artist impression of the Casino to be built in Venlo, with a planned opening in 2019

Recently Refurbished Rotterdam Casino

Within the legal boundaries of casino marketing, yes absolutely. Our marketeers constantly seek out new ways to communicate with our guest communities. Social media are nowadays an indispensable part of marketing mix. The great asset is that we can communicate one-on-one much better than ever before. How is Holland Casino performing? Holland Casino recorded a strong result in 2016. But that is no reason for us to rest on our laurels: the

expected substantial changes in the Dutch gaming market mean that we have to prepare for the challenges we will face in the future. Our revenue before taxes came in at €608 million, a rise of 6.8% compared with the previous year. Pre-tax results increased by € 11 million to €82 million. We also saw the number of visits increase: the 5.9 million visits meant an increase of 1.7% compared to 2015. The average amount of money spent per visit was also higher: €103 per visitor. The first half of 2017 shows that we hold on to the increasing trends in our results. After correction for non recurring items the result after taxes is €36 million. How do you see the future of Holland Casino? I am most confident about the future of Holland Casino, and I base this confidence on four values that run through the veins of all employees of this company. We are sincerely engaged. That means we seriously care about our guests. We address them in a most professional way. Secondly, real and honest cordiality. This means, we make our guest feel welcome and lavish excellent care on them. Our guests are the focal point of everything we do. The third value I mention here is that we strive to surprise people. That means exceeding expectations, both in terms of games and in terms of hospitality. And last, but not least, our trustworthiness. We act honourably and in good conscience. We truly believe in safe and responsible gaming. That is in ours and our guests’ best interests.


Diamond Life Interview with Pat Bassney, General Manager, Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino by: Bill Healey



iagara Falls offers visitors a place where they can experience one of the world’s natural wonders, explore acres of pristine hiking trails and scenic terrain, and taste the simple goodness of the region’s orchards and award-winning wineries. The American side of the falls offers multiple gaming opportunities, with the Seneca Niagara Resort as the top choice. Bill Healey recently caught up with Pat Bassney, General Manager of the Resort. Could you give us an overview of your background with Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, and your responsibilities within the group? I am responsible for the overall operation of the casino and resort, its day to day operation and strategy for future years. I work with a talented team that love to take care of our guests and provide them with exceptional hospitality. What has been your industry experience before Seneca? I began in Las Vegas a few years ago and my career has taken me to Reno, Atlantic City, and tribal casinos in New York with the Oneida’s, Mohawk’s, and now the Seneca Nation. What impact are you expecting to have at Seneca? My goal is to further a fine tradition of providing exceptional service to our guests while giving them the highest quality gaming, entertainment, and dining experiences. At the same time improving the benefits to the Seneca people with employment and growth of our gaming operations. What are the target markets of Seneca Resorts? The key markets for our Niagara casino are the greater Buffalo area and surroundings as well as travelers from all over the world. We are a premier resort destination, just walking distance from Niagara Falls. How do you describe your leadership style? I am a passionate and visible leader who enjoys spending time on the casino floor listening to our guests and our team members and ensuring they are enjoying their time with us.


Seneca Resorts are positioned as all-round tourist properties in Western New York. What are the property’s iconic features that make it one of the region’s leading entertainment destinations? In Niagara Falls we certainly have the falls themselves that are a wonderful backdrop to our world class facility. Not only do we have more than 3,000 slot machines and 85 table games, but Seneca Niagara is a AAA Four Diamond rated luxury hotel and our fine dining steak house, The Western Door, is a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2017 winner. We have ten dining destinations for our guests to choose, from


fine dining at Koi and Koi Noodle Bar (our Asian cuisine), and la Cascata (our Italian fare), to the Thunder Falls buffet and more. We can satisfy every palate day or night. With guests being offered experiences away from the casino, could you highlight the value the nongaming options add to Seneca Casino’s overall operations? We are only steps away from the world famous Niagara Falls which is a wonder in itself. The surrounding region has many activities from the Maid of the Mist, jet boat excursions in the Niagara

River, Cave of the Winds, and more. The worldclass entertainers that we offer at our venues also bring guests from all over, including from across the border in Canada. The resort also owns the Hickory Stick Golf course nearby which is an award winning course only minutes from the casino. Which types of slot machine and multi-player slots does the casino offer? What are the preferred slots machines? We offer Vegas style reel slot machines, video slot machines, video poker and electronic table games. Our guests really enjoy playing the games that offer bonus rounds to include free games and progressives. They also like themed games like


Wheel of Fortune, Willy Wonka, Big Bang Theory, Buffalo and Lightning Link. What types of table games do the casinos currently offer, and are they expected to expand? We offer Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker and a variety of novelty games. There are no plans to expand table games at the moment. Does Seneca host gaming tournaments? If so, what are the more popular tournaments? We offer daily and invitational slot tournaments. We also participate in the Everi TournEvent of Champions that send some of our guests to Las

Pat Bassney, General Manager, Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

How does social media play into the marketing mix? Social media is very important to us because this is where many of our guests communicate and we reach out to them using various platforms; Facebook, Twitter, our website, Integral, Yelp. We also have: which is our social gaming website that many of our guests enjoy.

chaos. What’s on your desk, and what will it say about your management? First I have a commemorative set of casino chips from our recent concert with the band Kiss. This evokes great memories for the great team-work of our organization and a killer show the band put on for us – another example of our world class entertainment offerings. After that it is a moving flow of items from budgets to letters from our guests and employee recognition letters, but it is always in flux just like the day-to-day operations of a casino resort.

Some say a director’s desk can convey a lot about their management style. For some, its organized

Casino Life Magazine would like to thank Pat Bassney for his time and input.

Vegas. Our Table Games hosts Blackjack and Baccarat tournaments quarterly. Both are very popular.


Jonny Ortiz, President

Sebastian Salat, CEO

Innovation at Work Interview with Jonny Ortiz President and Sebastian Salat CEO Zitro By: Glyn Thomas

Congratulations on the 10th Anniversary of Zitro. What has been the rate of growth from your beginnings to the present day? Johnny: Thank you. It may be that Zitro exists because of the government’s closure of the gaming industry in Brazil in 2004. That decision left us without any business at all, and we went through a number of years of uncertainty which resulted in the creation of Zitro in 2007. From then on, working in conjunction with our customers, principally in Mexico and Spain, we developed markets which did not exist around video bingo gaming, and we became world leaders in this market segment. In these ten years, we have expanded our presence notably in the global market. Mexico and Spain were joined by Asian countries, such as the Philippines and a number of countries in Europe and Southern and Central America. In 2012 we created Zitro Interactive to put our games to the service of online casino operators, and to be able

to reach users of social games through our online casino World of Bingo, which already has more than 2 million registered users. Now, with our Bryke Video Slots, we are looking at expanding our international presence and growing even more quickly. It’s true that we have achieved in ten years what it has taken other companies a couple of decades to achieve. The ‘Zitro Experience’ Event with 300 guests hosted earlier this year in Mexico City was an impressive occasion (check out the YouTube video here: Johnny: There is no doubt it was a unique event. At Zitro Experience 2017, we welcomed our customers, friends and the market in general to the remarkable Zitro spectacle, and we showed the world our commitment to making Zitro a leading company in the global market. At the event we presented Show Time, which is also the name of


the new Zitro product range that includes amazing video bingo games, spectacular new platforms, new promotional and loyalty systems, and fantastic video slot games destined to become essential ‘must haves’ for gaming casino operators across all continents. We also presented Club Vip Zitro, a loyalty system which does not require players to register and will make them stay longer in the casinos, thereby placing a powerful tool at the service of the operators to attract and retain their public. With regards to our BRYKE Video Slots, at Zitro Experience we launched new packs of multigames in the Pick & Win collection and the fantastic new family of multigames with four jackpots Spin Hit. We also presented our spectacular new Fusion cabinets, which made a great impact. Fusion was presented in three different configurations: Fusion Up Right 23/23 and Fusion Slant 27/27, designed specifically for video slot games, and Fusion Slant 23/27 designed especially for the video bingo games. All the Fusion cabinets share a common aesthetic, performance and great comfort for the player. The company also recently launched the mobile app “Busca Premios” Johnny: Actually, we launched the Busca Premios application at the start of 2017, and we have recently launched a new version. The app uses a geolocation service to allow the player to identify the casinos closest to his or her location, view on their mobile screen the day and time of the promotions available, and the nature and the size of the prizes offered in every establishment. The new version also allows players to locate the gaming venues in which the new “Show Time” prizes are offered, the “Zitro Club VIP” loyalty system, recently launched at the Zitro Experience event, and the location of gaming venues which have the BRYKE Video Slot machines. At Zitro we believe in what we call the Triple Convergence of the land-based, online and social offer. We offer our gaming machines to landbased operators and our games to online operators,


but we also make our games available to social network users through World of Bingo, and we use Busca Premios to inform those same users of the venues where they can experience our games in land based casinos. In fact, Busca Premios is one of the pillars of our Zitro Partnership Program, together with the different land-based promotions that Zitro offers its customers, its management and communication at the point of sale. The Bryke Video Slot machines with the Pick & Win series of multigames have proven a big hit since their launch. What aspects of the new range of Video Slots and the multigames package have made it such a winner with Gaming Establishments worldwide? Johnny: The key is in knowing how to apply Zitro’s knowhow in the creation of a new product, different from Video Bingo, but using the same quality standards we apply in the process of creating our most successful bingo products. Our slots have been so successful that, following on from the incredible results of BRYKE in Mexico, we have rolled out this product line in Latin America, almost tripling our presence in the region in fewer than twelve months. With BRYKE we have demonstrated our vocation as a global provider, maintaining our ongoing leadership in video bingo while at the same time showing our potential to compete with the leading companies in the video slot market segment. Zitro recently launched Caliente Online Casino in Mexico. Can you tell our readers about this deal, your partners and about Caliente Online casino? Sebastián: A little over a year ago, in June 2016, Zitro Interactive signed an agreement with Playtech to integrate its games in the company’s most successful platforms. Thanks to this agreement, the first Mexican operator to benefit from the new content was the Caliente Online casino ( This agreement has been extended over the months with the launch of new Video Bingo games for the online channel, and this major casino now has 24 Zitro games to offer its customers. Zitro Interactive also has similar

agreements with other online casino operators such as Codere, Bigbola, Suertia, Vera & John, Ondiss, Playbonds and Betmotion. Malta Gaming Authority earlier this year certified thirteen new video bingo games from Zitro Interactive, expanding the catalogue of games certified by Malta’s regulatory authority. With 21 certified games this provides your online casino customers even more choice. Sebastiån: Exactly. Zitro was the first company to obtain the licence for the Class 4 game category for its video bingo games. Now we have just received a new extension to this licence, thereby increasing the catalogue of titles certified by the Maltese regulatory authority. Zitro now has 21 games certified in Malta, available to all the online casino operators operating under a Maltese licence, who can offer their customers all the excitement and entertainment of our successful video bingo games. Earlier this year Zitro won an award. This kind of recognition for the company must be very rewarding for you and all your employees? Sebastiån: Yes, it is. In fact, this year we have won various prizes awarded by the Spanish mainstream press in recognition of our successful business model based on innovation, difference and excellence; this is a rarity, because, generally speaking, the gaming industry does not usually receive the recognition it deserves as a driving force for the economy, technological innovation and job creation. We were also awarded the prize for Best Company of 2017 by the organisers of the Expojoc show. Of course, it is a great honour and a source of great pleasure for all of us at Zitro to obtain recognition for work well done, particularly this year, with our company celebrating its tenth birthday. What are the unique factors that distinguish Zitro from its competitors? Johnny: Our slogan, The Power of Ideas, is a good

pointer. Ideas and innovation are the essence of our growth, together with the passion for what we do. More than 300 people work on designing and developing Zitro games and products on our Technology Campus, an area of more than 12,000 square metres just a few kilometres from Barcelona. We invest 14% of our turnover on R+D+i to offer players a unique experience, with the character which defines and distinguishes Zitro products. This is a sizeable investment, enabling the ideas we generate to become spectacular products. What are some of your personal highlights of the 10 years since you established the company? Johnny: During these 10 years, Zitro has evolved considerably, making a success of every product which has come onto the market. We started out in 2007 with the launch of the Bluewave platform, followed the next year by Blackwave, which created a trend in the global gaming industry. Then we released our first community games, like Air Cash, with innovations in the design of systems offering players new community gaming experiences. This was followed by the launches of Revolution in 2014, and then by Big Bang in 2015, with its famous Super Win button. Last year we launched Big Time, with new games and promotion systems which can be personalised completely by the operator, forming part of the new Zitro Partnership Program service. Last year we also launched our first video slots with the BRYKE brand and recently, at the Zitro Experience event, as I said before, we presented the widest range of games ever displayed by Zitro. Our global organisation has also grown, since we embarked on our operation in 2007, and to accompany our growth we opened our new offices in Madrid in 2009, closely followed by Buenos Aires in 2011. In 2012, we founded Zitro Interactive and announced the opening of our impressive Technology Campus in Barcelona. Last year we announced that we were moving and expanding our office in Buenos Aires to cater for our growth in Latin America, and we are planning to expand our network of support offices in other


geographical areas, which we will announce when the time is right. Are there any geographical markets that you will be targeting in the next 12 months? Sebastián: Our BRYKE Video Slots will allow us to expand our presence in markets where there is great demand for this type of game. We are going to grow in Mexico, a market where we are leaders in video bingo, but where a big portion of the market was beyond our reach because we did not have video slots. We will grow in South America and in Central America, areas in which, in fact, we have tripled our presence in a few months. We are going to grow in Europe, as soon as we obtain the approvals required by the many jurisdictions on the Continent, and we are going to grow in Asia, in particular in the Philippines, a country in which our games enjoy great popularity. What are your hopes and ambitions for Brazil in the years ahead? Johnny: Brazil needs to legalise gaming to generate wealth and employment, and also to organise a sector which, in any event, has existed for years on the fringes of legality. The products that were the precursors of today’s Zitro were the leading products in the Brazilian market during the short period of time gaming was legal, and we see how Brazilian customers play our games in casinos bordering Brazil which have Zitro machines, or


in our World of Bingo social casino. The tastes of Brazilian players have not changed: they love playing Zitro machines. This is why, while we respect our competitors, we are convinced that Zitro will be a major provider in Brazil, and we are preparing to be just that. What can visitors to the Zitro booth at G2E expect to see this year? Johnny: As well as presenting the products we showcased at Zitro Experience in Mexico, such as the Show Time range of video bingo games, the promotional systems which make up the Zitro Partnership Program and the Club Vip Zitro loyalty system, at G2E we are going to exhibit again our capacity for innovation and differentiation by presenting unprecedented products such as our new Show Prize games, which will change forever the way video bingo is played, or spectacular games specifically for the Fusion platform, such as Western Express. As far as our product line of video slots goes, at G2E Zitro will present its LAP Blazing Pearls, as well as exhibiting its range of multigame packs from its already extensive collection of Pick & Win games, and its new family of Spin Hit multigames, all available in the superb new Fusion Up Right 23/23 and Fusion Slant 27/27 cabinets. G2E will be a demonstration of Zitro’s commitment to the rapid growth of our range of products, a necessary commitment if we want to become a global leader.

With frontman Hartmut Engler, Pur ensured that guests were in party mood on Saturday.

Merkur Gaming 60th Anniversary


Thousands celebrate Gauselmann’s 60th anniversary, with David Garrett and Pur providing outstanding entertainment

übbecke. The family-run, East-Westphalian Gauselmann Group celebrated its 60th anniversary in a spectacular and unique weekend of celebrations in the region from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 September. More than 2,500 guests attended the anniversary festivities on Friday and Saturday evening; during the day, several thousand people visited the huge tented village (measuring 36,000 m2) in the north field behind adp Gauselmann’s production facility in Lübbecke. The special guest on Friday evening was internationally renowned violinist David Garrett and his orchestra. Pop group Pur set the mood for a first-class party on Saturday. David Garrett captivated the audience with his interpretation of hits by Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin, Prince and Coldplay. The audience showed

their appreciation of the celebrity violinist and did not allow him to leave the stage without an encore. On Saturday evening, Gauselmann staff danced to the sounds of Pur and their hits, including Lena and Abenteuerland. Once again, the audience demanded encores, and lead singer Hartmut Engler and his band duly obliged. On Friday evening, Paul Gauselmann was joined by long-standing associates in the 6,000 m² marquee. Guests included representatives from the worlds of politics and business, the gaming machine industry, clients, family and close friends. Saturday was reserved for the company’s employees. Paul Gauselmann was greeted with standing ovations on both evenings. Jan Hofer was a charming and everprofessional host throughout the celebrations. Paul Gauselmann played the German version


What’s your idea of Paradice?

Superstar violinist David Garrett captivated guests in the marquee.

of Harry Belafonte’s song Island in the Sun (Wo meine Sonne scheint, a hit for Caterina Valente) on stage from ‘Symphonie 80’ – the jukebox that marked the beginning of his entrepreneurial career. The company founder recalled his unique, 60-year history with the company, which began with a crossed bill of exchange for DM 100,000 and 17 juke boxes. Today, the company is a global player and a market leader in the gaming machine industry with more than 12,000 employees and a volume of business worth approximately EUR 2.5 billion in 2016. “In 2017, for the first time, the company generated more sales abroad without losing sight of the domestic market. We are the market leader in Germany and will remain so”, said Paul Gauselmann. He thanked everyone who had accompanied him on the journey and who had remained at his side to this day – “above all, my large family of whom I am very proud”. On Friday evening, Michael Gauselmann, one of the entrepreneur’s sons, gathered together his brothers, their families and their children on the stage. He turned to his father, saying: “We are proud to be your family and we are very happy to be able to celebrate with you here today.” In a spontaneous speech, Hannah Gauselmann, one of Paul Gauselmann’s

nine grandchildren, provided an insight into the private world of the entrepreneur. “You are a much-loved grandfather, who is always there for his grandchildren. Thank you for the wonderful childhood memories.” Several speakers also praised Paul Gauselmann’s life’s work. These included Garrelt Duin, former Minister for Economic Affairs in North RhineWestphalia. “The fairness that Paul Gauselmann shows to his business partners is not always encountered elsewhere in the gaming machine industry”, he declared. He went on to argue against over-regulation of gambling. Hermann Otto Solms, FDP politician and friend, described the entrepreneur’s “irrepressible will to succeed” as the “secret formula for entrepreneurship of which Paul Gauselmann is an advocate”. Other speakers included Elmar Brok, a member of the European Parliament, and Georg Stecker, Chairman of the Board of Die Deutsche Automatenwirtschaft e.V., an umbrella organisation for the gaming machine industry. Elmar Brok praised Paul Gauselmann’s courage and decisiveness, and highlighted his deep-rooted social commitment to the Minden-Lübbecke region. Georg Stecker referred to his dedication


Company founder Paul Gauselmann recalled 60 years of the company’s history

to the gaming machine industry, an industry that Paul Gauselmann has actively championed, including in his role as Chairman of the Verband der deutschen Automatenindustrie (VDAI) since 1981. “You always have your eye on the bigger picture and advocate for the entire industry – an excellent trait!” Steffen Kampeter, Managing Director of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (Bundesvereinigung der Deutschen Arbeitgeberverbände, BDA), described Paul Gauselmann as “one of the greatest entrepreneurial personalities that I know”. He also paid tribute to Karin Gauselmann: “She makes the Gauselmann Group a family company”, he emphasised. The guests thanked the entrepreneur’s wife with sustained applause and standing ovations. A special premiere was also celebrated in the marquee: a biography of Paul Gauselmann – The Games Maker – Paul Gauselmann, written by journalist Barbara Dickmann – was launched on


the night. Instead of presents, Paul Gauselmann requested donations to Vita e.V. Assistenzhunde, a charity of which Dunja Hayali is a patron. The journalist and TV presenter also appeared in a video message that was broadcast to guests. The charity provides assistance dogs to people with physical disabilities. Donations in excess of EUR 100,000 were received on the Friday evening. During the celebrations, the entrepreneur was also surprised by other messages from celebrities on a large video screen. These included the actor Mario Adorf, with whom Paul Gauselmann had made a film about his life’s work, and the footballer Lukas Podolski. Sending his congratulations, the footballer also announced that he would be a brand ambassador for XTiP, the Gauselmann Group’s sports betting company, from the beginning of 2018. On Saturday evening, together with Chairman Armin Gauselmann, Paul Gauselmann presented awards to more than 120 long-standing employees, including those who were celebrating their 45th anniversary with the company. This was the first time that such an anniversary had been marked. “We hope that this trend continues”, said Armin Gauselmann. He then surprised Paul Gauselmann with a very special award: on behalf of the entire family, he presented him with a certificate to mark the longest anniversary with the company as he was the only person to have worked there for 60 years. Paul Gauselmann also received a gold coin engraved with his own likeness from the Merkur Senioren Club, whose membership comprises well over 100 former employees. Both evenings concluded with a 25-minute fireworks display and laser show at the adp production facility, which lit up the Lübbecke night sky. During the day on Friday and Saturday, many employees and invited guests enjoyed the celebrations in the large tented village, which measured a total of 36,000 m². On Sunday, it was open to the public. Several thousand people took the opportunity to visit. In addition to an exhibition tent housing 17 stands manned by the various subsidiaries of the Gauselmann Group, visitors also enjoyed attractions such as a Ferris wheel, bouncy castles, free tours of the factory and several catering tents. A variety of music acts and a diverse programme also featured on the outdoor stage.

Show your Mettle: How Much is Integrity Worth in Sports and Games?


Peter Naessens, Director at The Belgian Gaming Commission

n 2009, as a legal advisor for the Gaming Commission, I provided support for the amendment of the Belgium Gaming and Betting Act, including betting and online gambling under the existing regulatory framework for land-based gambling. The growing impact of online gaming was already emerging at the time, but the impact of online betting on sports, was far less in evidence. Over the years, I learned more about the betting sector, and one of the most striking evolutions was the progressively growing impact of online betting on gaming, but also on the culture of a country. If you consider the betting culture in Belgium before the regulation in 2010, there was primarily a fairly selective range of betting games in betting shops, with a relatively high threshold, which average Belgians or youths were not really quick to enter. At the time, this was in sharp contrast to what we saw of the British betting culture, where a bet and, for example, a visit to a casino was far more part of ordinary social life. In view of the general internationalisation/ globalisation, we expected the popularity of betting to grow from 2010, from a more marginal activity to mainstream, but we were thinking in terms of one or two decades, with gradual growth. However, that was not the case with betting. Within five years, betting had become commonplace in Belgium, to the extent that a decree of habituation began to arise among minors who gamble, in the expanding gaming supply and the regular mass publicity for betting and high-risk casino games. Casino games such as slot machines have traditionally been regarded as the highest-risk games of chance in terms of gambling addiction, although more questions are also being raised about the growing, varied, complex gaming supply in which high bets no longer have to be

linked to player’s knowledge of the club or the game. This is important from a regulatory point of view, because gambling on an event with little knowledge or skill may require more protective measures than low participation in a simple bet for instance. With regard to the impact of (online) gaming, the market leader in the landbased betting sector reported GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue) of €60 million in most of betting shops to the Belgian Parliament in 2009. During that period, there was no regulated Belgian online supply. The latest annual report of the Gaming Commission shows a GGR of €145.5 million for the land-based betting shops in 2015 and of €61 million on the online betting sites. And the Football Championship 2018 had not yet even begun. In 2009, the financing of sports clubs for betting operators could be described as illegal or marginal. Today, in 2017, there is sponsoring for the gaming sector for football clubs, football federations and national teams. This phenomenon emerged in various European football competitions. For the 2012/2013 season, the number and share of gambling businesses of Premier League shirt sponsors was estimated at 25%, while in the 2016/2017 season, the number has risen to 50%. Partly through growing internationalisation of these football competitions for all sorts of companies from all corners of the world and partly through the same phenomenon among gambling businesses. We learned along the way that the boarding along Premier League football fields was sometimes directed more at Asia than at the country itself, to the point where advertising messages were displayed in Chinese characters. In numerical terms too, the amounts are dizzying. Betway, for example, an operator that is also active in Belgium, paid £10 million for the 2017-2018 season, compared with £6 million in the 2015-2016 season, while in 2009-


2010, the more costly gambling sponsorship was still only £1.1 million. The influence of Asia on gaming is still fresh in the memory in Belgium, due to the Ye case, in which matches in Belgium were manipulated from Asian interests in betting. This is fresh in the memory because more than 10 years after the facts, the final criminal sentences were confirmed by the highest court. In this contribution we consider the extent to which certain regulatory gambling principles should be further developed in the context of sport and betting. In addition to the social justification for government intervention in gaming, it remains important to recognise that in recent times, the operation of games of chance has become an economic activity (although of a special character). It is not, therefore, the government that steers the gambling market, but consumers and companies. It is precisely this economic drive that means that the regulatory interventions regarding gambling are regularly on the front line of a new phenomenon, such as the internet and globalisation, where old government interventionist models are no longer adequate. On the level of sport financing, games of chance are economic, social, international, global but also very local. As a result, both local and international managers, as well as the different policy-making parties will wrestle with necessary regulatory interventions.

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The globalisation of games of chance

No continent seems to have been spared a supply of games of chance, dominant government or not. Homo ludens: gambling man. As with other economic actors, the gambling sector is an ocean of different currents, moving parts and elements, battles for territory and over boundaries, dark areas,… Despite the natural attraction of people to games, the operation of gambling is still a phenomenon that is underestimated by public authorities. Both the industrialisation of the gambling sector (scientification and subsequent commercial operation of the chance generator) and the impact of the internet on games of chance played by children, youths and adults still too often remains in a ‘blind spot’. Currently no general European network of fully independent regulators has been built up in the European Member States, as happened in the banking sector, the postal sector, etc. This lack of effective regulation of gambling creates problems at the level of social tolerance of gambling and publicity for this. A distinction should be made between specific characteristics of online games/gambling and the larger internet evolutions, even though they have an influence on online operation of games of chance. It is already the case in Belgium that online activities had raised financing of sports teams to a different

level. The scope of gambling websites is no longer largely regional, as was the case for an average local casino. The action radius of a website is more likely to be national and in some cases, already transnational. That is also the case for national sports competitions. The growing impact on sports sponsorship through the (trans)national action radius is not the only special online characteristic. More than in the real world, in online operations there is osmosis between gambling and betting. No website appears to be able to fundamentally rely on betting alone, but all seek a connection with other games of chance, such as the operation of slot machines. The fact that online activities are a strong accelerator of increased sports financing, but not its initiator, does not simply de-problemise everything, because a large share of gambling in a society is inadvisable from both a regulatory and an economic point of view. And this explains some concerns. The increased presence of essentially online gambling operators in football worries certain people through fears that the (soul of the) sport will be swallowed up by commercialism, with financial profit becoming more important than the pure win/loss of the match. In itself, this is a problem that is broader than gambling and in which the presence of games of chance is, here too, more of a reinforcing factor. The reinforcing effect occurs because the operation of gambling is an economic activity of a special nature with special political attention in relation to consumer protection and public order. These social sensitivities bring us to the other activity, i.e. the all too dominant presence of gambling in sports, images and society. And this takes us into the domain of regulation and of legitimacy discussions regarding the operation of games of chance (and sports financing). The Belgian parliament regards the operation of games of chance as legitimate if the (gambling) supply is monitored and restricted. More generally, the position is defended from the regulatory point of view that it is better to study and work than to risk a personal future on games of chance. It follows from this that a society has to limit gambling to socially acceptable proportions. And actually, that is probably where the sore spot lies, in the fact that as yet, the society has not succeeded in taking enough restrictive measures, as it in contrast did for landbased gambling offer. Our estimate is that with effective regulation of gambling and advertising supply, the relationship between sports and gambling need not be problematic. We assume that sponsoring of a football club by a gambling business regulated in Belgium is acceptable, even if special measures are necessary; for example, in order to avoid new match-fixing scandals. Targeted

measures for the protection of integrity may also be necessary, although the above comment that gambling as such is not the cause of the hyper-commercialisation of the football sport remains valid. It is important for the sport that there is an effectively regulated supply of games of chance in the country. Effective regulation is reflected, for example, in concrete measures relating to regulated gambling businesses, but also in relation to vulnerable and addicted players. If such a regulated supply of games of chance exists in a country, there do not appear to be too many arguments for simply banning sports financing by gambling businesses. Something should therefore indeed be done with regard to gambling and sports, and that of match-fixing seems to us to be the most relevant area in which to develop measures that can be both realistic and legitimate, yet still meet social concerns.

Local match-fixing platforms

A platform for match-fixing games set up in each country could potentially play an important role in taking a step forward and finding the right balance. After all, a common binding factor between sports organisers and gambling operators is the integrity of the event, as both their business models are built on the correct progress of this aim. Sport with integrity, therefore, and a fair bet. In such a platform, the judiciary and the police force can transcend their repressive functions and play a socially responsible role that protects children and parents. With a view to the culmination of the different (economic) interests of these parties in adjusted policy measures, as well as avoiding the platform from becoming a mere empty shell, an objective, coordinating actor such as the gaming regulator is essential. From the point of view of the concrete organisation of such a platform, the experience of the gaming regulator with different policy dimensions (public health, the judiciary, the policy and the economy) is worth its weight in gold. Such a match-fixing platform could develop recommendations and measures, such as a report on gambling financing in football, a points system to limit the size of publicity, the need for preventive and informative messages on the risks of gambling and measures to prevent early exposure of young people to negative gambling behaviour. The growing sense of powerlessness that is engulfing the different parties involved, with their frustrations and concerns, can therefore be channelled via a credible and legitimate forum in which games of chance, sports and the government work together. In a constructive manner, such a forum could help to protect a fine future for sports and games, in which transnational interests can be combined with a good local experience.







Prevention is always better

Rolf Slotboom, Communicatie KNBB, Beleid & Strategie Centrum voor Verantwoord Spelen, Woordvoerder PokerBond chats to Peter White


ormer poker pro Rolf Slotboom, now involved at the Center of Responsible Gaming, on the importance of prevention and earlydetection of problematic gambling. 2002: Columnist @ Card Player 2004: Teacher @ Poker School Online 2005: Dutch Poker Champion 2006: Bureau Chief @ Card Player Europe 2006: Poker commentator @ Eurosport 2008: Author “Secrets of Professional Pot-Limit Omaha” @ D&B Publishing 2011: Spokesperson @ Dutch Poker Federation 2014: Marketing manager @ Center of Responsible Gaming 2015: Project leader @ Ik Ben KOA (player platform regulation online games of chance) Can we start with an introduction to the Center of Responsible Gaming? Center of Responsible Gaming was founded by Yvon Jansma as a low-entry hub for players, with as main goals: prevention and early-detection of problematic gambling. In recent years, we have contributed to the goal of online regulation, given that online play is still not legal in the Netherlands. We have developed the responsible gaming app ‘Bet.ter’, we have tried to raise awareness for responsible gaming both with

Rolf Slotboom

players, operators and with politicians, and we have hosted expert meetings on various subjects, oftentimes on protecting vulnerable groups like youth and adolescents. Or, on the recurring issue of a player’s own responsibility versus the operator’s duty of care: where does one end, and where does the other begin?

Define your role at the organisation I joined three years ago. Given my background in communication, I was handed the title ‘Marketing Manager’. But because this didn’t really cover what I was doing, my official job description is now: ‘Policy, Communication & Strategy’. I am responsible for the website, for our social media, for ‘tone of voice’ and for finetuning our strategic goals. But basically, Yvon and I who do almost all things together regardless of roles and titles. Three key aspects include: contacts with players, contacts with representatives from politics or addiction care, and taking care of our projects – for instance the project “Information Package Online Gambling Addiction” subsidized by the Ministry of Security & Justice, or projects with the help of the trade organisation of online operators like the development of Bet.ter, the first-ever responsible gaming app in the Netherland.


Our motto: be there where the players are – and this means that, as small as our organization is, we are basically everywhere. How does expertise gained from your previous roles in media relations assist you in your role? It helps in many ways. Given that we try to connect between three key stakeholders (players, politicians and addiction care) we need to make sure that we speak all of those languages well. Or, perhaps phrased more accurately: players need to know that we understand them, that we understand why they sometimes enjoy playing, and that not all gaming and gambling is bad. When talking to politicians, another different tone of voice is needed, yet with at all times the interests of players at heart. After all, they need to be protected by law, and for way too many years and especially for online players, this is simply not the case. My communication expertise (former Bureau Chief at CardPlayer Europe, poker commentator at Eurosport, columnist and published author) is of course crucial. But just as importantly: my background as a player. Having been a good and successful poker player for many years, players know that the Center of Responsible Gaming doesn’t judge. We don’t think all gambling is bad, as it can be highly enjoyable, especially games with a skill factor like sports betting, poker and eSports that can be mentally challenging and rewarding. By providing tips to players on how to gamble responsibly, and by training casino employees how to detect (potentially) problematic behaviour, we aim to give players a bit more help and guidance. Especially recreational players who are on the verge


of becoming at-risk players; our aim is to provide them with easy-to-implement information, help and guidance so that they never turn into at-risk players. In all honesty, this expertise of mine is useful for one reason only: that it is combined with the expertise of Yvon Jansma. Her many years of experience in addiction care and my experience in gambling and writing about gambling is what I would call ‘synergy’, the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts. More than anything because we genuinely care, and because we don’t mind working hard. Do you think television broadcasters that earn money from betting organisations should contribute to charities involved with helping addicted gamblers? We firmly belief that not all, but definitely a lot of operators are genuine in their efforts to ‘do the right thing’ and to protect their customers. If they can show their good will by contributing to these kinds of charities, this could be beneficial to everyone involved, regardless of whether these contributions are obligatory or voluntary. In the Netherlands, there will be an Addiction Prevention Fund that is funded by both online and landbased operators. I will leave it up to politicians whether in addition to these contributions by operators there should also be contributions from ‘indirect’ sources like the one you mention. If television or online broadcasters could come up with a way to voluntarily contribute, this would be great – especially from a social responsibility point of view. If I had a gambling problem I would have to:- Stop having a phone - Stop using my iPad - Stop watching Television – Stop using my PC – Stop listening to commercial radio - Stop going to the town centre, Stop driving in my car for billboards showing sporting events that are sponsor promoted – Stop reading newspapers. Some would say that’s like being in Prison. How is anyone who has gambling

addiction in this modern-day society ever able to stop? You are right. Because of the number of devices and opportunities to gamble, it is harder now than before the online era to steer away from gambling. Gambling is everywhere! Therefore, our efforts are on responsible gaming, and trying to intervene before recreational players have turned into at-risk players or even problem gamblers. This way, we hope that despite all these, possibly enticing, opportunities to gamble, the vast majority of players choose do so in a responsible manner. On that point shouldn’t event organisers who gain sponsors from the betting industry also make contributions to charities involved in the care and treatment of addicted gamblers? As I have already said, we firmly belief that not all, but definitely a lot of operators are genuine in their efforts to ‘do the right thing’ and to protect their customers. If they can show their good will by contributing to these kinds of charities, this could be beneficial to everyone involved, regardless of whether these contributions are obligatory or voluntary. And, if event organisers, television broadcasters etc. can follow suit, so much the better. In the Netherlands, there will be an Addiction Prevention Fund that is funded by online operators, and the broader the financial support, the better. So yes, funding of charities involved in the care and treatment of addicted gamblers is very important, and any way to accomplish this is one that I would welcome. Having said that, in quite a few countries care and treatment of addicted gamblers is already taken care of quite well, oftentimes through insurance companies. Yet, prevention of gambling addiction isn’t always given the same kind of (also, financial) priority. At the Center of Responsible Gaming we think a lot of time, effort and money from all parties involved (operators, politicians, society as a whole) should be on prevention and early-detection: provide players with the right information at the right time, and assist them in finding the help they need in case they have developed the beginnings of a gambling problem. Prevention is always better! Also available on App


Las Vegas…and the death of loyalty By Mark Wayman


n the 60s and 70s Las Vegas was run on “juice.” Deals were done with a handshake and your word was your bond. Loyalty and relationships were valued. To some extent Las Vegas is still run that way. Like Mayberry RFD, Las Vegas is a town of 2,000,000….run by 200. In 2008 Las Vegas was ground zero for Depression 2.0. And as an Executive Recruiter I was right in the middle of it. One week I had 120 job openings; the next week I had ten. Tens of thousands lost their jobs instantly and Las Vegas went from the fast growing city in America to a long stream of people leaving on I15 due to the highest state unemployment rate in America. And unfortunately, something else changed in 2008 – the people. When I started my Executive Recruiting company in 2004 we were printing money. Mostly I was doing high tech, and with the unemployment rate at 4%, everyone was hiring. In 2008 the economy collapsed and there were two major changes in the candidate flow. First, integrity became a challenge. Executives lied about their job title, tenure, compensation and education in an effort to secure employment. Second, culturally many of the candidates came

across as arrogant, self-centered and self-serving. “Me, me, me.” “Mine, mine, mine.” Loyalty was off the table. It’s all about “me getting mine.” After ten years of dealing with this dysfunctional new culture, here are a few of the lessons I learned. It’s NOT Las Vegas – One night at a mixer I was having the loyalty conversation with someone far smarter than myself when he said, “Mark, this is not a Las Vegas thing. I’m in Silicon Valley and we have you beat on this hands down. It’s an not only an American cultural issue, it’s a global issue.” Lesson 1: This has nothing to do with Las Vegas; it’s a global cultural issue. You Got Paid, Right? – My second lesson was learning that not everyone is grateful. The first time it happened was many years ago with a CIO in San Francisco. Got her an amazing job. She never said “thank you” or was heard from again… until she needed another job. Many candidates are so self-absorbed they believe it is an honor and a privilege for me to represent them. And how about the executives I placed that repaid me by using ANOTHER Recruiter instead of me? You are saying, “No way! Who does that!” But they do. Lesson 2:


You are an Executive Recruiter and this is what you get paid to do. Not everyone wants to be my friend. Not everyone says thank you. New Captain, New Sailors – In many cases, when a new CEO shows up he/she makes drastic changes to the landscape. We call this “new Captain, new Sailors.” The new CEO wants to surround himself with “his guys.” That includes both employees and vendors. Maybe you sell insurance and worked with an account for 30 years. Never had an issue. Saved them tons of money. Supported them personally and professionally. Does not matter – the new CEO comes in, and without any due diligence, you are gone. I have been on the receiving end of this a couple times, and I have to say it is not much fun. The unfortunate fact is that with respect to Las Vegas, many of these CEOs are not from Las Vegas, have never seen the inside of a casino and couldn’t care less about supporting our charities and community. But I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason, and in most cases, they get run off in a year. Lesson 3: Everything happens for a reason. You can always wait out the bad guys. Relationships Trump Transactions – If you remember nothing else, remember this: relationships trump transactions. Maybe not for the thundering herd, but for the 200 that run Las Vegas, relationships and loyalty are gold. LOYALTY MATTERS! I have seen incompetent executives get job after job after job. On the other hand, I have seen highly competent executives get frozen out and blackballed because they did not build strong relationships. Build strong professional relationships with your customers, your peers, your employees and business partners. Notice I said business partners and not vendors. No one wants to be treated like a vendor. Lesson 4: Treat people right and as your Mom said, “Play nice.” It’s a Short Walk from Park Place to the Park Bench – Today it’s all good. We are at the top. Real estate is at the top, the stock market is at the top, everyone is working. And when we are on top, we get filled with ego, pride and arrogance. We treat people poorly. We forget our roots and where we came from. But what goes up…always comes down. It’s a very short walk from Park Place to the Park Bench. A great example is when a “C” level executive gets laid off or terminated. Within a week they find out how many REAL friends they have. If


they are lucky, they have five. In many cases they have zero. Everyone loves you when you are CEO; nobody returns your call when you are unemployed. Lesson 5: The true test of a man is how he treats the person that can do nothing for him. Treat the CEO and the Janitor equally well. As My Dad Used to Say, “They will get what’s comin’ to ’em” – People are going to do you wrong. People are going to treat you poorly. You can’t be the GM of the Universe and you can’t fix everyone. Trust me, poor behavior is eventually rewarded. A lack of loyalty is eventually rewarded. My Dad used to say, “They will get what’s comin’ to ‘em son, no need for you to help.” Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually there is a day of reckoning. Lesson 6: Let go and let God. As Mother Teresa said, “It is between them and God, it was never between you and them anyway.” Loyalty Matters – I get 50 unsolicited resumes a day and 20 cold calls. Unsolicited means resumes of executives I don’t know. Most Executive Recruiters, like me, only work with executives they know personally or by referral. Why? Because our clients expect us to personally vouch for the candidates. Our clients expect us to be familiar with the candidate’s background, professional history and even why they left their last two or three jobs. So when I get a $500,000 CEO role who do I submit? The executives that are cold calling me or the executives that have supported me and my charity work for the last 20 years? That’s right, the executives I know personally because if nothing else, I’m the most loyal person you will ever meet. CONCLUSION: No matter what anyone else tells you…loyalty matters! Mark Wayman is the Founder and CEO of The Foundation, LLC, an executive placement firm focused on gaming/casinos and high tech. He has placed 600 executives over the last ten years, with compensation packages from $100,000 to $2,000,000. Last year he placed eight executives over a million dollars. His articles appear on The Huffington Post, and he is a regular on the Internet radio show Casino Talk. Mark is an active supporter of Make-A-Wish, Opportunity Village, Olive Crest and a dozen other local and national charities. He can be reached at, or for more information, go to

Review of G2E 2017 Interblock • VizExplorer • Apex Gaming


John Connelly CEO Interblock



Technology that Captivates


Interblock to showcase its comprehensive ETG solutions for every casino floor

asino operators looking to catch the latest trends in Electronic Table Gaming can see them firsthand at this year’s Global Gaming Expo when Interblock reveals 15 new revolutionary products and features designed to bring even more newly carded players to the casino floor and increase the hold and handle the industry has historically seen from electronic table games (ETGs). “Innovation and increased service will remain the focal point of our company as we continue to invest tens of millions into R&D and infrastructure. With the opening of offices on five continents, and a substantially increased product portfolio and enhanced focus on service, Interblock’s ability to support the growing demand for ETGs within the gaming sector has never been stronger,” said Interblock Global CEO John Connelly. Casino operators are embracing ETGs not only because they cost less to operate and can generate more hands/cycles per hour, but also because ETGs can bring new players to the casino floor. Recent data suggests that ETGs are driving some of the highest levels of incremental revenue on the floor, with “new carded” players making up more than 50 percent of ETG players. Casino players around the world are moving toward ETGs. This segment of the casino floor already comprises 15 to 20 percent of many casino floors throughout Asia Pacific/Europe. Now ETGs have come to North America, where they’re seeing

double-digit growth. “Younger players have grown up on skill-based games and touch-screen mobile devices,” notes Interblock’s CEO, John Connelly. “ETGs have emerged as a product, which has the ability and characteristics to attract players from both existing and new player demographics.” To meet this popular demand for ETGs and to boost growth, Interblock will release new products, functionalities and features that will be on display at Interblock’s booth, #1239, at the 2017 Global Gaming Expo. Interblock’s revolutionary Stadium configurations will be one such product showcasing the company’s latest enhancements. Interblock will unveil new Keno, Bingo, Tournaments and Live Craps where


a player can actually throw the dice within a Stadium environment. Interblock’s award winning StarBar will also be exhibited at this year’s show. The StarBar has an enhanced portfolio of game content, designed to attract a new type of player to the traditional bar environment. “The initial installations have confirmed that a segment of the bar environment is clearly looking for traditional table games, other than poker. The Net Win Per Day on the Interblock StarBars is surpassing competitive bar top offerings, nearly two to one,” said Connelly. Interblock’s PULSE ARENA, a fully customizable multi-game stadium environment that focuses on both entertainment and engagement, will also return to this year’s G2E. The PULSE ARENA uses lights, music, and ambassadors to create an elevated environment that extends the traditional gaming experience. It pulls in not only new players, but also pre-existing players who are simply ready for a new gaming experience. The PULSE ARENA has been introduced on more than three continents in the past year, and is one of the fastest growing segments of Interblock’s product offering.


Dice games are another critical element of Interblock’s ETG portfolio. Interblock will showcase more than four new dice games, designed to leapfrog traditional ETG Dice concepts. Pick 2 Win Craps; a three-dice generator; NUTZ, a fivedice game; and a new Micro-dice Generator will all be released at this year’s show. These games will offer a new shooter button, equipped with a motionactivated sensor, which enables a player to set, shake and shoot the dice on an ETG. Interblock also plans to announce product segments at the show that address casinos’ demand for generating a lower net win per day. These products will deliver the same quality and luxury brand that Interblock has been known for, but at price points that allow all casinos to offer the latest ETG technology. “Through a combination of innovation and technology, the new products being demonstrated will be items never before seen within the gaming industry,” said Connelly. “We look forward to presenting our comprehensive ETG solutions to the industry at this year’s G2E.”


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Apex Gaming set for best G2E Las Vegas ever. Complete gaming range available

PEX gaming has what it takes to become just as much a household name in gaming in America as it is in Europe. That is why APEX gaming has taken a prominent stand to showcase its innovative products and solutions. Visitors to the G2E Las Vegas are invited to come to booth # 3359 and see the difference APEX gaming is making to the industry: APEX gaming has made a significant impact with its iDROPe cash management

solution for live gaming tables, winning two awards at last year’s Casino Marketing & Technology Conference and has recently reported on its success at one of the largest casinos in the USA. The iDROP and iDROPe will be joined by the iDROPs at the G2E Las Vegas which promises yet another reason to choose this product. The iDROPs will receive its world premiere at the G2E Las Vegas. Speed is the essence and the iDROPs is the answer to high-speed acceptance at an amazing rate of 6 notes/tickets per


second. As game designer and slot machine manufacturer all in one, APEX gaming took the ICE earlier in the year by storm with the introduction of the DRAGON EGG jackpot island. Operators can choose between three versions – with eight integrated slot machines (all with 3 large screens) – as a bank of slots on both sides, or four slots that each have a 43” screen as a rounded solution or another rounded solution with 4 Pinnacle SL slots that each have 3 screens. The overhead display becomes part of the game. The four core jackpot levels actually provide an amazing number of jackpot levels – 16 in total. “We are very busy installing the DRAGON EGG jackpot island in casinos around world. This single game solution has had amazing feedback. Now it is available to casinos in America,” stated Mr. Kubilay Özer, Global Sales Director of APEX gaming. Naturally customers can choose from the entire APEX slots machine range – including the VIP Premium Lounge, Pinnacle 24” and Pinnacle SL. All the APEX slots are fitted with the EVO3 gaming platform that truly brings the APEX games to life. APEX gaming offers automated roulette in the

form of the APEX PLAYER STATION that can work in conjunction with four separate roulette wheels – both live and electronic. “We are proving our company philosophy to take gaming to the next level,” explained Mr. Johannes Weissengruber, APEX founder and Managing Director. “It has always been my personal goal to bring innovation and enjoyment to our wonderful industry. We have our own operations that we make full use of in terms in market research. We understand the players and create the solutions accordingly. That explains the success of our DRAGON EGG jackpot island.” Operators can source an increasing number of solutions from APEX gaming – individual slots, jackpot islands, automated roulette and table gaming products like iDROP/e/s and Shuffle King. “Our customer references and feedback speak for themselves. In the past few weeks alone numerous clients have spoken out saying what a difference APEX makes on their casino floor. We invite visitors to come and find out how they can make a difference in their casinos by working together with APEX gaming,” Mr Özer concluded.

Totally Gaming Summit | 2017

31 October - 2 November Tallinn, Estonia 50

GO 2 ENGAGE Oct. 3–5, 2017 / Sands Expo Center, Las Vegas






SYSTEM! drScreen • drAccounting • drTicket • drPlayerTracking drCashless • drWideArea • drBonusing • drJackpots • drTable drReports • drTournament •


Casino life volume 13 issue 111