CASINO 2000 AT THE CROSSROADS OF EUROPE
Volume 19: Issue 160
The magazine for the owners and management of international casinos
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Last month I excoriated casinos in this space for their callousness toward those of us who don’t smoke. It brought a speedy, positive response from a Casino Life veteran and man on the scene in Las Vegas, Roy Katz. He drew my attention to a different problem, one that flies under the radar in the age of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Another problem with casinos in general is their lack of handicapped parking spaces,” Roy writes, “The spaces nearest to the doors are usually reserved for their top players. This may sound like a simple thing , but if a player has mobility issues like I do — I get around using a three-wheel electric scooter— these spaces are a must since they have additional space to unload and load scooters, wheelchairs, and other mobility devices.
“Whenever I have mentioned this to casino managers I am told, ‘Valet your car. Problem solved." Unfortunately, I can't since my car has a leftfoot gas pedal. Valet drivers would not know how to use this nifty gadget and probably smash the car up.
“And no, I am not even going to mention restroom stalls which are either too small or have doors which open inward, making it extremely difficult to position a wheelchair of scooter.
“Automatic door openers are probably some of the least-expensive items when building multi-billion dollar casino resorts. Unfortunately, far too many properties often lack them making it very difficult for individuals in wheelchairs to ingress and egress.
“Also, employees should be trained better in meeting the needs of disabled customers. Reserving a ground floor or lower floor hotel room with a roll in shower is almost impossible. I have learned to make room reservations directly with the hotel, not online of through their call center since neither computers or call center employees know the difference between a wheelchair-accessible room or a slice of apple pie.
"Of course, this does not always work. Every year we go to Tucson to see relatives from New York. On several occasions, our “ground floor,” wheelchair-accessible room was on the top floor. Who puts these rooms on the top floor?”
Points well taken, Roy.
On another matter close to home, EMEA Editor Damien Connelly has suffered a stroke and is presently convalescing. It’s not a severe stroke, and Damien is able to communicate with his Casino Life friends and family. Still, these are never trifling matters, and I (and many others) wish Damien a full and speedy recovery.
Get well soon, Damien.
David McKee Editor
Editor’s Note 3 Volume 19: Issue 160
The magazine for the
Published by Outsource Digital Media Ltd
management of international casinos
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.
16 36 33
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.
Printed in the UK by Severn Print. Contents 3 Editor’s Note By David McKee 5 Guest Foreword By Stuart Hunter, Managing Director, Clarion Gaming 7 At the crossroads of Europe Interview with
White and David McKee 16 Creating a Better Experience David Strow, vice president of
communications for Boyd Gaming by Victor H. Royer 25 The Gaming Enviroment Mr. Ramachandar Siva,
Casino Batumi 29 On the comeback trail By David McKee 33 Tbilisi Gaming Fest 2023 Highlights By Lavrenty Gubin 36 DRGT™ Launches its New Player App By Peter White 41 G2E Preview 2023 SUZOHAPP to Present Innovative Solutions to Enhance Player Experience at G2E 43 Update Report on Gaming Legislation in Taiwan, Namibia, Tanzania, Uzbekistan 45 From Idea to Reality By Raymond Chan 29 25 7
General Manager Guido
By Stuart Hunter
pending a day in the wonderful Hippodrome Casino, located in the heart of London’s West End, I was struck by how Executive Chairman Simon Thomas and his team must have listened to their customers in order to have got everything so right and so on-point.
ICE and the power of ‘Active Listening’ S
Myself and members of the Clarion Gaming senior team, together with representatives drawn from the ICE stakeholder community were at the Hippodrome for the 2023 edition of the ICE Symposium which brings together thought leaders from all gaming sectors to share insights, opinions and analysis about the industry and its direction of travel.
The Symposium is not about reflecting on what’s already happened but all about what’s likely to happen in what is a dynamic and fast-moving sector – one that’s powered by technology and controlled by regulation.
Bringing industry thought leaders together in one place provides an ideal opportunity to listen to their views about the sector and feed the intelligence back into the development teams responsible for ICE. For the Clarion team the Symposium was all about listening and absorbing the abundance of knowledge and experience that was in the room.
I’m always keen to stress that whilst Clarion Gaming is deeply immersed in the industry that it serves across our various media platforms, we never pretend to all be gaming industry experts. In fact, our specialism is connecting people, whether digitally or in a live, face-to-face environment – creating the most effective platforms for that to happen both for visitors and exhibitors.
The best way to cement those connections is to establish an open dialogue with stakeholders in which we listen to their requests, absorb their wish lists and are receptive to their suggestions. It was as a result of listening to requests from the market that we embarked on the mammoth project which has resulted in the relocation of ICE to Barcelona from 2025.
The market as well as some sections of the gambling industry media had for a number of years been requesting that we explore alternative host cities and establish what other venues could offer ICE. Having appointed an external agency to explore all of the alternatives it was Barcelona which our Advisory Board of exhibitors selected.
The opportunities in Barcelona are huge and the Symposium provided an invaluable opportunity to explain that potential and to plot the flight path which will see ICE and its stakeholders land in Barcelona in January 2025.
I’ve always felt that there were similarities between successful consumer-facing operations such as the Hippodrome and major live events such as ICE. Both must have an attention to detail. Both need to have dedicated and professional staff who care. Both need a sense of style and showmanship, and both must always engage with their customers, be active listeners – and as a result – deliver on their behalf.
Stuart Hunter, Managing Director, Clarion Gaming
Guest Foreword: Clarion Gaming Volume 19: Issue 160 5
Stuart Hunter, Managing Director, Clarion Gaming
At the crossroads of Europe
Reflecting upon the storied past of Casino 2000, its leader outlines a regimen for its future by Peter White and David McKee
7 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: Casino 2000
Guido Berghmans, General Manager, Casino 2000
Tucked away in the spa town of Mondorfles-Bains is Casino 2000, a smallish but innovative property that markets itself to both France and Germany, each of which is a stone’s throw distant. The adults-only property is run by General Manager Guido Berghmans, who has been with Casino 2000 for nearly all of its four decades. Catering to grown-up gamblers and Francophone audiences, particularly in its entertainment regime, Casino 2000 strives to be up to date and cosmopolitan in its offerings.
Berghmans has steered Casino 2000 through thick and thin, including the ravages of Covid-19, when the pleasure palace was shuttered for four months. During that time, Berghmans did not lay off any staffers. Instead, he used the time and enforced idleness— during which the property was anything but idle—to upgrade Casino 2000 for the next two generations of business. Casino Life Publisher Peter White recently visited Casino 2000, where he spoke with Berghmans.
What are the origins of Casino 2000?
Casino 2000 is an entertainment complex located in Mondorf-les-Bains, in the south of Luxembourg, close to the French border. It opened its doors in April 1983. It was only in 1977 that the parliament approved a bill authorizing a casino in Luxembourg. The company was then founded and opened its doors under the name Casino 2000 on 16 April 1983.
Apart from the casino, it houses today two restaurants, several bars, a hotel with 33 rooms and suites, and a large event area for up to 2,000 people. It is only a few hundred meters to France, and the German border is only eight kilometers away. We serve a catchment area of about 500,000 people. Most of our guests come from France, about one-third from Luxembourg. The rest are German, Belgian and international guests. We currently offer around 310 slot machines, 60 terminals with electronic games, an American roulette table and three blackjack tables.
From the outset, our entertainment center included a hotel, restaurants and an event space. As in Las Vegas, all the areas are connected as soon as you pass the entrance control. Even the hotel is inside the casino. I think this is unique in Europe.
I started here as a croupier in 1984, after having worked for five years in the casino in Aachen, Germany. I have been running the business since 2002. In 2006, I was elected to the European Casino Association as vice-president. In this role, I worked for the ECA until 2014 in very interesting areas such as player protection, the prevention of money laundering and the regulation of online gaming in the EU. These are the areas that still interest me today as a member of the committee. With around 750 casinos and some 60,000 employees, the ECA is the only European organization representing the interests of land-based casinos.
www.casinolifemagazine.com 8 Feature: Casino 2000
The official celebrations for the 40 years of Casino 2000 are over. How has the company developed over the last 40 years?
There was really never a standstill, so I never got bored. The company has been constantly expanded, offers and products improved. In 2011, our event hall Chapito was opened and since then there is four times more space available for guests than when it was inaugurated in 1983.
We have constantly challenged ourselves and adapted to current situations. We were constantly looking for improvements. Over time, our staff have become true professionals, and we have recruited other, younger, highly trained experts. That's our strength today. In any case, we want to be good at everything we do.
The gambling market in Luxembourg is similar to that in France. The first slot machines appeared in casinos at the end of the 1970s, so I was able to witness the triumphal march of these games right from the start. As was the case in France, for a long time the gaming tables accounted for only a small proportion of the gross gaming revenue and the slot machines generated 95 percent of the result. Here, in small Luxembourg, there is one
particularity: the proximity of the government and the people responsible for overseeing the casino. Our first priority is to run the casino as the government expects. That's why our player-protection and moneylaundering-prevention programs have been our most important projects for many years, and ones on which many of our staff work actively every day.
For us, the 40th anniversary celebration last June was above all an opportunity to present the company's modernization. We started renovating the various spaces in 2019 because we simply wanted to be an entertainment center that moves with the times. We'll be continuing to renovate and modernize for a while, and we'll also be commissioning new spaces, including a room dedicated to electronic games, and another trendy bar.
We will spend a total of 10 million euros on these modernizations. Money well spent, because we can already feel that we are reaching more target groups as a result. We want the entertainment center to come alive, through the concerts we stage and the countless smaller events with which we hope to attract up to an additional 500 people each on Fridays and Saturdays. The advantage for our customers is that the participants can benefit from all our offers and
9 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: Casino 2000
therefore their event becomes very attractive.
As I've already mentioned, there's a very close relationship with the government here in Luxembourg. We were delighted to have been honored by the presence of the Minister of Justice & Culture, the Minister of Labor, Employment & the Social Economy, and the Minister of Tourism & Mediumsized Businesses, among many others, at the official ceremony.
And what's next? How has Casino 2000 positioned itself for the future?
Most European casino groups have adapted their strategies over the last 15 years due to competition on the Internet. The search for the "casino of tomorrow" has kept many groups busy for years. The Covid pandemic has once again led to a rethinking of the strategy and the range of offers, according to purely economic criteria. We observed very closely how the individual groups were positioning themselves and decided on a large number of changes ourselves during Covid. At the beginning of 2019 we had started to modernize our casino. We threw out all the old, established clichés because we wanted to be a contemporary entertainment company. Today, we see
www.casinolifemagazine.com 10 Feature: Casino 2000
our competition in other entertainment companies rather than in casinos.
Our 1,300-square-meter event hall, the Chapito, offers us enormous possibilities with its first-rate equipment. For a number of years now we've been using it to offer a big variety of events. Here too, we want to be very professional and make a profit, which we are doing better and better.
A few months ago, we decided to further expand our event program and would like to offer more internationally known artists in the future. In the last few years, we had mainly focused on French artists and were very successful with that. Last year, about 100,000 people took part in events organized by us. There are only a handful of casinos in Europe that offer similarly large and numerous events. With our team of experienced staff and highly trained experts, we don't need to hide behind the big casino groups.
The same applies to our restaurants. It's a constant battle to offer attractive products at competitive prices and to maintain the same high quality of cuisine and service. But here too, we are delighted with what is happening today in our two restaurants.
On the one hand, we have the gourmet restaurant Les Roses, which has improved even further recently,
Feature: Casino 2000 11 Volume 19: Issue 160
and on the other the Purple Lounge, which offers a very modern menu with trendy dishes from all over the world. Here too, exceptional teams ensure the highest quality and that we don't lose any money.
In the next few months, we will be opening another gaming room for electronic games. Our Interblock stadium will also be housed there. Attached to it, we are planning a very modern bar with snack offerings. This will be the most modern area, operating mainly on weekends and aimed at a slightly younger clientele.
We are active in the digitalization and automation of processes, and had launched a total of 20 projects in 2022, most of which will be realized in the coming months. For the largest project, the start-up of our own casino on the Internet, we are unfortunately still awaiting approval. Internally however, preparations are underway.
We adapt to changing trends and technologies to ensure our continued success and relevance in the future. We now use much better data-analytics tools to understand customer preferences and behavior, allowing for more personalized experiences and targeted marketing campaigns. They also help to optimize our floor layouts and slot machine placements. We have also strengthened our
cybersecurity measures to protect customer data and financial transactions.
We try to understand the preferences of younger generations and create experiences that resonate with them. Of course the main focus is on providing exceptional customer service to differentiate from our competitors. Our staff is very professional, friendly and attentive to guests' needs.
To what extent is online gambling a competitor for you?
Here in Europe, as the first online casinos began to appear in the late 1990s and in the early 2000s, some European countries introduced initial regulations to address online gambling.
The European Court of Justice ruled in 2007 in favor of online gambling operators in a landmark case, establishing the principle of free movement of services for online gambling offers within the European Union. This decision had a significant impact on the regulation of online gambling in Europe. However, the regulation of online gambling in the EU has been anything but a success story. The market was literally flooded with offers that were hardly regulated and could not be controlled. In the last few decades this
www.casinolifemagazine.com 12 Feature: Casino 2000
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has caused immense damage to society. It is time for politicians to make decisions that strictly regulate and control the market for all participants.
To this day, the illegal offer remains very large, because many providers ignore national regulations. In the U.S., illegal providers are combatted much more
efficiently and it has been shown that state-by-state regulation for online gambling can be implemented very successfully.
Illegal gambling poses significant dangers, both to individuals and society as a whole. These dangers can have wide-ranging consequences. There are no safeguards in place to protect consumers. Players have no recourse if they are cheated or treated unfairly. Illegal gambling is also frequently associated with organized crime. It makes it easy for minors to access and participate in gambling activities, which is harmful and leads to negative social consequences.
Casino 2000 publishes two Magazines 2COOL and Things2Do in print and online, as well as investing in social media.
We market our company through wide-ranging advertising for our gastronomy and our events. This also includes two magazines that are published five or six times a year with a circulation of 220,000 and distributed to the letterboxes of the greater region. We have been using the social networks for years and now have specialists who take care of it. We also maintain active contacts with influencers and blogger networks.
www.casinolifemagazine.com 14 Feature: Casino 2000
What is Casino 2000’s approach to responsible gambling and AML?
The protection of players and the fight against money laundering are the two main concerns of the government. Accordingly, we attach great importance to acting very professionally here. In 2002, we started to introduce a proactive player-protection program with the consultants of the ASSISSA Group from the Netherlands. In the meantime, this has become very mature and a large number of employees are taking care of it. Since 2006, we have received very specific requirements from the public prosecutor's office for combating money laundering. I myself led the establishment of these two programs and am still involved with them on a daily basis. Through my activities in the committee of the ECA I have participated in very many conferences and meetings on these issues and always had the necessary information at hand at an early stage.
And perhaps a few wishes in closing?
Yes, of course. Our main wish is that order is finally restored to the gambling market. What we've seen over the last few decades has been pretty unfair to the land-based casinos, most of which are doing an
excellent job here in Europe. As already mentioned, comparable regulations should finally be created for all gambling operations.
Legislators should also not forget that land-based casinos are large employers. They create an attractive entertainment program in many communities and significantly expand the range of gastronomic offerings. The taxes that casinos pay should not be forgotten either. This revenue is very important to many communities. And then casinos are a huge driver of tourism. Those should be enough reasons to support land-based casinos in the future, especially because they have proven to be very reliable partners of the regulatory authorities for decades.
Under these conditions, we will be just as successful in the next 40 years. And, as always, it also takes a bit of luck.
15 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: Casino 2000
Creating a Better Experience
Interview with David Strow, vice president of corporate communications for Boyd Gaming by Victor H. Royer
Casino Life Magazine and Outsource Digital Media recently had the opportunity to interview David Strow, vice president of corporate communications for Boyd Gaming, one of the United States’ largest and most respected casino operators. In his role at Boyd Gaming, David oversees the company’s strategic communications functions, including media relations, public relations and publicity, internal communications, financial communications, crisis communications, and ESG reporting. David is also a member of the Boyd Gaming Charitable Giving Committee and oversees the company’s philanthropic budget.
A 20-year veteran of the gaming industry, David joined Boyd Gaming in 2007 as director of corporate communications, serving nine years in that role before being named to his current position. Prior to joining Boyd Gaming, Strow served as deputy director of communications for Harrah’s Entertainment and, before beginning his gaming career, David was an award-winning business journalist at the Las Vegas Sun from 1999 to 2002.
David serves on the Board of Directors of Opportunity Village, a Las Vegas-based nonprofit serving southern Nevada residents with intellectual disabilities. He served as chairman of Opportunity Village’s board of directors from 2020 to 2021 and
www.casinolifemagazine.com 16 Feature: Boyd Gaming
The Orleans Casino Resort in Las Vegas
is currently a member of the board’s executive committee. Strow is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
David, first I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Please tell our readers a little more about yourself and your role at Boyd Gaming. Thank you, Victor, I’m glad to share this journey with you and your readers. After graduating with a journalism degree in the 1990s, I began what I thought would be a long and successful career as a newspaper reporter. That career brought me to Las Vegas in 1999, when I had the opportunity to report on the most incredible growth period in Las Vegas’ history. Over the span of just a couple of years, I had the opportunity to report on the opening of Paris-Las Vegas, the Palms, Aladdin, Rampart [then The Resort at Summerlin–Ed.] and Green Valley Ranch. I was new to the industry and to Las Vegas, so I thought that crazy experience of grand opening after grand opening was completely normal at the time. I don’t ever think we’ll see a period of industry expansion and growth quite like that again, and it was exciting to be able to help tell the story of that remarkable period in Las Vegas history.
My time at Boyd Gaming has been quite an interesting growth adventure as well. Over the last 12
17 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: Boyd Gaming
Aliante Resort pool and recreation deck
Aliante Resort casino floor
Aliante hotel king room
years, we’ve welcomed 14 new properties to Boyd and more than doubled in size. Having the chance to help tell that growth story – and to welcome so many new team members to this company over the years –has been an exciting professional opportunity for me. My role at Boyd is to communicate on behalf of the company to a variety of our key stakeholders, including the news media, customers, team members, investors and community partners. When you’re a spokesperson, your job is much easier when you have the opportunity to represent a company that you really believe in. I’m fortunate that is the case at Boyd, which is a company that has successfully preserved the culture of a family owned business, even while it has grown into a nationwide company.
The Orleans and Gold Coast casinos are both wellestablished properties in the Boyd Gaming family, and one of the main reasons why I wanted to speak with you is to learn a little more about them and their operations from the operational perspective. Like all other Boyd properties, my team’s job is to help The Orleans and Gold Coast tell their story to key stakeholders and the community in general. By working through the news media and social media channels, we work to generate excitement about the experience of playing at these properties and convince customers to visit.
www.casinolifemagazine.com 18 Feature: Boyd Gaming
The Orleans Casino Resort main casino floor
The Alder-Birch dining room at The Orleans Casino Resort
The Orleans Casino Resort pool area
Compared to our other Las Vegas properties, The Orleans and Gold Coast have a much larger tourist component to them. They are larger than our other properties, and they have more amenities that appeal to an out-of-town customer, such as meeting and convention facilities, sizable hotels and large entertainment venues.
However, there’s one thing that’s consistent across all of our properties – the Boyd team’s dedication to offering great customer service. Excellent service has always been a calling card of our company and offers us a key competitive advantage over other operators.
Once a customer comes into our doors for the first time, I’m confident that our team members and amenities will convince that customer to keep coming back. My team’s job is to convince that prospective customer to make that visit so that our team members can close the deal.
Please tell us about the newest leadership appointments at Boyd Gaming – as well as at other Boyd properties.
We’ve had several new leaders named at our Las Vegas properties recently. Two of our new general managers had previously served as assistant general managers of their properties, so they know these properties very well: Chris Joy at The Orleans and
Rick Goldstein at Suncoast. We also recently named one of our long-time GMs, Tony Taeubel, to head up operations and the Aliante and Cannery in North Las Vegas.
One of the most distinctive things about our company’s culture is longevity in our team members’ careers. Put simply, we want our team members to build a career with us, and we work hard to create an environment that convinces team members to stay at Boyd and grow with us. That philosophy extends up to our general managers, many of whom are longtime Boyd team members and are committed to our company’s culture. That’s certainly the case with Chris, Tony and Rick, and we think they’re going to do a fantastic job leading these four properties.
19 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: Boyd Gaming
The Fremont Casino in downtown Las Vegas
The Fremont Casino floor in downtown Las Vegas
How do you see Boyd Gaming properties positioned in the current and future gaming market in Las Vegas? And elsewhere?
I think our properties are in outstanding position for the future – probably the strongest they’ve ever been. We came out of the pandemic with some invaluable lessons on how to market and operate our properties much more efficiently and effectively, and as a result we’ve been delivering record financial results across the company for several years now.
And how do you see The Orleans and Gold Coast casinos positioned in the current and future gaming market specifically here in Las Vegas?
The Orleans and Gold Coast are both very wellpositioned in the Las Vegas market. These properties have a much larger out-of-town customer base than our other “local” properties due to their large hotel capacity (about 1,900 rooms at the Orleans and 700 at Gold Coast), and they have established a strong reputation among Las Vegas visitors who want to stay close to the Strip without paying Strip-level prices.
Roughly half of our business at these two properties comes from out-of-town visitors, which is a much higher proportion than our other Las Vegas locals properties. But each has a significant local following as well. In addition to its popular gaming selection,
www.casinolifemagazine.com 20 Feature: Boyd Gaming
The California Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas
The California Casino & Hotel gaming floor
TBILISI Gaming Fest
The Orleans offers a competitive selection of dining options and live entertainment, anchored by the Orleans Arena. Gold Coast has established a very strong presence in Chinatown, which is adjacent to the property, and offers a wide selection of table games that are quite popular among local Asian customers. With a strong reputation among Las Vegas travelers and well-established local customer bases, both The Orleans and Gold Coast are in excellent position for the future.
Please tell us more about other Boyd Gaming properties in Las Vegas – specifically Main Street Station, Aliante, Sam's Town, Cannery, the California Hotel Casino and the Fremont Hotel & Casino.
Our downtown Las Vegas properties – the California, Fremont and Main Street Station – are anchored by our longstanding Hawaiian customer base. Upon opening the California in the mid-1970s, Sam Boyd positioned the California to appeal specifically to Hawaiian customers, and our company’s relationship with Hawaiian customers is as strong as ever today. The California is specifically designed to appeal to Hawaiian customers and customers from Hawaii accounted for about 75 percent of the Cal’s business last year.
Main Street is also popular among Hawaiian guests, while the Fremont appeals to a broader customer segment given its location in the heart of Fremont Street. By October we will be completing a total remodel of the Fremont’s casino floor, so we think
we’ve made this property more appealing than ever to downtown visitors.
Our locals properties – Aliante, Cannery, Sam’s Town and Suncoast – are positioned to cater to local residents. They each have smaller hotels and do a fair amount of tourist business, but local residents make up a far greater portion of their visitation than The Orleans, Gold Coast and the downtown properties. That’s why you’ll see amenities and gaming options at these properties that are more targeted to local residents, like movie theaters, bowling alleys and food courts.
From the corporate perspective, how much of a difference is there between the locals market in Las Vegas and the tourist corridor (ie., the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas).
The locals market is a much different animal than the Las Vegas Strip. Where a Strip property may see a customer only once or twice a year, we see our best players multiple times a week. Our spend-per-visit is lower than a Strip resort but visitation frequency is much higher.
A locals business model is also much more gamingcentric than a Strip resort. Last year, a little over 75 percent of Boyd’s nationwide revenues came from casino gaming, compared to well under half for most Strip resorts. So offering a competitive and attractive gaming product is extremely important to our success as a locals operator. That’s not to say that tourism isn’t an important part of our business model. At some of our locals properties like Orleans and Gold Coast,
Feature: Boyd Gaming www.casinolifemagazine.com 22
The Gold Coast Hotel & Casino
roughly half of our business comes from out-of-town customers. This is due to their large hotels and wide selection of non-gaming amenities. And in downtown Las Vegas, Hawaiian customers account for the large majority of our business at the California, Fremont and Main Street Station. We have quite a bit of experience at successfully marketing to tourists but local residents will always be the foundation of our success in Las Vegas.
Visitors to Las Vegas – and locals especially – universally dislike the additional daily room charges known as the “Resort Fee” – and well as the much-hated parking fees. Are there any plans to eliminate those fees at Boyd Gaming casinos?
At least for the locals?
We’ve never charged for parking at our Las Vegas locals properties. When your business depends on frequent visitation from local residents, you want to make it as convenient for them as possible to visit –which is why we haven’t introduced parking fees at properties like The Orleans or Gold Coast.
Have there been any operational-perspective changes – or any significant shifts in casino operations – at your properties since the pandemic? Meaning other than the naturally required changes to general operations?
We learned quite a bit during and after the pandemic, and as a result we are in the strongest position we’ve ever been as a company. Pre-pandemic, our basic goal was simple – attract as many people as possible to our properties. But that wasn’t an option when we were coming out of the pandemic. Health officials placed strict occupancy limits on our properties, so we had to be very selective and strategic in our marketing efforts.
Those days are long gone but the lessons we learned are still being applied every day. Most importantly, we’ve gotten a lot better at identifying our most loyal customers, tailoring our casino floors and our amenities to them, and making sure they have a fantastic experience with us that they can’t get anywhere else. That’s given us a strong competitive edge.
Please tell us more about the Boyd Rewards player’s club, how it is structured, and how and where players can earn and use their benefits.
Our player loyalty program, Boyd Rewards, is available at almost every Boyd property across the country. There are five tiers within Boyd Rewards – Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Onyx and Titanium – with each offering an increasingly attractive level of benefits. Points earned at one Boyd property can be redeemed at any other participating property across the country. There’s a lot of competition among casino rewards program, so we put a lot of work into giving Boyd Rewards some unique features, especially for our higher-tier players. Once you make it to Emerald level, you’ll qualify for a free annual cruise on Holland America, while Onyx players also receive a free luxury gift of their choice. And if you reach Titanium, we’ll give you an annual “B Memorable Experience” – a unique sporting or entertainment experience you can’t get anywhere else.
And thanks to a unique partnership with Hawaiian Airlines, Boyd Rewards points are 100 percent transferrable to Hawaiian Airlines’ frequent-flier program. So the next time you play at a Boyd property, you can play your way to a free flight to Hawaii!
What is new and innovative about Boyd Gaming casinos as of the third quarter 2023?
We have a couple of major property improvements now underway. In downtown Las Vegas, our remodel and expansion of the Fremont Casino is nearing completion. The first stage of this project was the addition of the Fremont Food Hall, a FanDuel Sportsbook and about 10,000 square feet of new casino space in December 2022. This expansion has been incredibly successful so far; the food hall is getting rave reviews, the new casino space has been very busy and more people than ever are coming into Fremont.
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Casino floor at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino
We’re now at step two – remodeling the Fremont, section by section, so that the entire property matches the new, modern look and feel of the casino expansion we opened in December. Based on the response we’ve gotten to the initial expansion, we think the allnew Fremont will be a big hit once we complete work this October.
And in Louisiana, work is now underway on the development of a new facility at Treasure Chest Casino near New Orleans. After 30 years as a riverboat casino, Treasure Chest will be moving into a single-level, land-based facility, complete with a broadened selection of gaming and non-gaming amenities, and easily accessible parking. Treasure Chest has always been a very successful property for us but we believe this expansion project will significantly expand Treasure Chest’s appeal in the New Orleans community when it opens next spring.
Does Boyd Gaming have an online casino presence for entertainment – or real-money gaming?
We do have a growing presence in the online world. In both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, we recently launched real-money casino gaming under the Stardust brand. Our recent acquisition of Pala Interactive was critical to this launch, as this acquisition gave us the talent and the technology we needed to operate a best-in-class online casino product.
The extent of real-money online casino gaming is limited today, with only six states currently allowing it, but we are well-positioned for the future as more states consider legalizing iGaming. We have also
established a strong presence in social gaming with the Stardust Social Casino, which is available in nearly every state in the country and has established itself as a leader in the social gaming space.
We view online and social gaming as complementary to our nationwide casino operations. With digital gaming products, we can stay engaged with our customers even when they aren’t at our properties. And by appealing to younger demographic segments, online and social gaming serve as a powerful customer-acquisition tool for our properties nationwide.
The Orleans has a very well-known poker room –please tell us more about live poker in Las Vegas. Is it also offered at other Boyd Gaming properties? The Orleans is Boyd’s only poker room in Las Vegas but it is an exceptionally popular (and successful) room. While we offer a broad selection of live games, our poker tournaments are what the Orleans poker room is probably best known for, with three tournaments scheduled every day, Monday through Saturday, with two more on Sunday. With tournament buy-ins as low as $100 (and guaranteed prize pools of $10,000 or more), The Orleans offers tournaments that are affordable and accessible to everyone.
Finally, in your career in gaming, and with Boyd Gaming, what would you consider to be the highlights?
Being a part of an incredible growth story. Since 2011, I’ve been able to play a part in six separate acquisitions that brought 14 new properties into our company. One of the most rewarding parts of that process has been the opportunity to welcome thousands of new team members to Boyd Gaming –introducing them to our company and what makes us unique in this industry. At Boyd, acquisitions are about more than adding new properties to our company; they are also an opportunity to add new talent. We’ve grown stronger over the years thanks to the new team members and executives who joined us with each acquisition, and it’s been an honor to be a part of that process.
On behalf of Casino Life Magazine and Outsource Digital Media, I would like to thank you, David, for your time, and for sharing this with us and our readers.
www.casinolifemagazine.com 24 Feature: Boyd Gaming
Casino floor at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino
The Gaming Environment
25 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: Otium Casino
An interview with Ramachander Siva, CEO of Marriott Courtyard Hotel, in Batumi, Otium
One of the newest casinos in Batumi, Otium, is located in the architecturally significant high-rise building of the Marriott Courtyard Hotel. Quite quickly the casino gained popularity among local and international players, despite a harsh competition in this market. We have met Mr. Ramachandar Siva, the CEO of the casino.
Can you tell us about the history and background of the casino in Batumi? Why did you decide to open a casino in this city?
The development of Otium Casino & Courtyard by Marriott Batumi Hotel came in 2020, while plans were prepared and construction work started in mid 2021. Though we faced disruptions due to the pandemic and the Ukraine war situation, the completed hotel and casino successfully opened in September 2022. What was probably the largest grand opening event in Batumi, lasting over three weeks with guests from around the world, launched the property.
What types of table games are available at your casino and which are played more actively?
www.casinolifemagazine.com 26 Feature:
Otium offers a regionally popular variety of poker games such as Russian, Novo, Ultimate and Three Card Poker. Coupled with roulette and blackjack games, Otium also offers baccarat, sic bo, and Teen Patti tables to cater for Asian players. The most popular games are roulette and all four types of house-banking poker variations.
Could you tell us about the variety of slot machines offered at your casino? Which slot machines are more popular with the players? Otium offers the greatest variety of electronic gaming machines among all casinos in Georgia. Apart from the highly popular EGT slot machines, the Apex and IGT machines are in high demand, while the Zitro, Novomatic, and Merkur machines have had their niche players.
What sets your casino apart from others in the city?
Otium focuses on the gaming environment. The modern, high-tech interior design is backed by an impressive, fully automated, air-and-light-qualitymanagement system, for the comfort of the players. Players enjoy a clean and smoke-free gaming experience. Otium also offers unique dining options through its sophisticated Black Sea menu at the Kyma Restaurant. Otium is a gaming product that
meets the discerning needs of both the regional and Asian market through its management team, which has vast experience in Asia. Our brand retains its image of a VIP casino through high limits and exclusive VIP services for international high rollers. We are the only operator in town to own and manage the hotel – Courtyard By Marriot Batumi, to provide a seamless resort experience for our guests and players.
Do you have any regular shows or entertainment events that guests can enjoy?
We have regular weekend entertainment featuring a popular dance troupe and have invited popular local, Turkish and Israeli singers. Major events are held once a month.
How do you ensure a player-friendly environment and excellent customer service?
It is important that we have an experienced PR and VIP services team first and foremost to give personal attention to our guests. This is backed by a loyalty program that offers complimentary services and a reward program. We cater to all sorts of culinary requests with an open menu system, to satisfy a variety of nationals. And most importantly, Otium has in place a service quality policy that prepares team members to serve at the highest level.
27 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: Otium Casino
Are there any special promotions or loyalty programs that visitors should know about?
Otium offers one of the best discount programs in town and slot club players enjoy bonus kickbacks for weekly play.
How do you see the casino market in Georgia and in Batumi in particular?
Particularly, for Batumi, the market is defined as ‘border-casino market,’ thus the success depends on access through borders and economics of attracting players from the neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Israel, Russia, and the Middle East. Regional economic growth and demand for leisure will be key to Batumi’s casinos. Predictable linear growth is expected for maturity in five to six years. Greater connectivity, higher quality of hospitality offerings and development of infrastructure is required to attract quality players to Batumi.
What are the challenges here in this market?
The cost of table permits and licenses to operate casinos. Unregulated or uncoordinated commission schemes for players. And winter-season air connectivity.
Could you share any plans for future expansions or enhancements to the casino?
As we are a new property, our plan is to continue to work on improving our services, marketing and operations management.
www.casinolifemagazine.com 28 Feature: Otium
On the comeback trail
Macao’s casinos are here to stay.
Were there any doubt that Macao has returned with a vengeance, the first six days of August should have dispelled it. In that brief span of time, Macanese casinos raked in $400 million, putting the Chinese enclave on pace for almost $2.1 billion in gambling revenue in August alone.
Wrote J.P. Morgan analysts D.S. Kim and Mufan Shi, “While it’s tough to draw any meaningful trends from six-day data, this implies mass GGR is comfortably tracking at 90-percent-plus of the pre-Covid level.” They predict Macao will be at 100 percent by October … far sooner than anyone expected, even earlier this year.
Mass-market gamblers, the new bread and butter of Macao (75 percent of aggregate play), are outperforming the market. They averaged 92.5 percent of pre-Covid play in July and 87.5 percent in the second quarter overall, which shows how trends are waxing upward. One operator was so bullish he told a prominent Wall Street analyst that he could
By David McKee
achieve 2019 levels of cash flow at 70 percent hotel occupancy.
Even before the second-quarter figures had been tallied, erstwhile Macao skeptic turned optimistic Joseph Greff (also of J.P. Morgan) was markedly upbeat on the gambling metropolis. Based on advance estimates of the second quarter in the Macanese market, Greff projected VIP gaming revenue to end 50 percent higher than last year, while gross gaming revenue (GGR) from table games and slots is guided to a 30 percent increase.
Focusing specifically on Wynn Resorts, Greff wrote, “The lack of positive share price momentum since 1Q23 earnings season is, in our view, a buying opportunity for investors willing to ignore the noise and focus on the Macau GGR recovery.” Admittedly, the deepening chill in U.S.-China relations gave him pause. He warned, “The level of interest in Macau has waned more recently, given sentiment that has tilted more
29 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: Macao
negatively because of China macro/geopolitical-risk considerations and loss of share price momentum.”
When a stock analyst like Deutsche Bank’s Carlo Santarelli reports that, aside from Caesars Entertainment, non-China-facing operators have few other catalysts to go by, it signifies Macao’s once and future primacy among markets. “In terms of the stocks, we see the biggest upside/more favorable riskrewards in the Macau-centric equities,” as colleague Greff put it.
“We continue to believe the Macau operator complex offers the most compelling upside potential within the gaming operator group,” Santarelli wrote. He cited several factors, including the low valuation placed on Macao-based operators, as well as “catalysts from improving summer travel and better than expected margin performance.”
Good news in the numbers
There are several favorable metrics in the Macao story. Despite an antiquated airport, the enclave is seeing larger plane passenger loads in and out. Hotel rooms are returning to active inventory, after being long idled by Covid-19. Ferry travel into Macao is ramping up. Indeed, visitation has improved across the board.
“Despite the strengthening,” Santarelli noted of tourism, “management teams remain of the view that friction in the transportation system continues to serve as a considerable impediment. Airline capacity, ferry capacity, bus capacity from [Hong Kong], and airline-ticket prices, due in part to the limited capacity, were all noted as transportation-related bottlenecks in the system, which, while improving, remain a headwind to achieving 2019 visitor-volume levels.”
One company enjoying greater-than-usual market share since the pandemic is MGM Resorts International, whose two casinos have commandeered 15 percent of overall play. Former monopolist SJM Holdings, meanwhile, has sunk to last-place status at 12 percent, despite its plethora of casinos. It is likely to be hurt still further as thirdparty-operated, satellite casinos continue to be phased out, removing an old source of cash flow for SJM.
www.casinolifemagazine.com 30 Feature: Macao
High rollers wanted
One thing possibly hurting SJM more than other operators is its historical reliance on VIP play, a market dealt a double whammy by Covid and the Beijing government’s crackdown on currency flight into Macao. Even other, more prosperous operators are having to make do with less. At Wynn’s two Macanese casinos, VIP play is merely at 20 percent of pre-pandemic altitudes. While Greff peered into his looking glass and saw steady mass-market improvement, he held out no such hope for VIP custom.
This is despite hand-over-fist, exponential improvements in gambling revenue. From April 2022 to this year, it was up 449 percent. And it has galloped in sequential improvements as well, rising 16 percent from March to April. As Greff wrote to investors, “We continue to think that our thesis of all roads lead to Macau is very much intact, given steady, sequentially growing recovery that is still in its relatively early innings.”
While Greff has fought shy of putting “Buy” ratings on Macao-facing stocks, Santarelli was less hesitant. The analyst reiterated his Buy ratings on both Sands and MGM, noting a $1.4 billion increase in Macanese gambling revenue to date compared with the first two quarters of 2022, up to $5.7 billion. Santarelli stated
his conviction that, as access to Macao eases, massmarket revenues will continue to improve and that while win-per-visitor will slip from current elevations, VIP-derived revenue will surpass expectation.
Looking back on the second quarter, Santarelli predicted the ongoing recovery would take the form of two to three percent growth in the third quarter, followed by eight to 10 percent growth in the fourth. He also forecast that VIP play would remain volatile and that new products (such as Las Vegas Sands’ The Londoner and SJM’s Grand Lisboa Palace) had made little impact on relative market share.
It’s probably a good thing Sheldon Adelson and Stanley Ho are no longer around to hear that.
31 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: Macao
www.casinolifemagazine.com 32 Sports Betting Operator provides new product and technology features and the latest Sports Betting News, keeping Online gambling companies up to date with the fastest growing Gambling Sector in the world. www.sportsbettingoperator.com SPORTS BETTING OPERATOR 5 design services under one roof We create high quality design to satisfy your print and digital marketing needs We organise both the print and delivery of all products designed to remove any hassle on your part T 0330 223 0550 E email@example.com W www.de5ign.co.uk BrandDesign BrochureDesign DigitalDesign EventDesign MagazineDesign de 5 ign
Tbilisi Gaming Fest 2023 Highlights
The Tbilisi Gaming Fest, Georgia's premier casino business event, took place on September 15th and 16th at The Biltmore Hotel. This extraordinary business forum combined a conference, a demo zone, a party and other entertainment, including games.
33 Volume 19: Issue 160
Feature: Tblisi Gaming Fest
Supported by Grand Bellagio Casino Tbilisi, IGT and Otium Casino Batumi this year's event attracted representatives from major businesses in the gaming industry in Georgia and surrounding states. The demo zone showcased brands such as IGT, Gambee, CT Gaming, Digitain and others.
The conference, which focused on the development of the regional industry, was opened with a report from George Mamulaishvili, the chief administrator of the Georgian Gambling Association, about current business and legal trends in the regional gaming sector. Several panel discussions and presentations, featuring top managers from regional businesses, explored various aspects of the industry.
This is the second event of its kind in Georgia, organised by Plasma 8, a casino marketing company based in Tbilisi. Lavrenty Gubin, the director of Plasma 8, expressed his satisfaction with the results of the event, stating, "We are a truly independent conference and trade show in Georgia, specializing in the gaming industry. Our main goal is establishing a local, regular platform for regional operators to meet, and exchange knowledge and needs. Considering the growth factor of the gaming industry in Georgia, we hope to develop into a noticeable international gaming fair."
Many exhibitors and visitors of Tbilisi Gaming Fest 2023 praised the event's organization and expressed their anticipation for next year's edition.
More details available at the website of the Fest: https://TGF.ge
35 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: Tblisi Gaming Fest
George Mamulaishvili, Georgian Gambling Association
DRGT™ Launches its New Player App and an All-New Software Suite at G2E 2023
Jurgen De Munck and Alfredo Moreno discuss the company’s plans ahead of this year’s Las Vegas showcase
G2E and ICE remain your two key global showings each year. What can visitors to this year’s North American showcase look forward to seeing at Booth 4405?
Jurgen: As you know, whilst our company was established almost two decades ago in Belgium, we opened our Lima office in 2012, followed by offices in Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay as of 2017 – as a result, exhibiting at G2E became a given. It provides the perfect opportunity for us to engage with our extensive customer base in North and South America, as well as the Caribbean.
To the above end, much of what we will be launching
and exhibiting come 10 October is tailored to, and driven by, the needs of those customers and those markets.
Alfredo, you have been the managing director of DRGT™ Mexico since inception, and based on what I have read, you have been enjoying some serious inroads in your region, correct?
Alfredo: Yes indeed! Competition remains tough, but I'd like to think that we have been able to keep up and in many instances remain 'ahead of the pack' if not lead it. In fact, one of the new products we'll be launching at G2E was developed, initially anyway, with our market in mind.
Feature: DR Gaming Technology
Jurgen De Munck, CEO
That sounds interesting and comes back to my initial question: What can visitors to the Global Gaming Expo expect to see from DRGT™?
Alfredo: Well, as I am sure you are aware, in addition to our own casino management system and jackpot technology, we are also APEX Gaming's official distributor in Mexico – coincidentally a business also founded some 20 years ago, and a partnership that continues to go from strength to strength.
Jurgen: Yes and so much so that, by the time G2E gets underway, Alfredo's team would have installed their 1,000th APEX slot machine in the country; we’re also busy finalizing a distribution agreement with a second manufacturer, the details of which we are confident will also be finalized in time for our showing in Vegas.
Your association with APEX is an interesting one, but one that in my view makes 100 percent sense. Product and systems service providers working together – it's kind of a no brainer.
Jurgen: Agreed! We remain a technology company, and a software one at that, and so the association with APEX really works. We do our level best to jointly leverage one another's expertise to the benefit of both our customers, the operators, and in turn their customers: the players.
Our design mantra remains 'The Player First' and it is our unwavering commitment to that as a software technology developer (and hardware distributor) that drives specifically our technologydevelopment road map – a map that we believe will continue to yield significant value from a player engagement point of view and one that will also offer significant commercial value to operators.
Now I am intrigued – what do you mean?
Jurgen: As I said earlier, we are at our core a software company, one that is continuously looking to leverage its own skills, as well as the opportunities created by advances in technology to continue to create better, more efficient, and more enjoyable experiences for our players and the casino operators that service those players. The fun and excitement of slot (and table) games aside, players want to also be able to access the games easily, understand what jackpots within the games they are eligible for, view any bonuses, free play, vouchers or raffle tickets that may be due to them, and then redeem them there and then. They also want to be able to top-up their account and be able to cash out hassle-free.
37 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: DR Gaming Technology
Alfredo Moreno, Managing Director: Mexico
Outsource Digital Media Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 1892 740869 www.outsourcedigitalmedia.com Powering connections
They’re able to do all the above via our drScreenUltra 8.8-inch HD player interface. But I’ll let Alfredo tell you what they'll also be able to do on some new tech we've developed and will be launching at G2E.
Alfredo: Legislation in Mexico (and many other jurisdictions too) allows players to engage with slot machines directly, so to speak, and to fund their player accounts, and cash out from those player accounts to and from their personal bank accounts – much like any online transaction through the likes of Amazon or an online betting platform. It’s a truly cashless experience; the result: our drApp. It is an easily accessible, free application that links a player through the drApp on their smart phone to any slot machine on the casino floor via a dedicated QR code – as simple as that.
Very easy and user-friendly indeed, but does that mean that, going forward, operators will no longer need to purchase player-interface hardware?
Jurgen: Exactly that! Whilst we maintain that player cards will become a thing of the past in the not-toodistant future, and that at present a combination of cards and our app is probably the most player-centric option, what the drApp does is present a significant cost saving moving forward for any operator, one that we believe will set the trend for all suppliers in the future.
Alfredo: Although casino players are our consumers, our customers remain casino operators and as such our app has been extended to include operatorspecific functionality too, with the likes of playerspecific push notification functionality. This, in our view, should be a given, as well as geolocation
39 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: DR Gaming Technology
technology, tailored management tools and reports, staff-specific notifications, and even 'key off' functionality in respect of the likes of hand-pays and fault reparation.
The management reporting you refer to in your new app leverages the advances and developments made in both mobile, and web technology as referred to earlier, correct?
Alfredo: Yes, but please don't ask me about how it all works behind the scenes; for that I rely on our chief technology officer, Michiel van Dam and his team of developers. What I can say is that at G2E we will also be launching an updated suite of web-based software that is 100 percent responsive and accessible now from any mobile device; no need for any technical assistance or additional, PC-based hardware – it's all there (with a new look and feel too) in your back pocket.
Jurgen: Affording casino operators more time on their floor to engage with their players whilst having access to all relevant real-time reports and game-play data on their handheld device is our goal. No installations are required; it’s all there, on the Web, via their smart phone or tablet, and of course still via their desktop if need be.
Thanks gentlemen. In closing, any final comments ahead of October's show?
Jurgen: Maybe just the fact that in addition to the aforementioned new products our table jackpot games, cash-desk and cage technology, playerregistration, roaming cashier, media-management and tournament software solutions will also all be on show.
With that, travel safely and we'll see you in Vegas between 10 and 12 October
Alfredo: Indeed! Viaja con cuidado, nos vemos pronto en Las Vegas.
www.casinolifemagazine.com 40 Feature: DR Gaming Technology
SUZOHAPP to Present
Innovative Solutions to Enhance Player Experience at G2E
SUZOHAPP is excited to showcase its latest offerings at this year's Global Gaming Expo from October 9-12 at the Venetian Expo Center in Las Vegas. With over 60 years of industry expertise, SUZOHAPP is committed to delivering innovative solutions that cater to the ever-evolving needs of
the gaming and sports betting sectors, elevating the player’s experience to new heights.
At this year's G2E, SUZOHAPP is set to showcase its comprehensive suite of terminals, providing a complete and fully immersive sports betting experience from start to finish. The range includes full kiosk formats, tabletop options, over-the-counter
41 Volume 19: Issue 160 News: SuzoHapp
models and cash redemption terminals for payout. The highlight of the exhibit will be the cutting-edge SBT500+ bartop and SBT-2000 seated models, which offer an enhanced betting experience for all customers and help operators maximize their returns. Additionally, SUZOHAPP will be displaying the CountR CashIO Silver Cash Redemption Terminal, which provides a fast and easy self-service payout.
"The future of growth lies within the realm of retail, offering myriad benefits for businesses operating within this dynamic sector," said Todd Sims, vice president of sales for America. "By enhancing the in-play experience and fostering a social atmosphere, sportbooks can attract a wider audience to the world of sports betting and convert sports fans into enthusiastic sports bettors."
As the leading supplier to OEMs in the gaming industry, SUZOHAPP will be presenting innovative designs from its component portfolio. Attendees can expect to see monitors, toppers, and push buttons, coin validators and bill recyclers, as well as scanners and printing solutions. SUZOHAPP will also be displaying key examples of custom designs built for OEM manufacturers and will have engineers on site to
SUZOHAPP is a world leader in the manufacturing and distribution of gaming, amusement, and sports betting products. Serving operators and OEMs for over 60 years, SUZOHAPP carries a vast portfolio of components available for immediate distribution and for developing custom built solutions. More information, along with a comprehensive online components catalogue, is available at www.suzohapp.com
www.casinolifemagazine.com 42 Get Into Casino Life & Sports Betting Operator TV CEO’s, Owners and Senior Management at the World’s Leading Resort Casino and Sports Book Operators along with latest developments from manufactures and Suppliers along with Gaming Equipment and Systems providers
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Update Report on Gaming Legislation in Taiwan, Namibia, Tanzania and Uzbekistan
The legal treatment of gambling in Taiwan remains unchanged since its declaration as illegal in 1935 under the country’s criminal code.
Under the respective act, any form of games of chance except the lottery (run by the state itself) is not permitted. The lottery was legalized in 1951, not defined as a game of chance. Most recently, limited sports betting under the auspices of the state lottery has been permitted. Thus, both land-based and online gambling are not permitted in the the country, with sanctions for both the participants and the organizers.
The most recent legislative activity occurred in 2019, when the criminal code was amended in order to explicitly encompass online gambling under the existing prohibition on games of chance. There were also some activities with respect to potential
All forms of games of chance are illegal in Uzbekistan (a majority of the 35.5 million population is Muslim) since 1991 and the establishment of the country after the breakdown of the USSR, where games of chance were also outlawed at the time. The lottery was legalized in 2002, and the government authorized the National Bank of Uzbekistan to organize and conduct lotteries. As for the regional draws, they are conducted by specialized entities. All entities organizing lottery games are state-owned and as such hold a monopoly in each respective region.
After the new president took the office in 2021, the Uzbek authorities considered steps towards the legalization of sports betting and forming a legal betting area with shopping centers and tourist resorts. However, more recent information from the country states that the government took a step back in this process after consultation with local religious leaders and due to a lack of popular support. It was
legalization of land-based casinos in country’s offshore territories, but without progress to date.
also noted that the Uzbek government intends to take active measures against unlicensed gambling operators.
Notwithstanding this, players are currently not prosecuted for playing on international (unlicensed) gambling websites.
43 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: Legislation Report
Gambling has been legal in Tanzania since 1967. However, modern gambling was launched legally in Tanzania with the enactment of the Investment Promotion & Protection Act in 1992 and the Tanzania Investment Act in 1997. Currently, the main legislative act regulating games of chance in the country is the Gaming Act of Tanzania from 2003, as amended. Under this Gaming Act, a new and competent authority for licensing and supervision, the Gaming Board, was established. The Gaming Board is the sole authority for licensing in the country and may issue up to 18 licenses for various types of games-of-chance operators (e.g., casino, slot machines, sports betting and lottery operators).
Bearing in mind the size of the country (a population of approximately 62 million) and the fact that the Internet penetration rate was below 20 percent in 2014 (now rapidly increasing and as of 2022 over 50 percent) it is interesting to note that the first online gambling license was issued only in 2013, since this channel was not seen as feasible until 10 years ago. At
Gambling has been legal in Namibia since the 1960s. The current main piece of Namibian gambling legislation is the Gaming & Entertainment Control Act no. 13, enacted in 2018.
The competent authority for the licensing and supervisory activities is the Gaming Control Division within the Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Tourism (MEFT). The legal age for being able to participate in games of chance in the country is 21 years.
Since all forms of games of chance are legal in the country, there are currently six licensed, land-based casinos and several betting shops in the country. Organization of lottery games is a monopoly operated by the Namibia National Lottery, established only in 2022. As a curiosity with regard to the licensing system in Namibia, the Moratorium Act no. 28, enacted in 1996, still entails the temporary suspension of granting gambling-house licenses due to the fact that over 200 of these establishments operate in the county.
With regard to online gambling activities, only
the same time, an increasing number of Internet users makes the future for online operators quite bright.
In 2021, the Gaming Board of Tanzania released a draft code of conduct for gambling advertising and responsible gambling in the country, which aims to protect vulnerable groups. This draft shall apply to all licensed operators in the country and envisions, among other things, an advertising blackout between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., with the exception of specialized sport channels.
companies which are in possession of a brick-andmortar gambling license (or are in partnership with a licensed company) can organize Internet gambling in the country and accept players from Namibia.
Based on publicly available information on the MEFT website, the new Gaming &Entertainment Control Bill has been drafted and is under final scrutiny within the Ministry of Justice, to be discussed in parliament in the near future.
www.casinolifemagazine.com 44 Feature: Legislation Report
DISCLAIMER: Law Firm Anđelović, Siketić & Tomić d.o.o. wish to avoid inaccuracies and, whilst every precaution has been taken to ensure that information contained in this report is accurate, no liability is accepted for errors or omissions, however caused.
From Idea to Reality
Creating and funding an innovative business.
In the wake of stiff competition with new technologies, entrepreneurship began to be viewed as a potent catalyst for economic growth. This shift in perspective prompted governments worldwide to foster an enterprise culture, promoting entrepreneurship as a vehicle for driving economic progress and competition. But the entrepreneurial journey extends beyond the economic sphere. It often involves a complex interplay of values, fueled by an aspirational drive to create, innovate, and transform ideas into tangible realities. It's a journey marked by bold decisions, strategic risk-taking and, more often than not, a leap into the unknown.
However, by delving into the essentials of business models, investor relations and other valuable perspectives for those ready to embark on their entrepreneurial journey, the path to creating an innovative, successful business can be within reach.
Understanding Types of Business Models
It is important to know what’s your business model in order to start your business. Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen, renowned for his work on disruptive innovation, proposed three primary types of business models: Professional Services, Value-Adding and Platform. Each category offers a unique approach to creating, delivering and capturing value.
By Ramond Chan
The Professional Services model is heavily reliant on the skills, knowledge and expertise of individuals. Businesses operating under this model, such as consulting firms, law practices and healthcare providers, offer specialized services to their customers. Success in this model hinges on the professionals' ability to deliver high-quality, often personalized, services.
transforming inputs into useful outputs. This model is common in manufacturing industries, where raw materials are converted into finished goods. Retailers also fall under this category as they add value by making products available to consumers. The key to success in this model lies in optimizing operational efficiency and maintaining a robust supply chain.
Platform Business models, often seen in the technology sector, facilitate interactions between different user groups. They create value by enabling direct exchanges between these groups. For instance, ride-sharing apps connect drivers with passengers, while online marketplaces link sellers with buyers. The success of a platform business is typically driven by the network effect: The value of the platform increases as more users join.
If you're struggling to categorize your business model, it's likely an indication to return to the drawing board and reconsider the viability of your business concept. Another footnote to make is that while it is possible for businesses to incorporate elements from the Professional Services, Value-Adding Process and Platform models, it's often beneficial for early stage startups to concentrate on a single business model initially.
45 Volume 19: Issue 160 Feature: Raymond Chan
1. Professional Services
2. Value-Adding Process Businesses
Process businesses create value by
3. Platform Businesses
No matter what business model you adopt, always keep the fundamental questions at the heart of your business: What problem are you solving? Who is your target audience? How are you planning to address this problem? These questions form the crux of your business's purpose and strategy, and should be the guiding force behind your decision-making process.
Attracting potential investors involves more than just a strong business idea; it requires a compelling step-bystep model that showcases sustainable profitability, scalability and a clear market-growth strategy. Here are the basic elements that investors often find most attractive in a business model:
1. Recurring Revenue
A recurring-revenue model provides a predictable and stable stream of income, which is highly attractive to investors. This could come from subscriptionbased services, ongoing service contracts or repeat purchases from loyal customers. Recurring revenue assures investors of your business's financial stability and potential for long-term profitability.
2. High Retention Rate
Customer retention is another critical component that catches investors' eyes. A high customer-retention rate indicates customer satisfaction, which can lead to more repeat business and a strong reputation. It's also usually more cost effective to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones, improving your profit margins.
3. Network Effect
The network effect refers to the phenomenon whereby the value of a product or service increases with the number of users. This is often seen in platform-based businesses. As the user base grows, the platform becomes more valuable, creating a positive cycle of growth. This potential for rapid scale is highly attractive to investors.
4. Market Creation and Growth
Investors also look for clear market-creation and growth strategies. The Blue Ocean Strategy is a recommended read for understanding this concept. It's all about creating a new market space (Blue Ocean) rather than competing in an existing market
ABOUT RAYMOND CHAN
Raymond is a software engineer by profession with a track record in corporate innovation and entrepreneurship. He co-founded two prosperous startups, TGG Interactive and Global Gaming Group in Asia, where he served as director and CEO to lead the customer intelligence and electronic gaming businesses from 2007 to 2018. Earlier in his career, Raymond was a founding member of the business intelligence team at E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley and played a pivotal role in designing the TiVo customer intelligence system in Silicon Valley.
(Red Ocean). You have to clearly demonstrate how you plan to expand from your initial target market to the Serviceable Available Market (SAM) and finally to the Total Available Market (TAM).
5. Pricing Strategy
Pricing should not be merely about covering costs and securing profits; it should reflect the value you provide to your customers. The price of your product or service should be equivalent to its perceived value. This value-based pricing strategy can enhance your profitability and justify your prices to your customers.
The journey from idea to reality is complex and fraught with challenges. But with a clear understanding of business models, a strategy for attracting investors and a customer-centric approach, you can navigate this journey successfully. The entrepreneurial dream of creating an innovative business that not only survives, but thrives, is indeed within reach. Remember, your business is not just about how you make money –it's about how you create and deliver value to your customers. It's the foundation on which you build your innovative business.
www.casinolifemagazine.com 46 Feature: Raymond Chan
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