Canada's Premier Gaming Industry Magazine
Vol. 12 No. 3
THE BATTLE FOR THE
Casinos Gaining Ground
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Volume Number 12 No. 3
Chuck Nervick firstname.lastname@example.org 416.512.8186 ext. 227
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Canadian Gaming Business is published four times a year as a joint venture between MediaEdge Communications and The Canadian Gaming Association
MESSAGE FROM THE CGA
12 INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT
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Official Publication of the Canadian Gaming Summit
Security Operations “Yes, and…” Changing the perception of security and compliance
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The Battle for the Entertainment Dollar Casinos gaining ground as the integrated resort has arrived
Times of Change With new technology comes a new era of social responsibility
The Lottery Game Key insights on how Canadian approach lotteries
20 MARKETING 22
Always Engaging Redefining the entertainment experience
Gaming Industry Compensation Survey 2017
Fallsview Casino Resort
Rick Meitzler, President NOVOMATIC Americas Sales
2017 GAMING INDUSTRY AWARDS
2017 Award Winner Profiles
Canadian Gaming Business | 3
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Transforming an Industry IT’S NO SECRET to anyone involved in the Canadian gaming industry that, as Bob Dylan, once sang, “the times, they are a changin.’” As consumer preferences and demographics continue to shift and technology and social media disrupt decades-old ways of engaging the gaming public, our industry is undergoing a transformation of unprecedented proportions. One of the most profound changes has been the development of what is now known as the “integrated resort,” where the hunt for more customers has shifted from the gaming floor to other modern casino amenities such as live music and theatre, dining and even e-sports. Much more obvious to everyone these days is the fact that no longer are casinos competing against other casinos and online gaming options; they are also locked in a protracted battle for the consumer dollar with just about every other entertainment option out there. Gaming facilities have now become all-encompassing entertainment destinations. In this issue’s in-depth cover story, the authors from Ipsos provide a thoughtful analysis of the above transformation and the ensuing challenges and benefits of such industry diversification. In addition to the above comprehensive coverage of one of our industry’s most significant trends, this issue is once again replete with a full slate of timely and topical features and profiles including: • How gaming organizations such as BCLC are helping to change the perception of security operations; • Why new technology is ushering in a new era of social responsibility; • An analysis of industry compensation and salaries that shines a light on how companies are attracting the cream of the crop; • Award winner profiles from the 2017 Canadian Gaming Summit in Vancouver.
Finally, editor Michael Lipton and his team have provided yet another amazing issue of Canadian Gaming Lawyer as a bonus for our Fall issue. From a look at the state of First Nations gaming in Canada to profiles of the IMGL Regulators of the Year, Canadian Gaming Lawyer has all of the legal bases covered. And, as always, if you have any feedback or future story ideas, feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com. For sponsorship or advertising opportunities, be sure to contact our Publisher Chuck Nervick at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, enjoy the issue! Sean Moon Managing Editor, Canadian Gaming Business
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Canadian Gaming Business | 5
A Time of Renewal
BY PAUL BURNS, INTERIM PRESIDENT AND CEO, CANADIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION
THE CANADIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION (CGA) was founded in 2005 out of a need for the gaming industry to have a fair and balanced public image based on facts. The industry association was established to promote greater education and advocacy of our industry’s contribution to communities and governments across Canada. I have been fortunate to be part of Canada’s gaming industry for almost 20 years, from my first introduction as a senior policy advisor to the Ontario minister responsible for gaming and getting Ontario’s charity casino model and slots-at-racetrack program off the ground, to having helped create and launch the CGA. I have seen both the challenges and strengths of our industry first hand, and I have had the opportunity to work with some of the finest gaming professionals in our industry. It has given me a keen understanding of what the Canadian gaming industry is facing as I take over the role of President and CEO of the CGA. More than 10 years after the CGA was founded, it is satisfying to look back on what we accomplished: from producing the industry’s first national reports on VLT gaming as well as the economic impact of gaming in Canada, to fostering greater acceptance of gaming in communities across the country as demonstrated thorough our community leaders study. REVIEWING THE CGA MANDATE
However, we’d be remiss if we ignored the need to review our mandate, as the gaming industry has evolved over the past decade and the landscape has shifted. Given the leadership transition that was about to take place at the association, the CGA’s Board of Directors (Board) felt the time was right to embark upon a strategic renewal process. At the Board’s request, I spent the past several months travelling across the country, meeting with regulators, lottery corporation officials, and stakeholders to find out if the CGA was still relevant, and how we could be better partners to advance common agendas. The feedback and honest advice was well received, and in addition to being informative, they will help shape the CGA’s new strategic plan. This experience also re-affirmed my desire to operate with a more focused agenda, one that continues to adhere to our basic tenets (CGA as facilitator and advocate at the federal 6 | Fall 2017
level, promoting public acceptance of gaming and using research and facts to tell the industry’s story) while acknowledging that the Canadian gaming industry will be influenced by a broader, more diverse group of stakeholders in the next 10 years. The CGA is not a large association, so working with others, as partners, is imperative. The CGA’s ability to foster formalized relationships with partners will underpin much of the work we do, as we seek ways to help the industry innovate. The inescapability of the virtual gaming world is now dictating the reinvention and repurposing of traditional games, facilities, and channels to meet the expectations of the ever-growing online community that represents the next generation of gamers. The CGA is keenly aware of the need to encourage the innovation of our products, spaces, and technology. I’m excited about the work already underway with the Innovator’s Launchpad, and look forward to updating you soon. CHANGES ON THE HORIZON
As we move forward new products will be rolled out, starting with an updated and refreshed website at www.canadiangaming.ca. We will continue to review the Canadian Gaming Summit, our communications channels, and our membership offerings. And there is still a lot of work to do on our national education initiative. I’m grateful to Bill Rutsey for helping the association advance that project during the final few months of this year. Bill has been a valued a friend and trusted colleague, and I would like to extend my thanks to him for his valuable contributions to Canada’s gaming industry and his continued support of the CGA. I will be reaching out as the months go by, both to update you and to continue consulting on our progress. It is an honour be appointed President and CEO of the CGA and I’d like to thank Bob Parente, the CGA’s Chair, and the other members of the Board, for their support and encouragement. Finally, thank you to everyone who took time to speak with me and share feedback; your insight has helped to shape the strategic plan, and will form our roadmap for years to come. Paul Burns Interim President and CEO
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THE BATTLE FOR ENTERTAINMENT We’ve come a long way from the days of “dinner and a movie.” People have more entertainment options to choose from today than they ever have, which means the battle for business in the entertainment industry has never been so complex and hard-fought. As the Millennial generation continues to supplant the Gen Xers at the forefront of consumer demand, the needs of the entertainment market are changing quickly. The toll was loud and clear for casinos to adapt — not just to the evolving needs of their players, but to that of non-players as well. To remain a viable competitor in the battle for the entertainment dollar, the casino industry has reformed and expanded its identity, now offering a relatively vast, encompassing portfolio of amenities; fine dining, bars and lounges, theatrical and musical concerts, hotel and spa accommodations, to name a few. This expansion of amenities found in today’s casinos was documented, discussed, and detailed in the Winter 2016/2017 issue of Canadian Gaming Business magazine; the days of the gamblers-only card bunkers are in the rearview, and the “integrated resort” has arrived. With the ultimate hope of expanding beyond traditional gaming revenue streams, the casino industry set out to gain greater relevance and recognition as entertainment destinations. Facilities were built. Amenities were added. Doors were open. The question is: Has it worked? Casinos today undoubtedly are offering a greater variety of entertainment options; to say that they better resemble 8 | Fall 2017 8 | Fall
“entertainment destinations” now is an objective fact. But is that how they are perceived by the masses? Continuously collecting data from the general population in a Canadian province since October 2012, Ipsos has analyzed years’ worth of data to infer public perception and behavior when it comes to their entertainment options, and how these have shifted over extended periods of time. Compared to nearly a half decade ago, people desire different things with their entertainment dollar in 2017. They realize their entertainment options have evolved, and ultimately have re-shaped their wallet to reflect their reshaped menu. *The data presented in this article will be measured either on a quarter-over-over basis (using Q1’18 for current data, being the most recent full quarter) or on a year-over-year basis (using FY2017 for current data comparisons, being the most recent full fiscal year). “WHEN PLANNING A NIGHT OUT WITH OTHER ADULTS, WHICH ENTERTAINMENT OPTIONS WOULD YOU CONSIDER?”
Ipsos has asked the above question to residents of the jurisdiction since the winter of 2012. Analyzing our data collected from then to now, we find that there are significantly more residents now
BY JASON ALLSOPP, ETHAN BONDAR AND PAUL LAUZON
considering the casino as an entertainment option. In FY2017, when planning a night out with friends, one-in-six (16%) residents would consider this option; a substantial increase from the 12% observed in FY2014. As mentioned above, casinos across the continent have been making hearty efforts to shed their one-dimensional identities as merely places for gamblers to go roll the dice, and have adopted new identities as multifarious, socially minded entertainment destinations. Several years now into the industry wide transition, it has become evident that these efforts have succeeded in at least one measure: Casinos are now more relevant to a greater spread of people. Dining out at restaurants remains the most common entertainment option considered by residents, despite having gone from 57% of the population considering this option in FY2014 to 54% in FY2017. Theatre/live shows (20% to 16%) and sports/sporting events (13% to 11%) have also decreased significantly since FY2014, while concerts/live music has remained relatively stable during this time. A PARADOX OF CHOICES
Pairing these downward shifts with the incline in casino consideration produces a thought-provoking result: Dining out, live shows, and sports viewing are all major non-gambling amenities offered at these re-tooled, re-integrated casinos, yet fewer people now consider these entertainment options than they did before. How could that be when casinos are becoming more relevant largely because they now offer amenities such as these? As facilities like casinos have started to offer such a multitude of entertainment options under the same roof, it could be the case that fewer people now consider these options as stand-
Casinos gaining ground as the integrated resort has arrived alone activities; after all, why stop for a slice when you have the whole pie across the street? Casinos have succeeded thus far in raising their level of relevance to the public, but the standard for these facilities has been elevated in the process. These allencompassing facilities have raised the bar for entertainment, and the bar will rise still; today’s battle for the entertainment dollar offers no time for laurel resting - the casino industry must constantly continue to improve their offerings to remain on the path to the tops of minds. GAMING ENGAGEMENT
More people today are considering the casino as an entertainment option when planning a night out with friends, but are more people actually visiting these casinos now? Do their entertainment dollars end up in different pockets than they did in years past? Short answer: Yes. Our data does indeed indicate that past year visitation to a casino to spend money on “gambling, food, or entertainment” has risen, with two fifths (41%) of the adult population having visited a casino in the past year; a sharp increase from the 35% reported in FY2014. Visitation to a Community Gaming Centre to spend money on gambling, food, or entertainment has also increased from 22% of the population to 27% in that time. Not only are more people visiting these facilities, but they are spending more dollars when they visit as well; the stated average monthly spend on casino and gaming centre visits has increased since FY2014 from $86 to $114 and $48 to $71, respectively. Past year participation in Internet gambling (16% to 23%), sports betting online (13% to 18%), and horseracing (6% to Canadian Gaming Business Business | 9 | 9
coverstory 12%) has also increased from FY2014 to the beginning of FY2018. Those who do participate in these activities are also now spending more when doing so; stated mean monthly spend for Internet gambling and sports betting online has also increased since FY2014 from $40 to $48 and $27 to $39, respectively. Among those who participate in them, g ambling activ ities now account for nearly a quarter (24%) of their monthly entertainment budget. This accounted for one f i f t h (2 0 %) of t he aver a g e entertainment budget in FY2014. Growth in gambling’s share of the entertainment budget is largely driven specifically by the increase in budget share of casinos (from 7% to 10% since F Y2014) and gaming centres (from 2% to 3%). A MORE INVOLVED PROVINCE
The recent jolt observed in participation and spend at casinos/gaming centres and on other gambling activities leads us to realize two things: 1. As these facilities focus on offering a broader menu of entertainment options (both gaming and nongaming), casino visitors are expanding their budget to participate in more activities. Rather than substituting and re-allocating their casino budget to try these new amenities, they are spending incrementally to ensure they can sufficiently bask in the wide array of offerings. In 2017, when going to a casino for a night out with friends, visitors now ex pect a more inclusive, more enveloping experience, and they are willing to expand their budget to achieve that. 2. There is a g reater w illing ness to participate in gambling activities now compared to f ive years ago. Perhaps this is due to having more available gambling options to choose from, both online and off, allowing more residents to make more educated choices when it comes to deciding whether to participate in gambling activities. This heightened sense of awareness and education could also be due to casinos being so available to different people now; a more diverse spread of customers entering these facilities may be resulting in greater exposure for the gaming options themselves, and a more accepting public eye. Undoubtedly, there will always be many forces at play, but the fact remains that there are more players now than there were five years ago, more entertainment options for non-playing visitors to choose from at the 10 | Fall 2017
casino, and ultimately, a population who is more involved in the gaming universe. “THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE”
Interestingly, the proportion of residents who claim to have paid for admission to entertainment in the past year has decreased from 83% in FY2014 to 79% at the start of FY2018. The battle for the entertainment dollar is cutthroat; many facilities nowadays offer a plethora of entertainment activities like concerts and other live shows at discounted costs, or no cost at all. Perhaps for some this has spawned an expectation of complimentary entertainment, thus inherently devaluing the options that require an admission fee. This shift in behavior is reflected in the average share of entertainment budget for paid admission events, which has decreased from 10% in FY2014 to 8% in FY2017. CONTENT CONSUMPTION
Another noteworthy shift observed over this period involves content consumption. The way people consume media content for their entertainment has changed with the state of available technology, as more people now are entertaining themselves with downloads of movies (50% during FY2018 from 43% in FY2014), PC/console video games (31% from 21%), and mobile device games (26% from 18%). Stated past month spend of these options have also increased significantly for each of these options since FY2014 ($24 to $29, $33 to $42, and $17 to $27, respectively). The share of the average entertainment budget owned by mobile device games has also doubled since then, trending up from 1% share to 2%. MOVING FORWARD
People’s preferences for entertainment not only have changed, but are now changing more dynamically than ever as the technology around us continues to develop at an exponential rate. A chicken-or-egg-like debate could be raised here between people’s entertainment preferences and the options available to them. Whether necessity has mothered invention, or vice versa, this increased rate of change must not go unnoticed by the gaming industry. Though casinos are achieving
greater recognition now as general entertainment destinations, and have succeeded thus-far in capturing the pulse of a market as it spins onto its new axis, they must continue to change and adapt alongside the wants and needs of their consumers. This is the great challenge and opportunity moving forward, and remains the key to the gaming industry advancing further in the battle for the entertainment dollar. METHODOLOGY
These are findings from a Ipsos Lottery & Gaming study conducted continuously from October 2012 to present day. For the survey, a sample of n≥3000 from a Canadian jurisdiction are continuously interviewed online each fiscal year using a 20-minute online questionnaire. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 1.8 percentage points. For more information about credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos Public Affairs section of our website [http://www.ipsos-na.com/ dl/pdf/research/publicaffairs/ IpsosPA_ CredibilityIntervals.pdf] at www.ipsos-na. com. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. About the Authors Jason Allsopp is a Vice President with Ipsos’ Lottery & Gaming practice. Based in Vancouver, Jason is part of the team of research experts dedicated to serving the market research needs of lottery and gaming organizations across Canada and the United States. Jason can be contacted at jason. firstname.lastname@example.org or 778.373.5035. Ethan Bondar is a Research Analyst with Ipsos’ Lottery & Gaming practice. Based in Vancouver, Ethan is helps manage key accounts across Canada and the United States, and is dedicated to serving the market research needs of organizations throughout the industry. He can be contacted at ethan. email@example.com or 778.373.5048. Paul Lauzon is Senior Vice President and Managing Director with Ipsos Reid and head of the firm’s Lottery & Gaming practice that employs more than 10 full time lottery researchers. Based in Calgary, Paul leads the team of research experts dedicated to serving the market research needs of lottery and gaming organizations across Canada and the United States. Paul can be contacted at paul. firstname.lastname@example.org or 403.294.7386.
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“YES, AND…” Changing the perception of security and compliance in the B.C. gaming industry BY KEVIN SWEENEY
“We can’t do that.” “Can you imagine the security risk around that?” “There’s no way we can move forward with that proposal.” How many of us are familiar with those comments? WE KNOW THEM all too well because we have heard similar statements from our colleagues in the security, compliance and/ or legal fields within our organizations. Individuals who work in the security and compliance fields have been told they are the “no” department, the “you can’t do that” division, the “that’s not going to work” unit and may have even been referred to as the “no fun police.” At BCLC we have been on a journey for over a year to change this perception within our Corporate Security and Compliance Division.
distribution of employees. Professionals in this division are based in the head office in Kamloops, the corporate office in Vancouver or located throughout the province in various jurisdictions and work with our business partners in casinos, community gaming centres, commercial bingo halls and lottery retail outlets. The work we do brings us in contact with our internal business units, casino service providers, lottery retailers, vendors, regulators, law enforcement, players and the public.
FOCUSED ON SERVICE
BCLC’s Cor porate Secur it y and Compliance division has worked hard over the past year to change the culture within our division. Our division wanted to continue to ensure we enabled the business lines and supported revenue generation while being the ones that come up with innovative solutions that look far beyond the situation and help BCLC achieve our vision. We have developed principles that incorporated a change in language, how we conduct meetings, how we converse with one another and how we can continue to build relationships with our allies in and out of the organization. Not convinced? Well, we take this approach so seriously that we’ve put a name to our philosophy. We call it “Yes, and…” We wanted to develop a name to easily remind us of what we are trying to achieve
The B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is a Crown corporation of the province of British Columbia, which has been in business since 1985. We deliver gambling entertainment for adults and create revenue for government programs. The Corporate Security and Compliance Division is made up of compliance officers, security specialists, investigators, lawyers, analysts, and risk and privacy professionals. Ours is primarily a service division, which supports seven other divisions, three of which are revenue generating (lottery, casino and online gaming). They are continuously looking for us to be more agile, less bureaucratic and frequently require speed to market. Like much of BCLC, Corporate Security and Compliance has a geographic 12 | Fall 2017
and to hold one another accountable within our own division. Have you ever been to a theatre sports performance? In improv theatre, “Yes, and …” is a technique that works like this: No matter what the other actor says to you, instead of negating, belittling, disagreeing or denying, you respond by saying “Yes, and…” and expand on the premise, idea or line of thinking. This makes for collaboration, creativity and teamwork and keeps the conversation going in a positive direction. It is reverse thinking to the “No, but…” approach. For example, one actor might say, “We’re stranded on a deserted island with only a can opener and a fidget spinner and we need to escape.” If the other actor says, “Yes, and…we can use the can opener to make logs to build a raft…” the scene keeps going. Conversely, if the other actor says, “No, we don’t have any tools, and besides which, a raft will probably sink…” the scene is done. LEADS TO ROADBLOCKS
The same thing can happen in a business conversation. “No” means an impasse or dead end and can also be an invitation to go around or skirt the process. The primary objectives of “Yes and…” are: • Thoroughly understanding the business need and desired outcome.
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Through “ Yes, and…” we wanted to promote being interested and curious and have colleagues bring a positive mindset to the table. As we at BCLC instilled the “Yes, and…” approach within our culture, it was important that people understood that this didn’t mean we suddenly would start agreeing with and approving everything. There was, and will still be, conflict and issues to work through but with this new positive mindset we hoped that creative solutions to various problems would be brought to the table. It also does not mean that our division will say or write the actual words “Yes, and…” for the technique to work. It is a mindset to create a more positive environment and to challenge people to come up with creative solutions where they once may have said no. “Yes, and…” is a mindset and by adopting this mindset, we shifted towards a more positive environment in many ways: • Fostering relationships • Finding new approaches to problem solving • Challenging processes that could serve us better • Learning through listening • Developing respect • Being open to the ideas and points of view of others Our colleagues and business partners have seen continued support from our division for products and initiatives driven by our commitment of coming to the table with the philosophy of, “Yes, and… how are we going to get there together.” Fostering and promoting a culture of security and compliance, so that BCLC meets or exceeds its legal, regulatory and social responsibility obligations, does not ever mean we have to accept being bureaucratic. It is also not inevitable that being compliant, secure and operating with integrity leads to barriers. The challenge we put forward to the staff within the BCLC Corporate Security and Compliance Division was to deliver on compliance and security while being fully aligned with, and supporting, the business goal and priorities of the organization. “Yes, and….” reminds of this and will continue to help us deliver on this commitment and the Corporate Security and Compliance Division at BCLC is up for that challenge. Kevin Sweeney is the Director, Security, Privacy and Compliance at BCLC. He leads the development and execution of security, privacy and compliance strategies and programs, threat assessment and asset protection practices to mitigate loss, litigation risk and the overall protection of the BCLC brand. Kevin also sits on the Board of Directors for the Gaming Security Professionals of Canada (GSPC) as the Vice President/Secretary Treasurer. The GSPC is a not-for-profit organization representing major gaming organizations from British Columbia to Nova Scotia. Their goal is to facilitate the safety, security and integrity of the Canadian gaming industry as well as to provide a forum and platform for members to communicate, educate and share best practices. For more information visit: www.gspc.ca or www.bclc.com
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R2 GAMING Proud to be Canadian
R2 Gaming Inc. (R2) is a Canadian-based company specializing in product sales and technical services to the gaming and lottery industry across Canada. R2 was started by two Canadian gaming professionals, Ravi Sharma and Rocco DiPaola, with the company roots spanning back to 1998 in lottery and 2005 for casino gaming. AT THE ONSET, R2 strategically partnered with Konami Gaming Inc., a subsidiary of the world-renowned entertainment developer Konami Holdings Corporation of Osaka, Japan, with a mission to expand the Konami product offering throughout the Canadian market. Konami products at the time represented less than two per cent of the Canadian market share. With a passion for building lasting strategic partnerships, and providing world-class solutions and products, the owners spent the first five years building their reputation and fostering close relationships with their customers and partners, while taking the time to understand market needs across all provinces. The two worked tirelessly to augment Konami’s market share to over 14 per cent in the first seven years and now at over 20 per cent in many provinces. R2 went on to partner with JCM, a leader in innovative transaction technologies and solutions in banking, finance, gaming, kiosks, retail, transportation and vending where speed and accuracy are essential. Today R2 is Canada’s official distributor of all JCM products including printer technologies, cash handling, system and digital media solutions. In July of 2017, R2 announced its partnership with Jackpot Digital as their exclusive distributors for the Canadian market. Jackpot Digital is an industry leading designer, developer and manufacturer of electronic table games and mobile games for casinos, cruise ships and online operators. 16 | Fall 2017
“CRADLE TO THE GRAVE” CUSTOMER SERVICE PHILOSOPHY
R2 believes that when customers partner with the R2 brand, they can expect service and quality, every step of the way. This philosophy and culture is taught and expected from every team member regardless of title. As the R2 brand grows, the company will continue to reinforce this philosophy. R2 prides itself in its strong customer and vendor partnerships and in delivering on its customer service promise. “We consider ourselves to be an extension of our client’s business operations, and how they rely on us for their success,” the company says. In 2016, R2 acquired LV I (Lang Ventures Inc.), a technical services company providing field service, depot repair and logistics services for electronic gaming equipment in lotteries and casinos. This acquisition strategically added to R2’s existing infrastructure, providing an additional three locations in Western Canada to service the gaming industry. Additionally, this acquisition expanded R2’s presence into the lottery vertical of gaming. THE FUTURE OF R2
R2 is growing and is recognized across Canada as a brand that delivers a consistent and exceptional customer experience. The company has expanded its infrastructure in every facet of its business from sales, technical service, warehousing facilities and administration in order to support its growth. As customer needs and priorities
emerge, R2 will continue to invest in the areas needed to support the customer, including investigating new products and verticals. R2 has also invested significantly in its management and customer support teams to create the bench strength necessary to support and sustain this growth. Recent additions to the management team include Sam Constantino, VP of Sales and Business Development, who joined R2 with over seven years at Konami. Constantino’s other experiences include Senior VP and Head of Revenue for a technology company, and managerial positions providing enterprise software solutions for the hotel and retail markets. The most recent addition is Bobby Martines joining as Vice President of Product Development. With over 11 years in enterprise-level retail and gaming pointof-sale solutions, Martines is a business development leader skilled in building and mentoring organizations to consistently deliver exceptional results. As it grows, R2 is proud to remain a Canadian owned and operated business. The company looks forward to continually raising the bar on its already high quality of service while, at the same time giving something back in every community where it does business — be that by employment or community improvement initiatives.
TIMES OF CHANGE
With new technology comes a new era of social responsibility
BY SUNIL MISTRY
Governments, citizens and operators all want responsible gaming. Will new technologies make that vision a reality? CANADIAN GAMING authorities and operators have always been at the forefront of socially responsible gaming. We maintain and enforce clear policies regarding advertising, minors and problem gamblers. Our provincial authorities were early adopters of selfexclusion approaches. Our operators were quick to shift from enforcing selfexclusion to instead focus on providing assistance to those within the programs. NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Now, a new ph a se of t he socia l responsibility journey may be on the horizon, enabled by new technologies and unparalleled access to data. And Canadian gaming operators have an opportunity to be at the forefront. Consider, for example, how operators and gaming authorities might use visual identification software to spot problem gamers, cheaters and self-excluded patrons as they enter or log on to gaming facilities. Or how RFID sensors and Bluetooth-enabled beacons could be used to track players and send out alerts to players who might be nearing their limits. In the future, gaming authorities and operators will likely also find ways to leverage data and analytics to improve
their responsible gaming activit y. Casinos already collect reams of data on their patrons as part of their regular KYC and AML processes. Applying an algorithm that assesses a player’s wealth, spending patterns, debt levels and risk may help gaming authorities spot problems before they occur. W h i le fe w g a m i n g aut hor it ie s are currently considering (let alone developing) these approaches, there are signs that Canada’s gaming sector may have an opportunity to take the lead when it comes to technological innovation in social responsibility. Our technology sector is vibrant and keen to identify new growth opportunities. Our leadership in key areas such as IoT (Internet of Things), wearables and mobile are world recognized. And our gaming sector is stable and profitable. BALANCING PRIORITIES
The problem, of course, is not the availability of technology or a lack of interest. It’s that gaming authorities and operators must walk a fine line between protecting patrons and intruding on their privacy and rights. Opt-in programs offer the clearest approach to maintaining that balance. But making sure they are appropriate and robust
while remaining in line with consent agreements will be a challenge. I n t h i s e n v i r o n m e nt , g a m i n g authorities and operators may want to start think ing about how they might enhance current technolog y controls and governance in order to support future social responsibility opportunities. The reality is that it will take time, patience and lots of collaboration with patrons, rights groups and government ombudsmen to develop a consistent and accepted approach to technologyenabled social responsibility in the gaming sector. To remain a leader, Canadian organizations may want to start considering the implications today. Sunil Mistry, CPA, CA, is an Audit Partner and leads K PMG Canada’s National Lottery and Gaming practice. His clients include the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Casino Niagara, Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort and Caesars Windsor and the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation. Sunil is also a member of KPMG’s International Gaming and Lottery practice, taking part in calls and bringing best practices to and from other jurisdictions. For more information, visit www.kpmg.com. Canadian Gaming Business | 17
THE LOTTERY GAME
Key insights on how Canadians approach lotteries BY SIMON JAWORSKI
The Canadian lottery market continues to evolve, and in June of this year, Simon Jaworski, President of Leger (USA) and head of their Lottery and Gaming research division, presented some key research findings at the Canadian Gaming Summit. This article summarizes some of the key strategic insights, based upon a pan-Canada research piece among more than 1,500 Canadians, on their thoughts, actions, purchase habits and motivations for lottery play. SPENDING TRENDS
According to our survey, past-month Lotto Max players are spending less than past month Lotto 6/49 players compared to a year ago while Baby Boomers report they’re the age group driving lower spending. Among provinces, Western Canada players (self-reported) are showing the greatest decline in year over year Lottery spend. Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max were played at similar rates in the past month and past week among Canadians. Almost three-quarters of Canadians who have played in the past month also played in the past week, indicating a high level of loyalty for both games. LOTTERY MESSAGING
Based on the survey responses, the main reason for playing the lottery in Canada is “for a chance to win a life-changing amount of money.” This is driven by those spending more on lottery than a year ago, and also the heavier spending lottery players. This phrase, along with, “so I can dream big about what I would do if I won big,” could be used more frequently in advertising and marketing campaigns, with this latter message resonating more with British Columbians than players in other provinces. BRINGING BACK LAPSED PLAYERS
More than half of lapsed players are unaware lottery tickets can be purchased online, while one in five lapsed players would be likely to purchase games if they were available at the checkout lane of retail and grocery stores. Alluding to a larger issue, nearly 40 per cent of Canadians are unaware that lottery games can be purchased online. These numbers skew higher among females and, perhaps more surprisingly, among Millennials. CANADIAN LOTTERY FUTURE PLAY MIRRORS THE USA
Nearly two in three Canadians cite they will definitely or probably purchase lottery games in the next six months. Atlantic Lottery is in the strongest position at 72 per cent, with the greatest opportunity existing among Western Canada players. Male players are significantly more likely than female players to buy lottery tickets when the jackpots are high, while females are more likely to buy 18 | Fall 2017
lottery games on a whim. In addition, Millennials are significantly more likely than older players to purchase spontaneously. LOTTERY AND RETAIL
For one in seven Canadians, lottery is their sole purpose for taking a trip to the store. This is driven by higher numbers in both Atlantic Lottery Corporation and Quebec, while players in Western Canada are least likely to travel to a retail store with lottery as their sole purpose. Similar to the USA, convenience stores are the primary channel for purchasing lottery games in Canada, followed by gas stations and grocery stores, although there are some strong regional differences. There appears to be an opportunity for expansion into different lottery retail channels across each province, especially convenience stores in the Atlantic or British Columbia regions. When asked about avenues for future lottery purchase, more than half of Canadians indicate they would be more likely to purchase lottery games if they were available at a front-end checkout lane in a grocery store. This is a truly amazing number, especially considering 20 per cent of players buy most often in a grocery store. COMPETITIVE THREATS
Among past-six-months casino players, one in 10 cite they are spending more money in a casino, while lowering their lottery spend. Furthermore, and this is similar to trends in the USA, Canadian Millennials are twice as likely to have lowered their lottery spend than both Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers by playing in casinos. A quarter of Canadians have gambled in a casino in the past six months, while one in five has entered a raffle. However, and perhaps surprisingly, twice as many past-month Lotto 6/49 players cite spending more at a casino but less on lottery than past-month Lotto Max players. Gambling activities pose a threat to lottery purchase, especially among heavy spenders, who are generally significantly more likely than their cohorts to partake in several gambling activities
lotteryoperations including betting on sports events, playing cards and gambling on the Internet. FINAL THOUGHTS AND POTENTIAL OPPORTUNITIES
Leger’s lottery research spans much more than the highlights presented here, but six key issues should be at the forefront of the Canadian provincial lotteries and their partners in this everevolving marketplace. 1. Canada, similar to the United States, appears to be falling behind in developing effective methods with which to engage three key growth groups; Millennials, non-players and lapsed players. The industry as a whole should examine more closely whether social media is being used effectively enough to communicate online and regular lottery play. 2. One potential way to close this gap with non and lapsed players is the opportunity to provide lottery tickets at the front-end checkout lane in a grocery store. Based on Leger’s research, this potential lottery sales avenue resonates with more than half of Canadians, specifically Loto-Quebec and Ontario players, as well as the key group of lapsed players and light spenders. Big box stores and dollar stores could also be examined at as potential lottery outlets. However, grocery checkouts appear to have the highest potential. 3. Different jackpot amounts trigger different responses across the provinces. The individual provincial lotteries should be creative with their Lotto Max and Lotto 6/49 messaging, as $50-millionplus plays heavier in Quebec, Ontario and Western Canada than the other provinces. Based upon research in the USA, lottery needs to remain at the forefront of people’s minds in
their daily lives. Any lottery news in the mass media is usually seen as good news! 4. Western Canada has the greatest potential among the five provinces to both increase playership and future likelihood to play. One of the key factors that could help drive this is the fact that a prize level of “$1,000 per day for life” is preferred to a “$7 million lump-sum win” in Western Canada. 5. There appears to be a sizeable opportunity to expand the education of online ticket purchase availability, in a number of the key provinces. 6. Finally, putting aside the notable difference in the cost of the ticket, the elephant in the lottery room still appears to be one burning question: How can Canadian lotteries differentiate Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max enough to entice players to cross play more regularly? The survey was conducted by Leger, with 1,529 respondents, 18 years of age or older, among the Canadian population from May 29 through May 31, 2017. Data was balanced and weighted to statistically represent the country by age, gender, region, education and kids in the HH based on the Canadian Census. Based on this sample size, the results carry a margin of error of approximately ± 2.1% at the 90% confidence level.
Simon Jaworski is President, Leger (USA). Simon has conducted lottery and gaming research for 22 of the 44 U.S. State Lotteries, and in 14 different countries, while his company Leger has conducted lottery and gaming studies across Canada, and owns the largest and most accurate consumer panel in Canada. For more information, contact Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-558-1019.
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Canadian Gaming Business | 19
ALWAYS ENGAGING Redefining the entertainment experience
BY PATRICK WATSON
Experts are divided as to the number of marketing messages consumers are exposed to on a daily basis; some say over 3,000 while others have recently claimed that it is closer to 10,000. Whatever the number, marketing ‘noise’ has become significant enough that standing out and grabbing a meaningful amount of mindshare has become the most challenging task for marketers today. THIS BARRAGE OF INFORMATION means that captivating consumers and generating loyalty is more challenging than it has ever been. However, as comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said, “This whole idea of an attention span is, I think, a misnomer. People have an infinite attention span if you are entertaining them.” Therefore, it is no longer enough for a casino to provide wonderful ambience, high-quality games and a strong brand. Engaging consumers all the time, whether they are playing or not, is what makes the difference between a player with a short attention span for your brand and a loyal one that keeps that same brand top of mind. 20 | Fall 2017
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A PLAYER PLAYS?
Casinos are incredibly adept at providing a thrilling guest experience. Bright lights, sounds, friendly service, attractions, and the chance of winning the jackpot make for a unique value proposition matched by few entertainment options. Unfortunately, when players leave, the exhilaration dissipates all too quickly. Players return to their busy lives and are bombarded with those thousands of advertisements from other organizations. As a result, the memory of the casino experience quickly fades. Players move on, usually without a defined plan for their next interaction with the property, or worse, a plan to try another property or some other form of entertainment next time.
marketing Rewarding players with after-the-fact benefits such as points and tier levels used to work, but the current marketing landscape has changed that. In fact, a recent study by Accenture demonstrated that consumers are actively interested in only about 20 per cent of the traditional loyalty programs to which they belong. EXPANDING THE BATTLEGROUND
No matter how prevalent a casino might be in a player’s life, they still spend just a fraction of their time at the facility itself. Consequently, an incredible opportunity exists for any casino organization that can augment the on-site stimulation of a highquality gaming environment to an ‘always engaging,’ immersive and branded experience off-site. This approach allows the savvy casino organization to compete for that elusive attention span at an entirely different level away from the casino. Results show that players reward this ‘always engaging’ strategy with unmatched loyalty, regularly helping the casinos that pursue it to achieve returns on investment in excess of 500 per cent annually. Although numerous techniques exist to always engage players, some of the ones that contribute to the highest ROI are: Full-featured online/mobile loyalty portal : Players expect entertainment from casino brands. Why should the fun end at the door? Providing a destination that allows them to continue their interaction in different, non-transactional ways is key to keeping them truly engaged and loyal. Active data-driven personalization: Casino staff make players feel individually important at the casino property. Leading loyalty
providers ensure that each player is provided with information that is relevant to them and respects their tier/activity level so as to drive visits. Contests/sweepstakes and quick-play games: Casinos offer games of chance. Simple, relevant and branded online contests or sweepstakes using quick-play games provide a terrific way for players to interact with the casino brand from their online devices wherever they happen to be. Branded games can also be used to advertise new casino features, or upcoming events. ENTERTAINMENT REINVENTED
Casinos will always compete for players by offering great in-casino experiences. However, those that stand out and captivate players on an ongoing basis away from the casino will find that their ability to compete for player attention spans is redefined. Always engaging with players through innovative extensions of the casino experience off-site gives these organizations an unfair advantage in the ongoing battle for mindshare. The result is a redefinition of the overall entertainment a casino provides their players, and a greater share of that ever-elusive consumer entertainment dollar in the process. Patrick Watson, CEO of SplashDot, has been immersed within the gaming loyalty industry for well over a decade. He has worked with casinos, lotteries and private sector organizations to craft unique and leading-edge strategies that have resulted in significant paradigm shifts in the loyalty realm. For more information, visit www.splashdot.com
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GAMING INDUSTRY COMPENSATION 2017 Attracting the cream of the crop BY STEPHEN J. RENARD
Some form of gaming currently exists in over 70 per cent of the 193 recognized countries on this planet. As a result, gaming has become a significant sector of the global hospitality industry, making it essential to understand gaming in context of a larger discussion of world hospitality, including the issue of employee compensation. The revenue per square foot in gaming far exceeds that of any other hospitality product. The compensation offered senior executives in successful publicly held gaming companies has made many middle and senior managers (who have received regular stock or options) millionaires many times over. When we discuss gaming, we generally focus on the assets, profit and loss or “the drop.” Rarely do we discuss how, on a dayto-day basis, casinos are managed. The key driver rarely talked 22 | Fall 2017
about is: “Talent, creation and retention” and, ironically, this just might be one of the most important aspects of the gaming industry going forward. GAMING INDUSTRY COMPENSATION REPORT 2017
In 1995, when we conducted our first Gaming Compensation Study, the report was restricted solely to Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Online gambling was non-existent. Twenty-two years
employeeengagement later, much has changed. Online gambling is the fastest growing gaming product worldwide, and experts predict its revenue for 2017 to be over $10 billion US. In our 2017 report, we examine total cash compensation for senior executives. We have formulated our surveys using data from almost 100 gaming corporations. Our sources include self-reports and tax filings from public companies, personnel resources, direct requirements from searches we have received, along with our salary survey data, which we solicited. Our most noteworthy comment in 2016 on gaming is that it has taken us “one step closer to global acceptance,” adding new locations in 2016 such as Cyprus, Albania, Cape Verde, Massachusetts (Boston), India (State of Maharashtra), Israel (soon to be approved), Gibraltar, Saipan and Montenegro. Overall, almost every state in the U.S.A., as well as all provinces in Canada, offer some form of legalized gambling. GLOBAL GROWTH CONTINUES
There are over 220 gaming jurisdictions, including parts of Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Bahamas, Philippines, Saipan, Korea, Netherlands, Antilles, U.K., Switzerland and Vietnam. As part of this growth, the need for experienced casino management talent has become both extremely competitive and cutthroat, especially for difficult postings in faraway countries. As a result, pressure to adequately compensate executives continues to be a major factor. Most of the major publicly listed casino organizations even offer their key employees stock or stock options. Additionally, historic venues such as Las Vegas and Macau did not increase their revenue significantly. In fact, these hubs lost some of their leading share of the global gaming revenue pie. An aspect of our study worth noting is the major difference in compensation between large and small players in the gaming industry, and between those that are publically listed versus privately held. For example, a CEO of a small, privately-held gaming group may earn a base salary, bonus and stock totaling $500,000 US, compared to a large, publicly listed organization where the CEO may earn in excess of $20 million US. For 2016, we did not consider any Black-Schole evaluations, where the value of the stock granted in previous years had substantially higher or lower value than the year it was granted. Another consideration: In previous years, there was a separation of income by country and venue. With the increased worldwide growth of casinos, salaries are now more aligned with less distinction. UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
In previous years, we also focused primarily on major North American gaming areas. In 2017, we have added in-depth information on international casino groups, although many are still U.S.-controlled. This year, we also took special notice of Southeast Asian gaming establishments in Malaysia, Macau, Vietnam and the Philippines. The location and size of casinos matter with regards to basic compensation levels. On the other hand, bonuses remain fairly consistent as a percentage of base salaries. In other words, many companies offer higher base incomes, however their bonus percentages (i.e. 20-100 per cent of the base) remain consistent. As the gaming industry grows, the escalation of pay seems inevitable. What does this mean for gaming companies? The answer: Higher payrolls, greater utilization of computerization,
higher incentives and the overwhelming need to retain management talent. The catalyst for this is specialized U.S. gaming, which is prevalent almost everywhere and adheres to the most stringent legal hiring requirements for gaming licenses. Overall, the majority of key casino employees hail from the U.S.** or Canada, which we call the Renard Birdcage Effect*. On the other hand, operation executives (non-gaming executives) can come from a more diverse range of places around the world. As a result of worldwide casino growth, including many with no U.S. affiliation, American gaming consultants are training local executives. Therefore a non-American casino corporation, rather than hiring more expensive American casino management, can now employ locals with the ability to operate American-style casinos. Our overall opinion is that 2017 (like 2016) will continue to be a global scavenger hunt for these American-trained casino executives. Additionally, incestuous employment policies along with engagement bonuses will continue to be the norm. Notes: * The Renard Birdcage Effect refers to shaking the birdcage, causing the birds to change perches (talent moves from one company to another), however they are the same birds. **American citizens or green-card casino executives (even offshore) pay some U.S. taxes, therefore American citizens are not tax-free and require financial incentives to recruit. Stephen J. Renard is President of Renard International Hospitality Search Consultants, “celebrating 47 years of Excellence,” 1970 to 2017. At Renard, customer service is not a “Department” it's an “Attitude!” For more information and detailed survey results, contact www.renardinternational.com or visit http://bit.ly/2vhA7za.
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Canadian Gaming Business | 23
RESORT Creating memorable experiences
Visiting Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ont. for the first time definitely leaves an impression. And that’s the idea. Every aspect of Fallsview is designed to ensure that no matter how guests choose to spend their time at the resort, each visitor will have a memorable experience. “ B ei n g i n t h e h o s pit a l it y a n d entertainment business, it’s our job to always provide our patrons with an unforgettable experience,” said Richard Taylor, president, Niagara Casinos. “We do that by having a big-picture focus on a customer’s overall experience, and committing ourselves to ensuring every detail of the facility and every aspect of our customer service is focused on exceeding customers’ expectations.” AMENITIES
At 200,000 sq. ft., the equivalent of three football fields, Fallsview’s gaming floor is one of the largest in the world and features more than 3,000 slot and video poker machines in denominations ranging from $0.01 to $100, providing numerous options for players of all levels. There are also more than 130 table games, including favourites such as baccarat, pai gow, blackjack, craps, roulette and more. Through its Players Advantage Club, patrons of the casino can enjoy a VIP experience by earning rewards and comps including concert tickets, meals, 24 | Fall 2017
free parking, hotel stays, and invitations to exclusive events. For dining, Fallsview’s restaurants and lounges offer some of the best dining experiences available in the Niagara Region. Ponte Vecchio and 21 Club Steak and Seafood are both Four Diamond Award winners, and are staffed by internationally recognized chefs and sommeliers committed to offering guests the best in food and wine. The Grand Buffet, located off the gaming floor, offers a variety of North American, Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. And the Golden Lotus buffet is Fallsview’s authentic Chinese restaurant, featuring an impressive menu of dishes in the tradition of Canton, Peking, Shanghai and Sichuan. Fallsview also offers its Sushi and Oyster Bar, Noodle Bar, Falls Deli, and its Galleria complete with a diner, coffee shops and a range of quick meal options. If guests are looking for world-class entertainment, Fallsview’s intimate, 1,500-seat theatre regularly hosts bigname performers from a variety of genres
and eras. Adam Sandler, Ringo Starr, Diana Ross, Keith Urban, Tony Bennett, and Jennifer Hudson are examples of the top-tier entertainers who have graced the theatre’s stage. In addition to well-known North American acts, Fallsview also hosts a range of international performers from around the world. After spending a day on the gaming floor, enjoying the many dining options, and taking in a show, guests can relax with a massage, manicure, facial or body-wrap at Fallsview’s spa. The spa also features a pool, Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, as well as a gym for anyone looking to get in a work-out. When the day is done, guests can turn in at Fallsview’s Four Diamond Award-winning hotel, where each of the 374 rooms has a view of Niagara Falls. “Our goal is to provide something for everyone,” said Taylor. “Whether you’re coming for an evening to take in a show and play the slots; spending a weekend dining and shopping; or spending a week here to take in everything Niagara Falls has to offer, we can provide everything you’ll need to make your experience memorable.”
facilityprofile THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD
Its proximity to Niagara Falls is a key benefit to Fallsview. Thanks to the Falls, and the various entertainment options that have grown around it over the years, the City of Niagara Falls is one of Canada’s busiest tourist centres. Niagara Falls Tourism estimates that approximately 12 million people visit the city annually to take part in numerous activities available through organizations such as Niagara Parks and privately owned and operated companies that provide entertainment options such as helicopter rides, boat tours through the Falls, water parks, museums, fairgrounds and more. Additionally, the broader Niagara Region features dozens of internationally known wineries, golf courses, nature trails and festivals for visitors to enjoy. As a proud member of the Niagara community, Niagara Casinos regularly partners with local tourism organizations to promote the entire region. AWARDS
In summer 2017, Fallsview announced it received five TripAdvisor Certificates of
Excellence. Fallsview received certificates for its hotel; its R5, Ponte Vecchio and 21 Club Steak and Seafood restaurants; and for the casino as an attraction. “We were thrilled to receive five 2017 TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence,” said Taylor. “As these certificates are earned through customer reviews, it is a tremendous testament to the hard work of all of our employees and their dedication to providing premier entertainment experiences for our customers.” In addition to acknowledgements from TripAdvisor, Fallsview has been named one of Hamilton-Niagara’s top Employers for seven consecutive years, won a 2017 Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Award for top Casino or Specialty Venue, and has been consistently recognized for its dining, entertainment and gaming amenities in numerous Readers’ Choice awards. CASINO NIAGARA RENOVATION
In June, Casino Niagara, Fallsview Casino Resort’s sister property, announced a $7-million investment that will deliver
an elevated gaming and entertainment experience for its patrons. The i n v e s t m e n t i n c lu d e s t h e construction of a new 275-seat, sportsthemed restaurant and a 20-table poker room and lounge. Additionally, the casino will also introduce new gaming technology, including 250 new slot machines and a new interactive gaming zone featuring Golden Tees, PlayStation 4 and Xbox consoles. Casino Niagara’s new Level 2 is expected to open in fall 2017. Once complete, the new sports bar will be the largest of its kind in the Niagara region. Additionally, the investment will provide a wider array of gaming options for visitors to Casino Niagara and will help the casino to expand its offerings to new markets. “We are tremendously proud of Casino Niagara’s 20-year legacy in Niagara Falls and our continued promise to be a premier gaming destination,” said Taylor. “This investment demonstrates a commitment to always giving our visitors access to the best in entertainment, dining and gaming.”
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MEITZLER President, NOVOMATIC Americas Sales
With nearly 40 years in the gaming industry, Rick Meitzler has built a rich career with several of the field’s largest and most advanced companies. TODAY, AS PRESIDENT and CEO of NOVOMATIC Americas, Meitzler plays a crucial role in facilitating the Austrian-based organization’s anticipated large-scale expansion into the Americas. After joining NOVOMATIC Americas in 2013 as Vice President of Sales, Meitzler launched the company’s first games for the casino and VGT markets in North America. In November of 2014, he was appointed President, and more recently, CEO. WHAT AREAS OF YOUR ROLE AT NOVOMATIC ARE THE MOST CHALLENGING FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ACCOMPLISHING?
The most challenging are keeping pace with our growth while steering the company through licensing of both NOVOMATIC Americas and our products required for the North American market. Each state and jurisdiction has unique requirements and working through this process requires a significant investment of time, people and money. A company with the resources of NOVOMATIC helps. We remain focused on our growth and absorb these costs with the goal of incredible success in North America. WHAT ARE THE MOST PERSONALLY REWARDING ASPECTS OF WORKING IN A LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY AND WHY?
The best part of this industry is the people. Helping people accomplish what they never dreamed they could and being able to work with the varying personalities and passionate gaming community towards the common goal of furthering gaming. I’m a leader who is passionate about our people and our industry. This is an amazing community and one I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of for over 40 years. IN WHAT WAYS HAS YOUR PAST EXPERIENCE PREPARED YOU FOR YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
Working at almost every level in gaming manufacturing, including engineering, customer service and sales, has given me a great education and skill set. I know what it takes to oversee a company like NOVOMATIC Americas and use my experience and insight to lead. It gives me a great perspective on what it takes to motivate people and to build a great team. If you’re management level in any company, you’re only as good as the people on your team, so it’s key to have the right people. And we do! 26 | Fall 2017
WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF NOVOMATIC AND ITS ROLE IN THE NORTH AMERICAN GAMING COMMUNITY, PARTICULARLY CANADA?
We are going after the Canadian market with a robust portfolio of products including slot machines, table game systems and slot management systems. The VGT market in Canada is well established and we are just entering into this space. As a company that operates over 250,000 machines in a VGT type environment, we have the infrastructure and resources to compete. A few more finishing touches and we will be coming after the VGT markets in Canada with a strong product lineup. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ARE THE GREATEST GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES FOR GAMING IN CANADA/NORTH AMERICA AND WHY?
The VGT market provides the biggest opportunity for growth, followed by the casino market. We have a significant portfolio of VGT games and we’re developing several new titles on the casino side with our two new studios based in Illinois headquarters. On the iGaming side, we are making great strides in the U.S. market and are concentrating or efforts on expanding in Canada. We have strategically located our design studios in Vancouver and have our eye on success in the Canadian market. WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF NOVOMATIC’S MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS?
Innovation is such an overused word, but it drives the NOVOMATIC culture. We have a robust iGaming platform performing well and several systems stemming from those, such as Internet-based gaming. We have fingerprint technology and other innovative forms of identifying players. All this is leading to an interactive gaming experience in casinos, and at home, to entertain future players. This will lead more people to our entertainment market and drive more play into the bricks and mortar that our customers have built for their players. WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY FOR ENSURING THE BEST EXPERIENCE FOR CONSUMERS, STAKEHOLDERS AND THE COMMUNITY?
We simply need to make entertaining games that people want to play! Make great games, operate with integrity always, and foster industry growth. We need to give our customers profitable, highquality games and be an outstanding partner.
The hits are happening! Three major jackpot hits this year, totaling $3.9M! “Awarding the first life-changing Powerbucks jackpot in Canada at Casino Montréal marks an important gaming industry milestone and one that our customers can leverage to drive more awareness for the Powerbucks games in their land-based and online casinos.” — David Flinn, IGT Regional Vice President, Canada. Find out how to bring these jackpots to your floor. Contact your IGT Account Manager for more information. © 2017 IGT. All other trademarks used herein are owned by IGT or its affiliates, may not be used without permission, and where indicated with a ®, are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. IGT is committed to socially responsible gaming. Our business solutions empower customers to choose parameters and practices that become the foundation of their Responsible Gaming programs.
The Canadian Gaming Industry Awards
Introducing 2017’s Award Winners
Each year, the Canadian gaming community honours the achievements of leaders within its industry. At the 2017 Canadian Gaming Summit in Vancouver, three individuals received awards for Industry Leadership and Outstanding Contribution, while one was honoured for his participation in Volunteerism and Community Service. In addition, the First Nation C a n a d i a n G a m i n g Aw a rd s w ere created to showca se some of the many First Nations individuals who have contributed positively to the gaming industry, as well as to honour the leaders and role models within the First Nations community. Industry Leadership and Outstanding Contribution
A fter a 25 -year career w i t h t h e R C M P, Stephen L ef ler later worked w ith the B.C. Ferr y Corporation and began his career in gaming in 2007, where he led the Cer tif ication Div ision of t he B .C . G a m i n g Pol ic y a nd Enforcement Branch. Stephen was instrumental in setting up technical standards for online gambling in B.C. and is well known to the industr y, having worked closely w ith other regulators across Canada as well as GLI Canada, BCLC and many other private gambling service providers. “This award provides peer recognition and validates the program and the team members that are in place,” said Stephen. “This industry has given me the opportunity to work 28 | Fall 2017
in a dynamic field that is very unique and embraces new and interesting technologies. It has allowed me to incorporate my passion for technology, my goal of life-long learning, and it has provided global travel and opportunities to network with industry leaders in all aspects of the industry. “I believe that my previous work i n l a w e n fo r c e m e nt p r o v i d e d a st rong back g round in reg ulator y a nd en forcement pr i nc iple s a nd my passion and ex perience in the computer sciences and all thing s technical was a great fit for my career in gaming. It also helps when you believe you have the best job and a great team to back you.”
A s Chief In for mation Of f icer for Niag ara Casinos, Brian Norwood is responsible for a l l I T o p er at ion s at both Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara. From supporting the company’s complex IT systems on a day-to-day basis to partnering with other departments to provide IT services and solutions, Brian’s leadership, f lexibilit y, and commitment to partnership are key to the ongoing success of the company.
Brian began his career in 1986 at Molson Breweries. He has also held a number of positions in IT operations and technical services. Brian entered the casino industr y in 1997 as IT Director for Casino Rama. “This award is a wonderful acknowledgement of the work we do here as a team,” said Brian. “I am most grateful for the people I get to work with and lead every day. As you can imagine, the casino industry presents a v a r iet y of u n ique, i nt ere st i n g challenges and opportunities, and I work with a group of people that welcome those challenges a nd opportunities and work together to provide meaningful solutions for the business. “Over the last 30-plus years, there has been a tremendous evolution in the IT f ield, and it has been an extremely exciting time to be an IT professional. These experiences have helped me grow as an IT professional, and help me to lead and develop the next generation of IT leaders.”
During a gaming career spanning more than 25 years, including 12 years as President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, Bill Rutsey
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industryawards has played a major role in creating an enduring and prosperous future for Canada’s gaming industry. Prior to taking on his leadership role at the CGA in 20 05, Bill had already amassed well over a decade of both private and public sector gaming indust r y ex per ience. A s Pract ice Leader of the Coopers and Lybrand Gaming Consulting Practice in the late 80s and early 90s, he advised numerous private and public sector clients. A s CEO of private sector companies including Multigames Inc. and RPC Gaming Inc., Bill planned, de velop e d a nd m a n a g e d g a m i n g businesses in Ontario, Las Vegas and internationally, and has been licensed by gaming regulators in both Nevada and Ontario. “ Winning the award has been a humbling experience,” said Bill. “I ser ved on the awa rds com mit tee for many years rev iew ing the nominations of ver y accomplished people. To be judged by industr y colleag ues to be wor thy of being included with past recipients is very gratifying. “ W hat I'm most grateful for are the friendships I've made. I've always striven to conduct myself honestly and with integrity. They have been my watchwords a nd have shaped how I've dealt with both people and situations, and how I've ex pected people to deal with me in return. I think that people recognized this and returned the honesty.” Volunteerism and Community Service
Per r y Steiner has been involved in the casino i n du s t r y fo r o ver 35 years. Since 1996, Perry has served as a Partner of Great Blue Heron Gaming Company, while concurrently holding the position of the company’s Director of Marketing. Perry is also a passionate supporter and has chaired numerous charitable endeavours over the past 20 years, including the Great Blue Heron Charity Golf Classic, raising over $2.5 million for the Port Perry Hospital Foundation and the Starlight Children’s Foundation, and for the renowned Baycrest Health and UJA Foundations, raising over $5.5 million dollars. Perry 30 | Fall 2017
continues to donate his time and efforts to many worthy charitable causes, raising money for numerous important projects. “I am extremely humbled to receive this honour within an industry I have been involved in for over 35 years,” said Perry. “I am thrilled that I can provide joy to those less fortunate, and set a good example for my kids that in life you are not remembered for how much money you make — you are remembered for what you give back. “Giv ing back to my various communities has instilled a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that I have contributed in making someone else’s life more enjoyable. Working with numerous charities, service clubs and local events helped me understand that teamwork is a necessity in developing a successful organization.” First Nations Award Winners Congratulations to the following First Nation Canadian Gaming Award recipients and a special thank you to the 2017 award sponsor, Great Blue Heron Casino Volunteerism and Community Service
Wa u z h u s h k O n i g u m F i r s t N a t i o n ; C h a i r, Wa u z h u s h k O n i g u m Foundation Chr istopher Skead has been the Chair of the Wauzhushk Onigum Foundation since 2014, succeeding his late father Louis Skead Jr. Under Chris’s leadership, the Foundation h a s ex pa nded to now ser ve well over 1,10 0 requests for assistance a n nu a l l y. W hen t he Fou nd at ion funds fall harvests, feasts, Christmas Celebrations, March break activities, f i sh i n g d er bie s , p o w-w o w s a n d s u m m er c a m p s , C h r i s i s t h er e , helping out wherever he is needed. “I cannot tell you how humbled I feel being presented this award,” said Chris. “I accept it on behalf of my fellow Directors past and present of the Wauzhushk Onigum Foundation. From a modest beginning 23 years ago we have managed our bingo hall on our reserve of 400 people adjacent to Kenora, a town of 15,000 people,
to generate over $2 million a year, of which in excess of $60 0,0 0 0 is contributed to our community and the surrounding area. “I a m but one of a nu mb er of people on Wau zhush k who h ave given up their time for the good of our community. Though there is a price to pay for the time you put in, I want to tell you it is pretty minimal compared to the satisfaction attained by having the opportunity to do so much good for your people, to make a difference by, as our slogan says, “building a better tomorrow.” Gaming Leadership Award
R a m a F i r s t N a t i o n s; Gaming Operations Floor Manager, Casino Rama Resort S i n c e e nt e r i n g t h e i ndu st r y i n 19 9 6 , E d Sharpe has been a key member of the casino operations team at Casino Rama for the last several years. Whether working in table games or slot operations, Ed has a reputation for being very versatile, knowledgeable a nd a n ef fe c t i ve com mu n ic at or. A ccordin g to collea g ue Nor m a n Rondeau, Ed consistently demonstrates exemplary leadership skills by acting ethically and professionally w ith all employees. As a Gaming Floor Operations Manager, Ed is required to have full knowledge of all AGCO regulations, as well as gaming and human resource policies. “Gaming is a fun and exciting career choice and even after 20+ years I still look forward to going to work,” said Ed. “I love the variety; every day is different. I get to interact with such a varied group and different situations, and it means I am always learning. “Receiv ing this awa rd mea ns a lot t o me. It ’s a l w ay s n ic e t o receive recognition for our efforts, cont r ibut ion s a nd de d ic at ion i n the workplace. Gaming is an everevolving industry and I am grateful for the diverse range of opportunities to learn that are available. Having a positive attitude and a willingness to embrace change and learn something new has helped me grow, develop my knowledge base and advance my career.”
32 | Fall 2017