Page 1

Canada's Premier Gaming Industry Magazine

PM 40063056

Vol. 13 No. 1

Spring 2018

CGA 2.0 A Roadmap for Our Future June 18-20, 2018 Niagara Falls, ON


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Spring 2018

Volume 13 No. 1



Chuck Nervick 416.512.8186 ext. 227


Editor Sean Moon Advertising Sales

Chuck Nervick

Senior Designer

Annette Carlucci



CHASING LOSSES IS LIKE A DOG chasing its tail.

Director of Production Maria Siassina

Production Manager

Rachel Selbie


Product Specialist

Danielle Stringer

Proudly owned and published by:

President Kevin Brown

President & CEO Paul Burns

Senior Vice President Chuck Nervick

Canadian Gaming Business is published four times a year as a joint venture between MediaEdge Communications and The Canadian Gaming Association To advertise: For information on CGB’s print or digital advertising opportunities: Chuck Nervick 416-512-8186 ext. 227 Copyright 2018 Canada Post Canadian Publications Mail Publications Mail Agreement No. 40063056 ISSN 1911-2378 Guest editorials or columns do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Canadian Gaming Business magazine's advisory board or staff. No part of this issue may be reproduced by any mechanical, photographic or electronic process without written permission by the publisher. Subscription rates: Canada $40* 1 yr, $70* 2 yrs. USA $65 yr, $120* 2 yrs. International $90* 1 yr, $160* 2 yrs. *Plus applicable taxes. Postmaster send address changes to: Canadian Gaming Business Magazine 5255 Yonge Street Suite 1000, Toronto, Ontario M2N 6P4

Official Publication of the Canadian Gaming Summit


EDITOR’S NOTE Visit to learn more.





CGA 2.0 A roadmap for our future



Evolution, Not Revolution (Yet) Integrating non-traditonal gaming products into the casino experience


Shelley White, CEO, Responsible Gambling Council




The Food Factor The growing importance of foodservice operations



GameSense Education and information on responsible gambling



New Horizons 2018 Strategies and inspiration for healthy gambling



Aruze Gaming Innovating the gaming and entertainment experience



Compliance Culture The competitive advantage of developing a culture of compliance

Canadian Gaming Business | 3

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Staying Relevant in an Era of Change LIKE MANY INDUSTRIES in the North American entertainment and hospitality sector, the Canadian gaming industry is at a crossroads. We’ve been discussing the ongoing impact of change for a few years now and there seems to be no end in sight to the amount of technological innovation, cultural upheaval and major demographic shifts that are affecting our industry. The refrain has become common: Adapt or become obsolete. While change has been upon us for some time, the industry appears finally to be responding in an organized and meaningful way. Long reluctant to accept the paradigm shifts that have been arriving with accelerating frequency, major industry players, including gaming facility operators, manufacturers, crown corporations and regulatory agencies, are starting to come around. As the largest organization representing the Canadian gaming industry as a whole, the Canadian Gaming Association has played, and will continue to play, a key role in helping all of the above better adapt to and understand the importance of such significant change. In this issue’s cover story, CGA President and CEO Paul Burns discusses the CGA’s strategic plan as he steps in to take over the association’s executive reins and looks to build on the solid foundation created by the CGA Board of Directors and founding CEO Bill Rutsey. Over the last year or so, Burns criss-crossed the country to meet with regulators, provincial lottery corporations, CGA members and industry stakeholders to see how the CGA was addressing the needs of the industry and how the association could be better partners to advance common agendas. Also in this issue, author and industry expert Kara Holm delves into the rapid evolution of non-traditional gaming and how operators are integrating such products into the Canadian casino experience. In Holm’s article, you will discover how new kinds of gaming products, propelled by technological innovation and changing customer expectations, will have an impact on our industry for many years to come. In addition to the above features, you will find our usual comprehensive lineup of industry focused articles and profiles including: • An analysis of the competitive advantage of building and maintaining a culture of compliance within gaming organizations; • An industry roundtable discussion on the increasing importance of gaming destination foodservice operations; and • How the 2018 New Horizons Conference on Responsible Gambling provided strategies and inspiration for healthy gaming in Canada. And, of course, if you have any feedback or future story ideas, please send us an email with your suggestions. For sponsorship or advertising opportunities, be sure to contact our Publisher Chuck Nervick at Until next time, enjoy the issue! Sean Moon Managing Editor, Canadian Gaming Business

Canadian Gaming Business | 5



THE CANADIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION (CGA) recently attended the ICE Totally Gaming conference in London as an opportunity to put the spotlight on innovation in the Canadian gaming industry. The CGA created CGA@ICE – Telling Canada’s Innovation Story, a two-hour program featuring Canadian gaming entrepreneurs, experts, and pioneers who discussed Canada’s contributions to the global gaming industry and explained the benefits of developing technology and building businesses in a country that has many great resources to share. The originality, strength, and impact of the Canadian gaming industry on the global scene are already well known but I was curious to see what the reaction would be to a focus on Canadian innovation at a global conference. The feedback I received was enthusiastic and supportive, and there could be room for us to do more at ICE in the future. Canada’s role in gaming is significant and there is a lot to talk about when it comes to technology, and new Canadian products and services. Canadians have been leaders and innovators on the global scene in areas such as gaming technology, gaming operations and responsible gaming, and the CGA looks forward to sharing this story and showcasing our industry’s achievements. The CGA@ICE program was unprecedented for the association and demonstrated that there is global interest in the companies who are based in Canada as well as from foreign companies using Canada as a North American base. As the year unfolds, it is my intention to provide more firstever initiatives as the CGA evolves into an association with a defined purpose: To advance the evolution of Canada’s gaming industry. I invite you to learn more about our new strategic plan or what I’m calling “CGA 2.0,” which was created to outline the CGA’s role in shaping the continued evolution of Canada’s 6 |  Spring 2018

gaming industry. There are three specific themes: advocacy and awareness; research and innovation; and dialogue and convening. CGA 2.0 features five guiding principles – statements that explain what the CGA stands for and how it works. In the initial presentation of the strategic plan framework, the guiding principles were met with universal approval: • We believe in gaming as a legitimate form of entertainment and a positive contributor to our communities • We promote responsible use of our industry’s products • We are Canada-wide and focused on nationally relevant issues • We balance the interests of our various stakeholders • We seek insights to help the industry innovate I go into more detail in this issue’s cover story, and you can also f ind additional information on our website at The strategic plan was developed based on hours of consultation with lottery corporations, regulators, members, and industry representatives. I would like to thank the CGA Board of Directors for the time they dedicated to the project, as well as all those across the country who generously made time to meet. Canada’s gaming industry is strong and robust, with top tier gaming operators, best-in-world responsible gaming programs and leading-edge technology providers. We have a compelling story to share as an industry, and as I take over the leadership role at the CGA, I see one of our most important tasks is to promote and tell that story to ensure our industry can continue to be at the forefront. Paul Burns President & CEO Canadian Gaming Association


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CGA 2.0


The evolution of Canada’s gaming industry over the past decade has been driven by several key factors: Technological innovation, shifts in public perception of gaming, consumer demand for new and engaging gaming channels, and innovation occurring in a globalized, competitive market. The time had come for the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) to chart a new course.

Canadian Gaming Business | 9


With the retirement of CGA’s founding President and CEO Bill Rutsey, the CGA Board of Directors took the opportunity to embark upon a strategic renewal process. At the request of the Board, I spent several months travelling across the country, engaging with regulators, provincial lottery corporations, members and industry stakeholders to find out if the CGA was addressing the needs of the industry, was still considered relevant, and how the association could be better partners to advance common agendas. Thanks to the frank and open feedback we received, the Board and I went to work to develop a plan to help focus the CGA’s role and activities. As the plan began to take shape we found the phrase “CGA 2.0” became the working title and it stuck. I would like to thank the CGA Board of Directors for their time, expertise and input into building a plan for the next chapter of the Canadian Gaming Association. ABOUT THE STRATEGIC PLAN – CGA 2.0

CGA 2.0 was created to outline the CGA’s role in shaping the continued evolution of Canada’s gaming industry. There are three specific themes: Advocacy and Awareness; Research and Innovation; and Dialogue and Convening.

The plan contains both objectives and priorities, and functions as a roadmap for the years ahead. Specific initiatives will be established on an annual basis. ADVOCACY AND AWARENESS — To promote the

economic value of gaming in Canada by revealing the industry’s contributions to communities across the country.


• Define advocacy priorities through consultation with stakeholders • Continue to strengthen relationships with key federal government stakeholders • Act as a resource to the industry in its advocacy efforts • Become the trusted source for information on gaming issues • Proactively furnish the industry, policy-makers, and public with relevant and up-to-date information Specific initiatives include: Advocacy to change or advance policies to create a more open, flexible and profitable gaming environment; create a stable of updated information to

“At the 2016 Gaming Summit Bill Rutsey, Bob Parente and I had the

opportunity to meet and discuss the accomplishments of the CGA since its inception, and the strategic focus moving forward. We agreed to poll the various stakeholders and based on their feedback, to develop a game plan that became known as ‘CGA 2.0’. I am confident that the strategic plan being rolled out will support our growing and evolving industry.” — Kevin Laforet, Regional President of Caesars Entertainment

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inform politicians and the public; and help the industry continue to provide economic benefits to people, families, and communities. RESEARCH AND INNOVATION — To support the evolution of the Canadian gaming industry through research, innovation and sharing of best practices. Priorities:

• Identify and share emerging, nationally relevant issues and opportunities of the gaming industry • Gather and requisition new research that demonstrates the value of gaming • Stimulate innovation in the gaming industry by creating opportunities to showcase, promote and advance new products and ideas, both in Canada and worldwide • Create, manage and make accessible a repository of industry-relevant data Specific initiatives include: Updates to the Economic Impact

Study; any newly commissioned research (such as the recent Community Leaders Study); the publication of fact sheets and infographics; promoting innovative products

and ser vices tied to Gaming in Canada both in this country and internationally; and launching the national education initiative. Simply stated, research and innovation is about proving the economic value of the industry by commissioning proprietary research and sharing the results. DIALOGUE AND CONVENING — To create productive dialogue among industry stakeholders that optimizes the potential of the industry. Priorities:

• Develop a long-term strategy for the Canadian Gaming Summit • Create forums for regular dialogue among regulators, operators, manufacturers and other stakeholders • Create a consultation agenda to drive meaningful and consistent stakeholder engagement Specific initiatives include : Regularly occurring events

such as the Summit and net working events at G2E, but also new events such as issues-focused roundtables and discussions; and member-only events to improve

“The CGA spent several months travelling across the country, meeting with regulators, lottery corporation officials, members and industry stakeholders to find out if the association was still relevant, and how it could be better partners to advance common agendas. Thanks to the frank and open feedback we received, the board sat down to develop and ratify a plan to help focus the CGA’s role and activities and ultimately achieve its goals.” — George Sweny, Vice President, Compliance, The Stars Group, CGA Board Member

Canadian Gaming Business | 11


“Following a summer of consultation with a wide array of stakeholders, the CGA is ready to launch its new strategic plan and establish the roadmap for its future. This is an exciting new direction for the association, as thanks to this plan, the CGA will be able to help the industry innovate to ensure it remains a relevant, engaging, and vital contributor to our communities.” — Richard Taylor, President, Niagara Casinos

• We promote responsible use of our industry’s products • We are Canada-wide and nationally-focused • We balance the interests of our various stakeholders • We seek insights to help the industry innovate

Gaming Communities

ADVOCACY & AWARENESS To promote the economic value of gaming • Public acceptance & education on gaming issues • Media & stakeholder outreach



C US E D •



DIALOGUE & CONVENING To create productive dialogue • Canadian Gaming Summit • Networking events • Roundtables & briefings


• We believe in gaming as a legitimate form of entertainment and a positive contributor to our communities

Other Industry Associations

Provincial Lottery Corporations



CGA Members

As you’ll note with the new website, the concept of “Gaming in Canada” is front and centre. This concept will permeate


• Advocacy & Awareness • Research & Innovation • Dialogue & Convening

Provincial Gaming Regulators

Our Focus on Gaming in Canada – Telling Our Industry’s Story.




The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) is a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to advance the evolution of Canada’s gaming industry.


CGA 2.0 features five guiding principles – statements that explain what the CGA stands for and how it works. In the initial presentation of the strategic plan framework, the guiding principles were met with universal approval: • We believe in gaming as a legitimate form of entertainment and a positive contributor to our communities • We promote responsible use of our industry’s products • We are Canada-wide and focused on nationally relevant issues • We balance the interests of our various stakeholders • We seek insights to help the industry innovate

Board members participated in two separate off-site meetings to review and discuss the content of the draft plan. The Board fully endorses and supports the strategic plan and has committed to playing an active role in helping the association achieve its goals. Additionally, the Board continues to work on a renewed governance structure that will include a larger and more representative Board. I look forward to updating you on this important matter as we get closer to the 2018 Canadian Gaming Summit.


Guiding Principles

Governance Renewal


industr y k nowledge and debate new approaches and products.

Provincial Governments

Federal Government

RESEARCH & INNOVATION To support the evolution of the Canadian gaming industry • National industry education project

12 |  Spring 2018

“The CGA was created to serve the need for greater education and advocacy of our industry’s contributions across Canada. As we reflected on the successes of our first 10 years, we also looked to build the strategic plan to get us through the next 10. It was a pleasure to be part of this process alongside Paul, Bill and Kevin as we met with our stakeholders. We would be unable to advance our mandate without assistance from our partners in the provincial lottery corporations and regulatory agencies.” — Bob Parente, Senior Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer, Gaming Division for Scientific Games Corporation, Chair of the CGA’s Board of Directors

The Role of Communications Underpinning CGA 2.0 is communication. Starting with a revamped website and a more active Twitter presence, the association will also be launching a newsletter to keep members and the industry at large informed. It is imperative for the CGA to have dedicated channels to get its message out. News releases aren’t generating the coverage they once did, thanks to a variety of reasons including the rise of social media and the decline of traditional journalism. It stands to reason that the CGA must look for alternative ways to reach journalists and the public and will rely on its own channels to engage stakeholders (and function as a news distribution channel unto itself).

through all of what we do in the coming years, as we seek to build new partnerships and alliances. One of the association’s newest programs is the national training and education initiative. Building upon our 2016 national training and education needs assessment, done in partnership with the Sault Ste. Marie Education partners, we have created a national advisory board of industry professionals to share their expertise and insight with us as we work to build a national training centre for gaming education. The CGA has engaged the William F Harrah College of Hospitality at the University of Las Vegas (UNLV) and its Center for Professional & Leadership Studies (PLuS Center) to discuss how the association could work with UNLV to access its best practices in gaming education. In Canada, we continue to work w ith Thompson River University as they build a gaming management program. The CGA’s intention is to create and share a wide arrangement of development opportunities along a continuum of learning, and I hope to have more to share later in 2018. G a m i n g i n Ca n a d a w i l l showc a se resea rch a nd innovation, not only through CGA’s own compelling research projects, but by creating oppor tunities to feature innovative and technologically-driven Canadian businesses. Research will allow the CGA to tell the industry’s story: Our industry is highly labour intensive and has already created approximately 253,487 jobs (fulltime equivalent).1 Gaming in Canada creates well-paying jobs and offers a multitude of career paths spanning

everything from facility maintenance and casino dealer, to engineering, accounting, and finance. Let’s not forget that 78 per cent of community leaders believe their casino enhances the tourism appeal of the community, as well as offering a quality entertainment product (77 per cent) and a safe environment (90 per cent). 2 Lastly, Gaming in Canada is ref lected in our efforts towards enhancing opportunities to come together to discuss issues and share ideas through dialogue and convening. The CGA returned to the ICE conference in London, England in early February thanks to a relationship it has developed with Clarion, ICE’s organizer. The CGA organized a special two-hour program to put the spotlight on Gaming in Canada, specifically highlighting the good business climate, talented workforce, and innovation that can be found throughout the country. You can expect these dialogues to continue throughout the year. CGA 2 .0 represents a subst antial change for the association in how it approaches its mandate. The plan also seeks to define and clarify the unique role that the CGA has in helping move the Canadian gaming industry forward. It expresses our commitment to the industry as a whole and ensures our attention remains focused on the efforts that provide the most impact for all our members. If you have questions about CGA 2.0, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly. 1. Canadian Gaming Association 2010 Economic Impact Study 2. Community Leaders Survey (2015) Canadian Gaming Business | 13



NOT REVOLUTION (YET) Integrating non-traditional gaming products and programming into the North American casino experience BY KARA HOLM

14 |  Spring 2018


Casinos are exciting, or they should be: The lights! The sounds! The people! The thrill that comes with a chance to win! As an industry we have to keep innovating to maintain the energy that differentiates casinos from the many other entertainment offerings competing for a share of consumers’ (limited) discretionary wallets. OVER THE YEARS, we have seen significant changes to the retail, dining, services, and theatrical offerings surrounding the casino experience. Among other things, these changes. . . . . .Shifted the business model and the value proposition at casinos; . . .Attracted new customers; and . . .Continue to move the needle on public perception, enabling social licence. North American casinos continue to expand non-gaming experiences, and non-gaming revenues are contributing a higher percentage of total casino revenue, which is helping to grow the pie in most markets. Now the focus has shifted back to the casino gaming experience. New kinds of gaming products, enabled by technology and propelled by consumer ex pectations, are being developed and are appearing on casino f loors. The underlying driver for these new offerings connects with the social and entertainment aspects of the casino experience, which have always defined the indust r y. The new product s complement the customer segment that is attracted to the expanded nongaming experiences at casinos. At conferences like t he Globa l G a m i n g E x p o (G2 E) a nd t he International Casino E x po (ICE) there is lots of buzz about innovative new pro duc t s a nd new k i nds of revenue-generating experiences for players. Terms like “social gaming,”

“skill-based gaming” and “eSports” h ave b een com i n g up for yea r s. Established manufacturers and new entrants are all eager to show off their latest products and ser vices. Operators are forming partnerships with nightclub operators, celebrity chefs and eSports companies, all in an effort to be on the leading edge of new innovations. Despite the new product options and social programing approaches, we have yet to realize a radical reimagining of the casino gaming f loor in North America – even in large destination markets. Adoption and implementation have been cautious. Our industry is involved with an evolution that builds on our core strengths, not a revolution. PLAYER OPPORTUNITIES

Readers of Canadian Gaming Business will know that behind the drive to innovate is the need to maintain and grow revenues. As an industry we are good at creating offerings that appeal to core casino customers – people who select the destination because they like to gamble – but we are still working to become a more organic choice for casual customers, more oriented to the social and entertainment aspects of casino visits. The addition of non-gaming amenities has been an important part of the value proposition for this audience. Last year, upon announcing the creation of a new role at Caesars

Entertainment — E xecutive Vice President of Gaming and Interactive Entertainment — Caesars President and CEO Mark Frissora said: “Caesars w ill pursue a g aming development roadmap that creates new products, greater customer engagement and more interactive ex periences. Special emphasis will be placed on mobile connectivity and apps within our worldwide resort properties.” Engagement and interactivity are the key words as we look ahead to the future of casino industry and the customer experience. Why? Casual c u s t o m e r s r e p r e s e nt a si g n i f ic a nt o pp or t u n it y for t he industry. The number of individuals in this categor y is immense when compared with core, active players. Their contributions to gaming and non-gaming revenue, even if they are not loyalty program members, is significant because of the volume of patrons in this category. Encouraging additional visits from this segment, and increasing this segment’s spend on both gaming and non-gaming activ ities while on site ha s huge potential. To engage this under-monetized customer segment, operators must: • Provide gaming product that appeals to this segment; • Ensure customers in this segment know the products are available; • Ensure that customers know how to play these new games. Canadian Gaming Business | 15


Social Gaming Current usage of the term “social gaming” would include games played online, through mobile platforms or in person that allow some type of interaction between players. Social games may be competitive, collaborative, or a combination. In the casino industry we can consider “social gaming” as a way of taking the table game culture and moving it through other aspects of the casino experience. There are also online social casino experiences like Caesars Slots and MyVegas slots that are highly profitable for operators without offering real money betting options.


There are several apps available for the casino industry; most are oriented to traditional slot products and appeal to core casino customers. These social casino platforms available as apps also have a presence on social media channels and are an important revenue stream for the casino operators that have this offering. There are not a lot of apps that appeal to the non-traditional casino customer – the eGamer. To help fill this void and to provide operators with a means of moving players to see new programming and product, we created Play the Field™. It is a mobile treasure hunt that helps players eng age w ith more of the casino destination. Pilots of Play the Field™ will take place in casinos starting in April 2018 and we expect to see positive engagement in terms of frequency and customer spend on gaming and non-gaming activities. Casino Scouts, expected to launch in Q4 2018, is a mobile platform being developed in Las Vegas that describes itself as a “next-level B2C mobile marketing and engagement platform to the casino industry.” This platform will offer premium content designed to appeal to the eGamer. NEW CASINO GAMES

According to Blaine Graboyes, CEO of GameCo: “Casinos have a massive opp or t u n it y t o supp or t g a m i n g innovation that attracts ‘net new’ casino gamers and generates critical new incremental revenue.” Graboyes notes that new product s a re not cannibalizing existing gaming spend from core customers: “Skill-based g ames and v ideo g ame g ambling present the valuable opportunity for operators to attract new audiences and generate new dollars for their businesses.” 16 |  Spring 2018

To activate this opportunity, the industry has been working to create relevant options for a new generation of casino customers, as well as the more tech-sav v y current players. Sk illbased slot products that look like video games and offer collaborative and competitive play options are being pioneered by GameCo, Gamblit, and are also being offered by traditional manufacturers like Konami. There are new kinds of electronic table games that feature live dealers, some with “remote” dealers, and others that are completely automated being presented by a number of manufacturers. The industry hopes these new products will make destinations more attractive to non-traditional customers and remove barriers to entr y for some gambling products. The expectation is that these products will convert entertainment customers into gaming c u s t o m er s , a d d i n g i n c r em ent a l revenues. It is wor th noting that electronic table games reduce risk of dealer error and can help operators manage labour costs. I n a d d it i o n t o t h e n e w s t y l e products, manufacturers are t ak ing est ablished, successful casino products and applying new technology to them to modernize the player experience. The expectation is that this will keep the gambling ex perience relevant and fresh for those impor t ant core customers, many of whom are tech-for ward. E x a mples of this new k ind of product include slot machines that offers haptic feedback or 3D viewing (both offered by IGT). ESPORTS

The Downtown Grand in Las Vegas was the f irst casino destination to embrace eSports at its Bar and Game Lounge, open weekends. MGM’s Luxor is set to open a new eSports destination

in 2018, the first on The Las Vegas Strip. We have seen eSports experiments in Canada. For example, Elements Casino in Surrey, B.C. tested eSports in 2017. We know other Canadian operators are investigating ways to get involved with eSports. The sustainability of eSports destinations, relative to the capital investment required, has yet to be demonstrated. Operators are still looking for the best way to monetize this new opportunity and it would seem the right business model has been elusive. Capital intensive projects may work in Las Vegas which has a high number of visitors, similar to the way in which Las Vegas can support resident Cirque de Soliel shows, but these projects will be more challenging in casino markets dependent on resident customers. NEW CHANNELS ON THE HORIZON

In addition to product s a nd ex per iences /prog ra mming, there a re new revenue st rea ms on the horizon. Some of these opportunities a re cont i n g ent up on le g i sl at i ve changes, such as single event sports betting, now under discussion in several U.S. jurisdictions, and changes to allow online betting, also a live conversation. There is a lot of optimism in the industry, particularly among innovation leaders. Jason (Wolf ) Rosenberg, CEO of American iGaming Solutions, a company that helps casinos assess and implement new technology offerings says: “It's a ver y exciting time for us right now. The gaming industry as a whole was so resistant to changing the for mula that ha s worked for the last 50 years, but we are f inally seeing interest and adoption of new gaming verticals and technology.” Wol f, who h a s ex t en sive experience working in Europe and the United K ingdom, understands that some North A merican casino operators may feel threatened; but he encou ra g es t hem to consider how they can augment their existing business lines with new channels: “I think the biggest barrier is a lack of proper education of these new verticals that are already performing ver y well in reg ulated markets. . .T hose operators t h at cho ose to


ignore the technology trends that are coming their way will probably find themselves in a very difficult position in the near future.” We have met with some disrupters t h at a re work i n g on bra nd new platforms that have the potential to truly revolutionize the casino industry. While we can’t provide any details due to conf identiality, these platforms could extend a casino’s reach beyond its building, through a highly secure (and legal) technology and/or change the experience to one of mass personalization. SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

Of course, new types of products and experiences have to be introduced strategically, so they don’t alienate core customers. These loyal players are fundamentally important to the sustainability of the gaming business and their needs cannot be ignored in the quest for new business. Micro casinos, featuring different gaming environments at a single destination, a re a popula r tool for operators who are tr ying to ser ve customer p o pu l at ion s s e ek i n g s om et i m e s opposing experiences. The basic casino experience can remain comfortable and familiar to core customers, while the operator can offer something different for its new audience. Lavo Casino Club at the Palazzo is a nightclub with live table games. The Encore Players Lounge at the Encore offers social games like shuff leboard and billiards nex t to table games, with a DJ booth and ample seating available for good measure. Level Up at the MGM Grand offers “interactive skill-based fun” and has a number of social game options. Many Ca nadia n operators a nd Crow ns have been exploring various types of options such as party pits, stadium g a m i n g i n st a l l at ion s a nd u lt r a -

lounges to name a few. The Zone at Casino de Montreal and BCLC’s Block concept, presented at various locations including Grand Villa, are two examples of acquisition-focused micro casinos. Product is one aspect of these spaces, but the other, critical element is programming. BARRIERS TO ENTRY

Adding new types of products and experiences requires operators to make a choice between using their valuable floor space for predictable revenue and new and unknown channels. Alison Sterling, the General Manager of McPh illips St at ion Ca si no i n W innipeg, captures the ver y real dilemma in which operators f ind themselves: “We want to provide a more social experience, but it is difficult to let go of the traditional expectations of win/ unit/day (WPU) as the main indicator of success. I see commitment as the biggest part of the challenge. When we go in a new direction, we are risking valuable space on our gaming floors for a relatively untested market. If we are not fully committed to the ‘intention’ of social gaming products, it is very easy to give up on them early in the process because the results are not what we are used to.” I n t e r m s o f g a m i n g p r o du c t , operators know what to expect and how to measure traditional slot or table game performance. To date, many new products have not produced at the same level. Game manufacturers are working to improve the performance of new products. GameCo’s Blaine Graboyes understands the issue: “…These new games need to be judged against reasonable metrics and it’s definitely possible for skill-based games to generate W PU similar to slot machines. A new generation of games from GameCo planned for

eSports Tournaments where spectators view others competitively playing popular video games. According to The Telegraph: “Generally, the easiest definition is competitive gaming at a professional level.” Many casinos see an opportunity for new customers and revenue channels by developing eSports programming, and sometimes through the creation of purpose-built facilities where customers can play or view eSports events.

release in early 2018 bring the same pace of betting as slot machines to the video game gambling machines. This not only increases Coin-In and WPU but also improves player engagement as gamers enjoy the possibilit y of winning every 6-10 seconds. These evolut ions a nd en ha ncement s w ill dr ive the adopt ion of these innovations with casinos.” A nother barrier is the investment required to develop eSports spaces and the opportunity cost of: • Having space that is only active during a relatively small portion of opening hours. • Providing labour to activate the programming that will differentiate these experiences. We are a long way from the casino of the future. But we are gradually migrating the destination casino’s gaming experience towards something that will look quite different from the gaming experience of 25 years ago. The evolution is happening within the framework of established casino nor ms, building on t he ca sino’s core strength as an entertainment destination. Player engagement and interactivity are leading the latest phase of the evolution. Casino operators seem open to changes, not just as a matter of survival or relevance, but from a genuine interest in offering exciting, relevant channels through which to engage their players. A s someone work ing in the technology side of the casino industry, I believe a major disruption is on its way — a possible transformational revolution — but I am confident the industry can and will adapt. Kara Holm is the Founder of Play the Field™, the first augmented reality mobile treasure hunt and gaming platform for the casino industry. Play the Field™ combines the mainstreaming of augmented reality with the traditional casino strength in rewards so as to engage casual customers with the casino destination. We offer an entirely new casino experience for the eGamer. Play the Field™ gives operators the power to move Millennials. For more information, visit Canadian Gaming Business | 17



WHITE CEO, Responsible Gambling Council

Shelley White is one of Canada’s foremost visionary leaders who has dedicated her life and career to empowering organizations that create better futures for thousands of people in their communities. In 2017, she became the new CEO of the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC), an independent non-profit organization dedicated to problem gambling prevention. OVER THE LAST 30 years, White has also held a variety of executive positions in the non-profit sector for the country’s most recognized and trusted national institutions, including United Way, Kidney Foundation of Canada and the YMCA. Earning a reputation as a champion of social change, White has received United Way Worldwide’s Common Good Award, the Queen’s Jubilee Award for outstanding achievement in voluntary service, and Ontario’s Leading Women Building Communities Award. WHAT AREAS OF YOUR ROLE AS CEO OF THE RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING COUNCIL ARE THE MOST CHALLENGING FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ACCOMPLISHING IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

As CEO, my number one priority is raising RGC’s profile to ensure that individuals throughout Canada, as well as internationally, know and value the leadership role we play in the prevention of problem gambling and reducing its impacts. I am humbled to say that 15 months ago I had not heard of RGC — and that is quite unusual given that I have been 18 |  Spring 2018

working in the human services sector for more than 20 years. However, I soon learned that many people in my network also had not heard about RGC and the vital work that it does. The lack of public awareness about RGC is one of the issues that keeps me awake at night. RGC has been a leader with a wealth of knowledge and responsible gambling expertise, for over three decades — 30 years of progressive research that informs the development and implementation of responsible gambling policies, practices, standards, and training. We conduct accreditations for online gambling sites and every casino in Ontario and in jurisdictions across Canada and internationally. Added to the support RGC provides to the industry, we also deliver evidence-based problem gambling prevention programs to youth and other at-risk populations. I want to ensure that within the next five years, RGC is known as a trusted RG resource for both the industry and players. I want every player to know how to gamble safely if they choose to gamble, in the same way that people learn how to drive responsibly.


The responsible gambling sector is broad and I find it very rewarding to work with a cross section of stakeholders who are all committed to the reduction of problem gambling. From regulators, operators, and academics to treatment providers and community organizations, each group is passionate about responsible gambling and supporting people who may be experiencing some level of gambling harms. Together, the industry is committed to providing customers with a safe, fair and enjoyable entertainment experience that does not expose them to unnecessary financial or psychological risk. IN WHAT WAYS HAS YOUR PAST EXPERIENCE PREPARED YOU FOR YOUR ROLE AT RGC?

We have a significant change and growth strategy that we are implementing at RGC and this requires clear direction, strong governance, a high performing team, building collaborative, cross sectoral partnerships, and a commitment to evaluating our progress. In my 20+ years of experience, this was exactly the type of leadership and management I provided to the teams I led. As a result, we were able to increase the positive impact on people’s lives and the community our organizations strived for. WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF RGC AND ITS ROLE IN THE GAMING COMMUNITY IN THE PROVINCE AND CANADA?

RGC’s vision is a world free of problem gambling. Within the next 10 years, I would like to see problem gambling become a negligible issue and the stigma associated with gambling become non-existent. These are audacious goals. However, over the past year, I have met many industry leaders throughout the world, who are committed to preventing and reducing problem gambling and providing a customerfocused experience. I believe that by collectively making a commitment to this common vision, together we will accelerate the implementation of the architecture required to achieve these goals. WHAT ARE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES FACING THE CANADIAN GAMING INDUSTRY TODAY AND HOW DO YOU THINK THEY SHOULD BE ADDRESSED?

The greatest challenge facing the Canadian gaming industry is its ability to adapt to the signif icant technological, demographic, social and political changes that are disrupting the sector. These changes are having a significant impact on consumer expectations and behavior. Online gambling is growing significantly. Players want the convenience of playing their favourite games online and on their mobile devices, whenever they want. Players are faced with an abundance of choice with what they play and how they play it, and this leads to a very competitive market. Regulators are demanding more stringent standards for operators to implement to prevent harm, build public trust and increase the integrity of the industry. And organizations are clambering to develop costly and complex data strategies that will enable them to protect and leverage their data, to enhance customer engagement and their responsible gambling strategy. The growth and diversification that is taking place in the gaming industry means that people have greater access to

more gambling options. Without question, this increases the possibility of risk. The old RG rules of “leave your credit card at home” does not apply to a gambler playing on their mobile phone on their lunch break. To increase public trust and confidence, and create sustainable players, the industry must proactively protect players against risks – from both traditional gambling and emerging technology and products. Building safeguards into the organization’s culture such as a customer focus, a data strategy, leading human resource practices and implementing performance management are essential strategies for high performing organizations. WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF RGC’S MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND HOW DO YOU THINK THESE DEVELOPMENTS WILL IMPACT THE GAMING INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE?

RGC is committed to build upon the legacy created by its founder Tibor Barsony and long-time CEO Jon Kelly to be a leader in responsible gambling. Research has been the cornerstone of RGC’s work since its inception over 34 years ago. Under Janine Robinson’s leadership, the organization has developed a three-year research strategy that is focused on leading responsible gambling practices, as well as training to put the research into practice. RG Check is a highly respected RG Accreditation program. It is based on a comprehensive set of RG standards, criteria and metrics and provides organizations with a tangible roadmap for successfully implementing a RG culture. In 2018, RG Check will introduce a levels program to recognize those organizations who exceed the basic standards as well as encourage all organizations to aim for the gold standard. Between November 2016 and June 2017, RGC has partnered with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) on the conversion/re-branding of 55 Responsible Gaming Resource Centres (RGRC) across both gaming and c-gaming sites, and the build of a brand new PlaySmart Centre creating a modern space that appeals to all levels of players. PlaySmart has been a huge success in engaging players with game education and smart play strategies and we have supported this shift from traditional RG at gaming venues through the PlaySmart Centres. To that effect, the PlaySmart Centre staff ’s role is evolving to be an on-f loor resource for players. RGC staff have participated in advanced training to provide responsible gambling information to players on the casino f loor and will be more accessible to players than ever before. With over 30+ years of experience in research, evaluation and education, RGC is branching out to offer its services to businesses internationally, via our new consulting service RG Plus (RG+). Acting as advisors to the industry, RG+ is working with organizations in Asia, Australia, Europe, and across North America to achieve growth and excellence by enhancing existing programs, developing leading RG operating policies and procedures, creating effective selfexclusion programs, developing and implementing staff training, and designing impactful player communications. Canada is the preeminent leader when it comes to responsible gambling practices and research and we are really excited to bring this expertise to the world. Canadian Gaming Business | 19

THE FOOD FACTOR Industry insiders discuss the growing importance of gaming destination foodservice operations


As Canadian gaming facilities continue to expand their amenities and customer-service options, food and beverage offerings have taken on an increasingly important role in casinos across the country. Canadian Gaming Business recently asked senior F&B executives from leading Canadian gaming facilities about the growing importance of food and beverage in the customer experience. Here is what they had to say… Participants:

Andrei Kun, Vice President Resort Operations Niagara Casinos

Jon McCartney, RSE, Regional Manager Corporate Food & Beverage, Western Canada, Gateway Casinos


seen tremendous changes which are requiring unique solutions. With increases in competition, in both quantity of restaurants and quality of service, there is a shortage of culinary labour across Canada. We are continuously looking at ways to offer unique solutions and create greater incentives for joining our team. Additionally, to compete with the growth of the restaurant industry over recent years, we must have unique and exclusive offerings that will set us apart. At Niagara Casinos, we are always looking for the opportunity to showcase new and innovative solutions that push the limits. This allows us to stay ahead of the curve and continue to create the “wow” experience that customers will always remember and return for. Jon McCartney: Our ultimate goal is to meet or exceed

every guest’s expectations during each visit. The challenge can be perceived value (or lack thereof ). With so many entertainment and dining options competing for consumers discretionary funds, expectations are very high when they do decide to open their wallets and disappointing experiences are seldom tolerated. Gateway has invested and will continue to invest in their facilities, quality offerings and most importantly their people. The food and beverage industry traditionally has higher turnover in comparison to

Joseph Moore, Director Food and Beverage, Caesars Windsor

gaming operations, so investing in recruitment, training and retention efforts is key to delivering consistent and excellent customer experiences. Joseph Moore: One of the biggest challenges facing food and

beverage in casinos is the ability to be profitable. There is an ongoing struggle to define the actual purpose of F&B operations: Are they an amenity or are they revenue-generating services to be profitable? This is a true balancing act we face daily. To meet these challenges, you have to ensure you are listening to the customer to ensure you are providing the products they are looking for and at the level of service they expect. As trends change we do our utmost to adapt to the changes while maintaining the service levels expected of our brand. To be successful the entire team needs to understand standards and guest expectations and to consistently provide it each and every time.


dining options at casinos are often not met. This is an area that we have been making headway in several different ways. We have added features to menus that include locally sourced food and beverage options, realistic portion sizes and options for a variety of dietary needs. This past year we began a journey with OceanWise to offer sustainable seafood choices in several of our restaurants. Options like Canadian Gaming Business | 21


these show our customers that we are dedicated to providing the best possible experience. JMc: Breaking the stigma that Canadian casinos are not great

options for dining, outside of “fueling stations.” Staying ahead of and even setting the trends will be paramount to establishing an individual identity for our F&B offerings. Instead of being food that is served at the casino, we need to be amazing food that happens to only be available at the casino

JM: The future growth opportunities are with the non-gaming customer who comes for the entertainment factor. By providing new experiences — whether being the place to try all things local or just the place to see or be seen, and doing this with quality products and service — not only will this market grow, it will bring new customers with them. Experiences need to be more organic in nature and not come across as overbearing. This will migrate naturally into the staple offerings within the casino footprint.


all-around excellent experience. Offering easy-to-use offers, providing remarkable service, great atmosphere and mouthwatering meals leave our customers satisfied. We are focusing on food and beverage offerings that are natural, local, health conscious, and cater to specific dietary needs. Additionally, by integrating technology into our restaurants through iPad menus and online booking we are striving to create easy and enjoyable consumer experiences. No matter what the trend is, providing outstanding and engaging experiences will continue to create happy customers, extended stays and repeat visits.

JMc: If you listen to the customers they will indicate what


AK: In our ever-changing and fast-paced world, it is often difficult

to not only stay with the trend, but to be ahead of it. Consumers today expect to get the information they need with a few clicks and are more informed about dining options and offerings. At Niagara Casinos, we cater to a wide spectrum of demographics and ethnicities and we have over 10 dining options to meet the needs of our customers. But, the one thing that will always set us apart is being located in a region known for exceptional wine and dining options. The Niagara Region is one of the biggest competitive advantages that we have and integrating local food and beverages into our offerings is crucial. This allows us to cater to our customers while offering a truly Niagara experience.

JMc: Embracing technology will be the key to staying relevant with

trends are important to them. For example, the past few years people have become more educated about what they are putting in their bodies. Gluten free, vegan diets and other health-focused trends are inf luencing people’s entertainment destination preferences. It can be difficult to be everything to everyone, but ensuring that we have options that are not going to exclude certain groups is essential to attracting individuals into our facilities, and allowing them to enjoy the entire entertainment experience.

JM : Loyalty programs are a proven tool to attract and

maintain customers whether it is at a F&B operation in a casino or standalone location. Attracting new business and increasing enrollments is top of mind for many operations and leveraging food and beverage to draw new customers to the property works well (i.e., sign up for loyalty program and receive a free buffet). Offering this type of incentive to a guest to join the property’s loyalty program not only increases the database but introduces the new guest to other amenities that they might not have otherwise visited.

the light and casual demographic. Understanding and evolving with technology has the potential to keep you at the forefront of trends that are developing in our industry. Some examples that reach beyond the obvious (social media) are portable hand-held devices to speed up the order taking process or smart kitchen equipment like wifi-enabled combi ovens or automatic slicing machines.


JM: To appeal to Millennials, the one thing all experts say is not to market directly to them; they are not interested in prepackaged approach. They are a very social generation and want to experience as much as they can in all they do. Attracting ethnic groups for banquets and catering functions is a great market to get into. It is a market that requires the property to fully understand and be able provide what that demographic is looking for and requires, not what the property thinks they want. Authenticity is crucial to have longevity with any specialty market.

AK: A diverse group of customers walk through our doors each day, therefore our food and beverage options must also be diverse. We cater to various ethnicities and age groups with var ying amounts of disposable income. Each customer needs to feel welcomed and have options that suit their needs and desires. To achieve this we have dining options that range from buffets and delis to lounge and four-diamond restaurant experiences. There is an option for everyone.

22 |  Spring 2018

JMc: The more diversified your facility’s dining offerings are, the larger your reach can be. There is a possibility that a guest is looking for a night out with an elegant sit-down dinner one night and the next day that very same guest is looking for a quick bite to eat on their lunch break. If we have offerings that cater to those needs we have an opportunity to attract guests like this to our property and then provide them with some additional entertainment offerings on our gaming floor. JM: The F&B options to be successful have to meet the needs

and wants of the diverse customer base. Different options are considered by the customers for different occasions. For example, some customers only eat in “fine dining outlets” while others treat those outlets as a place for celebration. Other customers want the ability to grab a quick bite and go back to the floor or perhaps enjoy a break in the buffet where they can select the food they want at their own pace before going back to the floor. Having a diverse offering does not necessarily mean multiple outlets; it can be diverse menu offerings or different offerings based on time of day.


Casino Resort is truly a unique experience. As a full-service resort we offer not only gaming and award-winning dining options, but also big name entertainment shows, shopping, spa, hotel and more. Our food and beverage teams take these non-dining experiences to the next level by providing services such as beverage service on the gaming floor, menu options in The Spa, and room service. In addition to these great offerings, we are incredibly lucky to be located overlooking the beautiful Niagara Falls. Partnerships with local tourism in combination with our full-service resort create an all-encompassing Niagara Falls destination experience that continues to drive people back to the region and the casino.

JMc: Anything that can generate some fun and excitement has the ability to contribute to the positive energy in our facilities. Wherever possible we create outdoor and patio dining spaces to further enhance the guest experience. We attempt to leverage experiences within our food and beverage operations such as sports viewing clubs that have fun contests with prizes that enable individuals to enjoy their experience in a group setting.

Connect with the world’s most powerful cashbox system. Why work harder when you can work smarter? By incorporating EASITRAXTM into your property, you will automatically unlock the value of efficiency. EASITRAX leverages your SC AdvanceTM note acceptors to connect the gaming floor with the soft count room and back offices—ensuring you have all the transaction and performance data needed to make operations faster, smarter and more profitable than ever before. Now, CPI is introducing real-time functionality through its next gen product, EASITRAX Live! Visit to learn more.

JM: Casino customers come for an experience and want to it to be

seamless. The amenities need to appeal to the gaming and nongaming customer alike. The gaming customer wants to enjoy a total experience and the non-gaming customer travelling with the gaming customer wants to also enjoy an experience, and when they do the gaming customer are more inclined to play more. Amenities need to provide quality products and service to give the sense of value to gaming customers. Technology that countsTM

Canadian Gaming Business | 23



Providing education and information on responsible gambling

As the crown corporation responsible for managing gambling on behalf of the province of British Columbia, BCLC is committed to promoting responsible gambling and offering games in a way that encourages positive play and informed choice. BCLC’s GameSense program is a cornerstone of our player health strategy to increase safer gambling practices and decrease gambling-related harms, and is grounded in the theory that the more people know, the better equipped they are to make healthy decisions about gambling. GAMESENSE encourages players to adopt behaviours and attitudes that can reduce the risk of developing gambling disorders, such setting time and money limits, as well as being open and honest with friends and family about personal gambling habits. What makes the program different is that it engages players using fun and novel tools, tactics and resources. It presents information to players in a non-judgmental, engaging manner to promote responsible play, remove the stigma around problem gambling and connect those who recognize they have a problem to the resources they need. When someone is ready to get help, GameSense can serve as a first step for a problem gambler. BCLC developed GameSense in 2009, and other jurisdictions have since adopted the program, including Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan in Canada, and Connecticut Lottery Corporation, Massachusetts Gaming Commission and MGM Resorts International in the U.S. GameSense has had many successes and international recognition thanks in part to the continuous evaluation and improvement of programming. In 2017, BCLC undertook a “deep dive” into the brand to ensure that it aligns with BCLC’s player health strategy and the needs of players and gaming workers in British Columbia and beyond. BCLC’s research of the GameSense brand revealed several insights including that players felt overloaded with information, and that they were confused between problem gambling and responsible gambling, and the role of GameSense and GameSense Advisors in casinos. Research also showed that positivity, balance (gambling as one part of life), simplicity and friendliness leads to increased player engagement. As a result, BCLC refreshed its GameSense brand, and approach, in fall 2017 with: • Short, simple messaging that is easy to retain; • Refreshed graphics and images for posters, brochures and marketing efforts (as opposed to more stark photography); • Lighter, more conversational tone – not too serious and functional; 24 |  Spring 2018

21 THE BASICS The objective: create a hand with a higher total than that of the dealer, without exceeding 21.

Players are paid 4–1, or up to 1000–1, depending on the type of cards:

Two Kings of Spades with Dealer Blackjack Two Kings of Spades Two Suited Kings Two Suited 10s, Jacks or Queens Suited total of 20 Two Kings Unsuited 20

1,000-1 100-1 30-1 20-1 9-1 6-1 4-1


Note: Only highest payout paid per player. The minimum and maximum wagering limits of the King’s Bounty wager are determined by the house

You’ll be dealt cards until you choose to stand—end your turn—because you believe you’ve created a hand totaling as close to 21 as possible, without going over. If your hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s, you win.

HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS? Ask a GameSense Advisor at the casino, visit or call at 1-888-815-0222.

Your odds, the rules and more.

• Focused, relevant messages for different audiences; • Revised context (i.e. life balance and positivity); and • Refreshed GameSense booth design and staff uniforms. In short, the GameSense rebrand is about communicating with players more effectively and so far, the feedback has been extremely positive. MGM Resorts International recently provided an overview of its efforts to implement the refreshed GameSense program at its casino resorts in Las Vegas last year. Thanks to intense planning, and coordination amongst all levels of the business, MGM was able to roll out successfully the program in just a few short months. EMPOWERING STAFF AND PLAYERS

What stood out the most to those involved was the incredible reception the GameSense message received from both casino staff and players alike, with both saying they felt more empowered.

responsiblegambling problem. GameSense A nother exciting staff can also assist change and enhanceplayers in receiving ment is on the hor ieffective referral to zon for BCLC and its the right resources at responsible gambling CHASING LOSSES the right time, should efforts, as it assumes IS LIKE A DOG gambling become a full management of the problem. G a m e S en s e A d v i s o r chasing its tail. BCLC is substantially program effective April increasing its investment 1, 2018, and ex pands in the program, hiring this signif icant player more GSA staff, service to all 18 commuexpanding services to all nity gaming centres across communities that host the province by fall 2019. a gambling facility and Previously, GSAs were on enhancing the program contract with the provto meet players’ needs. ince’s Gaming Policy and This all plays into BCLC’s evolving Enforcement Branch (GPEB) and only in approach to responsible gambling place in B.C.’s 17 casinos. GameSense Advisors play a key which is changing strategic focus from role in sharing important gambling awareness to harm reduction. BCLC’s information through one-on-one primary obligation is not to simply interactions on the casino floor. They turn a profit, but to oversee and operate encourage players to be aware of the gambling in a way that benefits British principles of responsible play, such Columbians as a whole. W hile many aspects of har m as the odds always favour the house, there is no such thing as luck, gamblers reduction fall outside of BCLC’s cannot “earn” a win and the warning scope of responsibility (e.g. policy, sig ns when g a mbling becomes a treatment and public education), Visit to learn more.

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BCLC is the key entity responsible for supporting players’ well-being. BCLC’s GameSense program is key to all components of its player health strategy, which includes four pillars: informed decision-making; positive play; reduce problem gambling prevalence with BCLC products; and effective referral to treatment and support. The majorit y of players in B.C. gamble in a responsible way and BCLC wants to continue to promote this further. This is why it has shifted its approach from a predominant focus of raising awareness, to a broader focus of influencing player health. BCLC’s GameSense program and player health strateg y are rooted in understanding the player, and how to best support safer gambling practices and reduce negative impacts. BCLC continues to work with its provincial counter par ts and g aming ser v ice prov iders to develop a g a mbling indust r y that fosters responsible g ambling and reduces g amblingrelated harm. For more information, visit

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Canadian Gaming Business | 25



2018 Strategies and inspiration for healthy gambling

Superhero fans will recognize the famous quote in the Spiderman comics – “With great power comes great responsibility” – which BCLC President and CEO Jim Lightbody used in his opening address at the sixth annual New Horizons in Responsible Gambling conference. LIGHTBODY EMPHASIZED the importance of a strong responsible gambling program for BCLC, and the gambling industry as a whole. His reasoning? Because it is the right thing to do. This perspective, which embraces more accountability and player-focused supports, was a resounding theme throughout the 2018 conference, which took place in Vancouver from February 14 to 15, 2018. Whether from speakers, researchers or industry professionals, the tone of presentations and discussions 26 |  Spring 2018

reflected the dynamic shift in focus that is underway within the gambling industry. CONNECTION IS KEY

The New Horizons keynote address from Johann Hari, New York Times bestselling author, journalist and TED Talk presenter, wowed the audience. With addiction being a major issue linked to the gambling industry, Hari encouraged the audience to look for solutions through social connections, and to help create experiences for

people who struggle with addiction where they are not playing online or in casinos by themselves. Hari stressed that the opposite of addiction is connection. Having players engage in larger social and gambling experiences with others means that their behavior may be less prone to becoming problematic. Dur ing another session, Dr. Jon Kelly, former CEO of the Responsible Gambling Council, raised the point of how responsible gambling is now more than just helping the compulsive

responsiblegambling:newhorizons g a mbler; it is developi n g a nd implement ing prog ra m ming to pre vent a nd re duce h a r m. K el ly also shared his perspective on how responsible gambling may be good for business and stressed that information, inf luence and informed decision-mak ing w ill never be enough in responsible gambling. The industr y must get inside the mind of the customer, and not just the ones that have problems, to properly understand and engage them in a safe way, he said.

the EAST acronym (Easy; Attractive; Social; Timely) and how it can be used as a tool to help people make informed decisions. A lso of note at this year’s New Horizons conference was the poster session winner, Brianna Cassetta, who received a $1,000 grant to fund her research on Comorbid Disordered Gambling and Psychosis.



Virtual reality therapy for problem gambling behavior was a hot topic at this year’s conference, for delegates and media alike. Dr. Stéphane Bouchard conducted several interviews on the topic and shared his insights, based on more than 20 years of research and expertise, which have helped inform understanding around player-focused programming and more innovative resources to prevent problem gambling. A delegation from MGM Resorts International provided an overview of efforts to adopt and implement B CL C ’s G a meS en se re spon sible gambling program at its casino resorts in Las Vegas last year. What stood out the most, according to Vice President A lan Feldman, was the incredible reception that GameSense received from both players and casino staff alike – both felt empowered. Feldman said that, as an industry, “We need to start having regular conversations with players about healthy play, not waiting until they have a problem.” C a s i n o o p e r a t o r s f r o m B .C . , Massachusetts and MGM, who sat on a panel discussion about “RG culture,” echoed Feldman’s sentiment, and reinforced the guiding principle that “personalization and mak ing responsible g ambling par t of the conversation” is one of the most impor t a nt a spect s of responsible g a ming a nd, at it s core, of good customer service. During a plenary titled, “Beyond Informed Choice: Inf luencing Player Behaviour,” panelists hashed out ideas of possible toolkits that could be used to inf luence player behaviour and how they can move beyond players’ informed choices. They discussed

A s in years past, the 2018 New Horizons conference offered delegates an opportunity to network and share ideas and approaches for more playerhealth focused research, messaging and support. For all the latest on New Horizons, check out horizonsrg.bclc. com, and be sure to look for its new LinkedIn community page, launching in March.





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Canadian Gaming Business | 27 ACCRO_islandad_2018_2.indd 1

2018-03-27 3:50 PM




Innovating the gaming and entertainment experience Aruze Gaming is a global entertainment company that designs, develops, and manufactures slot machines and gaming devices for the global casino market. Aruze Gaming’s principles including creating fun and entertaining experiences, fostering a strong gaming culture and providing quality products and content for all customers while offering exceptional customer service. DELIVERING E XCITEMENT and enjoyment is the ultimate objective of product development at Aruze, all while maintaining a commitment t o suppor t i n g a nd encou r a g i n g responsible gaming initiatives. The company also believes in challenging conventional wisdom by innovative thinking that transcends not only different industries, but generations and gender as well. Canadian Gaming Business recently sat dow n w ith Er ic Persson, Global Chief Operating Of f icer and President of A r uze Gaming America, and asked him about the latest news and developments at Aruze Gaming. TELL US A BIT ABOUT HOW ARUZE GAMING CAME ABOUT AND ITS DEVELOPMENT OVER THE YEARS?

Aruze Gaming was a vision of Mr. Kazuo Okada. With his experience i n p a ch i n k o, he t hou g ht t her e wa s a n oppor t unit y in Nor th A mer ica to br ing more exciting 28 |  Spring 2018

and better products than what was currently being offered. We have to give Mr. Okada great credit for revolutionizing the mechanical reels and creatively building one-of-akind video slot machines as well as electronic table games. WHAT HAVE BEEN ARUZE GAMING’S MOST SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR AND HOW WILL THOSE ACHIEVEMENTS FURTHER ENHANCE YOUR COMPANY’S PLACE IN THE GLOBAL GAMING MARKET?

One of the biggest achievements A ruze Gaming holds was the breakthrough of the Innovator™ re el s. A r u z e rei nv i g or at e d re el products during the time when the physical reel slot market was on a dow nslide. Many manufacturers copied this technology and became successful with their reel products. T here a re st i l l m a ny i m it at ion versions of the Innovator™ reels today in the global gaming market. But of course, Aruze reels are still the best in the business.


I am proud to be involved in an industry that gives people a product that allows them to get out of their house and into a social environment. That is what slots can do for people: get them to interact with others that they may never interact with and in turn, have a good time. I come from a casino background and seeing strangers celebrate a win together can be a very powerful thing. We are all social creatures and I love being in an industry that generates that kind of interaction. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ARE THE GREATEST GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES FOR ARUZE GAMING AND WHY?

We are very excited about our position in the electronic table game market. Our company is coming out with a lot of impressive ETG products, such as a revolutionary Craps table that takes onefourth the labour. This is a big deal for North America and in Canada. Craps has arguably the most complex odds for a dealer to learn. By automating this process we not only cut labour costs but also provide flexibility for management. What’s fantastic about our new Craps table is that we still let the casino players roll the dice and to continue the feel of traditional Craps game. Aruze is confident that this product will be a hit. We are also modernizing our Roulette product by using projection mapping and high-speed cameras with a physical pan and ball to give a more traditional feel. As a market leader, we are not just going to solidify, but continue to grow our market share and make ETG products our number one priority. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF ARUZE GAMING?

Our biggest challenge for our growth and development is getting access into more jurisdictions. There are some people that may not be familiar with Aruze Gaming and our credibility or game performance. Once we are able to get Aruze products on the casino f loors, our performance will speak for itself. Aruze Gaming’s challenge is getting our games to the right people and getting into the right jurisdictions in the next 24 months. To address these challenges, we are going to strengthen our resources and relationships. At

that point, they will be able to see that Aruze’s products can compete with any other manufacturer and perform better. WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF ARUZE GAMING AND ITS ROLE IN BOTH THE CANADIAN AND GLOBAL GAMING COMMUNITY?

Aruze Gaming’s goal for the future and its role in the global gaming community is to be the number one slot manufacturer. And of course, Canada is an integral part of that vision. Currently, the goal is to get into every jurisdiction worldwide and that is something we are currently executing. Aruze is going to continue to grow their product platform. The people that purchase Aruze products are always happy and our job is to keep them happy. WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY FOR DELIVERING THE BEST GAMING EXPERIENCE FOR ALL PARTIES INVOLVED, INCLUDING THE CUSTOMER, YOUR COMPANY AND THE INDUSTRY?

At the end of the day, Aruze’s main mission is to provide the best gaming experience for casino players. It is not about the property that purchased the games, it’s about building products that the casino players enjoy and want to play more. For Aruze, everything we do is about the casino player. For example, many jurisdictions do not allow table games so unfortunately, some casino players can’t play certain games such as Craps. By us automating the craps table, that means people in jurisdictions where table games aren’t allowed may now be able to play Craps. Aruze is trying to build experiences that casino players cannot get from other manufacturers. Once we do that, then we are going to be very successful. That to us is what we focus on – the casino player. We know that the property buyers will buy from us because they want what the casino player wants to play. ANY OTHER COMMENTS OR INSIGHTS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH READERS ABOUT ARUZE GAMING?

We are very excited about our new and unique content coming out. Our research and development team is challenging the industry to rethink what a gaming machine has to be. I am excited about expanding our product offerings in a way that will make operators think of Aruze as a total solution provider.

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Canadian Sales Representative Perco Ventures

506.962.6231 | | 800.323.2234 Featured Chair: Park Avenue

Canadian Gaming Business | 29


COMPLIANCE CULTURE The competitive advantage of developing a culture of compliance BY NAV SANDHAWALIA

To build and maintain a culture of compliance is not only important but often is underestimated for its importance as a pillar of good governance. With the burden of heavy regulations, gaming organizations vastly differ in their approach to compliance. Some organizations view it as an annoyance, while others embrace the notion of compliance and embed it in every facet of their organization. Why does this occur? What is the right approach? Finding the right balance is a journey each organization needs to undertake, but I believe creating a culture of compliance is extremely important in today’s gaming ecosystem. A CULTURE IS often referred to as a set of customs, traditions, and values of a society or group of people. It’s a way of doing things that is often distinct from others. In the gaming industry, under the scrutiny of regulations and fierce competition, developing a culture of compliance can be a competitive advantage. To create sustainable momentum, organizations should consider the following list of factors: Commitment from leadership – I would argue this is the most important factor of all. If senior leadership is not committed to a culture of compliance, it is doubtful it will ever permeate throughout an organization. Leadership needs to develop, implement, and appropriately monitor key indicators which will help keep an organizations attitude towards compliance on-track. Ownership – Consider assigning compliance responsibility to a member of the executive team as their primary role, as opposed to being a secondary or tertiary duty. This clear distinction provides both regulators and the organization’s senior executives/Board of Directors with a clear understanding of who has ownership of monitoring, updating, and communicating compliance procedures. Training and communication – This is fundamental to building a compliance culture. Each and every employee in your organization will have a role to play in the compliance spectrum. Appropriate training and communication should be customized for each group of employees based on their job function. Periodic training sessions to revise understanding of fundamental principles while also providing timely updates reinforces key concepts and demonstrates the leadership team’s commitment. Leverage technology – Technology is possibly the compliance functions best friend. Technology can help automate processes and introduce controls which help decrease failure points. However, employees must intimately understand what the technology is doing and work on enhancing compliance by focusing on strategic work, as opposed to tactical tasks. The risk of completely relying on technology must be avoided. Analyze mistakes – It is inevitable that every organization will slip-up. However, it is how an organization learns and adapts from those mistakes that is important. This not only highlights 30 |  Spring 2018

the importance of compliance to all employees, but also continues to seep compliance into the fabric of the organization. Each compliance failure should be analyzed to find the root cause of the mistake, followed by implementation of appropriate controls to avoid the failure from occurring again. Actively learning from mistakes encourages engagement among employees and fosters an organic compliance culture. Incentivize good behaviour – If compliance is tied to compensation and/or reward, employees are much more likely to learn, adhere to, and embed policies into their everyday tasks. Furthermore, organizations should consider showcasing (e.g. newsletter, town hall, quarterly awards etc.) those who have gone above and beyond in their compliance duties. This further reinforces leaderships commitment and creates positive motivation for others. Moving along the spectrum to become an organization in which compliance is ingrained in the DNA is a long journey and not an easy feat. To begin, consider undertaking a comprehensive review of your current state, followed by the development of a roadmap highlighting the activities required in order to achieve your ideal compliance culture (i.e. end-state). It is inevitable that managing change during this process may become difficult, but leadership should push through the inevitable zone of doubt, anger, and blame. With the support of the senior executive team, and celebrating small milestones achieved along the way, a positive and influential compliance culture will inherently develop. Although it may seem as an exhaustive exercise, developing a proactive and well-cultivated compliance culture will cut operational costs, improve efficiencies and mitigate risks. Given all the potential upside, why would any organization not embrace a culture of compliance? Nav Sandhawalia provides clients in the gaming industry with a wide array of consulting services, with a particular focus on governance, risk, compliance, bid-support, project management, internal audit, and antimoney laundering. He has experience in all gaming verticals supporting clients throughout Canada, North America, and globally. He can be reached at

2018 THEME:


“Where the Canadian Gaming Industry Meets”

June 18-20, 2018

Scotiabank Convention Centre Niagara Falls, ON



2018 Canadian Gaming Summit

Sponsorship/Exhibiting Opportunities Contact Chuck Nervick, Senior Vice President | 416-512-8186 Ext. 227


The reveal at NIGA. Booth #1336


Canadian Gaming Business  

Spring 2018

Canadian Gaming Business  

Spring 2018