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Canada's Premier Gaming Industry Magazine

Vol. 8 No. 1

Spring 2013

DISCOVERING CANADA’S PLAYERS Insights from Ipsos Reid’s Nationwide Study Inside: Analytics and the Modern Casino PM 40063056

Executive Q&A with ALC's Brent Scrimshaw Social Media Roundtable Player Comforts

June 17-19, 2013 Palais des congrès Montréal, Québec See pages 38-39

INNOVATION. RESULTS. REVENUE. Driving performance for lottery and regulated gaming worldwide

• Instant, Interactive & Draw Games • Instant Game Product Management • Lottery Systems • Retail Technology • Video Gaming Terminals & Systems • Lottery & Operations Management • Marketing Research & Analytics • Licensed Properties • Loyalty & Rewards Programs • Internet, Mobile & Social Gaming


Spring 2013 Volume 8 Number 1 Publisher

Richard Swayze 416.512.8186 ext. 246

contents 8



Editor Matthew Bradford Advertising Sales Richard Swayze Senior Designer

Annette Carlucci


Jennifer Carter

Production Manager

Rachel Selbie


editor'S NOTE



Proudly owned and published by:









Circulation Manager

President Kevin Brown

Lina Trunina

President & CEO Bill Rutsey

Senior Vice President Chuck Nervick

Vice President, Public Affairs Paul Burns

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: Richard Swayze 416-512-8186 ext. 246 Copyright 2013 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

Discovering Canada's Players: Insights from Ipsos Reid's nationwide study

Analytics and the Modern Casino: A Game Changer A study in SaskGaming's slot floor optimization An Integrated Approach to Casino Design: Fusing tech for maximum effect

Player Comforts: The latest products enhancing the gaming experience


Social Media Will Continue to Change How We Market


Brent Scrimshaw, President and CEO of Atlantic Lottery Corporation









Amaya Gaming Group: A Q & A with CEO David Baazov Social Media Roundtable: Experiences from the frontlines An All New Casino de Montréal: Quebec's gaming gem celebrates platinum anniversary in style


“New Horizons” a Success in BC: Highlights from BCLC's January 2013 conference


It's a Game of Risks: Top risks facing Canadian gaming organizations

Official Publication of the Canadian Gaming Summit

Canadian Gaming Business | 3


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Counting down to the 2013 Canadian Gaming Summit With 2013 well underway, it's time once again to turn our focus towards one of the industry's most anticipated yearly events, the 17th Annual Canadian Gaming Summit. As you read this, both the Canadian Gaming Association and MediaEdge are busy preparing this exciting event, which is slated to run June 17 – 19 at Montréal’s Palais des congrès. This year's show promises to offer attendees another round of insightful prog ramming, industr y pa nels, net work i n g oppor t u n it ies, a nd a n excit i n g tradeshow designed to better equip Summit delegates for the challenges and opportunities ahead. In this first issue of 2013, we also aim to prepare Canadian gaming stakeholders for the year to come. In our cover story, “Discovering Canada's Players”, Ipsos Reid takes us through the findings of its most recent casino visitor study, identifying key trends and demographic highlights along the way. Our look forward carries over in expert-driven discussions on casino design in John Coniglio's (Westbury National) “An Integrated Approach to Casino Design”; casino floor software, in Craig Carothers, Ivan Oliveira, and Emmanuel Pacheco's (SAS Institute) “Analytics and the Modern Casino: A Game Changer”; and essential strategies for social media in our “Social Media Roundtable”, featuring Greg Medulun (Fallsview Casino), Kevin MacKenzie (Marshall Fenn), Randy Sears (Gateway Casinos), and Susan Dolinski (BCLC). Our coverage of emerging trends and products continues in our “Gaming Technology” department, where this issue we've taken a look at the new offerings in “Player Comforts” from manufacturers and suppliers across North America. Further in, we sit down with ALC's CEO Brent Scrimshaw in our “Executive Q&A”, catch up on Casino de Montréal renovations, report on BCLC's most recent New Horizons in Responsible Gambling conference, and take a closer look at the inner workings of Amaya Gaming. Please also read with interest KPMG's breakdown of gaming industry challenges in, “It's a Game of Risks”, and Marshall Fenn's extended discussion on social media in, “Social Media Will Continue to Change How We Market”. It's gearing up to be a transformative year for gaming in Canada, and we're eager to be along for the ride. If you aren't already, be sure to follow all the latest news and Canadian gaming highlights at We're always open for suggestions and comments, so please feel free to contact myself at and CGB's Publisher, Richard Swayze at Enjoy the issue and see you in June at the Summit! Matthew Bradford Editor

4 |  Spring 2013 Untitled-2 1 CanadianGamingBusiness_DAR-Unity_HP_Mar2013.indd 1

13-02-27 9:19 AM 25/02/2013 15:32


Of Fairy Tales and Broadway Musicals By Bill Rutsey, President & CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association

Living in Ontario, and especially Toronto, since Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) announced its modernization strategy last spring, has been like living in either a fairy tale or a Broadway musical. The fairy tale is Chicken Little, with various local politicians and others opposed to gaming all sharing the starring role— running around and screaming “the sky is falling” to all and sundry at the mere thought of entertaining the possibility of a gaming facility in their municipality. The Broadway musical is The Music Man, with the same players laying claim to the role of Professor' Harold Hill. T he c u r rent debat e ab out a dow ntow n g a m i n g entertainment centre in Toronto is so reminiscent of many past “Toronto the Good” issues that opponents predicted would usher in civic perdition and ruin. I think I speak for the overwhelming majority of Torontonians that none of the Sunday streetcars, Sunday professional baseball, Sunday movies, Sunday sales of alcohol, or Sunday shopping have destroyed Toronto’s moral fabric. In fact, most people would say that the 'con' arguments put forth at those various times seem absolutely silly now and without foundation. Which brings us directly to The Music Man. The level of 'deb at e' i s ent i rel y rem i n i s c ent of 'Professor' Hill’s apocryphal warnings in Ya Got Trouble to the good people of River City that a pool hall would bring irretrievable devastation to their fair community, especially when you take into account that casino gaming is not new to Toronto and has been going on for more than a decade. The arguments being put forth against gaming are prissy, moralizing, and as one author put it, “look like old-school Protestantism.” What is being proposed for downtown Toronto is not simply a casino within four walls; it’s a gaming entertainment centre that would contain a number of elements including hotel, convention, retail, food and beverage, clubs and entertainment, and recreation. In fact, the gaming component would form about 10 per cent of the public area. This would be a $2 billion-plus capital investment financed entirely without public funds that would be the largest private 6 |  Spring 2013

commercial development in Canada, creating up to 12,000 permanent, good paying jobs with an average annual wage of more than $50,000; as well as 6,000 construction jobs. Recent examinations of relevant peer-reviewed research conducted by Dr. Bo Bernhard, Executive Director of the International Gaming Institute of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, shows that an integrated resort developed in the Greater Toronto Area is “best practice” in terms of maximizing economic benefits that would: • Have either no effect or a positive effect on nearby hospitality and tourism facilities; • Foster growth of surrounding industries; • Have no significant effect on crime rates; and • Create meaningful increases in economic growth and employment. Complaints that gaming properties are enclosed and generate a demand for parking are as easily applied to any other entertainment venue, such as the Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, and Princess of Wales Theatre—all of which are designed to keep their patrons inside and occupied with the entertainment on offer. I have to ask why only gaming is criticized for actually attracting patrons while other forms of entertainment are okay with doing exactly the same thing? With respect to social costs, study after study has determined that crime is not an issue. One need only ask Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair about Woodbine Entertainment and understand that rates of problem gambling over the past 20 years have stabilized across Canada at about one per cent of the general population, regardless of the supply of legal forms of gambling, including casinos. What we’re talking about is a single downtown gaming entertainment centre within an urban area with a population of 2.6 million people in Toronto proper and 5.6 million in the GTA. Come on Toronto, isn’t it about time you got over that River City complex? And remember: The sky wasn’t falling, it was just an acorn.

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Discovering Canada's Players Insights from Ipsos Reid's Nationwide Study

by Jason Allsopp and Paul Lauzon

8 | Spring 2013


If the idea of a casino conjures up images of Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, and Atlantic City, or of Hollywood flicks starring James Bond or Nicholas Cage, it is quite likely your expectations for casinos in 2013 are outdated. True, while today’s casinos certainly offer plenty of excitement, entertainment, and activities, casinos at large have become much more mainstream and accessible to the public. Casinos now dot the Canadian landscape, with communities large and small offering venues that are not only open for gaming, but also offer a full range of experiences including dining and live entertainment. Casinos are no longer a playground strictly for jet-setters and high rollers. In fact, there’s a good chance there’s a casino not far from where you are right now, and there is just as good a chance it is busy with everyday people seeking a bit of fun and escape from their everyday lives. Indeed, today’s casinos are a serious business for many communities across Canada. At Ipsos Reid, our Lottery and Gaming practice studies the habits, attitudes, and desires of Canada’s gaming population. We ask them what they are looking for in casino entertainment, what their expectations are, what they do inside the casino, how much they spend, and how they rate the entire experience. In January of 2013, we fielded a study on the attitudes and behaviours of Canadian casino visitors to capture a clear measure of the casino market in this country, and to uncover opportunities to help casino operators better identify gaps in services with ways to improve their offerings. We're pleased to pair with Canadian Gaming Business to present some of our findings in this report. RETURNING VISITORS In the study, Ipsos wanted to get a look at the kind of people who frequent casinos, how often they go, and what they do once they pass through the doors. We surveyed over 1000 casino goers across Canada and asked them

a slew of questions pertaining to their activities and interests in the casino. Respondents had to have made one or more visits to a casino in the past year to be eligible for the survey. On average, visitors who visited a casino in the past month did so twice. The regular casino visitor also averages between five and six visits per year. Our study did find that two-thirds of past year visitors only visited up to three times, meaning that most visitors are light visitors. That said, one-third of past year casino goers have been in the past month. Most casino visitors are infrequent, with more than half visiting only once or twice a year. Less than one-in-five said they visit monthly or more often. FUN AND GAMES Not surprisingly, people primarily visit a casino to play games. Gaming activities dominated the list of things people do when visiting a casino and playing the slots was by far the most popular gaming activity. Half of all respondents (49%) said they always play the slots when they visit a casino. Games aside, casino visitors are also partaking in non-gaming entertainment options. Some non-gaming activities, such as dining at the restaurant, watching live entertainment, or visiting the casino bar proved to be more popular than other gaming activities, such as playing blackjack, VLTs, and table games like roulette or craps. Most ca sino v isitors a re quite content with the majority of offerings at their casinos. However, offering live entertainment or providing a hotel on-site is something some wished was available at their most often visited casino. Canadian Gaming Business | 9

coverstory Activities  During  Visits  

Activities  During  Most  Recent  Visit   Average   Spend    


Most  of  the  time  

Some  of  the  time  



Gaming  (Net)   Play  slots  

49%   23%  


14%   7%  


Buy  lottery  tickets   11%   11%  


Ever  done  


Gaming  (Net)  


Play  slots  

Play  card  games  like  Blackjack   6%   8%   15%  



Play  card  games  like  Blackjack  

Play  VLTs   7%   7%   14%  



Play  VLTs  



Play  table  games  like  Roulette/Craps  

Play  cards  games  like  Poker   4%  6%   13%   12%  


Play  card  games  like  Poker  

Play  table  games  like  Roulette/Craps   4%  6%   13%  

Participate  in  Off-­‐Track-­‐Betting  

7%   11%  

Non-­‐Gaming  (Net)  

Dine  at  the  restaurant   12%  


Watch  live  entertainment   4%  11%   Visit  a  casino  bar   7%   14%   Stay  at  the  hotel   6%   9%   Use  the  conference  facilities  


30%   24%   20%  

Buy  lottery  tickets   Participate  in  Off-­‐Track-­‐Betting  

67%   64%  





6%   9%  

Base:  All  respondents  (n=1,018)   Thinking  about  when  you  visit  a  casino,  how  often  do  you  do  the  following?  

22%   94%   86%  



©  2013  Ipsos

CASHING IN Casinos are a big business in Canada, so Ipsos wanted to know just how much Canadian casino visitors are spending. In our study of Canadian casino visitors, respondents said they spent just over $700 on average on gaming activities, with another $200 spent on non-gaming activities across their visits in the past year During their most recent trip, most visitors undertook a gaming activity, with most playing slots, spending just under $75 during the visit.

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Core  Gaming  (Subnet)  

90%   80%  

$107   $74   $91  











3%   59%  

Non-­‐Gaming  (Net)   46%  

Dine  at  the  restaurant   25%  

Visit  a  casino  bar   Watch  live  entertainment  



*Small  base  size,  interpret  with  caution;  **Very  small  base  size,  interpret  with  extreme  caution.     Base:  All  respondents  who  participated  in  games  (n=1,008)   Which  of  the  following  did  you  do  during  your  last  visit  to  a  casino?   How  much  did  you  spend  on  the  following  during  your  last  visit  to  the  casino?  


$53   $30   $64  

©  2013  Ipsos

Although only one-in-ten casino visitors said they played a poker game during their last visit, it had the highest average spend of all the games. On average, poker players spent $140 on their last visit. Despite the fact that fewer visitors say they play games—such as blackjack or roulette—than non-gaming activities—such as dining at the restaurant, visiting the bar, or watching live entertainment—casino visitors are ultimately spending more on the gaming activities than on non-gaming activities Most of the money spent on gaming was spent on slots, followed by lottery tickets, blackjack, and poker. Non-gaming money, on the other hand, was most likely to be spent dining at the restaurant. For each activity, the amount of dollars spent is significantly greater among those who have visited in the past month compared to those who have visited in the past year (not past month). Almost all of the survey's respondents stated that they set a budget, but only three-in-five actually stick to it; with a quarter of them spending more. Less frequent visitors (less than monthly visits) are more likely to have a budget. While two-thirds of casino visitors are spending the same amount of money at casinos as they were a year ago, just under a quarter are spending less than last year. The economy, lack of winnings, and other entertainment options available were mentioned as the key reasons for spending less at casinos. VISITOR SATISFACTION Every casino wants to know how it is performing and what factors ultimately drive visitor satisfaction. To paraphrase an old axiom, “A satisfied visitor is a return visitor.” We used the Ipsos Bayes Net modelling approach to help uncover which factors are the biggest drivers of satisfaction for the casino experience. We asked our survey respondents about the importance they place on a number of factors when they plan their visits to a casino. From the complete list, three key factors stood out above all else (and also have the highest impact on boosting satisfaction for visitors): • The casino needs to provide an exciting atmosphere. People are looking to spend time and money in an environment where they can feel an escape from the everyday with the hope that

coverstory Impact  on  Overall  Satisfaction   Negative  Impact  

Positive  Impact  

Exciting  atmosphere  


Ease  of  parking  


The  cleanliness  of  the  casino   Variety  of  slot  machines  offered  

(only 5%). There is a healthy number in the middle, however, who are only moderately satisfied with their casino visits, leaving ample room for casino operators to examine ways of improving the experience for this segment of visitors.

12%   8%  

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE... Casinos remain one of the last indoor public spaces where it is Food  and  beverage  services   7%   permissible to smoke. Although this applies to only a minority Past  experience  at  that  location   4%   Ease  of  transportation   of gaming facilities in Canada, this in and of itself can be a 3%   Variety  of  dining  options   3%   burning issue. As mentioned previously, smoking is a driver Special  events   3%   of dissatisfaction for some visitors, but our research also shows The  type  of  clientele  at  the  casino   2%   Live  entertainment   2%   that allowing smoking inside is a draw for others. The ability to Variety  of  table  games  offered   1%   smoke inside the casino is more important among core players It  is  close  to  where  you  live   1%   (those that have at least visited in the past month) and for the Location  other  than  proximity  to  your  home   1%   Availability  of  a  Players  Club   1%   heavier spenders. Poker players also indicate that they also place You  can  smoke  at  the  casino   6%   a high value on being permitted to smoke while they play— Base:  All  respondents  (n=1,018)   When  you  are  planning  to  visit  a  casino,  how  important  are  the  following  factors?   even more so than non-poker players. The study also shows that Š  2013  Ipsos Thinking  about  the  last  time  you  visited  a  casino  in  Canada,  using  a  scale  from  1-­â€?                                   smoking is more appealing to younger visitors (ages 18-54) than older visitors and that those in the lower income brackets (less luck will be on their side; than $40,000 per annum) also place a higher premium on the • Parking needs to be easy; and • The casino needs to be clean. Casino visitors may want ability to smoke inside the casino. On the f lip side, less frequent players find a smoking excitement, but they still want it within their realm of comfort, stating accessibility and cleanliness as high priorities. Being able environment to be a hindrance to their enjoyment. What’s the take away? If you are looking to convert less to smoke at the casino, however, is a driver of dissatisfaction for some visitors as they would prefer a smoke-free environment. frequent players into more frequent players, make room for non-smoking sections. Furthermore, if you are keen to keep the 7.125 x 4.75â€? Nearly half of our respondents (48%) are satisfied with their higher revenue generating poker players happy, seal off their area last visit to a casino, with very few dissatisfied with the experience and let them savour that full house with a fine Cohiba in hand. Level  of  personal  safety  


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coverstory VISITOR PROFILE Visiting a casino is mostly seen as a social outing. Most of our respondents stated that when they visit a casino, they do so with a friend or spouse, or with a group of friends. Very few will visit by themselves with any frequency (always/most of the time) and it is rare that they will visit with co-workers. Most casino visitors say they do not set a time limit (62%) on their visits. For the one-third (34%) that plan to set a time limit for their casino visits, slightly less than two-thirds (62%) will actually stick to it. Two-in-ten will go over their time limit and a near equal proportion will spend less time than planned. Visitors are more likely to go on the weekend, or share their visitation both during the week and on the weekend. Those who visit casinos monthly or more are often more likely to go during the week when compared to less frequent visitors. Lastly, when it comes to possessing a player’s card, slightly more visitors say they don’t have a card than have a card, with those who have a card far more likely to be a frequent visitor (visiting monthly or more often). STEAK VS. SIZZLE Like most smart businesses, casino operators are constantly looking to innovate and improve their offerings to keep visitors satisfied and eager to come back, as well as to attract new visitors. Many have done so by adding extra value options such as restaurants, entertainment, and bar services. But what do visitors make of it? Although many of the visitors in our study said they have dined at the restaurants in their favourite casinos, adding new or a greater

Are young adults a part of your game plan? Get the freshest insights on what 18-34 year olds are thinking, doing, and playing. Subscribe to Ipsos’ 2013 Gaming Emerging Market Syndicated Study for an in-depth examination of gaming, technology and 18-34 year olds. Contact: Paul Lauzon Senior Vice President and Managing Director Ipsos Reid, Lottery & Gaming 403.294.7386

12 |  Spring 2013

variety of restaurants is not going to drastically impact their decision to visit a casino. In fact, most said it wouldn’t change their visiting frequency at all. That’s not to say they don’t enjoy having a new restaurant or dining options, it simply means it won’t make them visit more often. Many casinos also offer a live entertainment venue on site, adding a bit of music or comedy into the mix. Having a live big name entertainer as a draw card has the potential for encouraging more frequent visitation, but lesser known acts will only be moderately received. Similar to their response to restaurant and dining options, respondents aren’t saying no, but they aren’t doing cartwheels either. A beverage between games may seem like a good idea, and most casinos do offer an on-site bar. Our research shows that much like restaurants, having a bar offers more positive responses than negative responses; but just like restaurants, when it comes to visiting a casino, the bar is not a game changer. ATTRACTING SUCCESS As casinos continue to become more popular and common across Canada, the stakes remain quite high. After all, a casino is a significant investment of resources and a significant source of revenue and employment in many jurisdictions across the country. Understanding what makes the casino visitor tick and the kinds of experiences they enjoy, and gauging their satisfaction with existing offers and their thirst for new experiences, is the key to ensuring your casino will make the right decisions to attract visitors and keep them coming back time and time again. Jason Allsopp is an Associate Vice President with Ipsos Reid’s Lottery & Gaming practice. Based in Vancouver, Jason is part of a 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 or 778.373.5035. Paul Lauzon is Senior Vice President and Managing Director with Ipsos Reid and head of the firm’s Lottery & Gaming practice. 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 or 403.294.7386. Methodology These are findings from an Ipsos Reid Lottery & Gaming study conducted from January 23 to 25, 2013. For the survey, a sample of 1,018 Canadians was interviewed online. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. For more information about credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos Public Affairs section of our website [ IpsosPA_CredibilityIntervals.pdf] at The data were weighted to the casino going population of Canada by region, gender, and age. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. 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.


Analytics and the Modern Casino: A Game


A study in SaskGaming's slot floor optimization By Craig Carothers, Ivan Oliveira, and Emmanuel Pacheco

14 |  Spring 2013

"A dollar won is twice as sweet as a dollar earned," said Paul Newman in The Color of Money. But with growing competition for the entertainment dollar, winning over customers has never been more challenging.


David Koch, SaskGaming Analytics Specialist, monitors the gaming floor

will continue to be so in the future. Therein lies a missed opportunity. W it h mou nt a ins of inva lu able customer data available, a growing number of casinos around the world are turning to advanced analytics to assist with slot f loor planning—and it’s proving to be a winning bet.

W h e n i t com e s t o s l o t f l o o r planning, bad decisions can mean significant losses in customer loyalty and potential revenue. According to the Canadian Gaming Association, legalized gaming has nearly tripled in size since 1995, from $6.4 billion in gaming win to about $15.1 billion in 2010. Moreover, as other sources estimate up to 85% of casino revenue stems from slot operations, this is considered a vital component of the business. W hen deciding which games to offer or replace, casinos may look at historic results and reason that games which were popular in the past

Case Study: SaskGaming's slot floor optimization SaskGaming has enjoyed positive revenue growth since opening Casino Regina in 1996 and Casino Moose Jaw in 2002. However, like others in the industr y, its initial period of double digit growth eventually plateaued as it reached a more mature stage in its market cycle. Customer demand for slot machine play in particular seemed to be saturated. In the fall of 2 011, this thought had been on the mind of Elliot t Daradich, SaskGaming’s Director of Slots for nearly 17 years. On board since the casino's inception, Elliott witnessed the development of the business into an increasingly dynamic environment. With so many changes taking place at once, he wondered: How can one plan the right mix of gaming choices, denominations, and machine placements to optimize customer interest? To answer this, SaskGaming paired with SAS Analytics to discuss options to assess and ref ine SaskGaming’s d at a needs to i mprove it s lon gterm slot business planning process. Project heads from each organization

adopted a multi-phased team approach that began in summer 2012 w ith a detailed test, or 'proof of concept'. SaskGaming determined its current business needs were beyond what had been envisioned when its slot databases were originally created. Therefore, the first step in the process was assessing a nd clea ning the ava ilable dat a to enable a detailed categorization of relevant information to gain insights into slot performance to date. The data needed to be reviewed and revised for consistency to allow the history of similar games to be tracked. T h i s w a s a k e y ch a l len g e o f t h e initiative because results of analysis can only be as good as the information that gets analyzed. “It took a lot long er tha n we anticipated; in the end there were f ive iterations,” recalls David Koch, Analytics Specialist with SaskGaming. Next, the team used this information to provide a best-case predictive forecast into how each game would perform in the year to come. In the process, it became possible to begin collecting insight into leading predictors of guest preference that would optimize profitability while supporting the integrity of fair and random play. “Our databases lacked details about the attributes of individual games and machines,” explains Daradich, adding, “Now that we’ve seen what can be learned from this kind of information, we plan to redevelop and augment our data capture with an eye toward future analysis capabilities.” Canadian Gaming Business | 15


L everag ing categorization and each game vendor’s market research, it b e c a me p o s sible t o i s ol at e a surrogate to help it analyze options for new game purchases. Moving forward, the technology will allow SaskGaming to predict the potential impact of changes on slot performance based on ‘what if ’ scenarios. This provides much greater forecasting power than the traditional approach to decision making, which was limited to reports based on one variable, looking exclusively at historical data. Finally, advanced optimization w a s ut i l i z e d t o d e t er m i n e t h e best approach to future business, considering factors such as physical space and budget. This information will help SaskGaming optimize its slot purchase options, including the a na lysis of which machines to replace a nd when to replace them, while also ensuring player experience is not hampered through down-time.

“In the end, the solutions offered by t he t est ca se prom ise a new perspective,” says Daradich. “Better yet, we were there to take part and see it happen. Ever y Friday as we met as a team, we considered the result s a nd nex t steps tog ether. It g a ve m e t he o pp or t u n it y t o become comfortable with, and have confidence in, the outcome.” “To me, what’s different about this approach is no one is trying to isolate the one magic variable that matters above all else to customers and will make the business thrive for yea rs to come,” adds K och. “Rather, we’re simply identifying t h o s e g a m e s w h i ch c u s t o m e r s f ind appealing even if we don’t k n o w w h y. T h i s s o lu t i o n h a s helped us to immediately improve our underst a nding of customer preferences. A s our dat aba ses become richer with new game and machine attributes, we’ll also have stronger predictors of long-term

per for ma nce, a llow ing us to ma ke better decisions in the future. Power in SaskGaming's hands C ompet it ion in t he enter t a in ment ma rket ca n be f ierce. Sa sk Ga ming recognizes that with more competition for discretiona r y enter t ainment spending by customers, it needs to offer guests an entertainment experience that exceeds their ex pectations. As such, being able to make empirically sound decisions about which slots will best appeal to customers is more important t h a n e ver. T he a n a l y t ic s s olut ion en a ble s u s er s t o move s e a m le s sl y through the entire process, from data collection to forecasting, prescriptive optimization, and reporting. “To have the power to reasonably forecast future results and do those ‘what if ’ scenarios at our convenience lets us make decisions about the timing and nature of machine replacements so as to achieve the most desirable business outcomes,” said Daradich. An example for all Using analytics, SaskGaming now has a new perspective on its games data, allowing the casino to use analytics to offer the right games, in the right locations to attract loyal and valuable customers. SaskGaming looks forward to considering the potential for slot f loor analytics to improve its analysis capacity in other areas of its operations. With f lexible analytics solutions that can be implemented by any department at a casino from food and beverage to entertainment, it is easy for casinos to take a ‘sky’s the limit’ approach using analy tics to transform the business planning process.

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16 |  Spring 2013

Craig Carothers is SAS's Canada Principal Demand Intelligence; Ivan Oliveira is SAS Director and Advanced Analytics Research and Development; and Emmanuel Pacheco is Gaming, Hospitality and Entertainment Sales Lead for SAS Canada. For more on SAS Canada, visit www. or contact Andrew Bowden, SAS Canada Marketing Specialist, at Andrew.

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An Integrated Approach to Casino Design Fusing tech for maximum effect By Kevin Young

18 |  Spring 2013

When designing audio, audiovisual, and lighting systems for a modern gaming facility, the focus is never on a single element. Rather, it is on integrating all of those systems seamlessly to maximize the impact entertainment technology has on the overall guest experience, increase customer loyalty, and contribute meaningfully to the success of the facility itself. The intent is to ensure clients are aware of how completely digital signage, audio, visual, and lighting technology can be integrated to provide a highimpact entertainment ex perience, while enhancing their ability to crosspromote all of the casino's services and options. Whether those options are loyalty programs, on-site event tickets, accommodation, or food and beverage promotions, the most effective way to fully exploit the opportunities technology can provide is to open a dialogue with an integrator at the outset of the design stage. Doing so is a key factor when it comes to basic systems, such as highly intelligible background audio and event/concert sound, hi-def video, and modern lighting solutions that set the atmosphere for patrons upon arrival;

and also in creating the kind of signature effects that set a casino apart from its competitors. “ We ex amine ever y element and technology available to realize a client’s vision,” says John Coniglio, Senior Project Sales Manager at Westbury National Show Systems Ltd., adding, “Our approach is to create impact, so when a guest sees the building from a distance they are drawn to it, and from the moment they step out of their car they are immersed in the atmosphere.” Westbury is a Toronto-based company with over thirty years of experience in designing, installing, programming, and maintaining A/V, digital signage, staging, and lighting systems for a diverse array of projects. Its portfolio includes stadiums, theatres, educational, corporate, retail and government facilities; and gaming establishments including Grey Eagle Casino in Calgary; MotorCity Casino in Michigan; and Florida’s Gulfstream Park, Racing and Casino. Says Coniglio, the ultimate goal for integrators like Westbury is to create larger-than-life experiences with an eye to ensuring customers a maximum return on their investment. Accomplishing that goal may involve


Architectural Lighting - Gulfstream Racing and Casino - Hallandale Beach, Florida

the conception and creation of highimpact lighting effects, video displays, and interactive features employing architectural lighting, cost effective and highly flexible LED technology, and 3D projection mapping. Alternately, it could involve suggesting the expansion of the casino’s distributed audio system to include an indoor parkade, as Westbury did at Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara. According to Coniglio, these are all viable options, but ones that require an integrator to work closely with owners, architects, and content providers during pre-construction. “The benefit of engaging an integrator at the beginning of the design process is to eliminate the possibility of good concepts being abandoned before they’re fully investigated,” continues Coniglio. Recalling a recent project that required a floating structure outfitted with a variety of A/V, lighting, and digital signage to be built between the second and third floors of a casino, he adds, “No one was certain it was feasible, but because it was addressed in the design stage we were able provide a solution to achieve their vision.” I n c r e a s i n g l y, h o w e v e r, e a r l y discussions with an integrator are as important to creating large-scale, artistic

Media tower - Casino Niagara - Niagara Falls, Ontario

Canadian Gaming Business | 19

specialsupplement Entertainment Centre - Audio, Video and Stage Lighting - Casino New-NouveauBrunswick, Moncton, New Brunswick

“For example, a single slot machine or group of machines, in conjunction with a server-based digital signage system, can be programmed to communicate via the facility’s network with virtually any system to poll and extract time or event specific data,” explains Guy Wallace, System Installation Manager at Westbury. By creating custom programming, when a jackpot reaches a certain level, that data may be displayed on the facility’s digital signage system; triggering an audio, video, and lighting effect to create excitement on the floor; or drawing attention to a specific game or area of the facility. Additionally, loyalty program data and live gaming machine card readers can be custom integrated with the digital signage package for on-the-spot loyalty promotions.

features as they are to heightening connectivity between a casino’s A/V messaging, digital signage, and lighting systems. A full-service integrator, who understands all of the technology deployed equally, has the opportunity to integrate the systems—including gaming systems—more completely and effectively.

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20 |  Spring 2013

Endless design possibilities Those are just some examples of how a well-planned, fully integrated system can make a difference to guests. But the possibilities for enhancing a client’s ability to market special events, programming, and initiatives to patrons throughout the entire facility (i.e., to send a feed from the live venue promoting a live show to the hotel, restaurants and casino floor, for example) are virtually endless. “We have the expertise to communicate with the people who specialize in content creation and gaming systems, to facilitate ways to connect the systems and to extract data and distribute that information system-wide,” Coniglio says. “That allows clients to fully realize the potential of tying all of the system elements together to promote all aspects of their facility and services automatically, by having the systems interact with their point of sale systems.” Early consultation also ensures a high level of quality across the board which, given the advances in home entertainment A/V systems and the increasing sophistication of consumers, is a necessity. Put bluntly, the average person expects to see the same arc of improvement in the places they go to be entertained as they’ve experienced with their own technology. Additionally, it allows for full integration of entertainment and life/safety systems, so emergency messages can be broadcast across the system, lighting effects can be shut down or repurposed to speed evacuation, and house lighting can be brought up to maximize the effectiveness of a casino’s life/safety plan. Ultimately, during early consultations, an integrator will provide a variety of creative, well-informed suggestions for employing all of the technology available, in tandem, to realize every aspect of a client’s vision. Whether a client expresses that vision in concrete terms, or simply knows where they want to generate excitement, but not how, a strong integrator will provide multiple options to execute that vision according to a client’s budget and specific needs. At the end of the day, no concept is too complicated if the technology and the imagination to employ it are brought to bear. Kevin Young is a Toronto-based freelance tech, music, and travel writer. He can be reached at


Player Comforts

Casinos must play to all five senses when crafting the ideal gaming experience. For our spring issue, CGB turned its spotlight on some of the newest and most innovative products contributing to player comfort...

Accro Furniture Industries A high priority for every casino is to provide an exceptional experience for their guests. Comfortable seating makes patrons want to stay and play, increa sin g t heir t ime on the casino f loor and encouraging repeat visits. L ow er denom i n at ion slot machines can result in longer playing time, emphasizing the need for patron comfor t considerations in chair specifications. Gaming chairs should ensure comfort for the guest, provide functional design for the facility, and feature reliable quality for long-term performance. Features such as correct seat height and back pitch are critical elements of player friendly seating. Accro Furniture I ndust r ies ha s been m a nu f a c t u r i n g met a l furniture in Canada for public areas since 1946 and specifically for the demanding, 24/7 gaming and slot seating environment for the past two decades. Its chairs have been proven through continuous use on busy gaming floors throughout Canada. 22 |  Spring 2013

Its chairs are deliberately designed to ensure a safe and comfortable gaming experience, incorporating such features as contour molded seat cushions and backrest lumbar support. Accro’s Comfort-Flex back contributes to a luxurious experience for patrons of all sizes and Easy-Slide floor glides allow the chairs to be moved with minimal effort. A variety of options allow casino operators to customize Accro's chairs to suit their particular requirements. Strategically located convenience handles are offered for easy re-positioning of the chairs and facility logos or marketing messages can be embroidered on chair backs. Gaming enterprises rely on the seating supplied for their busy environments to perform well at all times, and chairs manufactured by Accro feature dependable durability that inspires confidence with both the owners and their patrons. For more information, visit DVHA Hospitality Furniture Hospitality seating is a key component of the overall casino experience. In casino restaurants and bars, current trends call for more comfortable dining chairs that also serve as lounge seating, allowing for greater flexibility in a seating plan and its intended functions. specializes in manufacturing custom furniture in wood and metal for bars and restaurants in casinos across Canada. Durability, performance, and longevity are paramount for the casino operator due to the high stress the furniture is subjected to through day-to-day casino operations. In addition, the visual appeal and comfort of the furniture is important to the satisfaction of the customer. DVHA’s Gilda is a perfect example of a product that meets the demand for a balance between aesthetics, comfort, functionality, and longevity. Gilda is featured in Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort’s 365 Lounge. This product is 100% Canadian made at the DVHA factory in Ontario. DVHA manufactures custom products in order to meet the specific


needs of the application and offers the utmost comfort to players. DVHA is a Canadian company and is also the exclusive Canadian representative for Gasser Chair Co., a leader in gaming seating manufacturing. For more information, visit Gary Platt Manufacturing “Time on device” is a key phrase for Gary Platt Manufacturing, and something the company keeps in the forefront of its mind when designing its seating. When players are comfortable and having a good time, they will play longer. Gary Platt was founded on the concept that a high quality, more comfortable chair would increase a player’s “time on device” and, as a result, casino revenues. Two years of research led to a high density foam being used in the entire chair of Gary Platt's X-tended Play seating. As the only manufacturer focusing solely on casino gaming chairs, t he compa ny h a s perfected each design for optimum player comfort. Gary Platt's foam and wood both are unique in the industry. The foam is injection molded with built-in lumbar support and other contours to f it the human form. The seat has a waterfall front edge to relieve stress on the player’s

“Hospitality seating is a key component of the overall casino experience. In casino restaurants and bars, current trends call for more comfortable dining chairs that also serve as lounge seating, allowing for greater flexibility in a seating plan...” Visit us at booth 314 in the Summit in Montreal on June 17-19!




Canadian Gaming Business | 23 Accro_Spring_2013.indd 1

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legs. Gary Platt is the only manufacturer to utilize a steel support bar connecting the seat to the back that runs the entire length of the seat wood for added strength. Gary Platt recently developed the Capri Style chair specifically for Boyd Gaming Corporation’s table games seating. After an exhausting review, the Capri was chosen based on the criteria of overall comfort, ease of movement, design, and durability. This new line of seating will be the standard for Boyd’s 22 properties. Combining form with function and comfort, Gary Platt chairs are solid investment for any casino and can be customized to fit any gaming facility's unique needs. For more information, visit Gasser Chair Company “When a guest can sit comfortably for longer slot playing sessions, the result is likely to be more coin-in and profit for a casino,” said Mark Gasser, president of Gasser Chair Company. “The Coltrane’s key components are advanced materials and ergonomic engineering combined advantageously to keep players comfortable and in ‘the playing mood’ longer. We have taken ergonomic casino seating to a whole new level with the Coltrane.” Innovative features of the Coltrane that provide for maximum comfort and support—as well as ease of maintenance—include molded, ergonomically-contoured foam cushions; backrest foam with lumbar support and shaped to hug the body; seat foam with a front edge shaped for better leg circulation; Gasser’s unique Easy-Change seat and backrest system; and

24 |  Spring 2013

Gasser’s unique Comfort Zone FlexBack(tm) technology. The Coltrane also has an integrated hand pull on the backrest and a durable aluminum base, either the circular Halo or four-leg with mega-glides, which make for a significantly light stool. This combination permits patrons and casino employees to easily move the Coltrane with much less effort, resulting in reduced fatigue and injury claims. For more information, visit ScentAir Gaming brands around the world look to the sense of smell to deliver deeper and more memorable experiences to their players. After all, players are ultimately purchasing an emotional connection and the sense of smell is the most powerful way to connect with a player’s emotion and memory. ScentAir delivers more than five billion enduring scent impressions each year to consumers around the world. More than 90% of casinos that use scent marketing services choose ScentAir, and the company scents spaces and applications of all sizes and kinds, everywhere. From Las Vegas to Macau, from Russia to Durant, OK player experiences and time on device are being impacted by enhancing the overall environment in terms of the olfactory experience. ScentAir works with major brands like MGM Grand and City of Dreams Macau to deliver scent in large spaces. Whether it’s the iconic Coconut Spice in Mandalay Bay, or City of Dreams Rainforest, millions of players can literally close their eyes, and still know exactly where they are. ScentAir also specializes in tribal gaming, pachinko parlours, and zoned municipality gaming. Players want a thrilling, refreshing experience that they cannot get any where else. Engaging the player’s sense of smell is a power ful way to en ha nce the experience and to deliver on that objective. For more information, visit


Social Media Will Continue to Change How We Market By Kevin MacKenzie

The rise in social media in marketing and public relations is well documented; we hear constantly about how social media is changing our daily lives. But what does this mean for the gaming industry? It is no secret that innovations like smartphones and tablets now allow us to use technolog y in new and innovative ways. A s social media is adopted into more of our daily life, the customer increasingly expects to be able to connect with your property. When it comes to destination marketing, the customer experience both on property and online should be seamless. As a global leader in the use and adoption of social media, Canada is especially well positioned to be successful in using social media to promote gaming properties and brands. It is hard to ig nore the impact that social media has on the traditional marketing and advertising channels. There is a behav ioural shift happening with an empowered audience who embraces new technologies and who now evaluates your brand and propert y based on their social experience. Over the past five years, we have seen the rise of the brand ambassador; members of the social media audience who actively promote your brand and propert y to their network. In order to engage this audience, marketers are building more campaigns and programs that are integrated with social media. Many marketing programs today i n clu d e s o c i a l m e d i a el e m e nt s . W hether it be a t weet to welcome a g u e s t w ho h a s che ck e d i n on Foursquare, Facebook applications that support way f inding tools, or specia l promot ions a nd cont est s unique to social media, we are seeing a huge increase in the attention paid to the social audience. This is due to the most recent data which suggests that the socially connected customer 26 |  Spring 2013

is more likely to visit your property, spend more onsite, and is more likely to promote your brand through social media and word of mouth. This new social inf luence was a key factor in the design of the M Life mobile application for MGM Resorts. The loyalty application was designed to extend the on-property ex per ience through social media tools like Foursquare and Twitter, as well as improve the connection with the customer by providing offers and incentives, games, and unique content to this audience. The application has proven to be ver y popular and an effective tool for MGM to extend the brand experience to customers even when they are not at a MGM property. In fact, social media is changing how ma ny indust r ies address customer care. The connected customer has, through social media, a network to which they can broadcast their thoughts and opinions about your business. In fact, the likelihood is that these conversations about your brand are happening ever y day in social media. As marketers, we need to pay attention to these conversations and be prepared to engage the social

a u d i e n c e w h e n n e c e s s a r y. T h e consequences of not paying attention can be devastating, as clever content aimed at your brand can quickly go viral. United Airlines probably wishes they had taken better care of Dave Carroll’s guitar before his YouTube video garnered over ten million views (and counting). Social media presents a serious challenge to the old service model, and gaming properties should be prepared. Another aspect to consider is the g row t h of socia l g a m in g, where players leverage their social network in order to g ain suppor t or ear n premiums when playing games. This experience has driven the popularity of social games like Farmville and Candy Crush Saga, where players can look to their social network to access virtual items or credits. And the trend does not appear to be going away. Practically every casino game can now be played online and many have been integrated with the social networks. The one piece missing today is the payoff, but that is rapidly changing. Already the United Kingdom allows virtual players to tap into real gaming facilities to play online and bank any earnings, and social gaming giant Zynga has filed for the right to do so in North America. The social gaming trend is just getting started and will be an important factor to watch for the industry. Kevin MacKenzie is an Account Manager with Marshall Fenn Communications ( in Toronto. He can be contacted by email kevinm@ or by phone at (416) 962 3366 x 277.



Executive Q&A:

Brent Scrimshaw

President and CEO of Atlantic Lottery Corporation

Brent joined the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) in 2006 and was named CEO in 2011. The move was a natural career step for Brent given his senior marketing expertise with the Canadian Football League, and vice-president and president positions with Molson. CGB reached out to Brent to find out more about what drives this Atlantic gaming leader, family man, and motorcyclist; as well as what he envisions for the future of ALC... What do you believe is ALC's greatest growth opportunity? Atlantic L ot ter y— a compa ny currently beholden to its geography— has the talent, reputation, and people to reach the status of a global player i n t he g a m i n g i ndu st r y. I n t h is digital age, we are no longer forced to look simply at our own backyard for growth; we are now able to use our international caliber company as a catalyst for economic growth, job creation, and innovation in our region. I ’m f o r t u n a t e t h a t 6 0 0 - p l u s employe e s c om e t o w ork e ver y day to try to make Atlantic Canada a b et t er pl a ce. It ’s a lof t y g o a l, 28 |  Spring 2013

ready to seize opportunities as they present themselves. To do this, we are re-def ining what it means to be a traditional lottery company. We work to strike a balance bet ween loyalt y to the tried and true and the need to deliver the k inds of g ames today’s connected consumers want. We ’r e m i n d f u l , t o o , t h a t t h e experience we provide is rooted not only in our products, but also in the way we conduct our business. For Atlantic L otter y, a commitment to What is your philosophy for excellence also means a commitment delivering the best gaming to openness and transparenc y. The experience? Our industry is evolving at a rapid desire to understand our players and clip and part of delivering the best to have them understand us in return gaming experience possible is being prompted us to launch Ask, but e v er y d a y w e a ch i e v e it i n increments. Our dedicated people can’t help but inspire me to do my part to see that our company stays relevant, innovative, and true to our mandate of delivering a safe and regulated gaming option for Atlantic Canadians. It is an exciting time to be at the helm of this company as it takes that next step—and I want to see it through.


a forum for real and direct conversations with Atlantic Canadians. Since its launch, more than 65,000 unique visitors have stopped by and we’ve answered more than 700 questions. It’s a source of pride for us. It’s about trust and relevance.

Looking to Advance your bottom line?

What has had the most significant impact on your growth as a leader? My t ime w ith Molson wa s foundat iona l in my development. At the time, the actual sur vival of the enterprise was at risk, so the need to not just embrace but to drive disruptive change became central to how I thought, planned, and operated. Most importantly, it fostered in me an acute sense of the importance of emotionally engaging teams through demonstrated vision and passion. I found that large teams could be best led by smaller change teams from within and that—perhaps most importantly—people followed people, not plans.

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What’s the most difficult part of your job and how do you deal with it? Atlantic Lottery is a Crown Corporation, reporting into not one, but four provincial governments. This means our four shareholders need to sing from the same song sheet for us to be able to advance any notable shift in our operations. While this diverse shareholder group can have competing ideological interests, they are unified in seeing to it that Atlantic Lottery—their shared property— succeeds. We build trust with our shareholders through factbased knowledge of their individual jurisdictions, a sound grasp of their respective concerns, and well articulated plans tailored to their needs. We all live and work here too, so our shareholders' concerns are really ours. T he st ron g ex a mple of reg ion a l co operat ion we personify is a position of privilege that we don’t take lightly. It’s often a master-class in diplomacy, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

MEI has redefined expectations of note acceptors yet again with SC Advance. Enhancements were driven by customer requests to improve upon core measures of performance— acceptance, speed and security— and do so in a manner that is backwards compatible with the existing installed base. By maximizing the number of street-grade notes accepted, while simultaneously increasing the security against counterfeit notes, the MEI SC Advance is a step forward on the most important measure…operator profitability. Learn how to specify cashboxes in your property that fill up faster than ever before. Contact a BetRite representative at 204-489-8260 to schedule a SC Advance demonstration. Proven performance. Increased profits. MEI is ISO 9001:2000 certified. ©2013 MEI. All rights reserved.

Canadian Gaming Business | 29


Amaya Gaming Group

Photo credit: Riccardo Cellere (

CEO David Baazov talks Amaya's past, present, and future

This spring, CGB sat down with Amaya's David Baazov for an in-depth look at this global gaming company, its recent successes, and its goals for the future of gaming.

What offerings does Amaya currently bring to the industry? Amaya provides a full suite of gaming solutions including gaming platforms and game content for casino, poker, sportsbook, lotteries, and slot machines. Some of the world’s largest and best known gaming operators and casinos are powered by our online, mobile, and land-based solutions. We are proudly Canadian with our head off ice in Montreal, publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and Venture Exchange, and have offices in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Our vision is to leverage our technology for the rapid convergence in the gaming industry in order to enable our customers to acquire players regardless of the medium of acquisition; whether through physical, virtual, or mobile channels. Our goal is to execute on this vision in order to enable our customers to increase the yield generated from players to further drive the revenue base. What have been some of Amaya's most significant recent developments? The past 24 months have been pivotal for the g row th of our compa ny, whereby we’ve grown from a medium sized company to now having over 800 employees globally. Our first two big acquisitions were Chartwell and Cryptologic which were pioneers in the online casino gaming space. The next two came in the second half of 2012 with the purchase of Ongame Poker Network from Shortly after we closed the Ongame transaction, we 30 |  Spring 2013

made our largest business acquisition to date, picking up American landbased slot manufacturer Cadillac Jack for $177 million. How has Cadillac Jack enhanced Amaya's approach as a full-service supplier? We are looking to lead in both the landbased and interactive regulating gaming spaces, and our acquisition of Cadillac Jack is instrumental in providing us the capability of extending our offering to land-based operators. This acquisition gave us top-tier slot product, and allows for signif icant cross-selling opportunities to land-based operators to extend their offering to customers beyond the confines of their physical casino. How will the Ongame acquisition strengthen Amaya presence in the online space? We’re ver y excited about Ongame because it is a leading online poker network in Europe. The company has great people and one of the best poker products in the market that can truly compete with the likes of PokerStars and PartyPoker’s products. The combination of the existing Amaya Casino games with the Ongame Poker network provides a complete gaming solution for operators. We are also rolling out a new electronic gaming platform where Ongame has a solid track record in being first to market in regulated jurisdictions. We feel poised to broaden our US footprint with both the poker network and gaming platform. We have already signed one of the largest casinos in the US with Mohegan Sun for our poker platform, and we have also recently signed an agreement with

Las Vegas based American Casino & Entertainment Properties (aceplaypoker. com), which is monumental now that online gaming has been legalized in Nevada. Our exclusive interactive poker distribution deals with Bally and SHFL also increases our reach to land based casinos wanting to 'flip the switch' and go online. One trend right now is for online operators to be platform-independent. Given that Amaya has a full product suite, are you still allowing this integration? Absolutely, we still allow integration. We want our customers to make as much money as possible. The more money they make, the more money we make; it has to be a competitive landscape. We do not believe in ever putting the customer’s back against the wall. The product and content has to speak for itself. If you take the competition out of it, you’re taking innovation out of the equation as well. With these new businesses in the mix, what are Amaya's biggest challenges and what is it doing to overcome them? The integration of the businesses is the biggest challenge in terms of products, platforms, brands, people and processes. This will receive our biggest focus as it creates significant opportunities to create efficiencies that will strengthen the company’s position in the market. Other key challenges and opportunities include further penetration of the US gaming market and the deployment of signif icant projects in Europe. 2013 is going to be an even bigger year for us, and as a company we continue to recruit top talent that will give us the bandwidth to scale our operations sensibly.

16 Years 19 Casinos 11 Jurisdictions For the past 16 years, we’ve helped build brands for 19 different casinos across North America. And while reaching players through advertising, social media and technology is part science and part art, we have the experience and capabilities to do it all. When it comes to really understanding your business, we’ve got game. To see some of our award winning work, visit or contact Jim Kabrajee at 416-962-3366 or

In our game, winning numbers have nothing to do with luck.


Social Media

Roundtable Experiences from the frontlines of the digital revolution

For a better understanding, we approached marketing experts across the countr y for their take on the current state of social media and how it can be used to improve the playing field for all stakeholders...

Social media is fast becoming a “must have” tool for ever y company, no mat ter the industr y. In gaming, it is essential to capturing the attention o f t o d ay 's p laye r s a n d engaging gamers across all demographics.

How important is the use of social media in today's gaming industry?

32 |  Spring 2013

G M : W het her i n g a m i n g or a ny other hospitalit y or ser vice-based industry, I see the importance and the opportunities of social media in all its forms as being comparable. It’s another touch point w ithin a company’s marketing mix that can target and engage current and future pat ron s, bu ild bra nd a dvo c at es, en h a nc e c u st omer s er v ic e, a nd disseminate information. KM : The Canadian g aming i ndust r y is slowly b eg i n n i n g to view the strateg ic value of social media. We really only seem to be at the start of using social media for audience en g a g ement i n t he Canadian market, yet all of the key factors are in place for the gaming industr y to take advantage of this shift in customer communications. Canada is a leader in the adoption and use of social media; we h ave a ver y h ig h penet rat ion of smartphone usage, and destination marketing is setting the trend for ex tending ex per ience ma rketing to dig ital ser vices— a g reater use of social media in the marketplace means a growing ex pectation that prop er t ie s w i l l b e av a i l a ble for

in for mation a nd ser v ices w ithin the social networks. We are just at the beginning of this shift. Many properties are recognizing that in order to broaden the acquisition strateg y, social media will play an important role with a younger market. Using social media to distribute optimized marketing messaging w ill continue to g row in importance to grow the broader audience. The good news is that casinos have unique content that is continually changing and being updated. Promotions, jackpots and prizes, entertainment, events, and restaurants provide an endless source of content that gaming properties ca n use to f ill t he socia l media pipeline. Most are well positioned to build their audience and brand in social media and develop a strong level of engagement. Finally, social media has taken its place at the marketing table and will continue to grow in importance for the gaming market. Because social media allows your network to easily ident i f y a s bra nd advocates a nd share your message on behalf of the property, marketers cannot ignore the value of an engaged social media audience. Ev idence is mount ing that highly engaged social media customers are more likely to make a purchase, more likely to make repeat visits, and more likely to promote your brand to their net work . Gaming marketers need to explore different ways to engage with social med ia i n f luencer s a nd mea su re the return on these efforts. There

socialmediasupplement Greg Medulun, Director of Communications, Fallsview Casino Resort & Casino Niagara

are numerous campaigns already underway in the United Kingdom and the United States that indicate the gaming market is eager to engage socially and reap the benefits of being brand advocates. R S : T h e '4 R s' o f s o c i a l m e d i a — r e p u t a t i o n , rel at ion sh ips, recom mend at ion s, a nd rea ch — are important to casino marketing. The gaming industry needs to be active in the same technology that our guests are using. Social media platforms allow casinos to join and inf luence the conversation and turn social data into meaningful and usable information. The gaming industry can utilize social media to shape their offerings, improve service, and increase guest spending.

Kevin MacKenzie, Digital Account Manager, Marshall Fenn Communications

Randy Sears, VP of Marketing, Gateway Casinos

SD: Social media is an important part of developing brand character and increasing recog nition and relevance within the gaming industry. It’s a tool that provides the opportunity to show the personality of our brand in an informal setting within a variety of our networks. It also allows players to interact with us using platforms they use regularly. For BCLC, social media is a way to engage within our communities, locations, industry, audiences, media, players, staff, stakeholders, etc. How do you use social media?
 G M : We g ot our feet wet w ith Tw it ter. It wa s primarily used as another tool for media outreach by corporate communications, and still is. We also now have an HR-managed account that focuses on employee engagement and recruitment. Recently, we’ve increased our presence on other social channels like Facebook and LinkedIn where the interaction is currently employee-centric. We’re always mindful of the regulations around communications in the gaming business, so as we continue to ensure that relevant policies and procedures are in place, I anticipate our social efforts will grow.

Susan Dolinski, VP of Communications and Public Affairs, BCLC.

Canadian Gaming Business | 33


“You can’t opt out of social media. Whether a company is using social platforms or not, its customers are, and that also includes older generations.” RS: The f irst thing we do is form a social media plan. We need to insure our social media aligns with company goals, strategies, and tactics. We then determine what we are going to say in our posts, the tone, who will manage it, and how frequently we'll post. Next, we establish social media goals, the resources that will be allocated, and how to measure success. Then we join the social media conversation, ensure that we allocate resources to stay engaged and respond to customer questions, issues, and concerns. We est ablish employee socia l media guidelines and provide clear guidance on the use of social media.
 SD : Social media is a good place to at tract interaction as many of our players are already using these tools. At BCLC, our primary social media platform is Twitter. We have a corporate Twitter account as well as several brand accounts and a customer service account. On a corporate level, Twitter is an easy way to disseminate news, updates, and event s to all of our networks at once. By using h a sht a g s, we ca n follow t hemes and events related to our business. Twitter also gives us the opportunity to correct misinformation, contribute to conversations, educate, and share in for mation a nd updates on our games, products, and corporate news. Many of our products have unique audiences and brand personalities, and different social media platforms a llow us to interac t in di f ferent ways. Having a Facebook page for LottoMa x allows fans to interact, learn about, and discuss one product. A Li n ked I n pa g e represent s ou r BCLC brand at a cor porate level 34 |  Spring 2013

where job opportunities, professional development, and corporate news are the focus. We can also run productspecif ic contests and promotions though some of our branded social media pages. What are some common pitfalls or mistakes that companies make when using social media?
 G M : Posting for t he s a k e of posting—I f ind this to be a nuisance. You can’t be all things to all people, and if you tr y, you run the r isk of t ur ning of f followers a nd diluting your messa ge along with its authenticity. Consequently, w h e n t h e r e ’s s o m e t h i n g t o s a y t h at rea lly m at t ers, it ’s ig nored. Sometimes this ref lects an attempt to grow audience numbers quickly; and while I believe that hav ing a cr itical mass on the other end is important, follower and fan count don’t matter if you’re not engaging the right people. Every year, we read about the top social media mishaps and inevitably one involves an inex per ienced staffer manag ing a brand ’s social media presence. The viral nature of social media can be daunting for a company, so every interaction needs to be reg arded as impor t ant to a brand’s reputation. You can’t opt out of social media. W hether a company is using social pl at for m s or not , it s c u st omer s a re, a nd that also includes older generations. Research is show ing that the impact and reach of social media isn’t just for the young; its usage continues to grow in the older adult market as well.

K M : The single big gest mist a ke is eng a g ing in socia l media w it hout having a compelling, strategic reason to be on the social networks. Social media is a commitment to building a relationship w ith your audience. Marketers need to have a clear objective as to what that relationship should look like and then formulate a set of tactics online to fulfill that goal. Social media is, in many ways, a persistent campaign. You must have a plan for your intended audience, understand what messaging and themes you are going to share, and prepare to engage with your audience if you are going to be successful. O t her com mon pit f a l l s s e en i n the market place include failing to plan for the org anizational impact of social media; applying traditional unidirectional communications to social net works; not listening to or eng a g ing w ith your audience; not being transparent with the audience; and failing to analyze or understand the performance metrics that indicate success in social media. RS: First, companies generally do not establish a Social Media Crisis Plan. In the world of social media, word of mouth is now a global conversation where opinions travel with incredible s p e e d . G o o d or b a d , a c c u r at e or misinformed, customers opinions are broadcast on social networks for the world to see. Companies need to pay attention to the online conversation because their reput ation, their relationships with customers, and their bottom lines are at stake. S e c o n d l y, m y b e l i e f i s t h a t companies fail to analyze the content that folks are paying attention to in the social conversation. An example of this might be that a person that happens to be a concert fan and 'likes' a page for that reason and then starts receiving i n fo r m at io n t h at h a s no b e a r i n g on concerts. We tend to think that because a person appreciates concert music that they are also interested in dining out, and so we bombard them with restaurant offers.

 SD : Transparenc y and authenticit y are key to social media success. Socia l media users a re sav v y, a nd

socialmediasupplement lack of these two elements can be a detriment to your online credibility. Given social media is meant to be short and concise, adding links to documentation or websites is a good way to support statements with facts. Timely response and consistent track ing are also key elements to successful social media relationships within your online community. Your audience must feel you’re reliable; if questions go unanswered they will look elsewhere. Social media gives players a way to provide feedback directly to us, but we need to be ready to respond. It’s important to have a st rong socia l media tea m responsible for monitoring; some make the mistake of considering social media as something that can be done 'off the side of the desk', but they run the risk of appearing unreliable or inconsistent. What insights about today's demographic have you learned through social media?

unique content, special offers, and incentives for connecting with the property in a social network. This particularly extends to service related issues, where the social audience expects to be able to raise questions and issues and have the propert y respond. T h is c u st omer ser v ice aspect of social media will continue t o put pr e s s u r e o n t h e g a m i n g industr y to ex tend their ex isting ser vice arms into the social media realm. This prospect raises a number of new challenges to the industry. Ultimately, the engaged social audience is looking for a deeper relationship with the property and gaming marketers will be challenged with managing more complex communications channels going forward. RS : The main lesson that we have learned is not to believe that social media is restricted to any particular demographic. We tend to think that social media is the pur view of the 18 to 36 year old. Since this f its w ith what is generally the target demographic for radio and television adver tising, it is easy to believe. Today, with the advent of multiple forms of social media—including Faceb o ok , I n st a g ra m, Pi nt erest , Reddit, and others—it is difficult to be specific as to who is taking part in the social strata.

G M : T h e r e ’s n o q u e s t i o n t h a t today’s social media users ex pect information anytime and anywhere, a nd t he y w a nt it f a st . T h i s c a n prove challenging for companies as they balance business priorities and resources. Users are also not afraid to voice their opinions online whether positive or negative. They trust their network of friends and followers to SD : O n so c ia l med ia plat for m s, gain the feedback they value versus in for mation t ravels quick ly; our marketing messages from a company. communities like to be responded to in a timely fashion. This requires K M : Socia l media users h ave a n c o n s i s t e n t m o n i t o r i n g a n d a expectation that gaming properties strateg y to ensure we are always w ill not only have a social media able to respond informatively and presence, but that they w ill f ind promptly. We must be transparent,

“Timely response and consistent tracking are also key elements to successful social media relationships within your online community.”

approachable, a nd authentic in order to earn the trust of our online community. C onversat ions about bra nds a re happening all around us, whether we are part of them or not. We f ind out where these conversations are taking place a nd g o t here, ot her w ise we might miss out on key opportunities to inform players, gather support for our business, and answer questions. 

 How do you see social media evolving, and what are your plans to keep pace?
 G M : I n t he nea r f ut u re, I foresee changes in how companies engage with media, especially as social channels gain more clout as the f irst port of call for media to source news over other traditional tools such as media releases. I also agree that smartphones are the future of social networking, trumping PCs as the primary access point to social networks. We recognize the benef its of social media and will continue to leverage social platforms that fit strategically with our business goals. KM : W here will the nex t hurricane land? It is impossible to predict, but we can make some educated guesses based on current trends. V isu a l cont ent w i l l cont i nue t o grow in importance. Facebook grew initially based on the ease with which members could share photos. Today t h at phenom enon , d r i ven b y t he market saturation with smartphones, continues with new social networks like Instagram (purchased by Facebook in 2 012) and, most recently, V ine. Photo and v ideo shar ing, whether in st andalone net work s ( YouTube, Facebook, etc.) or integrated with the major players (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), will continue to grow as social media users choose to document their emotions and experiences in a medium richer than text-based posts. We will continue to see integration between the social networks that blurs the lines. As the social platforms fight for our attention and spare time, they will continue to integrate with and acquire each other in order to grow the functionality and user experience. Users w ill h ave more opt ions for sharing, and as a result, more powerful Canadian Gaming Business | 35


“We will continue to see integration between the social networks that blurs the lines. As the social platforms fight for our attention and spare time, they will continue to integrate with and acquire each other in order to grow the functionality and user experience.” tools within the social networks to share information more broadly (i.e. to a more expanded audience) than ever before. The result is a more powerful customer and greater importance of the inf luencers. Finally, we are going to see further ex tension of 'gamif ication' in the customer ex perience in digital channels. We are already seeing Las Vegas properties

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36 |  Spring 2013

experiment with new ways for their customers to take the ex perience outside of the casino through mobile apps. This includes augmented loyalt y programs just for this audience and smartphone gaming applications where customers can g ain rewards that can be redeemed onsite. Casinos w ill need to f ind ways to be more closely tied to their customer and prov ide g reater value in the overall dig ital ex perience to be successful. RS : Social media is replacing a variet y of dif ferent conversations. Talk radio is an ex ample of a way in which many people felt they were able to get their opinion heard. Today, we can have an opinion, place it on a particular social media site, and 2.5 million people will read and comment on it in an hour. Anything that gets out now has a key to share and several different options of where to share it to. We need to be a part of that conversation and the way to be involved is to be in the conversation as a participant and not as an advertiser. We need to contribute to the conversation through many different ways that make our side of the conversation relevant to the social strata that is taking place. It doesn't make sense to be on a site like Reddit talking about crocheting or paint by numbers when the conversation is about snowboarding.
 SD : Social media is a quick ly developing indust r y. Tools and behaviours are constantly evolving; to keep pace, we must be w illing to evolve as this industr y does— both from a soft ware perspective and a user p er sp e c t i ve. We w i l l cont i nue t o b e aut hent ic by setting goals and putting strategies in place to achieve them. We will strive to be relevant and entertaining, contributing as much to our online communities as we expect to get back. We will continue to strengthen br a n d ch a r a c t er b y c o n n e c t i n g w it h pl a yer s a n d evolv i n g ou r st rat eg ies t o cont i nue t o me et t hei r changing needs.


An All New Casino de Montréal

Quebec's gaming gem celebrates platinum anniversary in style

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Casino de Montréal recently underwent a dramatic makeover and is now placing the final touches on an ambitious modernization project to welcome its customers into a dynamic entertainment ambiance that is all play. Over $300 million was invested to update the French and Québec Pavilions; two buildings that were originally built for the 1967 World’s Fair. “After years of resounding success with some 100 million visits, we want to continue to amaze our customers,” says François Hanchay, General Manager of the casino. Starting in October 2013, multimedia features will create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. “A huge four-storey high screen at the heart of the Casino will generate an ambiance that blends with the thematic event being held. We want our customers to have an extraordinarily intense experience so they will keep long-lasting memories of their visit to the casino,” says

May Kaine, Marketing Director, further explaining that three hubs will be set up to encourage interaction among patrons, with design features literally suspended in the air. According to Kaine, the new décor gives each floor a unique personality and provides a special experience depending on the customer’s location in the casino, noting, “Our establishment is made up of two buildings, each with several floors. We therefore have the physical room to create individual ambiances. The closer one gets to the centre of the floor, the more intense the ambiance becomes with regard to the type of gaming, décor, and atmosphere being created using multimedia features.” Since last fall, an entire floor has been dedicated to food service. Four new restaurants were inaugurated to please every palate, including a gourmet buffet, an à la carte restaurant, an asian food counter, and a deli and pasta bar. “Our team is always visible and accessible, as the four restaurants are all open-kitchen concept. Customers can

therefore see how the food is prepared from the moment their order is given,” says Executive Chef Jean-Pierre Curtat. Slated for next year, the construction of the new multi-functional hall will be the last step in the Casino de Montréal’s modernization. The casino’s new physical layout gives its staff opportunity to hold a whole range of events, including artistic performances, thematic gaming activities, and corporate gatherings. After three years of work, the Casino de Montréal is now ready to give its customers delightfully entertaining experiences. “Our establishment is a pioneer in Canada’s gaming industry,” says François Hanchay, Casino de Montréal's General Manager, concluding, “We have invested a tremendous effort to maintain that leadership position and are confident that customers will discover a world of unmatched entertainment designed to satisfy all tastes.” For more about Casino de Montréal, visit Canadian Gaming Business | 37

June 17-19, 2013

Palais des congrès de Montréal Montréal, Québec

“Where the Canadian Gaming Industry Meets”

Register Today!

If your company is interested in exhibit or sponsorship opportunities at the Canadian Gaming Summit, please contact Richard Swayze at 866-216-0860 ext. 246 or

17th Annual Canadian Gaming Summit

Register today to attend Canada’s premier annual conference and exhibition for gaming professionals. The Summit delivers face-to-face interaction between attendees from all gaming sectors, disciplines and regions within Canada and beyond, and is the leading provider of information and education to the Canadian gaming community. The Summit’s top-notch educational program, expansive exhibition and entertaining social events provide an invaluable and memorable learning and networking experience. Montréal’s combination of European charm, North American pizzazz, and sheer “joie de vivre” will help make the 2013 Summit the most exciting to date!

The 2013 Summit says “Bonjour” to Montréal, Québec CANADIAN GAMING INDUSTRY AWARDS Nominations are still open for the Canadian Gaming Industry Awards and First Nation Canadian Gaming Awards, to be presented at the Annual Awards Reception and Charity Gala at the Hyatt Regency Montréal on Wednesday, June 19. The Gala will honour achievements in industry leadership and support a deserving local charity. Join your gaming colleagues for an evening of industry celebration, delicious cuisine, drinks and entertainment, while supporting a worthy cause. If you know someone deserving of this industry honour, visit the Summit website and click “Gaming Awards Nominations”.

Valuable Networking Opportunities The Summit’s Golf Classic will be held on Monday, June 17 at Elm Ridge Country Club. Established in 1924, Elm Ridge is one of North America's first golf courses, and is one of Quebec’s finest. Its natural beauty and breathtaking landscape will ensure an unforgettable experience. Join your colleagues at the Summit’s Opening Reception to kick off the 2013 event on the evening of Monday, June 17 at the historic Ruelle des Fortifications. As part of the fortified city in the 18th century, the Ruelle enclosed the military centre within its stone walls, and at the time was a center of social activity. The preserved Ruelle des Fortifications celebrates the true flavour of Old Montréal and is the perfect setting to launch the 2013 Summit.

Outstanding Learning Experiences

Canadian Gaming Industry’s Premier Exhibition

Taking place over three days from Monday, June 17 to Wednesday, June 19, the comprehensive Educational Program at the 2013 Summit offers sessions and keynote presentations covering a wide array of gaming topics that will be presented by industry leaders. These sessions have been specifically developed for gaming professionals and provide the skills and knowledge required to excel in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace. This year’s program includes seminars on: Charitable Gaming, Finance, Gaming Business, Gaming Operations, iGaming, Legal & Regulatory, Marketing, Security & Surveillance, Sports Betting, Technology and much more!

The Summit’s Exhibition showcases the industry’s leading suppliers of gaming-related products and services. Everything from slot machines to table games, cash handling to furnishings and more will be highlighted over two days on the jam-packed trade show floor. New gaming products and services will be launched and delegates will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with existing and prospective suppliers.

The Canadian Gaming Summit is owned and produced by:

We Look Forward to Seeing You in Montréal!

Exhibition Floor Hours: Tuesday June 18 1:00pm to 5:00pm Wednesday June 19 10:00am to 2:00pm

For registration, program and hotel & travel information, please visit:


“New Horizons”

a Success in BC Highlights from BCLC's January 2013 conference

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s (BCLC) first annual New Horizons in Responsible Gambling conference proved to be an important first-time annual event for the gaming industry. “Right from the opening reception, a level of enthusiasm a nd energ y cha racter ized the mood for the entire conference,” said Michael Graydon, President and CEO of BCLC. “It was simply amazing to see so many of the best minds in gambling research and prevention showing up right here in our ‘back yard’ to share both ideas and questions. People were genuinely pleased to be in Vancouver, and we were glad to have them.” The sold-out event, held in January in Vancouver, B.C., was attended by 238 international delegates and featured 16 esteemed speakers. “A t t e n d a n c e e x c e e d e d o u r i n i t i a l p l a n n i n g expectations,” noted Paul Smith, BCLC’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility. “Even though we were

40 |  Spring 2013

tight on space during a couple of the breakout sessions, ever yone seemed to accept the forced intimacy with grace and good humour.” BCLC is in the process of evaluating feedback from the conference, but preliminary results have been very positive. 94% of delegates who provided feedback were either 'satisf ied' or 'very satisf ied' with the conference over a l l. T he s a me nu mb er a l s o s a id t he y wou ld recommend the conference to a colleague and that they are likely to attend next year’s event. Attendees noted the qualit y of the guest speakers, interesting information and content, the well-appointed venue ( Vancouver’s Trade and Convention Centre), and value for time as top factors that contributed to the overall success of the conference. John Luff, founder of Sustainable Marketing from London, England, delivered the keynote address and set the tone for the conference with his insights on the links between brand, marketing, and social responsibility. His enthusiasm was contagious and spurred on many dynamic discussions around social responsibility that carried on over the two days. According to a post conference inter v iew w ith Paul Smith, highlights from the two-day event include: • Having two of what I consider to be pioneers of modern approaches


t o re sp on sible g a mbl i n g at t end our conference: Robert Ladouceur (Quebec Cit y) as a co-presenter, a nd A lex Bla szcz y nsk i (Sydney, Australia) as a conference delegate. Together with co-author Howard Shaffer, their September 2004 paper, A sc ience - ba se d f r a me work for responsible gambling: The Reno Model, has ser ved as the strategic u nder pi n n i n g of approa ches by operators, prevention specialists, a nd educators for prog ra m ming intended to reduce the potential for gambling-related harms. • O u r f o c u s g r o u p o f s e n i o r s who shared their ex periences of gambling, while knowing they were being watched by a large group of conference attendees. I’ve witnessed a number of focus groups over the years and, as our moderator Kyle Braid of Ipsos Reid noted, rarely do you f ind a group so willing to engage, and so articulate in their expression. • D o n F e e n e y ’ s ( S a i n t P a u l , Minnesota) entertaining lunchtime pre s ent at ion , depic t i n g v a r iou s historical represent ations of gambling and gamblers in popular culture, especially art and music. It was fun, but also led many of us to think about the implications of cultural bias in how we approach gambling prevention and treatment. • W a t c h i n g M a r k G r i f f i t h s ( Not t ing h a m, Eng la nd), who is always an engaging presenter, talk

through an information-packed session about one of his favourite topics: The impact of technology on gambling and problem gambling treatment and prevention. Mark is one of the most prolific writers I know, but his presentations must be experienced. One delegate remarked, ‘Mark’s the only guy I know who can do a two-hour presentation in one hour.’ • The amazing financial support of our many sponsors and exhibitors, who took a bit of a risk to invest in a first time event. They all demonstrated real commitment to BCLC and to responsible gambling that we truly appreciate. Their engagement helped us to add a host of extras that really contributed to this being a first class event. Planning is now underway for next year’s New Horizons in Responsible Gambling conference, January 27-29, 2014, in Vancouver. If you missed this year’s event, or want to hear a session again, recordings of the 2013 presentations are available on the New Horizons website: Canadian Gaming Business | 41


It’s a Game of Risks Top risks facing Canadian gaming organizations BY Lesley Luk and Angela Mitchell The gaming industry's ability to attract dollars and generate profit is attractive to corporate investors and governments alike. However, as competition grows and public and regulator attention increases, the ability to manage a more complex risk environment becomes critical. While most organizations have risk management processes in place, not all are developing the proactive risk management approach needed to remain an industry frontrunner. TOP RISKS FACING THE CANADIAN GAMING INDUSTRY Today’s risk landscape includes both emerging new risks and evolving old ones. They include: Reputation. Gaming, in Canada, is “conducted and managed” by provincial governments which are highly sensitive to public pressure. As such, gaming organizations are reluctant to attract undue public scrutiny. The best way to avoid unwanted attention is to focus on doing things the right way, being transparent, and ensuring your reputation remains untarnished. Social responsibilit y. There are unavoidable perceptions around the industry, such as the addictive implications of gambling and increased crime; both of which are a common media focus. Government organizations that conduct and manage gaming should have appropriate gaming programs in place to help patrons gamble responsibly. Regulatory/compliance. These types of risks are numerous and increasing and include scrutiny from FINTRAC (The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada), as well as a range of provincial regulations. Failure 42 |  Spring 2013

to comply can incur costly penalties and potentially lead to an operations shutdow n. Org anizations should implement an appropriate controls framework and effective reporting st a nd a rd s t o en su re t i mely a nd thorough compliance. Further global recession. People whose disposable entertainment income is shrinking will be more particular about where they spend it. Accordingly, organizations must ensure gaming remains an attractive entertainment option. Potential strategies include more creative marketing; gaming in novat ions; customer retent ion initiatives; and better leveraging of media and online technologies. Digital customer attrition. A s customers move to digital gaming formats, traditional gaming venues and facilities may experience reductions in both profits and auxiliary revenues, such a s fo o d a nd b e ver a g e a nd accommodations. Mitigating measures i nclude i mprov i n g or ch a n g i n g marketing strategies and diversifying your income stream by entering the online space. Cyber-risk and privacy. The more the industry expands to online games and systems, the more difficult it is to protect yourself. Hackers—whether engaging in theft, politics, cyber-terror, or “fun”-are making it harder to ensure the safety of your digital information. Assess your vulnerability to unauthorized access, viruses, data loss, or theft, and quickly address any gaps. Remain vigilant as cyberthreats evolve by the minute. Online expansion. Internet gaming is growing rapidly and can be a strong

business driver, but expanding operations to include an online platform also exposes you to a new competitive environment. The challenges to succeeding in the crowded online market are significant, and organizations need a comprehensive strategy to do it successfully—preferably before making the move. Fraud, theft, and betting scams. This remains an inherently high risk globally, but in well-regulated jurisdictions like Canadian provinces, this risk is somewhat lessened, making residual risk lower. Nonetheless, it’s imperative that organizations have up-to-date anti-fraud strategies, policies, and controls in place on top of a range of practical processes to detect and deter theft. The risks facing this industry are too prevalent and evolving too rapidly to leave stopping them to chance. This means setting the right 'tone at the top', getting the board involved, developing risk teams, and ensuring everyone involved understands the organization’s risk appetite. To be successful, gaming organizations have to maintain a strong reputation, and remain socially responsible, compliant, and secure. Lesley Luk ( is a Senior Manager in KPMG’s audit practice and Angela Mitchell ( is a KPMG Partner in Risk Consulting.






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Gaming Business Spring 2013