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Canada's Premier Gaming Industry Magazine

Vol. 12 No. 1

Spring 2017

PM 40063056

DEMOGRAPHIC DILEMMA The challenge of connecting with today’s player June 19-21, 2017 Vancouver, B.C.


Spring 2017

Volume Number 12 No. 1


Chuck Nervick 416.512.8186 ext. 227

Editor Sean Moon

contents 11



Advertising Sales Chuck Nervick Senior Designer

Annette Carlucci


Jennifer Carter

Production Manager

Paula Miyake

Circulation Manager

Aashish Sharma

Product Specialist

Angela Rafuse

Proudly owned and published by:

President Kevin Brown

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: Chuck Nervick 416-512-8186 ext. 227 Copyright 2017 Canada Post Canadian Publications Mail Publications Mail Agreement No. 40063056 ISSN 1911-2378 Guest editorials or columns do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Canadian Gaming Business magazine's advisory board or staff. No part of this issue may be reproduced by any mechanical, photographic or electronic process without written permission by the publisher. Subscription rates: Canada $40* 1 yr, $70* 2 yrs. USA $65 yr, $120* 2 yrs. International $90* 1 yr, $160* 2 yrs. *Plus applicable taxes. Postmaster send address changes to: Canadian Gaming Business Magazine 5255 Yonge Street Suite 1000, Toronto, Ontario M2N 6P4

Official Publication of the Canadian Gaming Summit






Demographic Dilemma: The challenge of connecting with today’s player


The Millennial Factor: Millennials like gaming. Period.



What Happens in Vegas — Eh?: Creating comprehensive gaming destinations in Canada


Playing It Safe: Challenges, opportunities and trends in Responsible Gambling


New Horizons 2017: Celebrating 5 years of championing research and awareness


Everi: Powering the casino floor


33 SECURITY Detect. Respond. Recover: Cybersecurity is not a game 35

Shorelines Casino, Belleville



Betting on the Future: Charitable and Community Gaming in Canada


Canadian Gaming Business | 3

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Dealing with Demographics AS THE BABY BOOM GENERATION marches steadily into retirement and the Millennials firmly establish themselves as a predominant market force, virtually every industry is feeling the impact of the most significant demographic shift since the Second World War. And perhaps none has been more affected than our own gaming industry. Slowly vanishing is a market segment that has fuelled our industry for the last several decades. As the Boomers get older and start reserving their entertainment and retirement dollars for long-postponed bucket list trips, golf memberships or grandkids’ education, they are appearing in ever-dwindling numbers in Canadian casinos. Millennials, meanwhile, are increasingly preoccupied with their peripatetic careers and online interactions, eschewing land-based gaming for other, more socially oriented, pursuits. This doesn’t mean, of course, that all younger demographic segments are avoiding casinos. But it does mean that operators must become more inventive and creative in devising ways to get them in the doors and onto the casino floor. In this issue of Canadian Gaming Business, we take an in-depth look at how the Boomerto-Millennial shift is having an impact on the gaming industry and what operators are currently doing to gain (or regain) market share from these diverse demographic groups. Our entire cover section — from the main feature discussing the immense challenge of connecting with today’s player to a look at the universality of gaming as entertainment — is devoted to the myriad ways gaming operators, suppliers and stakeholders are approaching this demographic dilemma. Elsewhere in the issue, you will find our usual array of insightful articles, columns and features covering a wide range of industry topics, including: • How Canadian operators can continue to raise the bar to create memorable, exciting experiences for their current and prospective customers • How cybersecurity must continue to evolve to meet the ever-present threat to both online and brick-and-mortar gambling, and • The many ways in which charitable and community gaming in Canada is betting on the future with a more digitally-focused effort to win over players Meanwhile, if you have any story ideas, suggestions or comments, feel free to contact myself at or CGB’s Publisher Chuck Nervick at chuckn@ for advertising information. Until next time, enjoy the issue! Sean Moon Managing Editor, Canadian Gaming Business

Canadian Gaming Business | 5


The Future is Bright


A YE AR AGO I sat dow n w ith the Canadian Gaming Association’s Executive Committee to discuss what we have accomplished since inception in March 2005, and to set a course for the future. This included that CGA initiate a strategic review, as it was my intention to step down as CEO at our June 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM). My decision was driven by the fact that I was turning 70 in March 2017, wanted to step back from the day-to-day leadership role, and most important, believed the time was right for a renewed approach. As the first step in the process, we engaged advisors to compile the views of a sample of major industry players as to what we’ve done well and how we can improve. Armed with this input, Paul Burns is in the process of charting CGA’s strategic future in consultation with many of you, and will be appointed interim CEO at the AGM in Vancouver this June. I am conf ident that Paul is the best choice and right person to lead the Association into the future, bringing abundant energ y and new ideas. He possesses a deep understanding of all aspects of the industry and strong relationships with industry leaders across the country and beyond. I’m no candidate for retirement and won’t be entirely disappea r i n g. I w ill be a ssist i n g Pau l on speci f ic projects, such as our industry education initiative, serve

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as a resource to him and the Board, and pursue new opportunities. I’ve been involved in the gaming industry for more than 25 years, beginning in 1992 as the lead consultant and advisor to the Province of Ontario through the opening of casinos in Windsor and Rama First Nation, followed by being advisor to other provincial governments and private sector participants, CEO of a multiple-property gaming business in Las Vegas, and as CGA CEO since 2005. I h ave w it nesse d t he evolut ion of t he i ndu st r y from being primarily gaming-only to become a fuller entertainment experience that includes shows, dining, hospitalit y, recreation and more that has attracted a broader customer base. It’s my belief that, with the right leadership, the industry’s best days are ahead, and I am looking forward to being part of that future. I cannot overstate how much I have enjoyed leading CGA for more than 12 years and cherish the strong personal and professional relationships I have formed over the years, and would like to thank you all for your friendship and support. Those who know me best know I’m a big music fan, so I’ll close with a quote from Al Stewart “Well I’m not the kind to live in the past… The years run too short and the days too fast…”


DEMOGRAPHIC The challenge of connecting with today’s player BY TROY ROSS AND RON BARYOSEPH

8 |  Spring 2017 8 | Spring



Canadian Gaming Business  |  9


There can be no dispute that the gaming industry of the future will not look like it does today. We can say that with confidence because the major factors that will force this change are readily observed and already impact gaming growth and revenue, creating legitimate concern in the boardrooms of provincial lottery corporations and other gaming operators in Canada and abroad. The challenges are both demographic, as the Baby Boomer cohort ages, and psychographic, in terms of the wants and consumption habits of the younger potential player base. Taken together, the implications are profound. To date, operators have pursued two main approaches to expanding the customer base: trying to attract more Millennials, and offering more non-gaming amenities geared towards aging Baby Boomers and Gen Xers in an attempt to retain this important group. The good news today is that the evolution of skills-based gaming and the growth of eSports are innovations that not only appeal to a younger demographic, but they can also be leveraged to create entertainment zones and a dynamic atmosphere within traditional gaming facilities that add energy to the amenities mix. W hatever the approach to evolving demographics, complacency is not an option, warns Marcus Yoder, VP Regulated Markets Business Development, Gamblit. “The biggest challenge is to recognize the need for change,” says Yoder. “In some gaming entities, there is a sense that when the Gen X and Millennial generations age into their late fifties, they will all of a sudden have a desire to play slots. That is just not going to be the case.” ALLURE FADES

A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Contemporar y Hospitality Management found that of those who visit a U.S. casino at least 18 times per year, only two per cent of those ages 21-34, and only 13 per cent of those ages 35-44, will play slots1. And yet, the same study noted that slot machines and other machine gaming generate between 65 per cent and 90 per cent of a U.S. casino's revenue. It’s just one study, but the risk inherent in the trend is existential. California-based Gamblit Gaming is a leading provider in the emerging interactive entertainment-meets-gambling space, taking hit mobile and PC games and working with the original development team to “gamblify” them. 10 |  Spring 2017

With a strong portfolio of hit titles and innovative hardware, Gamblit enables game developers, publishers, and casino operators to deliver the best possible gaming experience for their players. Yoder argues that gaming operators need to think also in terms of the technical savviness of players and the ramifications for entertainment options, beyond just focusing on demographics. “Even a 70-year-old slot player probably has a smartphone with endless game and entertainment options on it,” says Yoder. DEFINING THE CUSTOMER IS KEY

Alex Igelman, CEO of Millennial Esports, echoes the finding that slots and table games just don’t cut it anymore for a younger demographic. For Igelman,

however, the biggest challenge facing the gaming industry is understanding just who this new customer is. “These customers are not just younger in age and more technologically savvy. They have a different world view, and expectations from the companies they interact with on a daily basis,” says Igelman. “The casino is just not part of their existing entertainment regimen. There has to be a compelling reason for them to come to casinos in the first place. Once inside the doors, you have to be able to engage them or they won’t be back.” Moreover, Igelman argues that this demographic must be specif ically engaged in the ways with which they are already familiar. “Just look at the


average 18-35-year-old in an elevator or at a restaurant table. They are constantly looking at their smartphone. If they have a question they just open Google or Siri and ask it. If they want to listen to a song they just heard in the hotel lobby, they open an app and will not only get the name of the song but they will download it on their phone. This is the future customer of the casino. Millennials need constant engagement and live in an on-demand world. Operators must find ways in this age of immediacy to meet this customer’s need to be instantly gratified.” Toronto-based Millennial Esports (ME) provides a broad spectrum of turnkey solutions that cover gaming technology, event management, production and broadcasting in an effort to give game publishers, consumer brands and partners exposure to this coveted millennial target demographic. Millennial’s Pro Gaming League Inc. (PGL) is a premier online eSports tournament platform that delivers digital content, tournaments, broadcasts and interactive experiences to Millennials around the globe. In March 2017, the company opened the first permanent eSports arena in Las Vegas, a 15,000-square-foot facility with room for 1,100, and an ESPN style broadcast booth. THE RISE OF SKILLS-BASED GAMING

Igelman believes that skilled gaming will eventually play a larger role within the current domestic market, just as the

appetite for it has been recognized in the U.K., Asia, and parts of the U.S. “Online social gaming and competition in top AAA videogame titles is quickly becoming the norm,” says Igelman. “The opportunity to integrate these service offerings into land-based resorts or facilities will soon become a form of leverage that traditional operators will be able to utilize to attract and retarget both the Millennial and Gen-X generations respectively.” By re co g n i z i n g t he s e c u r rent demographic trends and interests, Igelman says, operators will be able to understand the value chain that typically involves the intersection of media and entertainment, and how best this can be utilized to further engage their target audience. “The average age of eSports enthusiasts is between 18-34, depending on the game title and genre,” says Igelman. “The headway made by the eSports industry in the past few years by juxtaposing entertainment and competition is a perfect example of the approach needed to engage today’s emerging millennial demographic. We at Millennial Esports have prided ourselves on building out campaigns for AAA video game publishers that are typically comprised of both online and off line components. This has allowed these publishers to target eSports enthusiasts across the country though online competitions hosted on a tournament platform that ultimately drives

both spectators as well as the competitors themselves to partnered venues wishing to host exhibition-style competitive events. Live broadcast of such events is another tool that is effectively used to broaden the exposure and build brand equity and recognition for both Millennial and its preferred partners” In an important first, and proof of concept for the Canadian market, this fall Millennial Esports will stage its inaugural Canadian-based event in partnership with the Western Fair in London, Ontario. EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY

What is certain is that with younger audiences proven to be less likely to play slots and traditional games, there will have to be new gambling options coming to the gaming floor in order for casinobased gaming to continue to thrive. There are many emerging technologies and service providers that are seeking to meet this challenge in the ever-evolving world of gaming. Companies like Millennial Esports can assist with introducing eSports to the casino realm in a bid to attract the Millennial audience. Others like Gamblit are designing a wagering experience within games that are already wildly successful and familiar to this audience, that is intended to be played in the casino environment. “We believe the best approach is to create gambling opportunities out of the entertainment games that people aged

1. Sandy C. Chen, Stowe Shoemaker, Dina Marie V. Zemke, (2013) "Segmenting slot machine players: a factor-cluster analysis", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 25 Issue: 1

Canadian Gaming Business | 11


style gaming and interactive games in one contiguous area. VR and AR experiences where customers can pay to be immersed in a virtual or augmented reality are other examples of where casinos can partner with technology companies to attract new customers to the casino floor.” THE NEW REALITY

21 to 65 already love, says Gamblit’s Marcus Yoder. “There are proven game dynamics such as ‘match-3’, “first-person shooter’ and ‘endless runner’ that are played millions of times per day, by people around the world. Why not turn those types of games into a hybrid entertainment-gambling experience, or skill-chance games. The younger audience will gravitate to games where they feel they have even a small modicum of influence on the outcome of the game and wager. But finding that critical balance is key.” BATTLE FOR MARKET SHARE

Yoder insists that gaming entities need to be thinking about how they can compete with all of the entertainment choices currently available to customers. Looking closely at a game providers’ ability to evolve technology and bring games to market that satisfy the types of gaming target groups want to play will improve the likelihood that those groups will spend time and money wagering inside gaming entities. “In the development of our hardware, we’ve directly addressed the social and behavioral aspects of our target demographics. We have a multiplayer social gaming platform called the Model G, which is basically a giant tablet you can play games with friends on while wagering. Our TriStation features three single player screens in a circle. And we’ve landed massive hit mobile games like Jetpack Joyride (over 350 million downloads) and Into The Dead (over 60 million downloads) and designed gambling versions of them so users can play a game they already know but win money at it.” As compelling as these skills-based innovations may be to attracting a younger demographic into casinos, the fact remains that Las Vegas has seen an ever-growing portion of revenues shift away from the gaming floor and towards non-gaming amenities such as dining, nightclubs and entertainment – in part a reflection of the changing desires of the aging Boomer demographic. Operators will continue to have to adapt to meet this shift in consumer preferences. “In general, casinos will need to expand their non-gaming amenities beyond the nightclub and bar scene,” notes Millennial’s Igelman. “Areas specifically catering to the varied tastes of the Millennial customer such as the Level Up zone at MGM Las Vegas is a good example of mixing games of chance with theatre12 |  Spring 2017

Gamblit’s Yoder also points to the Wynn Las Vegas Encore Player’s Lounge as a good example of adapting to new realities. But the concept is not limited to Las Vegas. “In speaking with over 70 operators around the world, in all regions and locations including rural-based casinos, operators are moving to create new zones or lounges where gambling is only one of the attractions for people to congregate, socialize and spend their entertainment dollars,” Yoder notes. “The concepts of entertainment zones, as opposed to banks and banks of slots, or more table game pits, are still in their infancy, so I think we can expect to see better utilization of space for such concepts across the next two to three years.” The one thing that gaming operators have going for them that other entertainment options do not, Yoder argues, is a physical, social location where real money can be wagered. That remains a significant competitive advantage for forward-looking operators who can meet the current demographic challenges head on. “By combining new entertaining games with the thrill of wagering, gaming entities can attract Gen-X, Millennials, and Tech Savvies, all while maintaining their core business with Baby Boomers,” Yoder says. For his part, Igelman reminds us that “past is prologue.” “In the early part of the 20th Century, North America’s most played gambling game was a game called Faro. Today, you’d be hard pressed to find this game on any casino floor,” he says. “There are games that are yet to be developed that will eventually replace many of the casino games we are familiar with today. In the interim, whether it’s through music, video games, eSports, new technologies, or interactive games, operators must be open to developing new entertainment venues in their casinos with the aim of attracting and maintaining the customer of tomorrow. The future is only as limited as the ideas that will emerge from the minds of new game developers.” Ron Baryoseph is a Canadian gaming industry veteran with over 25 years experience. He is the owner of RBY Gaming and exclusive Canadian distributor for Gamblit. RBY Gaming collaborates with Millennial Esports for Canadian initiatives. He can be reached at Troy Ross is the founder of TRM Public Affairs. For 20 years Troy has been involved in the complex political, public policy and regulatory environment of gaming in Canada and internationally. He has advised casino operators, slot machine manufacturers, Internet gaming providers, lottery and charitable gaming interests, and provincial gaming agencies across the country. He can be reached at


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The Next Generation With innovative gaming offerings such as “The Zone” geared towards the Millennial generation, Casinos du Quebec has been one of the leaders in developing diverse gaming options to attract a wider and younger audience to its casino properties. Canadian Gaming Business recently spoke with Katy Yam, Senior Manager, Product Management & Business Intelligence, Casinos du Quebec, about the continuing demographic dilemma faced by gaming operators in Canada. CGB: What do you see as the biggest challenges for casinos, provincial lottery corporations and other gaming operators when it comes to adapting to the current demographic shifts? KY: Finding the right product mix to satisfy a variety of consumers is our biggest challenge. The profit margins generated by current offerings such as slots and tables have been perfected over decades; expectations on maintaining this same profitability while diversifying the product offering into entertainment options is unrealistic. Our executives will need to increase their tolerance for failure and also accept lower profit margins while encouraging us to test a vast quantity of new concepts to try to attract and retain the ever-changing attention spans of the Click-bait generation. The right mix of profit margins and thus, the right product mix to satisfy evolving consumer tastes is how we will survive and thrive in the future. CG B : What ar e som e of th e bigg est ways in which demographic shifts are impacting the gaming industry and why? KY: The needs of our current core gaming client base are not identical to those of younger generations but luckily, there is still some overlap. The young adults of today grew up attached to the Internet and social media. In 2015, Millennials overtook Baby Boomers and the gap will only continue to expand. For them, entertainment revolves around being with friends and shared experiences – the casino industry has to shift its offerings to meet the needs of new clients while continuing to satisfy its core clientele. This delicate balancing act between two diverse client groups will be challenging for us all. 14 |  Spring 2017

CGB: What non-gaming amenities have been under-explored or under-utilized when trying to expand the customer base and how can operators take better advantage of such amenities? KY: For us, restaurants and our theme months have been key drivers in attracting new entertainment clientele. We believe that entertainment is the entry point; it is the flashy attract mode helping us to be topof-mind when people think about a night out. Associations with key brands such as Joël Robuchon, Cirque du Soleil, Just for Laughs and the Montreal International Jazz Festival have elevated and updated our brand equity as a fun option amidst a saturated and highly competitive entertainment market. Once inside our establishments, we showcase our gaming products extensively because we are the only ones who can legally offer this unique entertainment experience. CGB: What types of gambling options do you anticipate coming to the forefront on the gaming floor over the next few years? KY: I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss targeting younger clients with slot machines. With over 60 per cent of our revenues coming from this product line, I would be remiss to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Using the excuse that younger clients do not share the same core needs as our existing clients should not be accepted as an answer. As an industry, we must admit to a fundamental lack of understanding around the satisfaction experienced at slots by our existing clients – I often hear “the money used to just come in” and see shoulders shrugging in response to declining slot revenues. As slots have evolved in complexity, what have we have done to educate, teach and show new clients how these games are played? Can you imagine sitting a new client at a blackjack table without them ever having seen or been shown how to play? Yet we let clients stumble onto machines and assume that they will magically learn how to play. We have a significant role to play in showcasing the fun that can be experienced on slots – we have to teach our consumers and train our staff on how to choose and suggest the right game for their tastes. We would never accept walking into a wine store and randomly picking a bottle with the hope it will be what we want to experience – slot games need guidance by qualified and knowledgeable staff, just like at a wine store. Only then will clients be able to learn what they like and begin to experience the joy of slot games.

Only 53% of gamblers consider themselves knowledgeable about gambling. That’s why we created PlaySmart. Introducing PlaySmart – a world-class gambling education platform that strives to inform Ontarians how gambling works – whether you play or not. The facts, tools and advice found here are designed to help players develop responsible gambling habits, with every intention of keeping the experience fun and enjoyable. Figures based on OLG Consumer Research, May 2015.


THE MILLENNIAL FACTOR Millennials Like Gaming. Period.


Millennials are typically portrayed as an elusive bunch when it comes to casino gaming. Articles often highlight the numerous challenges associated with convincing them to walk through casino doors since their core makeup seems to have crafted them into a generation uninterested in traditional gaming. The paradigm “Millennials don’t gamble” has become pervasive throughout the industry. Comparative research into this topic has been difficult because data sets do not exist from previous generations. For example, there is no reliable way to discern how 20-35-year-olds felt about gaming in the 70s. Since the gaming business has changed so much in the last 25 years, it is also impossible to use business results to draw any sort of legitimate conclusion about this generation’s propensity for gaming. Is it fair to say, then, that Millennials shy away from gaming just because the industry has not reliably figured out how to encourage them to visit regularly? Drawing a slightly strained but relevant comparison, young people in the 60s absolutely loved listening to Frank Sinatra croon about Luck being a Lady. However, few Millennials would include this artist and song on their favorite Apple Music playlist today. Are we to conclude that Millennials don’t like music? Millennials, for all of their supposed differences, may simply require different motivations to participate in what we know are universally enjoyed human activities. UNIVERSALITY OF GAMING AS ENTERTAINMENT

People enjoy gaming as a form of entertainment – they always have. The thrill of taking responsible risks towards a hopefully favorable outcome, and the excitement that comes with playing a 16 |  Spring 2017

game that may lead to that outcome, is truly universal. Millennials, like every other generation before them, enjoy gaming. But, like every generation before them, they have grown up in a society fundamentally changed from the one that came before, and a culture that values different things. Exposure to tremendous advances in technology, to never-before-seen levels of interconnectedness between people and to always-on entertainment has provided for a generation that expects more than ever before from the service providers that wish to captivate them. Imagine an online game where one can procure different cosmetic treatments for in-game items known as “skins.” These “skins” do not affect gameplay, but they have value nonetheless and people are willing to pay for them. Now, imagine using these skins to bet on standard games of chance, such as roulette, in hopes of winning more and selling them in the e-marketplace set up for such transactions. Starting roughly in 2013, “skin gambling”1. (i.e. the wagering of these skins in popular multiplayer games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive) has grown to become a multi-billion dollar industry. Although completely unregulated and currently the subject of legal study, many sites exist to allow for this form of gaming – one which caters almost exclusively to the Millennials who love to play these games.2.


As a generation that has grown up with the Internet and the ubiquity of knowledge and information that it provides, Millennials are leading the way towards the evolution of many markets. Gaming is no different than retail, movies and music in that it must change to become more relevant to a new generation. The best part, though, is that other generations will also likely follow suit — as they have with social media, online shopping, messaging, etc. — so this change is simply a market evolution towards the next generation of gaming value. In order to ascertain what’s important to Millennials, we must touch on the elements to which this generation has become accustomed. We must determine how these can be leveraged to drive more value for them, and hence greater desire for play. The key factors include: Relevance and personalization — Millennials have grown up in a world where targeted, relevant information has become the norm. As such, their expectations are that information presented to them should be specifically tailored to their needs. For example, it is no longer enough to simply send an email to a tiered group providing a gaming offer at a casino. Rather, they hope for an offer that takes into account the type of next-generation slot machine they last played, their past achievements, play style or relevant entertainment choices based on the last shows they have attended. Using online or mobile to deliver tailored individual messaging allows casinos to encourage players to act quickly and effortlessly to benefit from rewards and offers that are useful to them. This requires casinos to rethink their player data models to ensure that the benefits offered make sense to the person, not to the groups of people. Ongoing relationship to create the Online>Offline (O2O) Cycle —

Millennials have become accustomed to an always-on world. If they want to buy something, they can pull out their phones and, with a few presses, take delivery the next day. Casino gaming cannot necessarily follow this approach due to regulatory restrictions, but the brand experience that casinos create certainly can cross the boundary from real to virtual. Casinos provide a unique service offering; as soon as a player walks out the door, the wonderfully rich and immersive curated experience vaporizes. As such, it is key to encourage quick return to this experience through online or mobile rewards. This allows the engaged Millennial player to continue to benefit from the casino offering, albeit in a non-monetary transactional way. The forms of entertainment that can be used to captivate players outside the casino walls include expanded online benefits, games, promotions, surveys, social media activities and numerous others. Making these relevant to both the player and casino is of primary importance. Millennials have exhibited good brand loyalty when a brand truly cares about them. As such, it is crucial to craft an experience which promotes all of the benefits of the casino, tailors the offerings to them based on known data and pushes them to return. Consumers of all ages respond excellently to well designed offline>online>offline (O2O) cycles, and gaming has barely scratched the surface of this powerful approach towards driving feet through the door.

It’s all fun and games — Gaming is about games. As such, the whole experience, whether related to loyalty, offers or any other casino element, should prefaced with one question: How can this experience be fun? Despite casinos spending hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting themselves as the best place to play, many of the online interactions players experience lack any element of fun. Sometimes referred to as gamification, play forms an integral part of what a casino can do to always engage Millennial players, whether they are playing a game, entering a contest, receiving an offer, or even just checking point balances.


In a recent initiative operated for one of Canada’s lottery corporations, BCLC players were invited to use codes on tickets to receive entries into a secondary transactional environment. This environment extended the play experience by allowing those entries to be committed to different prize draws. This apportioning of entries could be changed at any time at the player’s discretion. Entries could also be used to “trade for play” in an instant win quickplay game offering both winning and non-winning outcomes. This approach was wildly successful at engaging all ages but specifically, 40 per cent of players were under 40. In addition, a particularly interesting statistic was that almost 10 per cent more players under 35 chose to allocate and deallocate entries throughout the promotion, while also trading more entries for more spins towards more chances to win. Players were then encouraged to visit a retailer to obtain more entries for prizes, thereby completing the cycle. ENGAGING MILLENNIALS TO ENGAGE THE MASSES

Examples like the one above demonstrate that Millennials can be engaged through innovative online and mobile means to drive offline to online to offline (O2O) behaviour. The best part of this, however, is that the tactics noted here do not solely benefit this demographic. In fact, markets that have figured out how to engage this generation have seen tremendous benefits in providing services that older generations also appreciate, albeit at a bit slower rate of adoption. This should come as no surprise, though, since the new generation has often been most responsive to new strategies which can then be unveiled to the masses. Millennials DO like gaming, but they need more than just a fancy slot machine and a great dinner to encourage them to play more. They need personalized and relevant value available anywhere at anytime in a fun and engaging manner. And to be honest, don’t we all? Patrick Watson, CEO of SplashDot, has been immersed within the gaming loyalty industry for well over a decade. He has worked with casinos, lotteries and private sector organizations to craft unique and leading-edge strategies that have resulted in significant paradigm shifts in the loyalty realm. SplashDot helps casinos and gaming organizations keep players and prospects engaged by offering unique loyalty and relationship marketing strategies and solutions that encourage repeat visitation and increased play frequency. The company was also instrumental in helping create igaming loyalty portals for two of Canada’s most successful online gaming organizations – BC Lottery Corporation and Atlantic Lottery Corporation. For more information, visit

1. Wikipedia – Skin Gambling - 2. EEDAR esports Consumer Analysis - Canadian Gaming Business | 17


WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS…EH? Creating comprehensive entertainment destinations in Canada BY KARA HOLM

18 |  Spring 2017


Everyone working in the Canadian casino industry knows we can’t deliver a Vegas-style experience. We don’t have low gaming taxes and millions of transient visitors, both of which make it possible to more aggressively invest in these experiences. That shouldn’t stop us from aspiring to interpret the casino entertainment experience as it evolves in market-appropriate ways across Canada. HOW CAN CANADIAN OPERATORS continue to raise the bar to create memorable, exciting experiences for their current and prospective customers? The answer lies in our ability to imagine immersive, integrated gaming and non-gaming amenities that focus on experience and product, and have the capacity to change preconceptions about casinos. WHAT’S KEEPING OPERATORS AWAKE?

Canadian casinos have much in common with operators from around the world: 1. Attracting new patrons to casino proper ties is an obsession for operators — from the biggest casinos on the Las Vegas Strip to small casinos that serve local Canadian markets. Millennials have been the focus of these acquisition efforts, but the opportunity can be defined more broadly to encompass all social entertainment seekers, increasing the scale of, and providing strategic focus for the market opportunity. 2. Retaining customers and market share in the face of increased gaming supply — including online and illegal games — is also a shared concern of operators in every market. Understanding the challenges faced by operators is easy, but effectively addressing them has proven an elusive challenge — even in Vegas. Getting the ex perience and product right takes careful planning and appropriate investment in both concept development and ongoing activation. In our industry, we can’t help but reference Vegas —it defines modern casino experiences in the minds of customers — but we need to find ways to make the experiences feel authentic and relevant to Canadians.


The most common approach employed to entice new and casual patrons to a casino destination is the use of nongaming amenities such as restaurants and entertainment. We all know that operators secretly hope that newcomers will also try their luck on slots or table games. Operators and game manufacturers in the U.S., shadowed by their friends in Canada, continue to fine-tune the destination experience and gaming product offering, thus hoping to solve the acquisition and attendant conversion problem. Non-gaming amenities are also important to loyal casino players who enjoy the existing gaming product. Players expect food, but they also appreciate the social and entertaining experience offered by casinos. Casino players want ambiance; it’s why they visit casinos rather the play VLTs in a bar. CASINO TRENDS

At the Global Gaming Conference (G2E) in Vegas last fall there was a lot of talk about TopGolf, as well as new skillbased and multi-player casino games. In 2015, stadium gaming and “Beer Pong” were generating buzz. Destination resort operators in the United States or Asia feature million-dollar DJs, or invest in resident shows with purpose-built theatres. Casino resorts are being positioned as “family” destinations. On the gaming floor, “micro casinos” — which integrate non-gaming entertainment elements — are becoming more popular, recognizing that infrequent and casual casino customers are there for the “whole experience,” not just the games of chance. Micro-casino experiences allow existing properties to target specific customer groups, and may be achieved with or without major capital

investments. New casinos are building for differentiated, integrated entertainment experiences to appeal to defined audiences. While these may or may not sound like interesting or appropriate ways to attract and activate new or infrequent customers to casino properties, many of these approaches are challenging for most Canadian operators. Our casinos typically serve a resident population. The business model in many markets makes large capital investments difficult to rationalize. Our commitment to corporate social responsibility effectively limits how we can integrate some of these ideas. No matter how compelling the offer, if people don’t think casinos are attractive places to visit, they won’t come. We know Canadian casinos have an image problem with non-gamers! So, we can’t do things exactly as they’re done in Vegas, but we can adapt and apply the underlying concept in market-appropriate ways. The opportunity for Canadian operators is to shift the outdated perception of casinos, presenting land-based casinos as destinations offering an immersive, lively comprehensive entertainment experience. This can be achieved through new or updated amenities that offer defined experiences delivered with clear service standards, as well as thoughtful gaming strategies and product. MONEY IS A MOTIVATOR

A business case can be made for focusing on non-gaming experiences in Canada. Revenues from the Las Vegas Strip are no longer dominated by casino gaming. In Las Vegas, approximately 65 per cent of revenues result from non-gaming activities such as entertainment, food and beverage, retail, and hotels. Gone are the Canadian Gaming Business | 19


days of cheap buffets. There’s a “premium” culture on the Las Vegas Strip that gives the average person a sense of accessible luxury. Our experience working across Canada suggests that non-gaming revenues contribute significantly less on average to total destination revenues when compared with gaming revenues. In fact, many Canadian operators have even been losing money on non-gaming amenities like dining and entertainment. In recent years, we have noted a shift away from the loss-leader model – with a few notable exceptions – instead, treating each unit as a profit centre. There is an incentive for Canadian casino operators to rethink their relation to non-gaming activities. In many provinces, operators do not share non-gaming revenues with their crown partners. First Nations casinos also typically retain 100 per cent of the revenue from non-gaming activities. While crowns may not get a share in the money from non-gaming activity — they will certainly reap the benefit when the public perception (with the associated social licence) improves. If the public sees casino destinations as more than gambling dens the net effect will be to attract new audiences. It’s a win-win. MARKET-SPECIFIC EXPERIENCES

So how can Canadian operators activate the opportunity and enhance their nongaming offering to increase their topline revenues, overall profitability, as well attracting new and infrequent patrons? It’s easy to feel like you need to meet the needs of each individual prospect and customer. In fact, strategically, it is easier to define and develop specific experiences to appeal to targeted groups of patrons and 20 |  Spring 2017

What we have learned from the Vegas experience: • Vegas is not a casino destination. • Non-gaming amenities should be profitable. • Amenities matter – they’re important points of difference in a competitive market and create a total entertainment experience, attracting a wider audience. • When planning new experiences don’t alienate your core customers while rolling out the welcome mat to new and infrequent patrons. • New experiences and amenities must be market-oriented and tested with your current and intended customers. • Don’t underestimate the value of non-gaming behaviour. Recognize and appropriately reward your amenity users.

prospects based on shared preferences and motivators. It is also important to define the right metrics relative to your business objectives, so that you can evaluate performance and coursecorrect when needed. Often casinos are spending money on activities that have low perceived value by their customers. It’s important to invest where you’ll have the most impact for your audience. LOYALTY ALIGNMENT BETWEEN GAMING AND NON-GAMING ACTIVITY

There is an opportunity to use loyalty programs to activate non-gaming amenities. Most casinos allow patrons to redeem the points they earned gaming to purchase meals in restaurants or theatre tickets, but operators have not yet developed an approach to valuing and rewarding non-gaming behaviour. We know this is something large international operators are working on and Canadians, as they consider growing revenues from non-gaming activities should be proactive with this opportunity. Ultimately, the Canadian operators, crowns and suppliers need to work

together to change perceptions so as to attract new audiences. Casinos need to be understood as engaging entertainment destinations. And the experience must live up to that promise. There is a large audience of social, entertainment seekers in Canada, with disposable income. Casino destinations can w in wallet share if they help potential customers understand the new realities of the casino industry. Offering innovative non-gaming amenities, that are market appropriate, is the path to engaging with this audience. And, if executed properly, the improved revenue streams will follow. Kara Holm is the ExO for Strategic Insights & Application with All-In Gaming & Hospitality Advisory Group Inc. and Curator of the blog All-In is an innovative Canadian-based think-tank that offers a unique, all-inclusive perspective that considers the customer, operators, and government agencies and regulators in the delivery of gaming experiences and associated revenues. Web:; email:; phone: (902) 830-4884.

Industry Professionals Converge on Vancouver for 2017 Canadian Gaming Summit Register today to attend Canada’s premier annual conference and exhibition for gaming professionals on June 19-21, 2017 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The Canadian Gaming 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 floor and enjoyable social events provide an invaluable and memorable learning and networking experience. Based on consultation with our Summit Advisory Committee and feedback from our valued delegates, sponsors and exhibitors, we are excited to announce a number of significant and positive changes for the 2017 Summit. Our theme is “The Rapid Pace of Change” which effectively represents a number of developments that have continued to occur inside the gaming industry in Canada and globally. The 2017 Summit educational program will now include more keynotes and six specific educational tracks that will provide attending delegates with timely and relevant information that can be implemented within their respective organizations. Our trade show floor is filling up fast and will be located inside the main ballroom that will also host the keynotes, meals and Summit receptions, creating a more intimate setting for all.

19th Annual Canadian Gaming Summit There are many reasons to attend this year’s Summit: • It is Canada’s Premier Gaming Industry Conference & Exhibition with gaming industry professionals and suppliers from across Canada and beyond • The only conference in Canada dedicated to all aspects of the gaming industry • A large percentage of delegates attend the Summit because of our conference education program, offering the latest in industry information • Our education program showcases industry-recognized speakers, presenting on a wide array of topics relevant to the gaming industry • It also provides many networking opportunities at receptions, keynote presentations, and special events • Our impressive trade show floor consists of a number of industry-recognized product and service providers showcasing the latest and greatest in the gaming industry Highlights of the 2017 Summit Summit Opening & CGA Chair's Reception

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 Vancouver Convention Centre Time: 5:00pm - 7:00pm Canadian Gaming Industry Awards

Each year, the Canadian gaming community honours the successes and achievements of leaders within its industry. Join your gaming industry peers in recognizing the individuals who have helped raise the bar for leadership within the industry.

keynote presentations covering a wide array of gaming topics presented by industry leaders. The program includes seminars on Charitable Gaming, Finance, Gaming Operations, Human Resources, iGaming, Legal & Regulatory, Marketing, Security & Surveillance, Sports Betting, Technology and much more! Valuable Networking Opportunities

The 2017 Canadian Gaming Summit Golf Classic will be held at University Golf Club on Monday, June 19, 2017 (Tee-Off Time: 2:00 pm). This annual event was structured for both avid and occasional golfers. The day includes 18 holes of golf with power cart, breakfast, lunch, beverages and lunch, with awards after the round. The Summit Exhibitor and Delegate Reception will take place on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at the Vancouver Convention Centre (Trade Show Floor) from 5:00-6:00 pm. This event includes food and refreshments, in-depth conversations between industry peers in a relaxed and professional setting, and a raffle. The Canadian Gaming Industry’s Premier Exhibition

The Canadian Gaming Summit Exhibition provides delegates with an amazing opportunity to meet one-on-one with many of the world’s largest and most recognized industry manufacturers and service providers. The Summit encourages all attending delegates to book advance meetings with the exhibitors and to spend ample time on the trade floor in order to take full advantage of the impressive array of expertise and products that will be present. Many exhibitors will also be launching new products for the Canadian gaming industry at the Summit, providing further value, insight and ideas for all attending delegates.

First Nation Canadian Gaming Awards

These awards recognize the contributions of First Nations casinos to the First Nations and neighbouring communities. The awards also honour the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of Aboriginal people employed by a First Nations casino within Canada and the continued development and improvements within their operations. Outstanding Learning Opportunities

The comprehensive Educational Program offers sessions and

We look forward to seeing you in Vancouver! For registration, program, hotel and travel information, please visit: The Canadian Gaming Summit is owned and produced by:

2017 THEME:

Rapid Pace of Change

“Where the Canadian Gaming Industry Meets�

June 19-21, 2017

Vancouver Convention Centre Vancouver, BC

We are excited to announce a number of significant changes to the 2017 Summit including, more Keynotes, six educational tracks, the Summit trade show floor is positioned inside the main ballroom that will also host the Keynotes, meals and Summit receptions, and more. For more details and to register, please visit We sincerely look forward to seeing the Canadian gaming industry in Vancouver!



Challenges, opportunities and trends in Responsible Gambling With changing demographics and evolving technology, the Canadian gaming industry is faced with ongoing challenges as well as opportunities for innvovation, creativity and advancements in customer service. As an important facet of the industry, Responsible Gambling and Corporate Social Responsibility programs are at the forefront of many of these industry changes. Canadian Gaming Business recently spoke with industry thought leaders about the challenges, trends and opportunities in both RG and CSR programs across the country.

24 |  Spring 2017



Susan Dolinsky Vice President Social Responsibility & Communications BCLC

Jon Kelly, Ph.D. Advisor and former CEO of the Responsible Gambling Council

Bev Mehmel Director Corporate Social Responsibility, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries


all of the gaming supply chain — from the development and marketing of gambling products and gambling facilities to customer service — with the same responsible gambling goals. As the organization responsible for commercial gambling in the province of British Columbia, BCLC has a role to play in leading the conversation on responsible gambling. BCLC is committed to ensuring that gambling in B.C. is conducted with integrity and that gambling products are offered in a socially responsible manner.

Jon Kelly: RG programs have made a lot of very positive progress

over the past two decades—largely on the risk-reduction side, i.e. in prevention. By and large, Canadian jurisdictions have gotten a solid handle on player information, on-site resource centres, staff training and the range of programs in the RG toolbox. And they have an understanding of what to look for as signs that someone might be experiencing problems (“red flags”). In my mind, the biggest challenge when it comes to RG programs is what to do when those red flags identify a patron who appears to be gambling excessively. Where the challenge comes—and it’s not a simple one—is what to do at that point. Knowing how and when to intervene in a way that respects the patron’s privacy but also meets the venue’s obligations as a responsible provider—that’s the biggest challenge I see.

Bev Mehmel: Responsible gambling programs have become embedded in how most provincial jurisdictions operate their gaming businesses over the past decade. A current challenge is that the increased focus on growing revenue from gaming has the potential to decrease the commitment and focus on responsible gaming as part of growing revenue sustainably. Paul Pellezzari: For our industry to innovate product and marketing approaches, RG perspectives must be integrated into business strategy. For example, as we anticipate opportunities for emerging digital platforms, we need to sharpen how we assess and mitigate risks of new games’ structures, environments and

Paul Pellizzari Executive Director Social Responsibility OLG

Trudy Smit Quosai CEO Gambling Research Exchange Ontario (GREO)

channel delivery. I believe our ability to integrate RG is maturing, and will allow us to meet this challenge. OLG is modernizing how we deliver gaming in Ontario. We are engaging new private service providers across our business lines while still leading efforts for a “gold standard” in RG. Progress with our new partners is strong, but as the pace of change intensifies, we must continue to be focused and agile. Trudy Smit Quosai: One big challenge is the regulation of

online gambling. Jurisdictions around the world have tried different approaches with varying success. Recent research coming from Quebec suggested that a liberal licensing scheme combined with IP-blocking of unlicensed sites would be beneficial although not without controversy (plans to IP-block gambling sites were struck down). Such a scheme would mandate RG compliance on licensed sites, while also diverting revenue from unlicensed sites where RG may be lacking. In Canada, the provincially regulated nature of gambling makes it difficult to regulate online gambling at a federal level (as other, smaller jurisdictions do). There is very little known about best approaches to providing RG in charity/bingo venues and with horse racing.

WHAT UNEXPLORED OPPORTUNITIES EXIST IN TERMS OF EXPANDING OR IMPROVING RG AND CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PROGRAMS (CSR) IN CANADA’S GAMING INDUSTRY AND HOW CAN GAMING OPERATORS BEST TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP THEIR CUSTOMERS BETTER MANAGE THEIR GAMBLING ACTIVITIES? SD: Increasingly, we are viewing responsible gambling not as a stand-alone program but one that should be embedded into the customer service-scape. We are working to evolve our responsible gambling programs to embed them as part of the customer experience – a customer having the tools and the ability to more accurately understand and manage their spend supports the long-term health of the business. Another opportunity exists with developing a functional limit-setting device is a tool that hasn’t been fully figured out yet, here in Canada or elsewhere, but limit-setting holds a lot of potential to help players better manage the time and money they spend gambling as it is a key behavior in positive play. Recently Canadian Gaming Business | 25

industryq&a we introduced a new RG feature (Voluntary Short Term Lockout) that lets our e-gaming players on take temporary breaks anywhere from 24 hours to 14 days. JK: We’d be hard-pressed to find opportunities that are truly unexplored; it’s my experience that jurisdictions in Canada are among the leaders in many aspects of RG. It seems likely that all of the foundational elements of RG are now in place. Now the main task is making them more effective. That is, for the most part, about refinement. Limit-setting is an example of an RG approach that continues to be explored, researched and piloted in various ways in Canada and elsewhere. The idea is simple: Reduce potential harm by setting time and/or money limits on play. he work comes in the how—and I am not sure that anyone has landed on the best approach yet. BM: Two things are important to keep in mind — firstly, that

responsible gambling and CSR programs need to be focused squarely on helping our businesses grow and retain customers who are playing at a sustainable level. The second aspect is that RG and CSR help manage organizational and consumer risks associated with gaming offerings to ensure customer and industry sustainability. Assessing all new product and marketing offers against CSR and RG considerations will help us grow and keep customers for life.

PP: Our industry needs to better understand the social impacts

of gambling. We need to demonstrate RG programs’ value for players of all risk profiles, and quantify the benefits that accrue to local communities. We are advancing the exploration of data analytics to understand players’ actions and encourage healthy gambling habits. We need segmented strategies to target the appropriate education, play management tools, and behavioural feedback to players.

TSQ: Some of the areas of emerging research of RG and CSR

opportunities that may hold promise include: (a) the use of behavior tracking and online algorithms to flag/warn gamblers beginning to display (or on a track to display) problematic gambling behavior; (b) strengthening self-exclusion approaches (self-exclusion 3.0) such as providing additional supports to self-excluders and breaches, as well as the development of a national (or centralized) self-exclusion registry; and (c) removing the perceived stigma of responsible gambling by providing transparent player education for all aspects of casino and online gaming (e.g., explaining house hold, randomization, odds, etc.) in an engaging manner.

we can look at is funding research to better understand problem gambling behavior and potential learnings we can apply to current policies, programming and overall focus when it comes to protecting players. BCLC currently helps fund the Centre for Gambling Research at the University of British Columbia, which conducts independent research on the social and behavioral aspects of gambling to help improve responsible and problem gambling prevention and treatment programs in British Columbia and beyond. JK: When it comes to community outreach, it is important to

recognize that gaming providers are only part of the picture. For example, awareness programs reaching out to high schools or colleges and universities are likely best provided by other community organizations. It seems to me that the main target group for gaming providers is players. When a gaming provider reaches out with RG messaging to the broader community, there is a risk that the messages will be perceived as mixed, i.e. promoting gambling and gambling safety at the same time. That’s not to say that gaming providers don’t have a legitimate role in getting RG messages out. It just means that their RG messaging outside the gaming venue needs to be targeted, and carefully avoid any suggestion of gambling promotion. That, among other things, means producing RG messages that do not use gaming imagery (like cards and slot machines), or show players celebrating a win.

BM: Certainly letting customers and the public know that the Canadian gaming industry is among the most responsible in the world is important. Many Canadian provinces, including Manitoba, have attained the highest level of RG accreditation through the World Lottery Association RG framework. The challenge is always how to talk about this without the appearance of boasting — so using every opportunity to be transparent about what we do, why we do it and what the outcomes are can be useful in getting the message out. PP: Our industry’s growth requires us to manage risks to players effectively, and demonstrate that we play our role as gaming providers to address harms. The work with communities needed to successfully advance new gaming opportunities must be ongoing. We need strong “proof-points” that we help players, and make RG a conspicuous part of customer service. For example, OLG is introducing our “PlaySmart Promises,” written with conversational and aspirational language to express our commitment with players. TSQ: Initial success is being seen with rebranding of RG tools,


includes undertaking third-party Health Impact Assessments for communities we are proposing to expand gambling in, and hosting the annual New Horizons in Responsible Gambling conference to encourage new learning and understanding of responsible gambling practices and opportunities. Another area

26 |  Spring 2017

sometimes as player-optimization tools, to avoid the stigma typically associated with tools for “problem gamblers.” RG and CSR programs could be marketed as valued-added to patrons – something that will add to their gambling experience. Lastly, gambling operators need to make sure their RG and CSR programs are front-and-centre in the venues, actively encourage and promoted, and fully integrated into the player experience (including all communications). Outreach should go beyond the education model to continue to identify and intervene with players who are exhibiting signs of harmful gambling and to support opportunities to access support and/ or treatment.


HOW IS TECHNOLOGY AFFECTING RG PROGRAMS? HOW CAN OPERATORS MAKE THE BEST USE OF THIS TECHNOLOGY TO HELP CUSTOMERS MANAGE THEIR PLAY AND GAMBLE RESPONSIBLY? SD: Anything that we use for marketing/customer relationship management purposes, we should also be using for responsible gambling purposes, because ultimately it’s all about changing customer behavior. It is imperative that operators and vendors look at the opportunity to embed responsible gambling features and programs in their operational and customer strategies so that we can effectively serve the player with one voice. JK: Technology, particularly play analytics, has great potential to

be a powerful tool in identifying patterns of play that are either problematic or an early warning sign. Many gaming providers around the world are working to refine those algorithms to make them more effective. That is a daunting task because human behaviour is complex and only partially understood, making progress slower than we might want. I have no doubt that in the years ahead there will be great progress in building better analytical models, and then linking player feedback and/or messaging to that analysis.

BM: Like most industries, the gaming industry is evolving with new technology. The new technology can provide benefits to RG and to our customers because of what account based gaming can offer customers, i.e., giving customers the opportunity to set limits, get information and reminders, and monitor their spending — all things that are not available in an anonymous, unlinked environment. Of course, any new gaming technology needs to be assessed for RG considerations to make sure we are reducing the risks for our players with the goal of retaining lifetime customers. PP: RG suppor t s a re most ef fec t ive when t hey a re

personalized, relevant, enable healthy play, and leave gamblers feeling satisfied. Players must be in charge of their choices, and our technology can provide individual play feedback, data risk analysis, and voluntar y play management tools. This technolog y helps us manage environments where gaming’s availability, accessibility, and direct marketing capability increase risk for players. Social media can effectively reach players, but is only as good as the content. Messages need to appeal to curiosity and speak players’ language. OLG’s PlaySmart platform is generating millions of video views, and thousands of engagements. We no longer say “RG” directly to players, because we only use language that proves to be engaging.

TSQ: There has never been a greater opportunity for operators to talk directly to their patrons through the use of social media but there is very little evidence about how effective this approach might be to minimize harms. At the same time, there are now ample opportunities to collect data from players in real time using various technologies. Areas of exploration include bringing together these technologies to help inform gamblers (in real time) when and if their gambling becomes problematic.

Reshaping Customer Experience with PlaySmart By Paul Pellizzari To help players build gambling knowledge, positive play habits, and the ability to obtain help, gaming providers need to speak their language. In February 2016, OLG launched PlaySmart, an approach to gambling education designed to engage players over their entire life-cycles, no matter who they are: new gamblers, casual, serious, or those experiencing problems. Across lottery, land-based gaming, charitable bingo, and internet gaming experiences, OLG seeks to appeal to peoples’ curiosity about games and play preferences. To increase the appeal and relevance of information, resources and choices, PlaySmart uses consistent, engaging language and visual approaches, and a tone that is positive, helpful, and non-judgmental. With an ever-expanding suite of tools and interactive resources, PlaySmart is designed to optimize all touch-points, including web, mobile devices, and physical gaming spaces. Whether someone visits a PlaySmart centres at a gaming or charitable gaming site, checks out our budgeting tools on PlayOLG. ca, our new labels on slot machines, or seeks voluntary self-exclusion, customers encounter information and choices that speak to them. Employees are an essential to PlaySmart’s ability to talk to and support players in consistent ways. Our first year’ objectives were to establish the brand and prove its relevance, and the outcomes exceeded our targets. Our digital videos have received more than 2.3 million views, while has seen 434,243 page views, with people spending an average of 1:10 minute on content. Our social media campaigns have generated 36 million-plus impressions, with strong response from users who “like” and forward content to others. Engagement rates have exceeded industry benchmarks by three-fold. We want to build playing smart into our relationships with players, because informed players who control their gambling will be safer, happier, and better able to enjoy gambling over the long term. Canadian Gaming Business | 27



SD: This question really comes down to the demographics, and not the shifts. We’re taking GameSense, our made-inB.C responsible gambling program, and tailoring it to better suit special populations including, for example, seniors. The cornerstone of GameSense programming is to talk to players with an authentic voice about healthy choices, and how to keep gambling fun. In order to keep our messaging relevant, BCLC’s Responsible Gambling department continues to develop customized messaging for players with unique needs when it comes to responsible gambling. JK: Demographic shifts present less of a challenge to RG than we

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might expect—or at least the challenges are not specific to RG. The principles of communication, persuasion and influencing behaviour are the same for any segment whether that be seniors, Boomers, high-income earners or any other group. It is a matter of examining the particular segment, determining their preferences, media habits and so forth, and then building a program that speaks to them.

BM: Different demographic segments like to receive and interact

with information differently and this has become a focus for RG professionals in Canada. How do we use solid social marketing principles to first of all get the attention of Millennials, for example, when we are competing with so much other information out there that’s constantly available and changing, and in some ways more relevant and attention-grabbing? For Millennials particularly we will have to move away from broadbased information campaigns and target our messages to them in an interactive way.

PP: RG program pieces succeed when well directed to the right

player at the right place and time. We can successfully motivate people to learn facts, receive “get-help” messages, or use play management tools, but first we must understand them. While important, generational profiles are but one piece of this analysis. Opportunities exist to reach different demographics, but we must consistently work to win confidence that our industry’s actions on social responsibility live up to our words. If we build RG into new product and marketing approaches, we can grow trust and effectively reach players of the future.

TSQ: Younger generations are not engaging with traditional

Technology that counts. 28 |  Spring 2017

forms of gambling in the same way as past generations and new styles of gambling are being marketed to this segmentation. We need to ensure that any new marketing is balanced with proportional RG efforts – especially when dealing with new styles of gambling (e.g., skill-based slot machines). Additionally, very little is known about the motivations of younger generations to play and to play responsibility. Therefore, additional research is needed on this segment in order to determine why they play, and how best to assist/encourage them to play responsibly.



Celebrating five years of championing research and awareness BY SARAH MORRIS

How can we mitigate the harms that come from gambling? Do specific design features of slot machines trigger problem gambling? What is the impact that culture plays on the decision to gamble and seek help? THESE PROVOCATIVE questions and more were the focus of the fifth annual New Horizons in Responsible Gambling conference (February 20-22, 2017), which solidified its role as a main event for gambling industry professionals and researchers in the responsible and problem gambling field. Once again, BCLC rose to the occasion and delivered an outstanding event, full of engaged attendees from across the globe and top quality amenities in the picturesque Vancouver Convention Centre West. This all helped highlight the main attraction: A fantastic line up of international, accredited presenters deliver ing f inding s on thoug htprovoking and timely subject matter.


The official launch of New Horizons was marked with a keynote address by Margaret Trudeau, mother of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a tireless advocate for mental health and removing the stigma surrounding mental illness. Ms. Trudeau inspired the audience with her candid, humourous and emotional personal story, as well as details of her lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder. Day Two of the conference featured exciting news that MGM Resorts International plans to adopt BCLC’s GameSense program. BCLC introduced GameSense in 2009, an innovative, player-focused responsible gambling program that encourages players to adopt

behaviours and attitudes that can reduce the risk of developing gambling disorders. MGM Resorts is planning to introduce the BCLC-developed program into all of its US casino properties before the end of the year. As part of the agreement, MGM has also committed to funding $1 million USD over five years, towards a research partnership between BCLC, MGM, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ (UNLV) International Gaming Institute to further research in the field of responsible gambling. STUDIES SLOT DESIGN

This year’s conference also featured keynote speaker Dr. Luke Clark who Canadian Gaming Business | 29


Drawing on leading research from both local and global perspectives, the conference attracted an impressive lineup of thought-leaders and industry experts.


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presented on his recent research at the UBC Centre for Gambling Research. Clark spoke about whether specific design features of slot machines, or the certain “bells and whistles” used to make a game a fun experience, trigger neurological markers of problem gambling. He argued individual ingredients of a slot have to be studied further, including the speed of game, presence of near misses and losses disguised as a win. Clark says with more research, there’s potential for game companies to create a fun game that isn’t addictive, and for regulators to determine if specific features of a game should be more tightly regulated. Drawing on leading research from both local and global perspectives, the conference attracted an impressive lineup of thought-leaders and industry experts, in addition to a diverse audience of researchers, industry representatives, prevention specialists, and treatment specialists. A total of 25 guest speakers presented on a variety of topics, including University of Sydney’s Sally Gainsbury, who presented on keeping up with changes in social media and technology to protect young people from being exposed to gambling. UCLA’s Dr. Tim Fong presented on his studies regarding the prevalence of problem gambling in Asian communities in the U.S., and the fact that cultural stigma with addictions, cultural barriers to treatment and cultural acceptance of

gambling has created a hidden social ill. Another popular presenter was McGill’s Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky, who, with his expertise in Daily Fantasy Sports, is calling on governments to recognize DFS as a form of gambling, and for DFS companies to implement responsible gambling measures similar to BCLC’s. Preliminary feedback indicates attendees were greatly impressed with the 2017 conference and are marking New Horizons as a must-attend event for 2018 and the years to come. Sarah Morris is Communications Officer, Media and Issues Management, for BCLC. For more information on the New Horizons in Responsible Gambling Conference, visit and follow @BCLC on Twitter.



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Everi Compliance's innovative product suite is setting the AML compliance standard in the gaming industry by providing expanded and enhanced ability to securely provide vital services to casino patrons, while allowing operators to easily meet compliance requirements.

“Canadian Gaming in Calgary has taken notice of our sophisticated compliance software with its new and innovative compliance features that expand our ability to service patrons and casino customers,” said Jason King, Vice President, International Business Development for Everi. “Our compliance software is the gold standard for compliance across the gaming industry. That includes Title 31, the U.S. code/regulations/statute that falls under FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), and PCMLTFA, the Canada statute/ regulation that falls under FINTRAC, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre. In this day and age, it becomes even more vital for casinos to know and track customers and their money.” EVERI KIOSK FEATURES

The Everi suite of kiosks includes devices sized and priced to fit every gaming establishment floor plan and features designed to securely facilitate cash and non-cash transactions. All Canadian Gaming Business | 31

corporateprofile kiosks can perform traditional kiosk transactions like ATM withdrawals, bill breaking and ticket redemption. With additional modules, casinos can provide gaming vouchers in lieu of cash through QuikTicket and convert ATM transactions to POS debit transactions through Everi's patented 3-in-1 technology. “This new service is just now getting a footprint in Canada and allows us to extend to our casinos the ability for their customers to continue enjoying themselves on the casino floor,” said Steve Hancock, Director of Sales for Canada. TOURNEVENT OF CHAMPIONS®

The award-winning TournEvent of Champions is a collaboration between Everi and top casinos across North and South America to bring unprecedented competition, intensity and glory to the casino f loor through an international slot tournament campaign. With over 10 0 players from across the A mericas f ighting to be crowned the Best Slot Tournament Player at the championship in 2017, the race is on to crown Everi's third millionaire. Currently, all 28 casinos in Alberta are participating. Last year, seven Ontario casinos took part in the slot competition. The Ontario tournament winners joined a total of 143 other slot players representing 89 casinos from across the U.S., Canada and Peru to compete at the Wynn Resort for slot tournament supremacy and a prize pool of $1.3 million with the winner taking home $1 million US (payable in periodic payments over 20 years or in a lump sum, present day cash value payment.). According to Hancock, a series of semi-final tournaments to pre-qualify players kicked off in January and will continue through April. Canadian finals will start in May and each Alberta casino will crown a winner from May through July. Each winner will go on to represent that property and be flown (with a guest) to Las Vegas for an all-expenses paid trip at the Wynn Resort. Those 28 winners will join the other finalists to play for ultimate glory in the 2017 TournEvent of Champions $1 Million Championship on October, 4, 2017. “This is the second year Canada has participated,” Hancock said. “Each slot bank has the Everi TournEvent® system that seamlessly transitions the bank in seconds from in-revenue mode to tournament mode for the event. We’re looking forward to the time when all Canadian provinces can participate because a promotion like this can bring a great deal of attention to the province.” Just last year, Everi entered into an agreement with the Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission (AGLC) for the sale of 200 TournEvent units and the placement of 50 premium participation units. The agreement expands Everi’s partnership with the AGLC to now include both electronic gaming machines (EGMs) and payments solutions. Steve Hancock summed up nicely how Canadian casinos and Everi can both benefit from doing business together in the future. “Canada is a vast, vibrant market. We want to ensure they are familiar with Everi—that they know the wide scope of products and services we have to offer,” he said. “Everi's strongest headway in Ca nada this yea r has been in slot s. Our presence has seen steady growth in f ive of the 32 |  Spring 2017

provinces and our goal is to become a valuable provider and partner in all nine.” About Everi Holdings: Everi Holdings Inc. (NYSE: EVRI) is uniquely positioned as the casino industry’s only single source provider of robust payments solutions, vital intelligence offerings and engaging gaming machines that power the casino floor. Everi’s mission is to be a transformative force to casino operations by delivering reliable protection and security, facilitating memorable player experiences and striving for customer satisfaction and operational excellence. For more information, visit

Team Everi in Canada Steve Hancock is Director of Sales based in Welland, Ontario. He has over 23 years of experience in the Canadian gaming industry and specializes in slot operations having worked as a Slot Operations Manager in Alberta, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. His key responsibilities include purchasing, slot floor analysis and optimization, as well as relationship building. Hancock is a key resource overseeing all activities and processes from purchasing to launch. Before joining Everi in 2012, he was General Manager at Casino New Brunswick. Sven Laurentius is Director of Field Service, Canada, based in Edmonton, Alberta. Laurentius joined Everi in 2016 to oversee the entire technical operation in Canada and is the customer's key contact for all EGM and Payment service needs. Prior to Everi, he was with the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission for 15 years. Before moving to Canada in 2000, his background included telecommunications engineering and serving in the German Armed Forces as a radio engineer. Steve De Artola is Manager of Canadian Client Operations based in Vancouver, BC. He manages client services for Everi’s Canadian operators and has fostered solid relationships with operational staff who use the company’s payment solutions in gaming facilities. He works with account management to maintain effective communication between the operator's needs and Everi’s support teams to ensure implementation to transaction and beyond. Anthony (Tony) Rose is Field Services Technician for Western Canada based in St. Albert, Alberta. He has been with Everi since May 2016 and brings 20 years technical service experience from IBM Canada. Rose currently works primarily with EGMs, installing, upgrading and servicing Everi’s Platinum MPX®, Core HDX® and TournEvent systems. Over the years, he has worked to support Everi’s products to ensure maximum customer satisfaction. He has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta. Shane Fox is Field Services Technician for Eastern Canada based in Hamilton, Ontario. Shane started with Everi in October 2015, bringing almost 15 years of gaming experience. He began his career in 2002 as a count attendant with OLG, before moving on to become a slot technician a year later. Shane has worked hard to support Everi’s products in Ontario, while recently branching out with trips to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.


DETECT. RESPOND. RECOVER. Cybersecurity is not a game


It’s 2017. Everyone should be aware by now that no industry, government body or institution is immune to cyber-attacks. Malware, ransomware, data dumps, hacks, phishing – these attacks and others like them contribute to the threat landscape for casinos, online gaming providers, and lottery organizations — and this threat landscape is as vast as it is complex.

IBM REPORTED that ransomware attacks were up 6,000 per cent in 2016. The staggering rise in frequency is scary enough on its own, but when applied to an industry worth hundreds of billions, such as gaming, it’s plain to see why such crimes are attractive to hackers, and a huge threat to business operators. While the threats listed above are not specific to any one sector, there are types of threats that are targeted specifically at sectors within the gaming industry. It’s obvious for casinos that protecting the money-making slot machines and their surveillance systems is a top priority, but there are areas that can be open to hacks: Stores, hotels and restaurants that most often accompany the casino gaming floor. For lottery, ticket terminals can be susceptible to malware or ransomware, rendering them inoperable. It’s even possible that hackers can attempt to steal the algorithms of scratch tickets. In online gaming, the crown jewels that attackers are after are the credit card numbers and other personal information that customers provide when they sign up for an account or make payments.

Canadian Gaming Business | 33


Professionals in the cybersecurity space preach that basic security hygiene can go a long way in preventing attacks, or at least in minimizing the impact when an attack occurs. This basic security hygiene includes establishing a security program, establishing a risk management process, identifying the assets that need protection, establishing and maintaining secure configurations on systems, good data backup and recovery processes, good antimalware controls on endpoints (laptops, desktops, servers), and having good network perimeter security controls. An often-overlooked security vulnerability is the human factor — proper security awareness training that help staff identify and report suspicious events is paramount to security. Not all defensive measures are created equal, and there is no silver bullet solution to preventing all attacks. Every day, hackers are getting savvier. The cutting edge security measures of today could very well be broken tomorrow. As an additional precaution, many businesses have cyber insurance, but is that enough to protect your business entirely? While it may help to reduce the financial impact of a cyber breach, it doesn’t necessarily reduce reputational damage or the loss of consumer confidence following a breach; these two aspects are largely unquantifiable, but extremely valuable for any business. BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE…

Above all, following best practices and frameworks should be a given. A useful resource is the Cyber Security Framework from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). There are also protective measures that are gaming-industry specific. The World Lottery Association has produced a Security Control Standard based on ISO 27001. It provides a framework of controls specific to the lottery industry, and any lottery operator can seek to obtain this certification. While these are just two examples, we recommend adopting one or more of these or other similar frameworks as a way to educate yourself on the latest trends and threats, and as a way to show your board of directors, staff and patrons that you take the security of their information seriously. Diving deeper into prevention, consult professionals to ensure your operations not only meet, but exceed requirements. 34 |  Spring 2017

For example, a legal compliance review done by professionals with industry expertise can help review your policies, contracts and service level agreements with third parties. We highly recommend a security process and technology review as well, to ensure your information security processes, systems, network architecture, and data storage elements meet industry best practices and regulatory standards. NO ONE IS IMMUNE

We’ve seen recently that attacks have happened to even the most sophisticated of infrastructures. The extent of the damage though, is often a result of how the initial threat is handled. It’s only human nature to panic or succumb to the threat (which is largely why ransomware has been such a successful tool for attackers). Developing an Incident Management Process or Breach Response Plan is important to help everyone remain calm and focused when responding to an incident. Such plans can become the guidebook on how to navigate a security incident without losing your head in the process. Like a communications or strategic plan, Breach Response Plans should be crafted and tested in advance, so they are given proper thought, and all pertinent stakeholder groups are considered and involved. DETECT. RESPOND. RECOVER.

Like “reduce, reuse, recycle” is the unofficial mantra for environmental practices, “detect, respond, recover” should be your slogan when it comes to cybersecurity incidents. There are a number of signs you should watch out for when it comes to cyber-attacks, such as (but not limited to): • Obvious sign: A ransomware screen pops up on an infected system stating that files are being held hostage and a ransom is demanded; • Less obvious sign: Systems behaving erratically, even crashing; • An abnormally high volume of network traffic hitting your Internet-facing servers; and/or • An abnormally high number of failed login attempts on servers or network devices. YOU’VE BEEN HACKED — WHAT NOW?

It’s impossible to deal with such situations alone. Plain and simple, there are three key professional teams you need on your side in the instance of an attack: a legal team, a PR team, and a cyber security team.

Have these teams on hand, and ensure they are briefed on your current practices, management team and risk tolerance now. We want to emphasize the “now,” because if you have to catch these professionals up to speed on your organization, and then elaborate on the threat while the threat is in your systems, it might be too late. Valuable time gets lost in the information sharing that could have been engaged in eliminating the attack. Law firms are invaluable in that they will help you maintain client-attorney privilege. The right law firm can work with your insurance companies on your behalf to ensure breach response works with insurance policy requirements and of course, provide litigation defense, should it be needed. It’s obvious that reputational damage could be irreversible in such instances. Public relations professionals can help craft your messages, communicate what’s necessary, to whom, and when needed, and can manage your brand throughout. It has actually been demonstrated that negative events may, if managed properly, ultimately even improve a client’s reputation if the response is dealt with appropriately (not that we recommend this avenue for brand improvement!). What may be the most important of all, is dealing with the actual threat. Crisis management coordination and forensic efforts can help detect and remove harmful external agents which may remain inside your systems. We’ve heard many industry leaders and security experts discuss the thought that in this day and age, attacks are unfortunately imminent. It’s not about IF they will occur, but WHEN, given the advanced skills of these criminals and the prospect of such lucrative paydays. So have the conversations with your stakeholders, enable preventative measures, and have other professionals at the ready. Leave the game of chance to your patrons, not your security procedures. Terry McInally is formerly a partner with Richter, an audit, tax, wealth management and consulting firm with a dedicated gaming industry offering focusing on supporting regulators, operators, and the broader private sector. Richter has offices in Montreal and Toronto. We would like to acknowledge Peter Czeglady of Aird & Berlis, and David Greenham, of Richter Advisory Group for their contributions to the above article. For more information, visit



New multi-purpose gaming and entertainment facility debuts in eastern Ontario

As the first new casino to open in Ontario since 2006, the wait is officially over with the grand opening of Shorelines Casino Belleville on January 11, 2017. Live entertainment, commemorative giveaways and special promotions were part of the grand opening festivities as company executives, local dignitaries and provincial gaming representatives helped launch the new multi-purpose gaming and entertainment venue in the eastern Ontario city of Belleville.

“WE HAVE WORKED tirelessly over the past 10 months and today we have so much to be proud of as we get to welcome our g uests and the communit y to experience the Shorelines brand and the gaming entertainment facility that has so much to offer,” said Craig DeMarta, Vice President Operations East, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. Great Canadian is the majority shareholder and lead operator of the Ontario Gaming East Limited Partnership (OGELP), the owner of Shorelines Casino Belleville. BENEFITS LOCAL COMMUNITY

“Congratulations to OGELP on this important day,” said John MacFarlane, V ice P resident , G a m i n g, O nt a r io L ot ter y a nd Ga ming Cor porat ion Canadian Gaming Business | 35

facilityprofile Shorelines Casino Belleville At A Glance Location: 380 Bell Blvd. Belleville, Ontario. Date Established: January 11, 2017. Dining: Shorelines Casino Belleville features a variety of new dining options which includes a 120-seat buffet and a full-service restaurant called Windward Restaurant. The culinary team at Shorelines Casino Belleville is focused on continuously creating fresh and modern menu concepts that will offer something for everyone. Live Entertainment: Shorelines Casino Belleville is home to a versatile entertainment space with a 225-seat capacity that will showcase rising stars in the local and regional music scene. Gaming: With 18 table games and 450 stateof-the-art interactive slot machines, Shorelines Casino Belleville presents an enhanced gaming mix where guests will be able to try their luck playing games such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat and others. Atmosphere: Upon arrival, guests are welcomed by the modern exterior with multiple textures, featuring open spaces and vibrant colours. The interior space resembles a casual, timeless and contemporary style. PlaySmart Centre: The first of its kind in Canada, Shorelines Casino Belleville has its own PlaySmart Centre; a relaxing and informative place where customers can take a break, enjoy a cup of coffee and learn about their favourite games. The player-focused centre will provide our guests with a personal, interactive and hands-on experience designated to show players key gambling concepts as well as provide support and guidance to guests who may require assistance. This innovative and interactive PlaySmart Centre is operated by the Responsible Gambling Council, an independent, non-profit organization committed to problem gambling prevention and awareness of responsible gambling practices. Square Footage: 48,000 sq. ft. Parking: Parking at Shorelines Casino Belleville is complimentary. There are currently 450 parking stalls available. Employment: Shorelines Casino Belleville currently employs close to 300 staff in a variety of full-time and part-time positions. Community: Shorelines Casino Belleville, the brand that encompasses all community involvement, volunteering and financial contributions, is PROUD of our people, our business, our community. Through the PROUD program, Shorelines staff will be able to contribute to their local charitable organizations and will look to support such endeavours with in-kind or financial assistance. Website: Social Media: Keep up-to-date with everything that’s happening at Shorelines Casino Belleville by following us on social media. Facebook: ShorelinesCBV Twitter: 36 |  Spring 2017

(OLG). “Shorelines Casino Belleville is creating jobs and helping to drive economic growth, while maintaining h i g h s t a n d a r d s o f r e s p o n s i bl e gambling. This is good news for the city of Belleville and the province of Ontario.” Shorelines Casino Belleville houses over 450 state-of-the-art interactive slot machines, popular table games such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat and others, along with premium dining options at the buffet and the full ser vice Windward Restaurant. To complement the gaming experience, Shorelines Casino Belleville is home to the Windward Lounge, an intimate entertainment space that will boast the best in local music, comedy and more. INTERACTIVE PLAYSMART CENTRE

Shorelines Casino Belleville also features an innovative and interactive PlaySmart Centre, operated by the Responsible Gambling Council, an independent, nonprofit organization committed to problem gambling prevention and awareness of responsible gambling practices. “We are so very honoured to be in the position to open a gaming entertainment facility of this magnitude in Ontario,

especially considering the last casino opened in the province 10 years ago. As a company with over 30 years of gaming experience, we are confident in our ability to create and deliver an exceptional overall entertainment experience,” added DeMarta. OGELP was selected as the successful proponent by OLG to operate gaming facilities in OLG’s Gaming Bundle 2, also known as the East Gaming Bundle. The East Gaming Bundle contains three gaming zones. The f irst gaming zone is in the Township of Cavan Monaghan, the City of Peterborough and surrounding areas, and is currently served by Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs. The second gaming zone included a new build opportunity to service the city of Belleville and the municipality of Quinte West. The third gaming zone is identified as the city of Kingston and surrounding areas, including Gananoque and Leeds and Thousand Islands, and is currently served by Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands. For more information about Shorelines Casino Belleville, visit belleville.

BETTING ON THE FUTURE Charitable and Community Gaming In Canada


As with all sectors of gaming, here in Canada, Charitable and Community Gaming is going through a period of transition and change. The question is, how, in a more digital-focused world with increased competition, does it remain relevant to its consumers and beneficiaries? CHARITABLE AND Community Gaming is generally made up of three key areas: Raffle, Bingo and Breakopen tickets, with each serving different channels and unique delivery systems to service its consumers. However, within the framework of legislation (which could be federal or provincial), there remain limitations on how these products can be delivered to the end customer. Different provinces have been meeting these challenges in different ways.

Whether it is British Columbia with its Community Gaming Centres or Ontario with its Charitable Gaming Centres, there remains a need to connect with the consumer and deliver an experience that meets their expectations and desires. No one is suggesting one system or path is better than the other. But the common challenges of engaging and connecting to the consumer are key. As the broader Canadian gaming industry gets set to convene in Vancouver

for the 2017 Canadian Gaming Summit on June 19-21, this is an excellent opportunity for all provincial stakeholders to engage in debate and discussion on our future and the path to sustainability and growth. The overall gaming conference framework will be changing this year and Charitable and Community Gaming will be further integrated into the broader conference structure. This doesn’t mean, however, that we are losing our unique profile and place within the gaming landscape. Canadian Gaming Business | 37


Conferences are a tremendous platform to challenge the status quo, discuss potential new ideas and learn what is happening in other areas of the country. For that reason, we and our respective organizations have assembled an advisory group of industry representatives to guide and shape the content for the Charitable and Communit y Gaming channel. It is desig ned to generate thought, consideration and then drive action into the business going forward. With this in mind, we have created three core foundation buckets to drive our content platform: a) Creating an Engaging Entertainment Experience; b) Building Community Connections; and c) M a x i m i z i n g E f fe c t i v e n e s s i n Operations. CREATING AN ENGAGING ENTERTAINMENT EXPERIENCE

The most important element of success is the consumer, which is often forgotten when charities, operators and even crown corporations spend so much time focusing on who controls the business and policies around it, rather than starting from what the consumer would like and developing a platform to deliver on those desires and wants.

38 |  Spring 2017

If the consumer is the critical factor, we need to ask what efforts are focused on delivering an experience that makes them actually feel a certain way? We will therefore be looking at customer service platforms, developing a product portfolio that fits your unique needs and requirements and seeking out evolving needs of ancillary activities to enhance and support the overall experience. Different par ts of the countr y are undertaking these challenges in diverse ways. British Columbia appears to be leading the way in hospitality and entertainment. Both require long-term planning and investment but B.C.’s leadership in this area is showing signs of success and there are some tremendous lessons to be learned on that front. It shows it is more than just straight gaming activities that will drive the way of the future. T h i n k i n g t h r ou g h a pr o du c t portfolio is of equal importance, whether it is a slot machine platform like British Columbia or a more evolved Breakopen ticket delivery unit (Taptix), such as that offered in Ontario. Other provinces may decide to go in other directions. There is one important criteria: It is about balancing, engaging and producing products to work in harmony with each other. The decision about activities and products can be driven by effective research. There are numerous studies undertaken in the Community and Charitable Gaming industry. It is how you take the data or f indings and apply them to the business. This has a measure of risk, so using data effectively is key to the whole process. BUILDING COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

O ne of t he u n ique fe at u r e s of Charitable and Community Gaming is the significant revenue that goes back to charities and not-for-profit groups to provide important services in their local communities. This direct link is a real strength, unique to this sector, and the opportunity to promote awareness provides many tremendous opportunities. In Ontario the provincial association has coordinated media events to celebrate milestones achieved in fundraising at the various Charitable

Gaming sites. These events have brought together MPPs, councillors, government officials, private sector operators, charities and volunteers to celebrate these achievements. Traditional media is also part of these events. However, the real opportunity is with social media. Promoting the gaming centre and the charities in real time has the potential to generate interest and feedback. Learning how to effectively use social media is a key lesson for our industry. MAXIMIZING EFFECTIVENESS IN OPERATIONS

Managing the margin, thus securing profitability, is a critical piece of the business model. Without it, quite simply, there is no business. Thus, it is our intent to discuss what can be undertaken by management to improve and maximize the efficiencies and effectiveness of the business model, looking in more detail how data and information is now driving decision making for the future and to get ahead of future trends. We need to leverage the resources and tools we have in an efficient fashion, as well as effectively empower our staff and volunteers to achieve objectives. All of this requires the ability and willingness to embrace and support change, being open to new ways of delivering a customer experience that best meets their expectations; one which is not based on “we have always done it this way.” Whether it is human resources, gaming centre design, food and beverage or reg ulator y environment, each has a role to play in the future success of the business. We would therefore encourage anyone connected to the Charitable and Community Gaming sector to join us in Vancouver and be a part of shaping the future. This sector has long delivered real benefit and we see no reason why that would not continue well into the future. Lynn Cassidy is Executive Director of the Ontario Charitable Gaming Association Commercial Gaming Association (Ontario), Peter McMahon is CEO of the Commercial Gaming Association (Ontario),

EVERI COMPLIANCE The success of any casino lies in its ability to adhere to all operational procedures. This is where Everi Compliance™ can help. Our compliance products are the gold standard for Anti-Money Laundering compliance across the gaming industry, allowing casino operators to easily meet regulatory requirements with an arsenal of solutions that hundreds of casinos utilize daily. From suspicious activity monitoring to KYC to Case Management, Everi Compliance has your casino covered.

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Canadian Gaming Business | Spring 2017  

Canadian Gaming Business | Spring 2017

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