Canada's Premier Gaming Industry Magazine
Vol. 11 No. 2
GENTING GROUP EXPLORES CANADA Page 16
THE DATA Understanding
the Canadian Player
CanadianGamingSummit.com June 13-15, 2016 Ottawa/Lac-Leamy
More than a transaction. A connection. The real moment of truth on the casino floor is when a player gives you his money. Only he doesn’t actually hand it to you. He hands it to us. From the moment that currency touches our bill validator, we are responsible for providing an effortless, accurate transfer of cash into play. We accept your customer’s wager with reliable grace and efficiency, just the way you would personally. We are your representative on your casino floor. This philosophy has earned JCM its position as the industry leader, with more bill validators and printers in play than all other brands combined. And now we will show you how a simple buy-in can lead to a level of player engagement that goes beyond the transaction. We’ll help you make connections.
Summer 2016 Publisher
Volume 11 Number 2 Chuck Nervick firstname.lastname@example.org 416.512.8186 ext. 227
Editor Sean Moon email@example.com
Advertising Sales Chuck Nervick firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Designer
Marketing Coordinator Zoya Zajac email@example.com
Proudly owned and published by:
President Kevin Brown
President & CEO Bill Rutsey
Senior Vice President Chuck Nervick
Vice President, Public Affairs Paul Burns
MESSAGE FROM THE CGA
Examining the Canadian Player – Trends, challenges and opportunities in attracting players to Canadian casinos
16 CORPORATE PROFILE Genting Group — International gaming giant brings world-class resort concept to North America
20 CGA ANNIVERSARY REPORT A Voice for the Industry — CGA speaks loud and proud for gaming in Canada 27 INDUSTRY Q&A Data Analytics – Putting process into practice
Canadian Gaming Business is published four times a year as a joint venture between MediaEdge Communications and The Canadian Gaming Association
Susan Flett, President and CEO, SaskGaming
To advertise: For information on CGB’s print or digital advertising opportunities: Chuck Nervick 416-512-8186 ext. 227 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright 2016 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
FOOD AND BEVERAGE FACILITY PROFILE
42 MARKETING Social Media Engagement — Creating the bigger brand story 45 ESPORTS Gaming on Gaming – Gambling on eSports for the future of the industry 48
THE CANADIAN GAMING INDUSTRY AWARDS
Introducing the 2016 Award Winners
Canadian Gaming Business | 3
Summit Time in the City AT THE TIME OF WRITING, the Mediaedge events team, along with our partners at the Canadian Gaming Association, is making final preparations for the next exciting edition of the annual Canadian Gaming Summit in Ottawa/Gatineau. This year, we’ll be celebrating an amazing 20 years of the Summit by bringing attendees the cream of the crop from the Canadian and international gaming industry. From June 13 to 15, a virtual “who’s who” of the gaming world will be gathering at the Shaw Convention Centre in Ottawa and Casino du Lac Leamy in nearby Gatineau for a top-notch education program, expansive exhibition floor with products and services from the leading gaming suppliers and enjoyable networking events that will be the perfect opportunity to mix and mingle with old friends and new. It promises to be the event of the year for the Canadian gaming industry! Even if you’re not able to make it to the National Capital Region to take part in the world-class events and programs at the Summit, we hope you’ll find time to explore this latest jam-packed issue of Canadian Gaming Business. From an insightful discussion on how casinos are attracting the next generation of Canadian players to an informative look at the burgeoning world of eSports to a corporate profile of international gaming resort developer Genting Group, CGB has all of the in-depth gaming coverage you’re looking for. As always with our summer issue, we are also proud to bring you the latest edition of Canadian Gaming Lawyer, where Editor Michael Lipton has assembled a terrific lineup of articles to keep you up to date on all of the need-to-know information and developments in gaming law and regulatory practices. Lastly, don’t miss this issue’s profiles of the 2016 Gaming Industry Leadership and First Nations Award winners as we acknowledge their impressive contributions to the Canadian gaming industry. This year’s honourees should be very proud of their accomplishments and we wish them much continued success in the years to come. On behalf of CGB Publisher Chuck Nervick, we look forward to seeing you at the Summit. Enjoy the issue!
Sean Moon Managing Editor, Canadian Gaming Business
Canadian Gaming Business | 5
Education initiative is underway BY BILL RUTSEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE CANADIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION
ELSEWHERE IN THIS ADDITION there’s a feature celebrating the Canadian Gaming Association’s 11-plus years of achievement. What I’d like to update you about here is an important initiative currently underway. I’ve mentioned in prev ious columns that we w ill be conducting a national gaming education needs assessment. I take great pleasure in informing you that we’ve teamed up with the Sault Ste. Marie Education Partners (SSMEP, consisting of Algoma University, Sault College and the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre) and have begun the process, with the goal of creating a national approach to gamingcentric education. With total industry revenues of more than $16 billion our industr y has evolved signif icantly over the past two decades and now offers customers a more diverse and enriched entertainment experience. However, 20 years of growth and change have also exposed the need to provide gaming industry professionals with greater educational and training opportunities. As ever yone is well aware, gaming is highly labour intensive. The industry has created thousands of jobs in nearly every province, supporting more than 128,000 full-time jobs, and provides a valuable source of non-tax revenue for governments across the country.
With a mandate to create a better understanding of the Canadian gaming industry through education, CGA is taking a leadership role in identifying and offering relevant and exclusive training for those working in gaming. The first step is the needs assessment, which is unprecedented in our industry, and we are very fortunate to draw on the expertise of the SSMEP. CGA’s ultimate goal is to ensure that programs meeting a set of nationallyrecognized standards are delivered in co-operation with education institutions across the country. Together, CGA and SSMEP will develop a progressive mo del for a cqu i r i n g , c reat i n g a nd d issem i n at i n g educational content across the country, and the partners will be instrumental in producing ground-break ing insight into the specialized t raining needs of this important industry. CGA and SSMEP are working towards a deadline of October to share results and discuss next steps with the Canadian gaming industry. The final deliverable will be a Canadian gaming curriculum, developed using existing material from industry leaders as well as Canadian and global education partners. Look for our update and findings to date at the Summit.
“With total industry revenues of more than $16 billion our industry has evolved significantly over the past two decades and now offers customers a more diverse and enriched entertainment experience.” 6 | Summer 2016
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EXAMINING THE CANADIAN PLAYE Trends, challenges and opportunities in attracting players to Canadian casinos
8 | Summer 2016 8 | Summer
Canadian Gaming Businessâ€‚ |â€‚ 9
From devising new ways to attract more Millennial customers to the increasing importance of non-gaming amenities, Canadian operators are faced with a daunting challenge: How to bring in a wider player demographic to the gaming floor while still appealing to the traditional baby boomer customer. Canadian Gaming Business recently asked senior executives from casino organizations across the country about their views on trends, challenges and opportunities with respect to the development of the new Canadian player. Here is what they had to say. . . . Participants:
Vince Pao, Executive Director, Marketing, Pure Canadian Gaming
Mary Riley, Vice President, Marketing, Caesars Windsor
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT PLAYER TRENDS IN CANADA TODAY AND HOW WILL THOSE TRENDS AFFECT YOUR CASINO OPERATIONS FOR 2016 AND BEYOND? Vince Pao: There has been an industry
focus on at tracting Millennials to casinos, and non-gaming amenities has been the best medium to introduce the demographic to our properties. Creating diverse dining options and lounges for guests allows for a more immediate social ex perience. Millennials f irst and foremost want to hang out with friends, and gaming becomes almost a background behavior. Still, I think many operators are focusing too much on how to attract the Millennials, and our best and most immediate opportunity is to focus on satisfying and attracting the baby boomers who are the core gamers that are attracted to traditional slots and have the most disposable income.
10 | Summer 2016
Randy Sears, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, B.C. Casinos, Gateway
Mar y Riley : O ne of t he mo s t
sig nif icant trends we have been seeing over the past 12-18 months is a healthy growth in the Millennial segments of our business. Defined as 19-35 year olds in our case, we are seeing growth rates doubling those of our 35+ year olds. While still a smaller percentage of our business today, the grow th is healthy and excit in g. The M illen n ia l spend is a little different than what we have traditionally seen from our database; trends skew a bit more male and table-centric than what we typically see on the gaming side. Additionally, we are seeing a healthy increase in visitation and spend in non g aming / hospitalit y areas of our business such as hotel, food and beverage and entertainment.
Randy Sears: The most signif icant
trend is the mobilit y of today’s customer. They want to get their i n for m at ion f rom t hei r mobile
Richard Taylor, Vice President, Operations, Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara
devices, they want their coupons on their devices and they want it timely. Richard Taylor: As a border casino,
we saw sig n i f ic a nt ret u r n s la st year due to favourable economic cond it ion s i nclud i n g t he we a k Canadian dollar and lower fuels costs. More Americans came to visit and fewer Canadians headed south — an important factor for us when considering the much larger size of the Canadian versus U.S. market. Another trend that we’re seeing is the educated player who is looking for a “winning experience.” W hat t h at mea n s ex ac t ly va r ies f rom player to player. For ex ample, a player may win at a slot machine but the payout may not be enough or it’s not considered a “life-changing” w i n . M a n a g i n g t he s e p er s on a l expectations will continue to be an area of concern as gaming becomes more available and operators work to earn and retain player loyalty.
coverstory WHAT ARE THE GREATEST OPPORTUNITIES FOR CASINOS AS A RESULT OF THE INCREASING AVAILABILITY OF DATA ON PLAYER TRENDS AND ANALYTICS? VP: The ability to analyze a player’s likes,
visitation frequency, behavior, spending patterns, geographical location and entertainment preferences provides us the opportunity to directly influence positive impact to our business. But it’s just statistics, unless you know how to mine the data, analyze it, interpret it and create strategy to action on it. The information that we gather from our loyalty program allows us to identify our most valuable players and ensures that we know to consistently communicate with our most profitable customers. The more data we capture, the more actionable options we have to maximize our profitability.
MR: With the increase in available data, it will become important for gaming operators to make sure they are asking the right questions and requesting the right analysis. The opportunity for marketing departments to closely partner with their planning and analysis departments to work together on what the key actionable opportunities are for the business are and ensure analytics are engaged with focus on those areas will result in a most productive outcome. Finding the strong growth areas to test for further growth and finding those areas showing a declining return to test against are two examples of how to action that partnership. RT: Gaming is one of the most data-rich industries in the world. The challenge in gaming hasn’t been so much about the availability of data, but how to leverage key insights to make better business decisions. To capitalize on the ever-increasing amount of information available, gaming organizations must have a continuous strategic planning process in place with data and analytics as the foundation. At Niagara Casinos, some of the more cutting-edge analytics that we’re currently working with include table games yield management software, and predictive analysis as it relates to customer attrition patterns and player trends such as choice of game, denomination and wager selection. These insights help when anticipating which patron is most likely to enjoy, for example, a new slot product based on past play behaviour — similar to how Netflix recommends the next movie you might enjoy based on what you’ve just watched. Canadian Gaming Business | 11
coverstory WHAT NON-GAMING AMENITIES DO YOU BELIEVE WILL PLAY AN INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT ROLE IN ATTRACTING NEW MARKET SEGMENTS?
VP: New market segments and customers are seeking a full entertainment experience when visiting casinos. It’s not just about the games and slots; it’s more about the dining, shows, the socializing, and people watching. They’re seeking immediate engagement, they want it fast, and they want it now. It’s important to have engaging and easy to navigate websites, because often times customers are reviewing all of your offers and options prior to stepping through your door. They are far more cognizant of their wallet and want to maximize dollars to enjoy that full entertainment experience when they visit. MR : Gaming resorts will take a broader look at their
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overall value proposition in the future a nd create experiences that can attract customers based on fully integrated experiences; not just gaming offers. At Caesars Windsor we have been evolving our resort amenities over the past year with plans to continue expansion in areas that will create new interest and appeal. A new worldclass spa and Vegas-style nightclub were opened with great success in recent months and have been successful in fulfilling unmet demand in the market in both areas. Two additional resort ex pansion projects were just announced last month; Upfront at Neros will be a new small-plate extension and social bar area adjacent to our existing Neros Steakhouse. Also under construction is Augustus 27 - a new trendy chic event space with the most breathtaking views of the Detroit skyline.
RS: Excellent wi-fi reception is a key that many overlook. This is important because the younger light and casual gamers are all connected and keeping that connection strong so that this demographic can share and invite their friends to meet up and join in is imperative.
WHAT WILL BE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING GAMING ORGANIZATIONS IN THE COMING MONTHS IN TERMS OF PLAYER TRENDS AND CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS? VP: Let’s face it, our industry has been concerned with how to replace a dwindling baby boomer segment of players for a number of years now. It’s a clear and present danger, yet we still have baby boomers playing the slot machines. The general decline in gaming revenues has more to do with economic climate and circumstances, than with our perceived industry inability to convert Millennials. The oldest Millennials will be 35 this year, so there’s still some time for them to age into the casino gamers that we want them to be. No clear accepted strategy has been proven to attract the Millennial gaming demographic, and yet our industry still continues to grow and evolve to capture revenue through alternative amenities. Over-regulation from government can sometimes hinder the opportunities to address the next generation, through new technologies and non-traditional approaches to attract new customers.
RS: Well, all of the conversation is about the Millennials and what a large demographic they are. That being the case we need to understand that they are “connected” and they are very social, so games that are social appeal to them. We feature almost every live game that is available on the market and we keep the limits low so that the younger demographic can afford the casino experience and they can do it with their friends in an environment that is entertaining on more levels than mere wagering. RT: The supply of gaming is increasing in Ontario and around the world. As the industry becomes more saturated, our ability to differentiate ourselves and to stay a step ahead of our competition is critical. Gaming operators that employ a strategic planning process that is data-driven and quantifiable in nature will be best positioned to anticipate and leverage new opportunities while avoiding costly mistakes. For us, customer knowledge such as likes, dislikes, behaviour and buying patterns provide invaluable insights that enable us to tailor our content and appeal to different player segments. On a per-customer level, some of the direct challenges are related to marketing investment optimization and player attrition. We’ve developed very sophisticated methods for tracking customer re-investment ensuring that we are not over-investing to keep customers. We’re also using predictive analytics to mitigate customer attrition.
WHAT KIND OF AN IMPACT WILL MOBILE TECHNOLOGY, THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA HAVE ON PLAYER TRENDS IN THE COMING MONTHS? MR: Mobile and digital technology are now a larger part of marketing communication strategy as channels that have become primary for how we all consume media. As critical as simply using the digital and social channels is learning how and when to use them and what messages make sense. These can be very cluttered channels and it’s imperative to maintain valuable and relevant messages and offers to avoid high levels of opt-outs and conversely maintain high levels of engagement. RS: Almost everyone carries a mobile device these days.
Today, “Apps” are key, be it Facebook, Instagram, your bank account or your Fantasy Sports app. So our casinos must have an app and that application needs to give the customer what they want. It can be as simple as a coupon valid for Free Play, Free Buffet or as intricate as being their club card. I can see the day when our customers can approach their favorite gaming device and a wi-fi signal emits to activate the player account and the rewards associated with that account.
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RT: Today’s increased use of digital platforms makes it
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essential for organizations to have an active presence online. Each platform provides additional touch points for customers to interact with a brand, giving companies more opportunit y to create t wo-way dialogue w ith customers that would not otherwise be possible through traditional marketing means. Companies are able to interact with patrons on a more personal level than ever before. Niagara Casinos takes a strategic integrated approach of traditional and modern marketing, which enables us to connect to a much larger audience and reinforces our standing as a must-see entertainment destination. To ensure our continued success, we’ll need to stay relevant and up-to-speed on technolog y developments, find new and creative ways to engage and incent patrons, and continue to deliver superior customer service.
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Subject to jurisdictional approval
GENTING GROUP International gaming giant brings its world-class integrated resorts concept to North America
Over the last 20 years, Malaysia-based Genting Group has expanded and invested heavily in the Americas, financing major gaming projects in the Northeast United States, developing a gaming facility at a horse racetrack in New York City (that quickly became the largest grossing slot facility in the world), opening a destination resort in the Bahamas, breaking ground on a US$1 billion resort in Massachusetts in partnership with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and recently starting development on a US$4 billion Las Vegas Strip integrated resort.
16â€‚|â€‚ Summer 2016
THE GENTING GROUP is a diverse set of companies operating in a variety of sectors, including gaming, travel and leisure under the Resorts World, Star Cruises and Crystal Cruises brands. The Group also operates other businesses including palm oil agriculture, energy production, oil exploration, real estate, and biomedical research. Collectively, Genting Group has a market capitalization of over US$30 billion and operates in seven countries around the world: Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the Bahamas, the United States and soon in South Korea. Genting entities are publicly traded on three stock exchanges and the company has one of the largest VIP player databases in the world. COLLABORATIVE APPROACH
“Genting builds large, successful projects that the local community can be proud of,” says Michael Levoff, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Genting Americas, Inc. “We also consider ourselves to be excellent gaming operators and community partners. Genting developed and operates the second and third most efficient gaming properties in the world – Resorts World Sentosa and Resorts World Genting – as measured by EBITDA margins. We have expertise in both development and operations.” Genting had been in the gaming, hotel and entertainment business through the Resorts World brand for over 45 years when
they were chosen through an RFP process in October 2011 to build and finance the CDN$826 million development at Aqueduct Racetrack/Resorts World Casino New York City – New York City’s only gaming facility. Within one year of groundbreaking, Genting turned an undeveloped parking lot and underutilized grandstand into a modern, industry leading racino. “We were willing to invest heavily into the project at the Aqueduct Racetrack because of the tremendous opportunity to operate in a very underserved gaming market,” says Levoff. “New York City is also one of the most diverse cities in the world and the local government wanted to tap into the over 55 million tourists that visit the city annually. “New York State is also a highly regulated and secure market which we also find attractive as a place to invest significant capital. Genting operates in a number of other highly regulated jurisdictions including Malaysia, the United Kingdom and Singapore. The Aqueduct opportunity involved significant cooperation and coordination with the New York State regulator in order to deliver the economic development and revenue generation the government was seeking.” EYES CANADIAN MARKET
Outside of the U.S., Genting has also shown interest in Canadian jurisdictions
such as the Greater Toronto Area (i.e. Woodbine Racetrack and Slots; Ajax Downs). While Levoff explains that the company cannot comment on specific OLG opportunities, they do see Woodbine Racetrack as a very similar opportunity to what was before them at the Aqueduct. “Further,” says Levoff, “by working with Woodbine we see ourselves supporting W EG ( Woo dbine Enter t a in ment Group) in their role as the premier racing association in Canada and equally important, supporting them in their role as the administrator of a very robust and vibrant Standardbred Alliance.” Levoff says Genting Group sees Ontario and Canada as a great place to work, live and play. It is a business environment where the company feels it can conduct and grow its core business, and they see many opportunities in Canada to expand, which will create jobs and economic development in the process. “M a ny ma rket s in Ca nada a re underserved from a gaming perspective, be it with the variety of product offered or just the scope,” says Levoff. “By choosing a competent, ex perienced gaming operator and project developer, Canada can maximize both the job creation and revenue which the gaming industry is in a unique position to provide.” SEEKS UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES
With Toronto considered a gateway city to Canadian Gaming Business | 17
North America, Levoff believes the region provides a unique opportunity to expand and improve existing gaming operations, while continuing to look closely at other gateway cities across the Americas. “We would like to build a property in Canada to offer our customers a unique experience in the country, and also integrate our operations across our vast international network of properties with the new site,” says Levoff. “We believe the world wants to see and visit Canada – and that more Canadians want to see more of the world. This great potential for cross marketing will allow us to market our global portfolio to foreigners interested in coming to Canada.” Levoff says Canada’s reputation as a world-class destination makes it a leading contender for future growth opportunities. “Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world. Canada is also a multicultural society with people from around the world. We believe the greatest growth opportunities in gaming and non-gaming are offering incredible customer service that meets the needs of a multi-cultural, multi-interest population,” says Levoff. “We also have an amazing data base of Asianbased VIP customers. Toronto, Vancouver, Niagara Falls and other Canadian cities are places our VIP customers want to visit. Beyond VIPs though, Genting properties are unique in that they are designed to appeal to visitors from all walks of life: old and young, gaming and non-gaming, 18 | Summer 2016
family or solo traveler, etc. Our properties aren’t just designed to meet the needs of one market segment over another.”
entertainment, culinary and hospitality offerings for our customers to enjoy.”
EMBRACES LOCAL COMMUNITIES
While Genting sees plenty of opportunity in North America, Levoff also agrees that there are several challenges facing gaming in Canada and the U.S. but feels that due to its strong international presence, the company is more than prepared to deal with such challenges. “The customer base for gaming in North America is rapidly aging,” says Levoff. “This is a fact that all major gaming operators are being forced to address to ensure the industr y remains viable. Genting believes that its experience in markets around the world, coupled with our keen attention to detail and technological innovation will give us the tools needed to grow the gaming population base and grow the overall market in Canada.” As evidence, Levoff explains that Genting has begun large scale projects to look at ways to attract more Millennials to its resorts, focusing on integrating non-gaming amenities into the overall business model while offering new gaming products that younger customers find more appealing. The company has also begun work to develop proprietary gaming products which it intends to roll out at its resorts in the coming years. “Additionally, as the world becomes a much more closely linked “global
Genting’s approach to new markets, as well as their ongoing development philosophy pertaining to casinos and integrated resorts, has been to seek out development opportunities which can reach certain revenue projections. Additionally, Levoff says something critical to the company’s approach has been its desire to work closely with local communities. “T he big g est lesson you lea r n operating around the world is that taking a concentrated local approach leads to long-term success and develops excellent partnerships with local stakeholders that are required for long-term success. Ultimately an international destination will only be successful if the local community embraces it first. We want our employees to be local and to build that relationship, in addition we want our local customers to be happy.” Beyond the “local partners f irst” focus, Genting only undertakes projects that can either start as or progress into fully integrated resorts. “We recognize that a vast majority of our customers are look ing for non-gaming amenities in addition to cutting-edge gaming offerings,” says Levoff. “We have partnered with brands around the world to deliver unique
READY FOR CHALLENGES
village” of sorts, our customers have expressed their desire to experience a wide variety of cultural offerings that are both authentic and unique,” says Levoff. GLOBAL EXPANSION
Genting is in the process of embarking on one of the biggest ex pansions in the company’s histor y, growing its offerings in the resorts, cruise, private air and energy industries. “ E x panding our foot print into some of the world’s largest and more advanced markets, such as Canada, is a cornerstone of our strateg y to make Genting, Resorts World and our other brands household names,” says Levoff. “If we are granted the privilege of operating destination resorts in Canada, we look forwarded to delivering projects that Canadians can be proud of and which deliver excellent employment opportunities and generate tax revenue for the host communities. We also want to be contributing members of the Canadian gaming industr y and leverage our knowledge and insight for the benefit of all operators, especially as it comes to best practices for responsible gaming, controls and marketing. “At the sa me time, Genting a s a company has always been about more than just gaming. The group is a diversif ied set of companies that have interests in a wide range of industries and sectors. As such,
we always look to form connections between what are sometimes viewed a s u n l i k el y pa r t ner s. Cre at i n g a unique portfolio of experience that our customers can take advantage of
is essential to fulfilling our strategy of being a one-stop shop for a variety of services and experiences. The future is bright for the g roup and major developments are on the horizon.”
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Canadian Gaming Business | 19
A VOICE FOR THE INDUSTRY
From advocacy to research, CGA speaks loud and proud for gaming in Canada
The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) has represented the Canadian gaming industry professionally and responsibly since its establishment more than 12 years ago. AT THAT TIME, despite its signif icant economic benefits, the industry was under constant attack in the media and by the public and had no coherent strategy for response, no information or research to respond with, and no spokesperson or champion. In that environment, the idea of creating a national organization was born in March 2005 by 12 founding Association members representing all elements of the industry across the country. Since the beginning CGA’s mandate has been to: • Create balance in the public dialogue • Create a better understanding of the gaming industry and the issues that affect participants (government, First Nations, charities, businesses and individuals) • Address national and regional issues • A ssist w ith the development of industry-wide policies and programs To fulfill that mandate the Association developed a four-t rack approach comprised of: • Advocacy • Education • Communications • Industry Research 20 | Summer 2016
Prior to CGA-commissioned independent research, the significant economic benefits that the Canadian gaming industry generated were unrecognized and unacknowledged. CGA groundbreaking research identified gaming as being the largest segment of the Canadian entertainment industry — more than $31 billion in Gross Output and $14 billion in purchased goods and services; directly supports more than 128,000 full-time jobs; and produces $8.7 billion annually to fund government and community programs and services. Despite the facts, the Canadian gaming industry is still often mischaracterized and misunderstood by the media, politicians, and the public. Having a dedicated industry association to commission and distribute information and facts and to champion the benefits (of which there are many) is more important than ever. To this end, CGA continues its important work. ADVOCACY
CGA is specif ically charged w ith addressing legislative and regulatory issues affecting members, employees, and customers, providing leadership on emerging issues, and developing industry-wide programs for critical issues.
To that end, one of the CGA’s most important roles is to be an important voice on behalf of the industry, and to help ensure that public debates and conversations are balanced with facts. CGA has been instrumental in supporting and promoting both of Canada’s private Member’s bills, Bill C-290 and now Bill C-221, and has not missed an opportunity to tell the Canadian Senate how badly it is failing Canadians by refusing to deal with single-event sports wagering. Since it s incept ion, a s well a s representing the industry publicly, including responding to various media inaccuracies and attacks, CGA has been at the forefront of many issues important to our industry. Noteworthy advocacy efforts include creating and working with industry coalitions to: • Defeat a Bill in Parliament that would have unduly restricted gaming devices to facilities of certain larger sizes; • Develop realistic and work able Tel e v i si o n B u r e au o f C a n a d a advertising guidelines as they relate to gaming; • D evelop, i n con su lt at ion w it h FINTRAC, anti-money laundering reporting requirements for the casino gaming industry; and
• Develop new AGCO operating standards and regulation. EDUCATION
Educa t i o n , w h i c h i n clu d e s commissioning orig inal research, goes hand in hand with advocacy. CGA goals include: • Creating a better understanding of the gaming industr y by bringing facts about the industry into public and political discussion; and • B ei n g t h e i n du s t r y ’s n a t i o n a l information clearinghouse, prov iding the media, elected officials, other decision makers and the public with timely, accurate gaming industry data.
“With a mandate to create a better understanding of the Canadian gaming industry through education, CGA will take a leadership role in offering relevant and exclusive training for those working in gaming. The first step is the needs assessment, which is unprecedented in our industry, and we are very fortunate to draw on the expertise of the SSMEP. CGA’s ultimate goal is to ensure that programs meeting a set of nationally-recognized standards are delivered in co-operation with education institutions across the country.” -Bill Rutsey, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, CGA/SSMEP news release, May 9, 2016 $14.0
Economic Impact $7.0
Source: HLT Advisory based on data from PWC Global Entertainment Outlook 2010-2014 and Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 87F0009X (Motion Picture Theatres, 2009), 87f0003X (Performing Arts, 2009), 63246-X (Spectator Sports), and 63243-X (Food Services and Dining Places, 2009).
$0 Revenue ($Billion)
Full Service Restaurants
Limited Service Restaurants
$0 Revenue ($Billion)
Magazines, Books and Newspapers
Revenue of Selected Entertainment Industries
Economic Impact Revenue of Selected Hospitality Industries $15
Source: HLT Advisory based on data from Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 63-243-X (Survey of Food Services and Drinking Places, 2009) and Annual Reports of the two major Canadian airlines (Air Transportation includes Air Canada and West Jet operating results for 2009).
Canadian Gaming Business | 21
Economic Impact Distribution of Gaming Industry Revenues
Revenues Generated for Governments & Charities
Revenues Spent to Sustain Gaming Operations
$8.7 Billion Charities 5.5%
Purchase of Goods & Services 27.4%
Wages & Salaries 15.2%
Province, Municipalities & First Nations 46.9%
Private Operator Profits, Indirect Taxes & Subsidies 2.9%
Source: HLT Advisory Inc. based on most recent data available from various provincial government agency/corporation annual reports, subject to update as further information becomes available
Labour Market Impact IN ONTA RIO
The ‘Ripple’ Effect
When a casino needs to buy local goods and services, those purchases generate revenue and jobs.
CGA re c ent l y a n n ou n c e d it s p a r t n er sh ip w it h t he S au lt St e. Marie Education Partners (SSMEP) to undertake an educational needs assessment of the Canadian gaming industr y. Twent y years of g row th and change have ex posed the need to prov ide g aming industr y professionals with greater educational and training opportunities. Based upon the establishment and out put of the Summit Education Committee and ongoing dialogue with leading industry participants over the past few years, we are beginning the process of developing a national approach to gaming-centric education, including courses and curriculum. We expect that the needs assessment will be completed in Fall 2016 and the results shared with all participants for 22 | Summer 2016
Canadians wager an estimated $4 billion a year via offshore sports books located in Europe or other parts of the world, according to Paul Burns, vice president of the Canadian Gaming Association. “In contrast,” he says, “they spend about $500 million on provincial sports lottery games” such as Ontario’s Pro-Line. Burns estimates billions more are wagered on Canadian soil when you take into account bets made between friends or with illegal bookies, some of whom are tied to organized crime. —Paul Burns, CBC Sports, Online sports gambling thrives in Canada's legal 'grey zone', May 2, 2016
A Message from Bill Rutsey – 11 Years Later and Counting Looking back to that initial meeting in March 2005, which marked the coming together of the industry to create the Canadian Gaming Association, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished since then. We’ve gone from “Who are those guys?” and “What are they doing?” to become a trusted national information source of accurate industry data, a leading participant in industry-wide approaches to critical issues, an important voice to address legislative and regulatory issues, and a leader in identifying emerging issues, evolving public attitudes and expectations, and market conditions. Since inception we’ve seen gaming in Canada evolve from strictly “bricks and mortar” to operating in cyberspace. This evolution hasn’t gone absolutely smoothly. In fact, it may be best described as being analogous to the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The acceptance of the reality and inevitability of the virtual gaming world is creating here in Canada, as it has elsewhere around the world, the reinvention and repurposing of traditional games and facilities to meet the expectations of the ever-growing online community that expects instant communication, instant information, and instant gratification. What this means is the need for a more organic and continuous evolution of government oversight and regulation of the Canadian gaming environment to keep up with the market demands for nonstop advances in product and modes of delivery. This is the key challenge the industry faces in order to remain a robust and reliable source of revenues for important public programs, and to maintain a safe and secure environment for players. We look forward to continuing to fulfill our core mandate of creating a better understanding of the gaming industry by bringing facts and information forward, and to working together with all elements of the Canadian gaming industry as we move forward towards the virtual future.
review and f inal inputs. Following, CGA, together with needs assessment pa r t ic ipa nt s , w i l l work t ow a rd s establishing a National Industry Council to guide the development of a Canadian gaming curriculum using existing material from industry leaders as well as Canadian and global education partners. COMMUNICATION
has also created specialized websites to draw attention to issues and enable the public to reach MPs and other members of government. CGA also advances the industr y’s message by: • Issuing news releases to announce milestones, share information, or refute misinformation; • Publishing op-eds and letters to the editor; • Crossing the country to hold briefings with industry stakeholders; • Appearing at international conferences including the Global Gaming Expo and I-Gaming North America; • Hosting popular receptions to bring industry representatives and other stakeholders together; and • Speaking with media.
It i s c r it i c a l t o h a ve d e d i c a t e d communications channels available and not just rely on media to get your message out. Since 2005, CGA has expanded its roster of communications channels to include: • A website (www.canadiangaming.ca); • Print and digital magazine - Canadian Gaming Business (www.canadiangamingbusiness.com); • An annual conference - the Canadian Gaming Summit (www.canadiangamingsummit.com); • An electronic newsletter; and INDUSTRY RESEARCH • A Twitter account. Before CGA began investing in research, the industry was ill-equipped to defend CGA continues to make use of this full itself and had little factual recourse when roster of communications channels to speaking with journalists. Given the reach stakeholders and other members of lack of understanding of the industry Canada’s gaming industry. As required that still exists today within media for special advocacy campaigns, CGA a n d g over n m ent , it i s c r it ic a l l y
important to be demonstrably clear when communicating. Thank s to its investment in research, CGA is armed with facts and able to refute untrue allegations that continue to surface about gaming. A no t h e r b e n e f it t o h a v i n g commissioned research is the relationships that CGA has developed w it h wel l-k now n a nd re sp e c t e d researchers. O t her recent i mpor t a nt CG A sponsored resea rch includes t wo national economic impact studies; a nd g rou ndbre a k i n g a n a l y si s of the rates of problem gambling over decades across Canada and around the world in environments of increasing legal gaming opportunities.
Sports Betting: A Long and Winding Road April 19, 2016, saw the first debate in Parliament of Bill C-221, The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act. Bill C-221 is identical to a previous bill introduced by retired NDP MP Joe Comartin in 2011. Bill C-290 passed in the House of Commons with all-party support and arrived in the Senate in March 2012, only to have the Senate fail to bring the bill to a vote. Bill C-290 officially died when the general election was called last year, leaving no choice but to have process start over. As advocated by the CGA, Bill C-221 is about providing a safe and legal option for Canadians who enjoy betting, and giving provinces the power to address important issues such as consumer protection, problem gambling treatment, law enforcement and attempts to fix the outcome of sporting events. The original Bill C-290 had the full support of premiers and provincial finance ministers, mayors, and communities, as well as the additional backing of, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and the Canadian Labour Congress and numerous national and international sports organizations, including the IOC. Their support remains steadfast for the new Bill C-221 and Mr. Masse’s efforts. “This bill is an opportunity to improve tourism, create new revenue streams, to create and protect jobs and provide extra funding to help with problem gambling.” — Brian Masse, Windsor Star, Masse to bring back single-sports betting bill, January 4, 2016 Canadian Gaming Business | 23
Labour Market Impact IN C A NA D A
Jobs 253,487 full-time equivalent jobs are created directly and indirectly from the gaming industry.
Labour Market Impact
Wages The wages earned directly and indirectly from the gaming industry is $12.5 Billion.
The Leaders Speak The 2015 Opinions of Community Leaders Study, commissioned and distributed by the CGA, is the first investigation undertaken by the Association of the perceptions of civic and community leaders who agreed to have casinos developed in their municipalities. The study’s findings overwhelmingly confirm that gaming remains a vital contributor to Canadian society and that the communities that made the decision to build gaming facilities continue to profit from that choice: • 85% of Community Leaders stated (by answering agree or strongly agree) that they believe the casino in their community is a good corporate citizen. • 78% believe (by answering agree or strongly agree) the casino enhances the tourism appeal of the community, as well as offering a quality entertainment product (77%) and a safe environment (90%). • 72% believe (by answering agree or strongly agree) the casino generates business for local suppliers of goods and services. “These results are deeply gratifying. The gaming industry in Canada has evolved in the past 25 years to become an important employer and provider of meaningful economic returns to Canadians that are balanced with socially-responsible measures, and this study confirms exactly that.” — Bill Rutsey, CGA Website
24 | Summer 2016
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ANALYTICS Putting process into practice
With the proliferation of mobile technology, social media and advanced gaming floor analytics, today’s gaming organizations are faced with an exponential increase in the amount of information they need to collect, analyze and implement. Participants:
Sean Coyle, Director of Operations, Casino Nova Scotia Sydney
Steve Holder, National Lead Analytics, SAS
Canadian Gaming Business recently asked several gaming industry insiders, analysts and leaders about their views on how organizations can effectively and responsibly manage this data and how the industry needs to evolve in order to adapt to the inevitable further influx of information. Here is what they had to say: WHAT DO YOU SEE AS SOME OF THE GREATEST OPPORTUNITIES FOR GAMING ORGANIZATIONS AS A RESULT OF THE INCREASING ACCESSIBILITY AND AVAILABILITY OF DATA AND WHY? Sean Coyle: Allowing customers to customize their benefits
the way they customize their casino experience. One of the most interesting (and challenging) things about casino experiences is that every guest that walks through the door
Kara Holm, ExO for Strategic Insights & Application, All-In Gaming & Hospitality Advisory Group
Paul Pellizzari, Executive Director, Policy & Social Responsibility, OLG
creates their own unique experience. They can choose to gamble and eat, go to a show, gamble and go to a show, have a social experience, have a solitary experience, the list goes on. In fact, two people that come together to the casino can and often do have an experience that is both shared but also unique. One of the greatest opportunities data provides is an ability for gaming operations to provide benefits that are as unique and aligned as the guest experiences themselves. Steve Holder: Most organizations know that the ability to
understand their data allows them to drive differentiation, create competitive advantage, and deliver a fatter bottom line. And we’re generating and capturing more data than ever before in a variety of forms both structured and unstructured. All this data can be turned into marketing gold by creating in-depth customer profiles to ensure marketing dollars and efforts are being targeted at the right customers. Add real-time Canadian Gaming Business | 27
industryq&a information and you can deliver the right offer at the right time to the right person, maximizing chances of customer engagement. Bottom line, analytics drives informed business decisions so the gaming industry can do a variety of things ranging from building deeper relationships with their customers, detecting fraud on the floor or even optimizing traffic flows in their properties. It’s all about making better, more informed business decisions and analytics should be viewed as the enabler. Kara Holm: Gaming organizations create huge amounts of data as a by-product of their operations, but few, in our experience as consultants, are using this information effectively to inform business planning and day-to-day decision-making. So, there are lots of opportunities for operators to use data to create a story for their businesses by aligning financial results, player information, game data and more. The opportunity is to see how all of these points of information come together so that you can identify issues that arise and “course correct,” as well as identify opportunities for growth. Paul Pellizzari: Let me start by saying that the future of data and the future of responsible gambling are all about integration. RG can no longer be a sidecar to what the business does. RG has to be part of the business. Gaming is an industry that can be and often is data driven. We’re in a good place in terms of most organizations like OLG and the big organizations typically have a big historical cache of data. It would be fair to say that a lot of organizations have not necessarily used that data strategically or in a focused
I N T R O D U C I N G
way and that is our opportunity to move to a place where we are using it. The biggest advantages are we have the ability to gain deeper insights into player behavior, player preferences and player risk. Using all of these things to provide better products and better customer experience and to help players understand their gambling. Segmentation is also another huge opportunity for the use of data because you need to understand the different profiles of who you are marketing to and who you are trying to attract to your offerings. Segmentation applies to the risk side. OLG and all the Canadian gaming providers approach protecting players from an informed-decision-making perspective. Data can help with all of this in an integrated way so that it becomes an expected and seamless part of what our offering is for players. WHAT WILL BE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING GAMING ORGANIZATIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE MANAGEMENT OF DATA AND INFORMATION? SC: With the continued growth and scope of analytics and the
tidal wave of data one of the biggest challenges will be to decide what to focus on and how to act on it quickly. What data is useful and what data is useless. This will be different to every business depending on what their business objectives are and how they are measuring their success. The challenge is to get the right metrics that when you review them it will change the way you operate or invest resources moving forward.
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olg.ca Figures based on OLG Consumer Research, May 2015.
industryq&a SH: There are two key challenges facing the industry: the
continued evolution of consumers’ desire to interact in realtime and across all platforms, live, online and mobile and the need to balance personalization with privacy to engage in a positive way with players. While personalized customer service trends are generally viewed as positive by consumers there is clearly a fine line between meeting consumers’ needs and being creepy. A key challenge will be to reap the advantages of data and insight all while protecting and treating customers’ data like it’s their own and using it to provide true benefits to customers.
KH: One big challenge is the sheer amount of data gaming operations produce. The term “big data” certainly applies to the gaming industry. We find some clients spend their time mired in data – meaning that they are tracking so many things that they do not understand how to assess and activate the information. Clients in this situation are often looking backwards, not forward. The other option we see is clients that are so overwhelmed by the information that it is easier to ignore it and not use the data at all to inform decision-making. We believe that to be successful at leveraging data, operators have to have clear business objectives, as these provide clarity around priorities. This enables operators to choose the right metrics for that specific business. When operators use business intelligence strategically, they can deep dive into the other data to complete the picture when issues and opportunities june_advert_PRINT.pdf 1 2016-05-16 10:46 AM arise.
PP: The challenge for OLG and many other organizations
is that we are Big Data organizations so we’ve got a lot of historical data. In the past, we have not had the structure, capacity, discipline or internal functions to take all of that data, turn it into insights and then apply it. At OLG we are now in the process of doing that and we have had some successes in that area. We’re building capacity, functions and discipline internally that will be necessary for us to move into the future, gaining better insights and being more precise in how we understand the players. Other challenges include how we are using data to support our business while still managing all the privacy and integrity issues such as CASL legislation.
HOW MUST GAMING ORGANIZATIONS EVOLVE IN ORDER TO BETTER AGGREGATE AND INTEGRATE THE MANY DISPARATE SOURCES OF DATA AND INFORMATION?
SC : Automation. Using algorithms and well-designed
dashboards that target specific growth opportunities are the key to truly beginning to unlock the power of the vast amounts of data that we currently and increasingly a g g reg ate. One thing that ma kes this oppor tunit y difficult to crack is that much of the data we have access to is collected through proprietary player management systems. These do not lend themselves to easy and cost-
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industryq&a effective systems integration which is critical to bringing the information together in a practical way. SH: All analytics problems begin with data and the ability to manage and integrate this data is a challenge across all industries. In order to tackle this problem the gaming industry needs to consider the following: Variety: Data can come from many sources in different formats and with different nomenclatures. Operators can leverage new data storage options like Hadoop to consolidate these disparate systems into a common data repositor y to allow them to better manage their information. Quality: Data Quality can be a challenge and the old adage “garbage in garage out” holds true. Gaming operators need to ensure they have appropriate data def initions and abilit y to merge, cleanse and standardize their information. This will make the analytic process be a seamless part of the business user’s day. Culture: Data volumes and big data aren’t going away, but the way the organization works with the data is key. Operators should adopt a culture of agility and f lexibility when it comes to data. Gone are the day’s reports and analytical insights took weeks to deliver the new analytics user is looking for immediate insights. To be able to deliver on this however requires adequate governance and technolog y so as not to stif le innovation and the business. Building a culture of data driven decisioning and having the technology to support is key to help the gaming industry evolve. KH: In our ex perience, few casino operators have a
holistic way of considering their business data. Gaming data, player data, research, and financial information are managed by different departments. In my opinion there is not a single solution to this challenge. I am a big believer in monthly dashboards that bring together key metrics from various parts of the organization. One way to ensure this happens could be to have an executive appointed to oversee information aggregation and reporting, and then to provide analysis and recommendations. Another option would be to have an interdisciplinary team that meets regularly to look at key metrics from different points in the organization. PP: The first thing is to invest in infrastructure. Be smart
about your technology, know what your needs are and use your dollars in a smart way so that you’re investing in the right infrastructure, with the right database interfaces, having the ability to take data from disparate sources — and in our case disparate service providers — manage the protocols for how data gets entered and that you are able to get data when you need it. At the same time, you need to be nimble, you’re going to need to be able to anticipate how you’re going to need to change. Finally, you need to build the internal functions around data and change the mindset to have people understand that this is going to be the differentiator for the future. The best gaming organizations will differentiate themselves in how they are able to manage data and that involves changing our mindset.
32 | Summer 2016
WHAT KIND OF AN IMPACT WILL MOBILE TECHNOLOGY, THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA HAVE ON DATA ANALYTICS? SC: We will eventually enter an era where we can use a mobile device to link tracked play (carded and non-carded), fulfill benefits in real time, market to customers based on their proximity to the casino or certain areas of the facility, and seamlessly communicate this through the device or media of the user’s choice. Having suppliers adopt open source and open platforms would allow our industry to catch up with the times. Many of these abilities are already being used by businesses around the world. SH: The Internet of Things is taking mobility to new heights.
Think wearables like the Fitbit and automated devices like the Nest thermostat; with new mobile technologies coming to market at a breakneck pace, mobile will mean much more than just smartphones. Operators have the ability to tap these new sources and interact with consumers in real time while still in the venue to better understand relationships and ensure patrons are having a positive gaming experience. To execute in real time the Internet of Things (IoT) will help capture client insight at the point of interaction as opposed to doing so weeks later when they have left the venue. This is a fundamental shift of the digital age and only the analytically savvy operators will be in a position to leverage the wealth of data available to drive optimal customer experiences right to their device.
ANY OTHER INSIGHTS YOU FEEL OUR READERS WOULD LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT? KH: This is an extremely important topic for operators and Crown
corporations in Canada. Data is a latent resource for Canadian casino operators. There are tremendous opportunities available to grow our industry sustainably, if we learn to analyze and share the massive amounts of data already available. There are many insights waiting to be activated. Within organizations, leaders have to commit to selecting the right metrics across departments. They also have to develop a plan to share the objectives and metrics organization-wide. The business goals, and data that informs these goals, should be understood comprehensively at all levels: the cleaners, security guards, slot techs, restaurant servers, supervisors, managers, and the CEO.
PP: Given what I do at OLG, I really want to emphasize the point around using data to understand player risk and how that integrating it into the business must be part of our future. Some people worry about using risk analysis on player data because they think they may be subjecting their organization to greater legal liability or duty of care. I think the opposite is true. W hen you’re using data to market to people in precise ways you have a role to play in using that data to give them that informeddecision-making feedback to help support them in terms of promoting safe play and keeping people out of trouble. The industry needs to embrace this.
President and CEO, SaskGaming Susan Flett joined SaskGaming in 2000 as Director of Player Relations after building her career at Crown Life Canada and Crown Investments Corporation. In 2004 she was appointed Director of Marketing, in 2010 she became Vice President of Marketing and in 2013 she was named the corporation’s Chief Marketing Officer. Flett was appointed President and CEO of SaskGaming in June 2015. FLETT, WHO HOLDS a Bachelor of Administration in Marketing from the University of Regina, was honoured in 1999 with the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Outstanding Public Service in Saskatchewan. Canadian Gaming Business recently asked her about her new role at SaskGaming and as a leader in the Canadian gaming community. YOU HAVE BEEN IN YOUR NEW ROLE AT SASKGAMING FOR A FEW MONTHS NOW. WHAT AREAS DO YOU ANTICIPATE WILL BE THE MOST CHALLENGING FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ACCOMPLISHING?
The matur ing g aming market and an a g ing g uest demographic are two of our greatest challenges. Obviously, these are challenges that aren’t unique just to SaskGaming – the entire gaming market is working to overcome these challenges. But with great challenge comes great opportunity, 34 | Summer 2016
and I’ve really enjoyed working with my senior management team to develop a new vision and strategy to manage these issues. Although the roll out of this vision and strategy is still in its early days, we’ve already implemented some major changes – new concerts, creative promotions, new technology on our gaming floors. And that’s just the beginning! We want to ensure SaskGaming remains strong and profitable, and I'm very excited for the execution of this vision and strategy over the coming months and years. WHAT ARE THE MOST PERSONALLY REWARDING ASPECTS OF WORKING IN A LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE CANADIAN GAMING INDUSTRY AND WHY?
Personally, I really enjoy working to find a path forward in challenging market conditions. There’s something very rewarding about considering a challenge – looking at it from all angles, piloting new ideas, discussing strategy with
“My vision and strategy includes reinvesting in our guests through new technology and faster-to-market channels and attracting the next generation of core guests with targeted products, diverse entertainment offerings and a major refresh of our casino properties.” — Susan Flett industry folks, taking some risks – all in an effort to turn that challenge into an opportunity. I also really enjoy the personal relationships I’ve formed at SaskGaming and throughout the gaming industry. Let’s face it, it’s a very unique and entertaining business and we have a lot of fun!
aren’t alienating our current core demographic. That’s why single-event sports betting is a great opportunity for growth in the industry. It’s definitely something that our players are asking for and, of course, it’s an avenue that will help develop our next generation of players.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS YOUR PAST EXPERIENCE PREPARED YOU FOR YOUR NEW ROLE AT SASKGAMING?
WHAT PRODUCT AND SERVICE OFFERINGS DOES SASKGAMING CURRENTLY BRING TO THE INDUSTRY AND HOW DO YOU SEE THESE EVOLVING IN THE COMING YEARS?
I've been with SaskGaming for 16 years, and in that time I’ve held a number of positions – Director of Player Relations, Director of Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer. I'm fortunate to have a good lay of the land both in the corporation and the gaming industry. As Chief Marketing Officer, I was responsible for revenue generation, guest visitation and the development of business models for other lines of business, and that’s a big part of the work I’ll continue to do in my new role as President & CEO. WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF SASKGAMING AND ITS ROLE IN THE GAMING COMMUNITY IN THE PROVINCE AND CANADA?
With just two properties, SaskGaming is a small but mighty corporation. I think we’ve been leaders in areas like corporate social responsibility and guest experience, and those continue to be two of our priorities moving into the future. And I want to further establish the stability and long-term focus of the organization. That includes shifting our workplace culture with a renewed focus on specific elements of SaskGaming’s current guest service strategy – particularly where guest engagement and entertainment are concerned. My vision and strategy includes reinvesting in our guests through new technology and faster-to-market channels and attracting the next generation of core guests with targeted products, diverse entertainment offerings and a major refresh of our casino properties. We’re also reinvesting back into employees through new management training, improved online core training and the introduction of new training tools. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ARE THE GREATEST GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES FOR GAMING IN CANADA AND WHY?
I think one of the greatest growth opportunities is the next generation of players. At SaskGaming – and, in many cases, right across Canada – we are seeing our current core market starting to age. With that, the next generation of players – that 30-49 year old age range – is not gaming at the same level or frequency. So tapping into that younger demographic is a priority for SaskGaming, while at the same time ensuring we
SaskGaming currently offers slot machines, Touch Bet terminals, table games, lottery sales, full-service food and beverage outlets and entertainment in our Show Lounge at Casino Regina. We’ve been experiencing small but consistent growth in our table games revenue, and we’ve been capitalizing on that with the introduction of new Touch Bet products that link video terminals with live table games. We’re also bringing in electronic blackjack terminals at lower buy-in price points to develop new players that will move onto our live games as they become more comfortable and confident with the game. WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF SASKGAMING’S MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND HOW DO YOU THINK THESE DEVELOPMENTS WILL LEAD YOUR ORGANIZATION TO FURTHER SUCCESS?
There have been a number of recent developments with the aim to aggressively develop our future core demographic. We’re shifting our mix of products to include more electronic and social elements, we’re updating the engagement aspect of our employee training to encourage employees to have fun with guests, and we’re revisiting how we deliver entertainment services to include cabaret-style rock shows and twice nightly performances that appeal to the 30-49-year-old demographic. Not to mention, we’re looking at partnerships with local pubs, we’re sponsoring more events and causes geared toward that future core demographic, and we’re developing a new layout of our casinos as part of a refresh of our properties. ANY OTHER INFORMATION OR INSIGHTS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
This year marks Casino Regina’s 20th anniversary and I’m very excited to be at the helm of the corporation for this important milestone. And with Casino Moose Jaw’s 15th anniversary coming up next year, we’ve got more celebrating to do here in Saskatchewan. It’s been two decades of innovation, entertainment and giving back to the community, and I’m looking forward to the next 20 years. Canadian Gaming Business | 35
MENU OPTIMIZATION If You Don’t Do This Regularly, You’re Leaving Money on the Table
BY JEFF DOVER AND ANDREW WADDINGTON
36 | Summer 2016 36 | Summer
If you could increase your food and beverage outlets’ operating margins by three to 20 per cent without substantially increasing prices (and potentially lowering prices for some items), would you? Of course you would. Most restaurant operators and chefs have been taught menu engineering (a menu optimization tool that classifies and defines strategies for menu items based on popularity and profitability) but shockingly few practice this concept. THE CHEFS AT YOUR property put in a great deal of time and effort to design menus for all the food and beverage outlets and banqueting. The design of the menu itself is important and must consider a variety of factors such as: • Capacit y — Is the kitchen able to produce the food in the quantity required to accommodate demand? • Relevancy — Are the menu offerings relevant to the guest? and; • Accuracy — Are menu items accurately prepared, which is becoming more important as customers are becoming increasingly educated about food? However, one of the most important areas — the physical design of the menu or the menu boards in the case of quick service menu boards — is often overlooked or focuses solely on aesthetics without attention to sales strategy. In fact, the menu or menu board is the most important real estate in your food and beverage operations with respect to maximizing margin generation. BANK DOLLARS, NOT PERCENTAGES
Restaurant managers are taught to target and achieve a food cost percentage (the total cost of a menu item including all acc omp a n i m ent s and, if applicable, packaging divided by the selling price). This unfortunately may lead to managers focusing on percentages and not dollars. George Tidball, founder of the Keg Restaurants, drove this point home for me. He said: “Why would I prefer to sell a $10 chicken breast with a 30-per-cent food
cost and make a margin of $7 when I can sell a $20 steak at a 50-per-cent food cost and make $10?” The moral of the story is you take dollars to the bank, not percentages. Once the menu is designed (and for the purpose of this exercise we will assume the capacity, accuracy and relevancy criteria are met), how do you communicate the menu to the guest in such a way that the restaurant’s margin is maximized? fsSTRATEGY regularly observes menus that are designed in such a way that, pardon the pun, leaves money on the table. Ideally, you want to sell the greatest margin menu items (which are not necessarily the highest priced items) as much as possible. DETERMINE ITEM COST
T he f i r s t s t ep i n optimizing your menu is determining the item cost. Many of the chefs we work with have a sound knowledge of the cost of the protein in the menu item; however, an astonishing number do not accurately cost out all recipe ingredients. Another mistake is not including “remainder of meal” costs such as bread, condiments and packaging. Once the item cost is determined for each menu item, initial prices may be set. Price will have an influence on both an item’s popularity and profitability. A simple approach for setting initial prices is to divide menu item cost by the desired food cost ratio, then testing that price against the prices of key competitors and adjusting accordingly. Unfortunately, this approach misses oppor tunities based on customer preference and perceived value. Once
you have some sales data, however, use of menu analysis tools like menu engineering or cost margin analysis can be used to understand customers’ pricesensitivity and identify opportunities to increase or lower prices to maximize total margin. As a side note, it is important to calculate the operation’s theoretical food cost based on menu item costs and itemized sales every period. This theoretical food cost should then be compared to the actual food cost. The actual food cost should be one to 1.5 per cent greater than the theoretical food cost, which allows for waste, spoilage, shrinkage, etc. If the difference between theoretical food cost and actual food cost is greater or less than one to 1.5 per cent of food sales, restaurant management will know that food cost control needs to be evaluated. Reviewing menu item costs each period will also enable management to react when menu ingredient costs change (as we all know happens) and adjust the pricing or other aspects of the menu accordingly.
DESIGN FOR SALES
Once the menu has been tested for capacity, accuracy and relevancy and the economics of the menu items have been considered, the physical menu and menu boards may be designed. Canadian Gaming Business | 37
Essentially, you want to ensure the items you want to sell (i.e., the items with the greatest margin) are the most visible to customers. A 1988 study found customers read menus for only 109 seconds on average, so you have less than two minutes of attention from your customers. In a quick counter operation where customers order from a menu board at the point of sale, the time it takes for a customer to read and select a menu item is doubly important. Therefore, it is imperative that the design of the menu and or menu boards be carefully considered. First, regardless of the type or style of menu being designed, it should be uncluttered, easy to read and as concise as possible. This will reduce the time required to scan each item on the menu and increase the likelihood that customers see every item. LEAD THE CUSTOMER
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Second, you will need to help the customer find the items you want to sell (profitable) and that you think they want to buy (popular). Never assume the customer will find these on their own. The following tactics can increase item visibility: • Item Order. Studies have shown that items at the top and bottom of lists with six or more items will typically outsell items “buried” in the middle of the list. • Position. For decades, menu designers have included relative positioning of menu items in a suite of tactics to increase menu per formance. The theor y is based on g aze motion studies that predict the path customers’ eyes follow on a menu and identify “sweet spots” where items are more prominent. Recent scientific studies have tested the eye movement theories and their effect on sales with varying results. Nevertheless, industry convention suggests that there is truth to the theory, even if results vary due to the other factors identified in this article. • Pictures. Pictures can effectively increase menu item sales because they draw attention to an item and help customers envision what they are ordering – lowering the purchase risk. Before using pictures on your menu, consider the following:
A c c ur ac y. Like descriptive tex t, pictures must accurately represent the components, garnish and presentation of the dish or customers’ expectations will not be met. Brand positioning. Pictures can reduce perceived brand positioning, which can limit the menu’s ability to demand premium prices. • Formatting. Formatting such as font type, size, style and color, placing a box around select items, and background colour can draw attention to menu items you want to sell. • Descriptive Text. Studies have shown t h at desc r ipt ive t ex t i nc rea ses menu sales significantly. In a 2001 ex periment at the Universit y of Illinois, descriptive text increased unit sales by 27 per cent compared to items not using descriptors. The study also experienced significant increases in customers’ perceptions of menu item quality and value, establishment quality and trendiness, and intent to repurchase. Menu design is both a science and an art. Menu designers should apply scientific met ho d s t o m a x i m i z e a menu’s performance, but recognize that every operation is different. Some tactics and approaches may have significant impact on one menu but less for another. For this reason, menu design should be considered an ongoing exercise of monitoring, analysing and adjusting to find what works best for the operation. As mentioned, menu optimization works (and the greatest benefits are realized the first time menu engineering is completed). In fsSTR ATEG Y ’s ex perience, a restaurant’s margins increase three to 20 per cent when a menu is optimized the first time. Our CR AV E TM methodolog y for menu optimization (Capacity, Relevance, Accuracy, Visibility and Economics) has yielded sig nif icant results. If you have not optimized all menus in your restaurant, you should do so immediately. Not doing so is “leaving money on the table”. Jeff Dover and Andrew Waddington are with fsSTRATEGY Inc., business strategy consultants to the foodservice industry. Visit us at www.fsstrategy.com.
RED SHORES Experience Island Tradition
Photo Credit: Ann MacNeill
BY JOCELYN BERUBE
The thunder of horses’ hooves kicking up dust as they gather speed, the cheers from the crowd in the grandstand, the years of history and memories told through the pictures on the walls – at Red Shores, you get the feeling you’re a part of an exciting and long-standing island tradition. The thrill of live harness racing is deeply rooted in Prince Edward Island’s culture and is one of the leading entertainment establishments in Atlantic Canada.
“RED SHORES, located in Charlottetown and Summerside, is now one of the primary destinations on Prince Edward Island, offering visitors a unique experience through live races, gaming and dining,” says Lee Drake, manager of marketing and brands. Atlantic Lottery, the corporation that runs lottery and gambling on behalf of the four Atlantic provinces, working with the province of Prince Edward Island, opened Red Shores Charlottetown in 2005 followed by Summerside in 2009. PART OF PEI HISTORY
Horseracing has been a major part of island heritage for more than a century. 40 | Summer 2016
facilityprofile Red Shores has touched every Island community over the years by keeping the tradition alive and growing by incorporating additional services. Every year, visitors from around the world travel to the trademark red soil of PEI for the opportunity to be a part of the action and unique entertainment. “These two state-of-the art locations are the only two of their kind east of Toronto and are known for their excellent hospitality and events,” says Drake. Red Shores Charlottetown offers gaming entertainment such as slot m a ch i ne s, pok er, bl a ck ja ck , a nd Ultimate Tex as Hold ’em. At this lo c at ion , t here a re t h re e d i n i n g outlets and 80 race dates. Red Shores Su m mer side, once known as Summerside Raceway, is believed to be the oldest race track in Canada. In Summerside, Red Shores operates the slot and video lotter y m ach i nes, t able g a mes, a di n i n g outlet and 30 race dates. VIP EXPERIENCE
The two Red Shores locations have hosted dignitaries from around the world; such as political figures, sports celebrities and even royalty. In 1983, the late Princess Diana and Prince Charles visited the legendary Charlottetown oval during a Canadian tour. T h e G o l d Cu p a n d S a u c e r i s one of the biggest racing events in North America and is held annually at Red Shores in August, attracting thousands of visitors to the venue. Each summer, more than 60,000 fans f ill the dow ntow n Charlottetow n streets in celebration of the Gold Cup and Saucer parade. “It has become one of the most prestigious races in harness racing and dates back to the early 1960’s,” says Adam Walsh, manager of racing. The fastest horses and the best drivers in all of Easter n Canada and the northeastern United States participate in 15 racing programs over a 10-day stretch. In 2017, Red Shores will be the host location for the World Driving Championship, which will coincide with the World Trotting Conference. Delegates and drivers from around the world will be travelling to the island to compete and they’ll also have the chance to soak up a living island
tradition. “Our goal is for delegates a nd compet it or s t o h ave a t r u ly memorable experience here on Prince Edward Island,” adds Heidi Duchesne, Red Shores general manager. RESTORED TO GLORY
Still standing proud in the centrefield is the original judge’s stand built in 1889. The judge’s stand was restored to its orig inal glor y in 1999 and declared a national historic site. On special occasions, the stand is used for corporate and community group functions. Although it’s the smallest casino operation in Atlantic Canada, the Red Shores gaming team like to think they “punch well above our weight” when it comes to providing a safe, fun and memorable gaming experience. “We’ve positioned ourselves as leaders when it comes to hosting three of the major poker tournaments in Atlantic Canada, which includes the Atlantic Canada Poker Championship in the fall,” says Drake. The facility provides top-of-theline slot products, table games and entertainment visitors will be sure to enjoy. Because Red Shores falls under Atlantic Lottery, gambling and racing is regulated and ensures that 100 per cent of profits generated are returned to the Prince Edward Island shareholder. SUPPORTS LOCAL COMMUNITY
Red Shores also takes pride in using local food products, ensuring visitors
have a taste of PEI culture while supporting local businesses. The dining experience is titled as award-winning, which is led by a culinary team of professionals. From a trackside patio to buffet-style dining, each restaurant offers top quality and affordable specials. One of the featured restaurants at the Charlottetown location, Top of The Park, overlooks the driving park, giving a spectacular view of the grounds. “Where else can you go to have your lunch, watch excellent athletes train and have the action on the track unfold in front of you?” asks Drake. Red Shores’ success lies in providing an exceptional on-site guest experience, delivering varied racing, dining, and gaming events and promotions all year round. TripAdvisor™ has awarded Red Shores the Certificate of Excellence for consistent positive reviews from travelers and has been ranked one of the top attractions to visit in PEI. Red Shores is truly proud of the longstanding tradition of harness racing in Prince Edward Island and strives to produce a unique and entertaining experience to its visitors. For more information about Red Shores, visit www.redshores.ca or follow them on twitter @ Red_Shores. Jocelyn Berube is a recent graduate from the public relations advanced diploma program at the Nova Scotia Community College Waterfront Campus. Previous to completing this program, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree at St. Francis Xavier University. Canadian Gaming Business | 41
SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT Creating the bigger brand story BY JIM KABRAJEE
42 | Summer 2016
While it was common a couple of years ago to view “customer engagement” as just another marketing channel, with the access your customers have to your brand through mobile and social media, the balance of power has changed. AS CASINO MARKETERS recognize this growing power, we need to rethink all our marketing strategies and be ready to engage our players on every front, at every point of contact. We are well beyond using social media marketing as a bullhorn for marketing promotions. Today we need to build our casino brands through social media engagement strategies that not only enhance our marketing, but also reap additional benef its throughout the organization. ENGAGEMENT DEFINED
Before we begin, let’s talk about how we define customer engagement and how the most successful marketers do it. Engagement is an effect, a reaction, a connection, a response and an experience of players with one another and your casino. Social media marketing in 2016 is about crafting brand experiences based on player insights and leveraging these insights to increase customer engagement. Our observation is that most casinos still use social media as a bullhorn, as a one-way message rather than crafting strategies that take advantage of the opportunities for con nect ion, eng a g ement a nd dialogue. So how do the most successful m a rk et er s develop st ron g so c ia l marketing strategies? They start by making sure their overall casino brand translates into a social marketing brand. You’ve probably heard that the best social media programs employ brand “storytelling "and communicate with customers and prospects with engaging content. Well it’s not just a brand story for the marketing department - you need to look at multiple strategies that pluginto that brand story and then make sure that every program, promotion, and public communication you deploy in social media adds something to that brand story.
A nd the brand stor y telling is not just out wa rd-facing, not just for your customers; the best ones are a l s o i nt e g r at e d i nt o a n i nt er n a l b r a n d e m pl o y m e nt s t r a t e g y fo r you r employees a nd pro spec t ive employees. A n inter nal bra nd strateg y needs to be embedded in your corporate culture and inf luence all departments in the casino, not just marketing. Here’s an interesting example of what I’m talking about. Our client, Miami Valley Gaming is a racino located in Lebanon, Ohio. We opened in December 2013 and despite having four other properties including full-ser v ice ca sinos in the immediate vicinity, we lead the market. We did this by differentiating ourselves and by tapping into Ohio loyalty and pride. We created a set of f ictional characters that Ohioans related to and enjoy. It centers on a fictional company called the “Lucky Buckeye Company” and the Buckeye is Ohio's State symbol. CREATES BRAND TRUST
Through the various media campaigns; TV, radio, social media, online marketing and Out-of-home the market enthusiastically embraced the bra nd. This bra nd is t r usted and respected. It is seen as friendly, fun and progressive — just what we needed in order to begin leveraging t he st or y t el l i n g i nt o ot her nonmarketing areas for the casino. Miami Valley Gaming is not only competing for local customers but for local talented employees, so we needed to f ind a different way to approach recruiting to separate them from other casinos. To stand out in a crowded market, we realized Miami Va l l e y G a m i n g n e e d e d a s o c i a l recruiting strategy that leveraged the
appropriate social property to recruit candidates with differing skill sets. Our approach needed to be engaging so applicants could learn the benefits of working at the casino and make the application process as seamless as possible. W hat made this strateg y a great success story is that MVG appreciates the importance to the communit y of the f ictional brand – the Luck y Buckeye Company brand and the characters that are part of the Lucky Buckeye Company that had been present since its inception — and k new that is was wise to continue the brand story with the characters that made it so mea ning ful to customers. W henever people see the characters' faces on billboards or on digital and social channels, they have an authentic connection to the characters which is unique within the gaming industry. EXTENDS STORY
We w a nt e d t o e x t end t h at st or y b y r e a ch i n g o ut t o p r o s p e c t i v e employees on Miami Valley Gaming's social and digital properties and the MVG website to build their social community and promote MVG as a great employer and a great place to work. At the time of launch of the social recr uiting strateg y, Miami Valley Gaming was introducing a new cha racter to be called Luc y. We s h o w c a s e d h e r r e c r u it m e nt process and Lucy applying for a role at t he Luck y Buckeye C ompa ny. Miami Valley Gaming saw this as an opportunity to attract new employees a nd at the sa me time build their internal culture. During the T V campaig n when Lucy was joining the Lucky Buckeye Company as the new Lucky Buckeye I n s p e c t o r, w e r a n a F a c e b o o k contest to not only introduce Lucy Canadian Gaming Business | 43
to the audience but also asked the audience to provide their own videos explaining why they should be the next Lucky Buckeye Inspector. This g rew eng agement w ith the brand and became an integral part of our employee acquisition strategy. Miami Valley employees started to promote MVG’s social properties
to their ow n ba se of fr iends a nd colleagues and had fun telling their stories about what it’s like to work for MVG. The casino’s brand and reputation grew even stronger. INCREASES CANDIDATE POOL
Our goal was to increase the number of candidates applying at the casino.
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Since the inception of the social recruiting program in January 2015, Miami Valley Gaming is thrilled that their candidate pool has increased by 39 per cent and their patrons have Lucy, a new and beloved character to engage with. It is evident that social recruiting has come of age due to a demand from both candidates and recruiters. You n g er ca ndid at es wa nt lot s of insight into an organization's culture before they are ready to investigate compensat ion a nd benef it s. Ou r social strategy enabled Miami Valley Gaming to do so in a fun, engaging and most effectively a cost effective manner. Eng a gement in social media channels illustrates that it is not only passive job seekers that you reach, but active recruitment activity is also acceptable by these communities. To d a y w e a r e s e e i n g m o r e opportunities for candidates to share their C V ’s on social platforms as more companies invest in recruiting t o ols a nd pl at for m s desig ne d t o operate on social platforms. Social media eng a gement is a n ongoing hot topic for ever y brand and everyone is tr ying to integrate it into their marketing plans. Some brands make it look easy, but it isn’t. It takes lots of patience and foremost a social strategy that is rooted in the brand story. The need to cultivate authentic relationships with your audiences has never been so important because the next post you share could be the one that lands you your next, high roller, brand advocate or st ar employee. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to use that brand stor y to build an ongoing relationship through your HR depar tment, Operations, and Player Services.
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GAMING ON GAMING
Gambling on eSports for the future of the industry BY HAI NG
Many of us in the gaming industry will admit that the word “gaming” is often used as a euphemism for gambling. You can imagine my surprise when Google returned the definition of “play games of chance for money” ahead of “play video or computer games.” While Merriam-Webster presents it in the other order, today we’ll be talking about both definitions, and more.
Canadian Gaming Business | 45
eSports UNLESS YOU’VE been living under a rock, you’ve certainly come across the term eSports. eSports or electronic sports, is the sport of “competitive gaming,”not gambling. This time, it’s that second definition of playing a video or computer game, which now also includes mobile games. FUELLED BY COMPETITION
Computer games have been around for a long time, and like the other games we play, competition amps up the entertainment value. M a ny at t r ibut e t he g enesis of competitive video gaming to one fateful day in October 1972, when students at Stanford University competed on the game Spacewar!, to win a year’s subscription to Rolling Stone. In the competition billed as the first “intergalactic Spacewar Olympics," gaming on gaming may have been born on that same day, as there’s a good chance somebody wagered on someone winning. From those academic beginnings, eSports grew with the proliferation of computer technology, and it got a huge boost when the Internet went mainstream, taking competitions beyond location constraints into cyberspace. Today, eSports is valued at almost US$500 million and is poised to surpass US$1 billion next year. With a global audience that trends Millennial-male over 200 million strong, the number of viewers of the 2015 League of Legends Finals outnumbered Game 6 of the 2015 NBA Finals. All these numbers have had an effect on the gaming industry (yes, gambling this time), with both online and brick-andmortar operations trying to figure out how to get in on the game. TAKING ODDS
In Europe, several major sportsbooks are already making odds and taking bets on major eSports competitions; Silicon Valley has taken interest with Microsoft alum Rahul Sood’s Unikrn taking both virtual and real money bets, depending on what local laws allow; and Vegas is taking a serious look at it, with the Nevada Gaming Commission holding its first hearing on eSports earlier this year. Wagering on eSports is straightforward. Since eSports tournaments run like traditional sporting events, methods used for betting on traditional sporting 46 | Summer 2016
“As a form of entertainment, eSports can be part of a multi-faceted strategy for the gaming industry to draw and monetize the Millennial customer.” events apply, be they in-running or final outcome wagers. Odds can be calculated based on the multitude of data available on the competitors and games. This also means that fantasy sports type games are also available for eSports, as it would be just as easy to compile and score fantasy teams based on multiple event outcomes. The harder question to answer is ensuring the integrity of eSports tournaments. Today, eSports leagues and tournaments are mostly run by private entities; some are developers of the games being competed on, like League of Legends maker Riot Games; some are companies that exist to organize tournaments, like Electronic Sports League (ESL), which features games from a variety of developers and publishers; and some are a combination of both, like Major League Gaming (MLG), which was acquired by Activision Blizzard, the publisher of several eSports games. ORDER OUT OF CHAOS?
On May 13, 2016 ESL, together with a group of professional teams, announced the creation of WESA, the World eSports Association, in an attempt to bring order to the chaos. Critics were quick to point out many lopsided and flawed aspects of the new organization. ESPN even reported a tweet claiming that founding teams were paid to join. With interim WESA commissioner Pietro Fringuelli stating that WESA is the FIFA for eSports, one can only hope he wasn’t being totally literal in the comparison. KeSPA, the Korean eSports Association, is one of the few government agencies that actively manage eSports, and it presents an opportunity for Canada to model much needed legislation to curtail match-fixing and fraud in sports betting—build for the future—eSports is a sport in its infancy, without legacy baggage to contend with. That said, single-outcome betting is currently illegal in Canada, so how
relevant is eSports? Most relevant; there is more than one way to game gaming. ATTRACTING MILLENNIALS
As a form of entertainment, eSports can be part of a multi-faceted strategy for the gaming industry to draw and monetize the Millennial customer. Today, major event s ea sily f ill stadiums, bringing in large crowds that are ready and willing to consume, but it doesn’t end there… Anyone can play video games. eSports presents a level playing field for any gender, race, and age; even many physical and psychological disabilities present no hurdles; that accessibility is what makes eSports a unique activity with great potential to draw people together. Applied correctly, eSports can provide velocity to push a broader strategy, bringing people, especially coveted Millennials, into play. Gamed right, it may even work to revitalize the besieged horseracing segment better and more permanently than slots or racinos. NOT A PANACEA
But there’s no room for business-as-usual; understanding the Millennial customer is still crucial—eSports is not a panacea. An article recently said that Millennials “…are not gamblers. And they never will be,” a statement that I find flawed. Millennials gamble, and ironically, eSports proves it. There is a burgeoning ecosystem of unregulated websites offering wagering on eSports with virtual in-game items and skins (weapon/ character decorations)—a form of betting valued at about US$2.2 billion in 2015 by Eilers Research. In that same article, the author compared the fate of gambling and Millennials to the demise of the music industry—here’s where it gets illuminating. The demise of the music industry isn't because Millennials aren't listening to music; on the contrar y, music
eSports consumption is at an all-time high. The demise of the music industry is due to its inability to adapt its business models to how Millennials want to consume music, driven by their perception of the industry. The same is true for gambling, and this is where the greater theme of that article got it right. For gaming on gaming to succeed, the gaming industry needs to understand the game and game the gamers. Social collaboration; recognition; skill and reward; immediacy—these are some of the elements that appeal t o M i l len n i a l s — t h i n g s t h at t he industr y needs to understand and adjust its strategies to engage and affect customer decisions, not just pay lip service to. COLLABORATION NEEDED
As an industry, change has never been our strong suit, and in all fairness, regulated industries are diff icult to change without both regulator and operator working closely together.
But not everything is complicated by regulations. Several Las Vegas properties are trying new approaches by changing their product offerings and strategies. The Downtown Grand’s eSports lounge features regularly scheduled tournaments, and Wynn is replacing his golf course with a new “lakefront” resort featuring watersports and a boardwalk, in a “just like Disney” property that Wynn says, “is the most fun project in [his] 45 years.” W ill cha ng es a lienate ex ist ing customers? The quick answer is yes, but only temporarily. A little over a decade ago, Facebook launched and took social networking mainstream. While the majority of users are still in the 18-29 group, Pew Research reports that users 65 and older have increased from two per cent in 2005 to 35 per cent in 2015. So how do you start gaming on gaming? Find someone that understands not just the other gaming industry, but both gaming industries. There are good
people out there; one may already be in your organization, and it may start with a simple question, “Who plays video games?” But it’s not just about playing games, the key is f inding the gamer that understands why gamers game. Similar to the weak assumption that it takes a Millennial to know a Millennial; most people don’t know why they do what they do, Millennials included. It has been said that God is in the details, but so is the devil, and the details will be the key to scoring big in this game. C o -founding partner at Neomancer, a technology strategy and management group, Hai Ng has over three decades of experience in technology, and over a decade in gaming. His breadth and depth of experience fuels solutions that thrive at the intersection between industries. His current focus includes eSports/Gaming, VR/Gaming/eSports/Media, and cultivating innovation in gaming. Follow him on Twitter @HaiOnGaming.
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5/17/16 2:51 PM
The Canadian Gaming Industry Awards
Introducing 2016’s Award Winners
Each year, the Canadian gaming community honours the successes and achievements of leaders within its industry. In 2016, one individual has been selected to receive the Industry Leadership and Outstanding Contribution Award: Jon Kelly, CEO, Responsible Gambling Council.
Jon Kelly Industry Leadership and Outstanding Contribution
Dr. Jon Kelly is a leading expert on play safeguards and problem gambling prevention. Since 1997 he has been CEO of the Responsible Gambling Council, an independent, non-profit organization committed to problem gambling prevention and with a reputation for high-quality research. “For me, personally, the award comes as a great surprise,” says Jon. “I think most of us go to work every day and try to do the best we can. So to receive such recognition at this stage in my career is a big bonus. It says that the Responsible Gambling Council is valued—and that is very heartening.” A graduate of the Universit y of Western Ontario, with a doctorate from the University of Edinburgh, Jon has an extensive background in public services
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and the non-profit sector. During his career, Jon has held several policy advisor positions in the Ontario government, as well as positions as Director of Services for Disabled Persons and the f irst Director of the Ontario’s Provincial Anti-Drug Secretariat. He is regularly invited to present on responsible gambling issues around the world and has led or co-authored several peerreviewed gambling research studies over the course his career. LISTENS TO PERSPECTIVES
“When I think about accomplishment, my first thought is about programs—about social marketing campaigns and RG Check and the on-site centres. I am, in fact, proud of everything we have done. But there is another level of accomplishment that often goes unnoticed: That is, not ‘what’ we have done but ‘how’ we have done these things. RGC believes deeply in listening to all perspectives.”
Jon became CEO of the Canadian Foundation on Compulsive Gambling in 1998. In May 2001, Jon shifted the organization’s focus to the prevention of problem gambling and the reduction of its impacts. This occurred under a new name, the Responsible Gambling Council. Since then, RGC has become t he most in f luent ia l responsible gambling organization in the country. “ W hi le I a m ver y appre c i at i ve of the recognition that this award brings, I am also keenly aware that my ‘accomplishments’ are, in fact, the product of collective achievement. In my working life, I have never been associated with any organization that assembled as much ‘bench strength’ as RGC. I also appreciate the ongoing support we have received from Bill and Paul. The Canadian Gaming A ssociation has provided us w ith advice and encouragement over many years.”
First Nation Canadian Gaming Awards First Nations gaming plays a key role in the growth and development of First Nations communities by providing a significant source of revenue and employment opportunities to First Nations people across Canada. In recognition of this vibrant part of the Canadian gaming industry, the First Nation Canadian Gaming Awards were created to showcase some of the many First Nations individuals who have contributed positively to the gaming industry, as well as to honour the leaders and role models within the First Nations community.
Congratulations to the following recipients and a special thank you to the 2016 award sponsors:
Lifetime Achievement Award
Steve Chase Ojibway First Nation, Alderville Reserve Executive Director, Food and Beverage, Niagara Casinos
Arnold Block Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, Port Perry, Ontario CEO/General Manager, Great Blue Heron Charity Casino
Steve Chase has been in food and beverage management his entire career. In his current role as Executive Director of F&B at Niagara Casinos since 2007, Steve has also held similar senior management roles at Casino Rama, Horseshoe Resort, CP Hotels and Glenway Country Club. His hallmarks of building trust and loyalty, working handson with his team and leading by example have followed him throughout his career. “My career has offered me the opportunity to be part of many great things, but I am most proud of the achievements that we’ve been able to create from scratch,” says Steve. “By being part of the inception of an idea through to its fruition means that you’ve been able to give it everything that you have. From the launching of a new restaurant such as Rinaldo’s at Casino Rama or Ponte Vecchio at Fallsview to delivering a unique food and beverage experience at one of our events, we have the opportunity to showcase new and innovative solutions that always push the limits.” Food and beverage is a major component of Niagara Casinos, comprised of two properties, 11 restaurants, two lounges, four bars and over 1,000 employees. Since joining the management team in 2007, Steve has had a massive impact on the success of the company’s food and beverage operations. “It is an honour to receive this award, but to me this is a team award,” says Steve. “My team of chefs, directors, managers and associates are what make what we do every day possible. “My career at Casino Rama made me proud to be First Nation and to embrace the First Nation culture, but it’s the people that I have worked with at Casino Rama and Niagara Casinos that have made my job more fun every day. “I would also thank my wife. She has supported me and my career every day; from moving across the country with a young family to forgoing her own career, I would not be where I am today without her or my family.”
Arnold Block has been involved in gaming since 1997 with specific work towards the advancement of the industry in First Nations communities since 1999. During this time, Arnold has been directly involved in the growth and development of the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino, owned an operated on behalf of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. Throughout his career, Arnold has encouraged and supported the advancement of many First Nations members. Today, and as a direct result of Arnold’s support, First Nations members hold various senior positions within the casino including Supervisor, Department Head and Executive Director. “This award is symbolic of things that can be accomplished when people of different backgrounds pull together to fulfill a common vision,” says Arnold. “The accomplishments of every individual who I have been associated with over the years have made this moment possible which is something I will always be grateful for.” According to his colleagues, Arnold has always demonstrated a unique ability to balance the needs of the business and its many stakeholders against the interests of the First Nations in the furtherance of their attainment of economic and social independence. Under Arnold’s direction, the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino has evolved into a significant business within Ontario’s Durham Region, and a major contributor to the economic wellbeing and stability for the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. “The economic and social impacts of our accomplishments will be felt for generations and I am thrilled to have played a part in turning dreams of a sustainable independent future for the First Nation into a reality. “Our industry has a unique responsibility to ensure we act with a social conscience that serves the public interest. This responsibility has allowed me the opportunity to understand that profits and social responsibility can be mutually supportive, a concept which has evolved into a core tenet that guides my actions.” Canadian Gaming Business | 49
Community Service Award
Employee of the Year
Lindsay Sault Ojibway First Nation, Mississaugas of New Credit, Ontario HR Business Partner, Human Resources, Casino Rama Resort
Judith Hubner Moravian of the Thames, Delaware Nation Band, Thamesville, Ontario Washroom Attendant/Housekeeping, Great Blue Heron Charity Casino
As a positive and inspirational member of the Casino Rama team, Lindsay Sault is known as a selfless individual who gives freely of her time to others, mainly through her involvement with Indigenous communities through dance and song. A jingle dress dancer who honours the tradition of dancing at powwows and events throughout the year, Lindsay is often called upon to dance for a sick or injured community member or to help families who are grieving. She also sings in a hand-drum group, always with a goal of helping others. “The biggest accomplishment for me is the CD that me and my family submitted to the Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards in 2015,” said Lindsay. “Although the CD did not win, we were recognized nationally by opening up the 2015 awards in Manitoba. It was such an honour as the awards focus was on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal girls and women, which also created more education and awareness on this issue.” Lindsay has given compassionately within her community for many years though activism, volunteerism, assisting with cultural events and is often recognized for her exemplary organizational skills. For the past seven years, Lindsay has helped create awareness and education events for the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls program and database. She is also involved with fundraisers in support of the families affected. “It is an honor to receive this award for helping to raise awareness around the issue of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women,” said Lindsay. “Everyone needs to come together to help bring justice to these women and closure to their families.”
Casino Rama Resort is Ontario’s only First Nations commercial casino and a complete entertainment destination with 2,500 slots and 100+ table games, 5,000 seat Entertainment Centre, 8 unique restaurants, luxury all-suite hotel and full service spa.
Must be nineteen (19) years of age or older with valid government issued photo identification. Those who have been trespassed and/or self-excluded from Casino Rama Resort or any OLG property may not visit Casino Rama Resort, participate in promotions and/or redeem offers. Offers do not apply to employees of Casino Rama Resort. Casino Rama Resort reserves the right to cancel or change this program without notice.
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As a member of the Housekeeping team at Great Blue Heron Charity Casino, Judith Hubner has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to teamwork, taking initiative and caring for customers throughout her career. From helping distressed patrons handle a personally embarrassing situation to collaborating with fellow staff on improving department work schedules, Judith has often gone above and beyond her assigned duties to ensure that customers and colleagues alike feel valued, appreciated and welcome. “I have been working for the past 55 years and the last six years working at the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino has been the best. Receiving this award means so much to me, especially at my age. It is a great honour,” said Judith. “Through the years I’ve worked many jobs and gained a lot of experience. I meet a lot of people and when I can bring a smile to their faces, that is important to me.” Although Judith’s regular duties include ensuring the public washrooms are clean, safe and comfortable, she has also taken on extra shifts to work as a housekeeper. Judith often seems to be on hand to help alleviate crisis situations, such as a major water leak at the casino restaurant when Judith stepped up to help with the cleanup, while keeping the entire team in great spirits, despite the fact that she had just returned to work after battling cancer. “I would say having my family and friends and a good husband of 50 years who helped me through my fight with cancer is the accomplishment of which I am proudest. I thank the Creator every day I wake up to meet another day. I would also like to thank Todd Dwyer, housekeeping manager, for nominating me, as well as the First Nation Canadian Gaming Award Committee for recommending me. Two years ago, I would have never thought I would be accepting such a wonderful gift. Thank you all.”
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