Canada's Premier Gaming Industry Magazine
Vol. 12 No. 4
AML IN CANADA
An Industry Perspective on the Commitment to Compliance
CanadianGamingSummit.com June 18-20, 2018 Niagara Falls, ON
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Volume Number 12 No. 4
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MESSAGE FROM THE CGA
Proudly owned and published by:
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President & CEO Paul Burns
AML in Canada An industry perspective on the commitment to compliance
Esports Enigma The five biggest challenges in monetizing esports in casinos
Hard Rock Casino Ottawa
Senior Vice President Chuck Nervick
Peter Hak, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries
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EXECUTIVE PROFILE INDUSTRY Q&A: HORSERACING Across the Board Weighing in on the state of the Canadian horseracing industry
Discovery Conference 2018 Solutions and emerging trends in Responsible Gambling
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Canadian Gaming Business | 3
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The Commitment to Compliance SINCE THE FIRST modern legal Canadian casino opened its doors nearly 30 years ago, the Canadian gaming industry has undergone a remarkable transformation. In the process, public perception of the industry has shifted from one of gaming as a murky, undesirable activity taking place in sketchy underground poker rooms and smoky casinos to a more open-minded and realistic view of gaming as a more upscale, socially acceptable entertainment option. A large part of that change in perspective can be attributed to the fact that gaming has always been under the intense microscope of both popular public opinion and government regulators, helping to create an industry with a long history of, and commitment to, compliance. However, as with other heavily regulated industries, several issues related to gaming are still misunderstood by the public at large, including the prevention of money laundering in Canadian casinos. In light of recent news stories and developments pertaining to potential anti-money laundering activities at Canadian gaming venues, Canadian Gaming Business reached out to a number of senior leaders and experts in the anti-money laundering field to get their insights for this issue’s feature story. Among other questions, we asked our panel of industry insiders what the industry’s approach has been to this important topic, what some of the biggest misconceptions about AML have been and what gaming operators and casinos do to help catch those engaged in criminal money-laundering activity. In addition to our topical and timely feature story and its in-depth look at one of the top issues affecting the gaming industry today, we are excited to provide you with our usual comprehensive lineup of industry features and profiles including: • An analysis of the biggest challenges in monetizing esports as they become more widely available and promoted in North American gaming venues; • An insightful roundtable discussion on the state of the Canadian horseracing industry; and • A preview of the latest addition to the gaming industry in the nation’s capital with the development of Hard Rock Casino Ottawa. And, of course, if you have any feedback or future story ideas, please send me an email at seanm@ mediaedge.ca. For sponsorship or advertising opportunities, be sure to contact our Publisher Chuck Nervick at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, enjoy the issue!
Sean Moon Managing Editor, Canadian Gaming Business
Canadian Gaming Business | 5
The Canadian gaming industry’s ongoing commitment BY PAUL BURNS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CANADIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION
RECENTLY, A NUMBER of media articles have cast light on the reality that criminals still attempt to launder money in casinos in Canada. What isn’t being highlighted is that casino operators are on the front line and are doing their part — and let’s be clear about what that is: Identifying, documenting, and reporting suspicious activities, not catching criminals. Anti-Money Laundering (AML) is a team process that relies on cooperation and partnership from all parties involved to thwart attempts to launder money, and the entire Canadian gaming industry must be vigilant. All institutions that handle large financial transactions, including casinos, are responsible for reporting suspicious transactions, including those that appear to be money laundering, to both the Financial Transactions and Reports A nalysis Centre of Canada (FINTR AC) and those responsible for investigation and arrests (police). Casinos file more than 200,000 reports with FINTRAC every year and the system is clearly working, or the evidence that has so far been reported wouldn’t exist. All casinos in this country design and implement AML programs that follow a risk-based approach. This includes rigorous systems of internal controls, employee training, and proactive communications to ensure that all transactions required by regulation are reported to FINTRAC. AML requirements for gaming operators are set out in federal legislation and must be adhered to if an operator wants to maintain a licence. Casinos honour their commitment to AML by investing millions of dollars in surveillance equipment and undergoing audits by regulators and external firms. They would not be able to continue operating if they failed to maintain AML protocols. The role of the Canadian gaming industry is to provide law enforcement with information, and it’s a role all operators 6 | Winter 2017/2018
take very seriously. A customer walking into a Canadian casino with a large amount of cash isn’t anonymous, as identification must always be provided before certain types of transactions, such as foreign exchange transactions of $3,000 or more, or cash transactions of $10,000 or more. A report is generated and the individual’s personal information is shared with FINTRAC. There is no monetary threshold associated with reporting a suspicious transaction, which can include large sums of small bills or cash amounts totaling $10,000 or more made within 24 consecutive hours by or on behalf of the same individual or entity. Identifying and catching money launderers is a team effort. Provincial lottery corporations, gaming operators, regulators, and law enforcement each play vital parts, and has an obligation to report and investigate suspicious activities, and charge and ban customers if necessary – or charge an operator if a breach of protocols has occurred. We welcome an ongoing conversation to ensure the system of checks and balances established to protect the integrity of the casino industry is secure. The Canadian gaming industry will always have challenges when it comes to trust which is why we are all invested in maintaining a strong AML system in Canada. The partnership is working. People still think they can try to launder dirty money by walking into a facility that has several hundred cameras being monitored by trained security and surveillance professionals, and they find out quickly that their actions don't go unnoticed. What happened in British Columbia is proof of that. Paul Burns President and CEO
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An industry perspective on the commitment to compliance
As part of one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world, Canadian gaming operators have long shown an ongoing commitment to improving compliance and cooperation with federal and provincial anti-money laundering (AML) legislation and rules. Canadian Gaming Business recently sat down with leading experts from across Canada to get their perspective on the industryâ€™s approach to AML and the challenges of conducting business under the regulatory microscope.
Canadian Gaming Businessâ€‚|â€‚9
Ilkim Hincer, Counsel, Commercial Co-Chair: Gaming, Osler
Terry McInally, Chief Compliance and Risk Officer, Gateway Casinos
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE CANADIAN GAMING INDUSTRY’S APPROACH TO AML? Terry McInally: Casinos must adhere to the same reporting
standards as banks and credit unions with the additional requirement to report any disbursement over $10,000. Gaming facilities are regularly audited by a number of different agencies including the BCLC, GPEB, and the Financial Transaction and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) to ensure they are fully compliant with all applicable legislation, laws, policies and procedures.
Derek Ramm: I’ll speak specifically to the Ontario model. There is generally a very collaborative relationship between the regulator, Crown corporation, casino operator and law enforcement when it comes to our approach to anti-money laundering issues. Compliance is a cornerstone of the industry. Canada was also recently subject to a review of its anti-money laundering regime by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and the final report issued last year was largely favourable with regard to the efforts of the gaming industry. Tracey White: The gaming industry is dedicated to AML compliance and considers AML a key component of daily operations. This is very evident by organizations allotting suff icient resources for A ML Compliance programs including hiring A ML ex perts to oversee the A ML program. 10 | Winter 2017/2018
Derek Ramm, Director, Intelligence and Investigative Support Branch, Investigation and Enforcement Bureau, AGCO
Tracey White, Director, Casino Finance, Seminole Gaming/Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa and Hollywood, Florida
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN AML COMPLIANCE IN THE LAST FEW YEARS AND WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE BIGGEST CHANGE TO COME? Ilkim Hincer: A significant change is the ever-increasing role of
technology – that is automation, information management and data analytics. Similar to how data is used from a marketing perspective, data analytics will play a bigger and bigger role in AML, particularly in respect of empowering operators for risk assessment purposes. Some of this will be in response to mandated monitoring requirements, but a good deal of it will also be critically important in helping organizations make informed business decisions, therefore minimizing risk and optimizing success on a number of levels.
TM: Some of the more significant changes to occur in the last few years have related to the implementation of requirements regarding “Source of funds, source of wealth and sourced cash restrictions.” All of these changes were clearly understood by the industry and implemented in a controlled and expedited manner. It is very difficult to pinpoint where the next potential change could be, however, we expect that there is a potential for exploration of other controlled cash alternatives such as “credit.” DR: We’ve seen a significant investment in resources in AML
compliance in the gaming industry, both domestically and internationally. Governments and regulators in the AML sphere continually tweak requirements based on threat assessments –
in recent years, there’s been considerable attention paid to issues like proliferation financing, human trafficking and corruption (transparency and beneficial ownership). In the gaming industry, that will probably translate to an increased focus on understanding the players’ source of wealth. TW: The biggest changes have been the increased focus to
“Know Your Customer,” identifying risk behaviors for suspicious activity and termination of customer relationships with casino organization if other risk mitigation efforts fail. It is anticipated that the gaming industry will be addressing gambling addiction (problem gambling) as a risk issue to be included in organization AML program.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT AML? IH: One misconception in Canada is that FINTRAC is a
regulator in the traditional sense; it’s more accurate to consider it an intelligence agency. It focuses on the detection of money laundering activities by analyzing financial transaction and providing this information to the police. It does have a compliance function of course, but that is primarily to feed the intelligence function. In Canada, there may also be confusion in the public at large about the roles of the gaming regulators, Crown corporations, third-party service providers, and FINTRAC.
TM: The biggest misconception is the idea that a player can enter
the casino with large sums money, play for a short period and cash out and receive a cheque. This does not occur; in fact, a large cash buy-in of small denomination bills, means that we segregate those funds and return the same funds to the patron when they cash out. They only receive a cheque for verifiable wins.
DR: I think the biggest misconception is that casinos are perceived
as “laundromats,” which seems to be largely driven by portrayals in movies and some unfortunate aspects of the industry’s history south of the border. Casinos are definitely a cash-intensive business and therefore have inherent vulnerabilities to the placement stage of money laundering. That being said, the industry is highly regulated and continually subject to various inspections and audits. There are also strict licensing and registration requirements, with honesty and integrity being foremost considerations in any jurisdiction.
TW: Another misconception is that casinos do not care about AML or overlook their AML responsibilities when the customer is a high roller. Casino organizations, however, develop risk-based AML programs to address all types of customers including “high rollers.” Mitigating controls are implemented to reduce residual risk concerns. There are many similarities between the U.S. and Canadian AML
regulations, however in the U.S. the casino must analyze transactions and provide intelligence and information to local law enforcement when appropriate. Hard Rock’s AML program in the U.S. includes comprehensive data gathering on patron(s) to identify risk and includes utilization of internal system analytics to identify possible AML concerns. HOW DO CASINOS AND OTHER GAMING OPERATORS HELP CATCH CRIMINALS? WHAT DO WE DO?
TM: Casinos and gaming operators employ dedicated, trained
security, surveillance and compliance professionals who help provide a safe and fun environment for guests. They use sophisticated tools such as state-of-the-art surveillance to monitor and record activities and coordinate security actions, to help ensure the integrity and fairness of the games. Operators provide detailed and continuous training to our staff both in yearly refresher training programs and specifically regarding any updates or changes to the regulatory framework or reporting regime. As examples: • Cage staff/slots staff continuously monitor transactions at slots to ensure that cheque requests are for verifiable wins of jackpots (In the absence of verification, no cheques will be issued) • Table games staff monitor, record and report all large play on the gaming floor, which includes integration with our surveillance staff (including dedicated surveillance staff for VIP play) • Cage staff monitor anything that could be a suspicious activity relating to a transaction and notify appropriate areas as required (activities such as low denomination large cash buy-ins) DR: Casinos in Ontario are subject to federal AML reporting and
compliance obligations, as well as the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming. The Standards require casino operators to implement measures to minimize unlawful activity (including money laundering) related to gaming. In addition to reporting to FINTRAC, casinos must immediately notify the AGCO and our Investigation and Enforcement Bureau of any suspicious activity. The bureau is comprised of Ontario Provincial Police members, many of whom are embedded throughout the province at gaming sites. This puts us in a unique position to respond to issues – suspected money laundering or otherwise – in a very timely manner.
TW: Suspicious activity reports filed by casinos and other gaming
operators are used by law enforcement and are an important tool for the investigative process. In cases where immediate action may be needed, casino organizations can contact local and federal law enforcement directly to expedite any investigative efforts especially when terrorist activity is suspected. Canadian Gaming Business | 11
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST RISKS FOR CASINOS AND GAMING OPERATORS?
IH: Today with the world becoming
a much smaller place — thanks to technology — and the ease with which funds can flow internationally, verifying the sources of funds being presented at gaming facilities can be a real challenge. Another significant risk is seeking AML compliance as a task-driven obligation as opposed to a critical risk-mitigation mechanism. This creates the danger of organizations and individuals following compliance task lists by rote without really understanding the underlying purpose and may lead to increased money laundering risk, especially when the exercise of discretion is involved (be it related to reporting or the taking of some other action). This isn’t unique to AML compliance of course but can be real challenge operationally and organizationally nonetheless.
TM: I believe the biggest risk relates to
the potential misconceptions currently in the public today. We are a highly regulated industry and we follow both the procedures and regulations with a strict and consistent approach. Misconception and a lack of understand regarding the rigorous approach we take as industry to comply is damaging to our industry, our reputation, the strength and efforts of our diligent staff.
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DR: Complacency can be a problem.
Casinos need to constantly monitor player activity, even if that player is well-known to staff. The FATF report that I previously mentioned also observed that casinos can sometimes focus too heavily on cash transactions and may underestimate the risk posed by funds received from accounts with financial institutions.
TW: Criminal activity and/or illicit funds
used for gaming are high-risk concerns for casinos and gaming operators. A riskbased AML program along with “Know Your Customer” and “Due Diligence” programs are effective tools.
HOW DO CASINOS AND GAMING OPERATORS DEMONSTRATE THEIR ONGOING COMMITMENT TO AND INVESTMENT IN AML?
TM: The safety of guests, security of
casinos and integrity of all aspects of the business is paramount to the industry. They invest in continuous training and verification programs to ensure we are current and compliant with all legislation, laws, policies and procedures at all times. Where changes and improvements are identified they work to implement them as quickly and efficiently as possible.
DR: Again, speaking from the Ontario
experience, I’ve seen a signif icant investment and focus on improving AML compliance over the past several years. We’ve established a provincial casinos working group that meets quarterly to discuss AML issues, trends and best practices. The group is comprised of representatives from every facet of the province’s gaming industry: regulator, Crown corporation, casino operator and law enforcement. I think everyone recognizes that crime is not only bad for society as a whole, but bad for business.
TW: Casino and gaming operators
demonstrate ongoing commitment to A ML by establishing a culture of compliance. The organization’s culture must start at the top executive levels and is indicative of the level of support for the AML compliance program. We call this the “Tone at the top.” This leads to more resources for improving AML compliance including systems, employee training and hiring qualified individuals to oversee and maintain a robust A ML program. These individuals must partner with operations to identify AML risk and develop an AML program that can be successfully implemented by all operation levels. The commitment and tone at the top impacts all employee levels to indicate full commitment for the AML program and that revenue interest will not be placed ahead of AML issues.
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ESPORTS ENIGMA The five biggest challenges in monetizing esports in casinos
As esports become more widely available and promoted within gaming facilities throughout North America, operators are naturally looking for ways to turn this evolving sector into a viable and ongoing profit stream. As with any evolving business, however, there are some inherent challenges that accompany the many opportunities for adding esports to a casino’s entertainment offering. BY ROBERT RIPPEE
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AS A BIT OF BACKGROUND, I was asked to deliver a short, TEDTalk-st yle presentation for the American Gaming Association's Global Gaming Expo (G2E) held this past October in Las Vegas. The AGA had developed an Innovation Lab at G2E to create an environment where short but highly innovative and relevant presentations would be conducted for attendees. Since the Fall also coincides with my esports Lab at UNLV's International Gaming Institute, I thought that a presentation on esports would be the most relevant to the audience of gaming industry professionals. The presentation would also be an appropriate follow-on to the keynote panel I moderated at the 2017 Canadian Gaming Summit in Vancouver. The TEDTalk format is a brief, and content-filled presentation designed around a straightforward theme: To spread ideas. Consequently, my short presentation would be to cover a simple concept, the challenge to monetize esports in a casino. Considering that I had less than 30 minutes to deliver my presentation, I chose to focus on five fundamental concepts that would challenge the thinking of the gaming professionals present at G2E. These ideas stem from my research and the two years I have spent directing the esports Lab at UNLV. So, what are the five biggest obstacles? MILLENNIAL IS NOT JUST A WORD; UNDERSTANDING THEM AND ACCEPTING HOW RADICALLY DIFFERENT THEY ARE, IS OBSTACLE #1
Un d e r s t a n d i n g t h e M i l l e n n i a l generation is a challenge, as any parent of one can readily attest. This generation has grown up in a world defined by technolog ical advancement. This generation has never known a world without the Internet, or computers in the classrooms or gameplay on any computer device. These are facts that support the differences that define this generation from the Gen Xers or Baby Boomers before them — differences that not only are unique to this generation but have and will continue to play a role in their behavior as consumers and, in particular, as consumers of gaming experiences. Assuming their behavior will change as they age is not only a
“To become accepted into this world means to become a part of it and to be an active participant in it, not merely a sponsor or venue looking to cash in on the phenomenon.” risky bet but wholly unsupported by the research on how different they are from other generations at the same period of life. Simply put, attempt to understand this generation as they will soon become your most important demographic group. IT IS NOT A GAME; IT IS AN ECOSYSTEM.
Espor ts and video gaming are p a r t of a bro a der e co s y st em of intertwined technologies and large gaming communities. As with the underst a nding of the Millennial generation, understanding that the games are only part of a much larger ecosystem is essential to determining a sustainable economic model in the casino of the future. Ecosystems are multi-dimensional structures where the individual components are connected. No single element works without the interconnection of all the other pieces. Think of Apple's iTunes ecosystem and how iTunes connects content with diverse device platforms and e-commerce. Esports is similar in that it combines content (games) with various platforms (consoles, PC's and mobile) in an environment that is continually evolving and updating. AUTHENTICITY IS EVERYTHING. THEY ARE A COMMUNITY FIRST.
I've struggled to find something similar in the modern casino environment, but this phenomenon does not exist. In the esports community, players, fans, and spectators are engaged and loyal. They are intensely loyal and passionate about their relationship to esports. This behavior cannot be rationally explained, yet understanding that is central to my point. To become accepted into this world means to become a part of it and to be an active participant in it, not merely a sponsor or venue looking to cash in on the phenomenon.
PLAYERS, FANS AND SPECTATORS: WHICH ONE IS THE KEY TO MONETIZATION?
It's not what you might think. All are important to the design of the experience, but one is the key to longterm sustainable success: The spectator. Esports began with the players. It evolved as the players became more competitive and tournament structures supported competition on a larger scale which developed large networks of fans. The growth of both Twitch and YouTube points to yet a third evolution, the role of esports as entertainment. Just consider the massive scale of spectators who consume esports media and purchase the tens of thousands of tickets to esports events. Esports is a form of gaming, a type of competition and a massive form of entertainment. YOU — THE COMPANY CULTURE THING.
To g et her we represent a h ig h ly successful economic powerhouse of an industr y. We employ hundreds of thousands of people and provide enter t a in ment for millions of customers in our facilities. We have built these facilities on highly successful business models and talented, capable individuals. But, get ready for this, that is the problem. When an organization has a successful business model, it is challenging to rationalize changing it. However, we know that the current model does not work well for this younger generation. To meet their needs for the future and most important customer of the casino requires change. And as we all know, change is likely to be the most challenging thing to accomplish given the organizational culture built on prior success. But do you have a choice? Robert Rippee is Director esports Lab, International Gaming Institute, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Canadian Gaming Business | 15
Hard Rock International expands its brand to the national capital region With venues spanning 73 countries, Hard Rock International has been instrumental in accelerating its worldwide expansion efforts in recent years. Staying true to its musical roots and infusing music as the DNA of guest experiences, the brand has continued to stand as an international industry leader. In partnership with HR LP Investor Inc. and RCR Investor Inc., Hard Rock International is thrilled to enter the Canadian gaming scene with the development of Hard Rock Casino Ottawa. SERVING AS majority owner – with 51 per cent equity – and operator of Hard Rock Casino Ottawa, while also holding the facility’s gaming license, the property is Hard Rock’s first foray into Canada from a casino ownership standpoint. HR Ottawa, LP, which will come to be known as Hard Rock Casino Ottawa, was selected as the first non-Canadian company to enter the gaming industry by Ontario Lotter y and Gaming Corporation (OLG) and will be the service provider for the Ottawa Gaming Area Bundle.
16 | Winter 2017/2018
LEADS EXPANSION EFFORTS
According to the chairman of Hard Rock International, Jim Allen, “winning the bundle was a crucial first step towards a larger strategic vision of our world-class brand’s expansion efforts in Ontario and throughout Canada.” In collaboration with its partners, Hard Rock Casino Ottawa will entirely transform Rideau Carlton Raceway into a state-of-the-art Hard Rock facility throughout three separate phases, investing more than $320 million and ultimately creating an unparalleled entertainment and gaming destination.
Rideau Carlton Raceway has shown immense support towards the transition and development, offering continued assistance and encouragement. “Rideau Carlton Raceway has partnered with Hard Rock to build a major tourist destination that will offer multi-level entertainment, energized horse racing, a broader market and substantial economic benefits for all our employees, patrons, and the Ottawa Community,” says Andrew Wright, director of Rideau Carlton Raceway. “We are delighted to bring the iconic Hard Rock International casino operator to Ottawa.” DRAMATIC RENOVATION
HR Ottawa, LP assumed responsibility for the day-to-day operations and assets at Rideau Carleton Raceway in September 2017 as part of the $33-million “improvement phase,” which encompasses a dramatic renovation of the current facility. A standout feature of the first phase, an inaugural array of table games, will be introduced to the Ottawa market along with more than 100 dealers and support staff personnel. Ranging from blackjack and roulette to baccarat, the debut of table games in the area is a monumental step for the gaming industry. New and improved slots will also be incorporated into the ex pansive g aming f loor, including the first James Bond-themed machine in Canada, as well as Britney
Spears and Game of Thrones-themed machines. Rock Star Rewards, an enhanced loyalty program, will launch in February 2018, and will provide quick, easy and improved service to customers at their favorite games, in addition to the ability to view comp dollars and promotions. The current Slot System will be replaced with a new, multi-million-dollar Casino Marketplace System, offering an Elite Bonusing Suite plus innovative customer convenience and marketing features, which will conveniently be provided right at the slot machine. While the first phase of Hard Rock Casino Ottawa will not be branded Hard Rock, there will be a variety of Hard Rock elements incorporated, including the famed Hard Rock Shop where fans can purchase the brand’s iconic merchandise. INCORPORATES KEY BRAND FEATURES
The remaining two phases include plans for a completely new Hard Rock facility, incorporating key brand features with the addition of a Hard Rock Hotel, a Hard Rock Live entertainment venue and a Hard Rock Cafe & Centre Bar. The facility will also boast more than 13,000 square metres of gaming space. The renovations will incorporate innovative music displays and authentic music memorabilia from the brand’s enormous curated collection, which now includes more than 80,000 legendary items.
Ultimately creating an electrifying and integrated entertainment destination, Hard Rock Ottawa will incorporate thrilling nightlife, world-class gaming, decadent cuisine and the heart of the Hard Rock brand: Music. Hard Rock Ottawa anticipates the multi-phase project to potentially create 1,900 constructionrelated jobs and 2,000 direct and indirect on-going jobs, leading to an economic development boost in the area. Ensuring a smooth transition, roughly 98 per cent of the existing Rideau Carlton Raceway staff accepted offers to remain with the company following the shift. With the support of OLG and RCR, HR Ottawa, LP will be the key proponent of responsible gaming, integrated leading educational tools and resources to help guests keep gambling safe and fun, and to provide assistance and referrals for those in need of support. “We’re very excited about our first foray into Canada from a casino ownership perspective, especially in Canada’s capital,” says Allen. “Hard Rock repeatedly offers guests an immersive musical experience relevant to all generations and looks forward to expanding into additional destinations traversing across Canada while staying in the forefront as the premier music-lifestyle brand in the hospitality industry.” Fo r m o re i n f o r m a t i o n , p l e a s e v i si t www.hardrockhotels.com
President & CEO, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Peter Hak has played an integral role in the evolution of Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries in his 30 plus years with the corporation. He has had a prime seat at the table for the majority of gaming improvements implemented at Liquor & Lotteries and throughout Manitoba.
WHAT AREAS OF YOUR ROLE AS PRESIDENT AND CEO OF MANITOBA LIQUOR & LOTTERIES ARE THE MOST CHALLENGING FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ACCOMPLISHING IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
What I sometimes find challenging is overcoming a general misconception that because we are a Crown corporation we don’t necessarily operate like a business. I often find myself explaining to people that we strive to operate our business efficiently and with a strong focus on our customers like any successful company would. I think many companies would be envious of our customer service success. We take great pride in looking for new ways to improve what we offer — proven by recently having achieved the highest customer satisfaction ratings ever for our casinos. We’ve found that if you make customer service your priority and are not afraid to make some changes while keeping customers front-of-mind, success will follow. WHAT ARE THE MOST PERSONALLY REWARDING ASPECTS OF WORKING IN A LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE CANADIAN GAMING INDUSTRY AND WHY?
Since I became President and CEO in fall 2016 and began 18 | Winter 2017/2018
working closely with the new board of directors, they have been very supportive of allowing us the f lexibility to try new ways of doing things that will make our business better. And so now many of our staff are also motivated to step outside their comfort zone in suggesting and implementing improvements too. You can’t have successes if you don’t take those chances and listen to your leaders, your staff and foremost your customers. We’ve made a lot of positive changes recently in our gaming lines of business. IN WHAT WAYS HAS YOUR PAST EXPERIENCE PREPARED YOU FOR YOUR ROLE AT MBLL?
Prior to becoming President and CEO, I’ve been fortunate to hold several senior positions within the corporation over the past 30 years in which time I’ve operated in three distinct roles. I’ve spent about 10 years each in three main areas of the corporation that include finance, gaming operations, and more recently corporate services. I have a sound understanding of the organization and a unique perspective as I have watched the gaming industry evolve over the years. With my background and experience, I’m able to provide
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“In our casinos, it’s all about creating an enjoyable environment for people to spend their time and entertainment dollar. Sometimes that means being different things to different people at the same time.” valuable insight to our board and my executive team. And I have confidence in the expertise that everyone else brings to the table. WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF MBLL AND ITS ROLE IN THE GAMING COMMUNITY IN THE PROVINCE?
We want to continue to make our casinos places where people want to go to because they’re a fun place to be and have a great atmosphere. The ongoing refresh of our casinos is transforming the properties into incredible entertainment destinations where Manitobans and visitors alike can really enjoy themselves. At Club Regent Casino we have a spectacular 1,400-seat Event Centre with top-notch entertainment and a fabulous new Centre Bar right when you walk in. We’re also currently working with restaurant and hospitality partners to offer our guests even more variety. We have begun work on changes at McPhillips Station Casino. These projects take time and you have to complete them around a working casino with customers on the gaming floor. We appreciate everyone’s patience throughout the refresh and now guests often tell us the casino feels like Las Vegas. That’s a tremendous complement. Our casino employees are proud of our venues and like to show them off. We’re confident we are building a solid foundation for the future of our casinos. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ARE THE GREATEST GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES FOR GAMING IN CANADA AND WHY?
I wouldn’t say it’s any one area. It goes back to keeping things fresh and fun for our customers and that comes from listening to them and offering new products, services and appealing spaces. What we offer has to be enjoyable for them to spend their money with us, whether it is on lottery products, slots and VLTs, iGaming, entertainment or food and drinks. It’s important to change things up in a variety of ways, to appeal to all of our customers. We have to be willing to always reinvent our offerings. That’s where the innovative ideas of our gaming and entertainment staff play an integral role. WHAT ARE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES FACING THE CANADIAN GAMING INDUSTRY TODAY AND HOW DO YOU THINK THEY SHOULD BE ADDRESSED?
One of our major challenges, and something that is not unique to our province, is the evolution of our client base and coming up with a mix that will attract and sustain a new demographic. The ongoing development of skill-based games is an area that we, and the entire gaming industry, are exploring right now. Casino gaming and iGaming will need 20 | Winter 2017/2018
to continue to evolve and the growth in popularity of things like fantasy sports, interactive video gaming and pay-to-play game apps may present opportunities or challenges that we need to be ready for. WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF MBLL’S MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND HOW DO YOU THINK THESE DEVELOPMENTS WILL IMPACT THE GAMING INDUSTRY IN MANITOBA AND CANADA AS A WHOLE?
We try to do a number of things here that work for our business and our customers. I don’t think there’s any one thing that we’re doing here that is going to revolutionize the industry. We keep aware of what’s working elsewhere, listen to our customers, and use the knowledge gained to improve upon our operations, products and services. By staying on top of what’s current and popular we’ll tend to hit on more successes. In our casinos, it’s all about creating an enjoyable environment for people to spend their time and entertainment dollar. Sometimes that means being different things to different people at the same time. For example, we recently held a sold-out Bingo-After-Dark event with a live DJ and dancing. Meanwhile in the lower level of our casino hundreds of poker players came out to enjoy our semiannual PlayNow.com Poker Championship. So, we had two very well-attended events at the same venue for two very different audiences. The atmosphere throughout the whole casino that weekend was electric and everyone in the building could feel it. We were also pleased to launch the multi-jurisdictional, multi-platform Powerbucks® on PlayNow.com and on our casino slots. Guests have been enjoying the popular progressive game in growing numbers across the country and in October one of our Winnipeg PlayNow.com players won the $1 million Powerbucks® jackpot. WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY FOR ENSURING THE BEST AND SAFEST GAMING EXPERIENCE FOR THE CONSUMER, GOVERNMENT STAKEHOLDERS AND THE GAMING COMMUNITY?
We have been a long-time leader in social responsibility programs. Our corporation commits two per cent of anticipated net income to support all of our social responsibility programs. GameSense initiatives take a proactive approach to responsible gambling by encouraging responsible play with information on things like odds and personal limit-setting. In addition, we work to address opportunities identified during our Level 4 accreditation with the World Lottery Association Responsible Gaming Framework.
“Where the Canadian Gaming Industry Meets”
June 18-20, 2018
Scotiabank Convention Centre Niagara Falls, ON
SAVE THE DATE NIAGARA FALLS 2018 www.canadiangamingsummit.com
2018 Canadian Gaming Summit
Sponsorship/Exhibiting Opportunities Contact Chuck Nervick, Senior Vice President | 416-512-8186 Ext. 227 firstname.lastname@example.org
ACROSS THE BOARD
Weighing in on the state of the Canadian horseracing industry As one of the oldest sectors of legalized gaming in the country, the Canadian horseracing industry faces a number of challenges and opportunities in the coming years. From shifting demographics to increased social media engagement to a need for closer collaboration with provincial government partners, horseracing operators recently spoke with Canadian Gaming Business to give us their take on whatâ€™s in store for the industry for 2018 and beyond. 22â€‚|â€‚ Winter 2017/2018
Mike Chopowick, Acting Executive Director, Ontario Racing
Darren Macdonald, General Manager, Hastings Racecourse; Director, B.C. Racing
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING THE CANADIAN HORSERACING INDUSTRY AS WE ENTER 2018 AND WHY ARE THESE CHALLENGES SO IMPORTANT TO ADDRESS? Mike Chopowick: Maybe not the biggest, but I definitely see the most
immediate challenge as the need for the horseracing industry to build stronger, more constructive partnerships with our provincial governments and gaming agencies. The past has shown that public policy decisions have huge, and often unintended, impacts on the business of horseracing. We need more meaningful conversations between experts in our industry and public office holders on how to really build a sustainable industry. Once we get government and public policy right, and a sustainable framework with our government partners in terms of funding and investment to support rural and agricultural jobs tied to horseracing, we can focus more on promoting horseracing, growing the fan base and increasing wagering.
Darren Macdonald: One of the biggest challenges in the industry right now is the number of horses available to race. In such a competitive market for wagering dollars, if you don’t have a full starting gate it is very tough to get people to bet your product. In B.C., the industry partners have worked very hard to create incentive programs designed to incentivize purchase of young horses, horses of racing age and mares to help all facets of the business. We have seen a stabilization of our horse population in the past few years, but really need to see those numbers increase over the coming years. Shirley McClellan: Possible industry challenges include meeting handle projections, horse population, stimulating investment throughout all areas of the industry and the growing competition of the gaming/ entertainment dollar. Weather, emergence of horse health epidemics, and the economy are just a few other considerations and risks in the industry moving forward.
Shirley McClellan, CEO, Horse Racing Alberta
WHAT NEW OR INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENTS ARE ON THE HORIZON FOR THE HORSERACING INDUSTRY AND HOW ARE THESE DEVELOPMENTS LIKELY TO AFFECT THE INDUSTRY GOING FORWARD IN 2018 AND BEYOND? DM: At this point we don’t have any concrete developments that are
on the horizon for 2018, but we will be looking at wagering apps and things along those lines. The young more tech savvy fan is looking to be able to wager as easily as possible, and doesn’t want to stand in line to make a wager.
SM: For Alberta, specifically the opening of Century Downs in 2015, coupled with the agreement with Century Casinos Europe to begin construction of a new one-mile “A” Racetrack for the Edmonton market area will significantly change the landscape of Alberta horseracing for many years to come. With the co-operation of the weather, the goal of opening this new state of the art facility is set for the fall of 2018.
WHAT UNEXPLORED OPPORTUNITIES EXIST IN TERMS OF PROMOTING AND GROWING CANADA’S HORSERACING INDUSTRY? MC: Market and demographic research has shown us that there are significant segments of the potential customer base who have never been to a racetrack, have never placed a bet on a race, and have no future plans to do so. Ontario Racing sees this not as a weakness, but as a tremendous opportunity. We already know that horseracing in Canada has a steady and loyal fan base. Racetracks and racing associations need to work together on developing campaigns and promotional strategies that reach out to potential customers who have yet to experience the thrill of horseracing. A few decades ago, horseracing was the only game in town for Canadian Gaming Business | 23
industryQ&A:horseracing legal gambling. We’re now competing with lotteries, casinos, and virtual on-line gaming. Horseracing has much more to offer. Our challenge is introducing our product to new customers who have the highest propensity to turn into loyal fans. DM: For us at Hastings the greatest opportunities seem to be in
added-attraction events. People are looking to be entertained when they come to the races, and if you have something extra for them it is driving incremental growth in attendance. In 2017, we saw our biggest attendance day on our annual “wiener dog” race day. The lure of the wiener dogs brought the people out to the track, and many of those may have been introduced to racing for the first time. Wagering dollars have continued to grow over the years on these days so it is showing the results we had hoped for. Going into 2018, we will be looking to add more marquee type days to try and reach a broader demographic, and get new people out to the track.
SM: The annual symposium on racing provides and brings attendees the latest in technology and innovative marketing concepts for horsemen and operators. The industry must continue to challenge itself to change and step out of its comfort zone.
HOW IS TECHNOLOGY AFFECTING THE HORSERACING INDUSTRY AND HOW CAN OPERATORS BEST USE THIS TECHNOLOGY TO HELP CUSTOMERS MAXIMIZE THEIR ENJOYMENT OF HORSERACING ACTIVITIES? MC: That’s an interesting question, when you consider it from the perspective that the fundamentals of an actual horse race haven’t changed much in over a century. And that’s what I think most fans love about this sport. I think we’re almost there in terms of keeping up with technology, for example the HPI Bet online wagering platform in Ontario is fairly robust and state-of-the-art. There’s much more potential in promoting horseracing through social media. Some operators in Canada have started to master this, and looking south of the border, Saratoga and Churchill Downs are great examples of how to do social media right. There’s more we can do to utilize social influencers and maximize the potential of smartphones through proximity marketing. This this isn’t just about promoting events and venues for racing. These tools must be used to strengthen relationships with existing customers. I would also note that regulators, such as the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, are incorporating more technology into how they officiate races, which is a good thing in terms of enhancing integrity and fairness for both horse people and horseplayers. DM: Social media has been a huge driver of attendance for us at
Hastings. Social media allows us to be much more engaged with our fans, and has allowed us to reach out to a broader demographic that has brought many first timers to the race track. Online wagering has been the biggest growth item in the industry in B.C. The convenience of wagering from home is valued by many who wager on horseracing. Attendance at our race tracks and race books over the past few years for simulcasting has continued to decline, as online wagering platforms continue to improve.
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SM: The industry is constantly challenged to stay up to date with ever changing technology. Challenges grow daily from the online, mobile and off-shore gaming opportunities. Social media provides instant messaging and communication with a younger demographic who seek instant communication, feedback and entertainment options. The industry must attract and engage these people first to attract them to our facilities and then attempt to educate and engage them. Digital marketing and proximity marketing provide opportunities to specifically execute a tactical marketing execution. The industry must continue to concentrate on pool size while driving handle.
HOW ARE DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFTS HAVING AN EFFECT ON THE HORSERACING INDUSTRY AND WHAT CAN ORGANIZATIONS DO TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE APPEALING TO ALL DEMOGRAPHIC SEGMENTS? MC: The fundamental challenge of horseracing is this: A
large number of people are simply not aware of horseracing as a form of sport, entertainment and gaming. Yes, many of these people who are missing out are under 40, but it’s more complex than just an age demographic issue. We know that the research tells us that people today, young and old, place a high level of value on “experiences.” Watching a race — and wagering on it — can be a tremendously exciting social experience. We have to focus on promoting racing as a thrilling social destination, and educating potential fans that visiting a track and placing a bet is both simple and fun. Ontario Racing has partnered with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation on executing a multi-year marketing strategy that builds on these objectives. We’re not expecting results overnight. But, we’ve made gross wagering by Ontario customers one of our key performance metrics, and I’m confident we will see positive results in the years ahead.
DM: The Baby Boomers have always been the traditionalists
when it comes to horseracing. They like things to remain consistent, and are content with having eight races a day and having a solid racing experience. With the Millennials and the Gen Xers, they are looking for a more well-rounded experience. With them growing up in a time with expanded gaming opportunities, it is key that we deliver an experience that is at a high level; things like having a DJ playing music, higher end cocktails, and added event attractions are essential to entertaining this demographic. It is a tough balancing act to deliver an experience that is desired by all our guests, but we are ever evolving to make this happen.
SM: Each demographic requires specific strategic tactical target
marketing that resonates with each demographic. Campaigns targeting each individual demographic must be tailored specifically to that demographic. A general campaign attempting to target all demographics at once will have limited return on investment. The industry must speak to each demographic individually recognizing the barriers to inform and engage the demographic.
Business is Booming in the Canadian Gaming Market:
New Casinos Can Bet on Technology Advances to Attract Patrons and Improve Customer Service Gaming is the largest single component of Canada’s entertainment industry, representing $10 billion in current capital construction.1 This makes it no surprise that new casino complexes are being built across the country to take advantage of Canada’s positive gaming market. Whether they’re large resorts or smaller slot casinos, new gaming properties must do all they can to get a leg up on the competition in order to attract patrons – and keep them coming back. For many, this means increased focus on customer service. Investments in ticket and currency processing technology can help casinos enhance customer service by improving speed and accuracy when processing a patron’s cash and tickets. Quickly Convert Customer Winnings with Money and Ticket Counters The cash cage is one of the few areas where casinos have to provide specific customer service to their clientele outside of the gaming floor. And having a way to quickly convert winnings into cash at the cage is an important aspec t of maintaining an ef ficient and satisfactory gaming operation. Today’s advanced money and ticket counters, such as the Cummins Allison JetScan iFX® line of ticket and currency scanners, give casinos a way to efficiently and accurately process money won by the players. Using ticket-in, ticket-out (TITO) reading technology, these devices scan and sort each note, making the exchange process quick and accurate. The ability to read and image mixed tickets and cash in a single pass eliminates the need to presort tickets and cash before processing, further enhancing speed and efficiency. As a result, patrons can spend less time waiting in line and more time on the gaming floor. Imaging tickets also provides the additional benefit of allowing casinos to eliminate many of the costs associated with ticket storage. Plus, it lets them quickly and accurately retrieve ticket information at a later date without having to dig through boxes, all without hindering the customer experience. With ticket-based machines that read slips and sort the winners’ money, the exchange process is quick and efficient. This can help casinos retain customers overall and enable growth over the long term.
s m a r t te c hn o lo g y de c i s io n s th a t w ill deliver a quick ROI. Multi-pocket currency counters and sorters, like the Cummins Allison JetScan® MPS line of products, deliver greater count room efficiencies via continuous batch processing and automatic strapping. These features provide time, cost and labour savings. In addition, these solutions allow operators to work faster and more accurately, which means employees can spend more time focusing their attention where it matters most – on their patrons. The JetScan MPS solutions also deliver fitness sorting, which ensures that repurposed cash meets casinos’ highest standards for refilling ATMs and other self-service machines and where note quality matters most. Note quality also improves uptime and reduces services calls for cash dispensing devices; two critical areas for new casinos that are building their reputation with patrons.
For more information about how your property can improve customer service with money and ticket counters, visit http://www.cumminsallison. ca/go-ca/gaming
Sources: 1 Canadian Gaming Association, http://www. canadiangaming.ca/ About Cummins Allison Cummins Allison is the leading innovator and provider of cheque, bar-coded ticket, currency and coin handling solutions. Our world-class sales and service network includes hundreds of local representatives in more than 50 offices in North America, 6 wholly-owned subsidiaries and is represented in more than 70 countries around the world. For more information about our award-winning solutions, visit www.cumminsallison.ca.
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Smart Technology Choices For new casinos, it’s imperative to make Canadian Gaming Business | 25 106253 CA i400 print ad 4.583W x4.75HFinal.indd 1
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Changing the Game Adopting advanced analytics for a competitive edge
To know the player is to win the game. That's why leaders in the gaming and hospitality industry are investing in the tools to analyze player habits, patron trends, and operational data to tailor their offerings and maximize player loyalty. “It 's about predictive analy tics and business intelligence,” said Clive Pearson, CEO for Qualex Consulting Services, in a recent webinar for the Qualex iQ-Gaming™ Multivendor Architecture. “Today, you need to have accurate data and player insights to make better decisions faster.” And here, he added, is where innovations l i k e a n i Q - G a m i n g™ M u l t i v e n d o r A rchitec ture is providing stakeholders with the data analy tics edge. Designed specifically for the gaming industry, the
i Q - G a m i n g™ p l a t f o r m i n t e g r a t e s l i v e data from all available sources, across a l l av a i l a b l e p r o p e r t i e s , t o p r ov i d e a holistic and real-time view of a portfolio's performance. It's a game changer, to be sure, Pearson told webinar attendees; and as the International Gold Partner for SAS, Qualex is taking the lead in bringing this gaming analytics solution to clients throughout North America. “ We h ave c li e n t s w h o ow n mul t ip l e properties across the US and overseas,
so you can imagine how difficult it was it for them to keep up with all their reports and campaigns across multiple properties,” he explained. “Without a system to bring all that data together, you run into inconsistencies, duplicate records, incorrect data types, and overall data quality issues. Ultimately, o f c o u r s e, t h o s e c h a ll e n g e s l e a d to performance issues.” Now, with the iQ-Gaming™ platform, those clients can consolidate gaming and non-gaming data from all their locations into a single repository backed by Qualex's prebuilt iQ -Gaming™ model. With that data, they can review campaign analytics, uncover player trends, assess the popularity of each game, review food and beverage preferences, and more – all for the purpose of delivering a greater (and more profitable) gaming experience. “Having that 360-degree view of your patrons across all properties helps you enhance patron interaction, up-sell your products, and improve overall patron satisfaction,” he said. Qualex's Rapid Deployment Accelerators also make it easy for casino and resort stakeholders to implement the iQ-Gaming™ plat form. With 25 pre -built predic tive models ready, Pearson noted, “We' ve done the heavy lifting for clients. This is a plug-and-play solution that can be up and running within three months, saving you time and money instantly.” In many ways, Qualex and SAS say they've “cracked the code” in the casino industry by offering a user-friendly and cutting-edge way for industry stakeholders to turn real-time data into ac tionable insights. Added Pearson: “It's easy to use, costeffective, flexible, and comes pre-built. At the end of the day, it takes the heavy lifting of f your staf f so they can focus on the gaming floor.”
To view the webinar online, visit: www.sas.com/ca/gaina360view 26 | Winter 2017 2017/2018
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Canadian Gaming Business | 29
CONFERENCE 2018 Solutions and emerging trends in Responsible Gambling
Industry leaders have a lot of research, best practice advice and competing points of view to consider when they develop their responsible gambling programs and initiatives. Every April, the Responsible Gambling Council’s (RGC) Discovery conference finds solutions to the most pressing issues facing the industry today and uncovers the emerging issues of tomorrow. THE DISCOVERY CONFERENCE is recognized worldwide as one of the premier responsible gambling conferences. What sets Discovery above the rest is its ability to bring together people with firsthand experience with gambling problems, along with gaming providers, regulators, policy makers, researchers and treatment professionals to share their thoughts and expertise. The 2017 theme, “Reconnect, Reframe and Refine,” aptly describes the event as one that people consistently return to so they can reconnect with colleagues, reframe critical questions and refine the path forward. Discovery discussions and presentations are a one-stop opportunity to connect with key thought leaders. Sessions at the 2017 conference included the latest research on low-risk gambling guidelines, an interactive workshop with practical tips to incorporate cultural competence into responsible gambling initiatives, and a demonstration from the co-founder of the company that developed the first video game gambling machines. In addition to informative sessions, Discovery also features thought-provoking keynotes that push the boundaries of traditional subject matter, innovatively weaving in modern trends, cutting-edge thought and unique perspectives. And 2017 was no exception. Dr. Judson Brewer, a leading neuroscientist and 30 | Winter 2017/2018
mindfulness pioneer, got the audience thinking about how habits are formed and how mindfulness techniques can help us become aware of our cravings in order to become less ruled by them. The Discovery conference provides the inspiration, methods and resources to put the latest knowledge into practice. Feedback surveys consistently demonstrate that attendees value the topics, speakers and networking opportunities Discovery has to offer. At Discovery 2017, 94 per cent of attendees surveyed said they would use the information they picked up at the conference. Discovery 2018 is set to deliver an equally impactful, noteworthy and invaluable meeting of industry leaders. Topics slated for 2018 include: Examining the lessons learned from over 10 years of onsite responsible gambling support centres; applying best practices in a VLT environment; and charting a course for retailers to respond to excessive lottery play, with many more to be announced over the coming weeks. So, mark your calendars for Wednesday, April 11 to Thursday, April 12, 2018 for the next Discovery conference in downtown Toronto. Registration opens in January 2018 at www. responsiblegambling.org/Discovery. We look forward to seeing familiar faces and welcoming new ones as we tackle the issues that matter to you.
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