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Canada's Premier Gaming Industry Magazine

Vol. 11 No. 4

Winter 2016/2017


Answering the call for amenity expansion June 19-21, 2017 Vancouver, B.C.

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© 2017 Scientific Games Corporation. Third party content used with permission. All rights reserved. This product may be covered by one or more U.S. patents or pending patent applications listed at

Winter 2016/2017 Publisher

Volume Number 11 No. 4 Chuck Nervick 416.512.8186 ext. 227

Editor Sean Moon

contents 15



Advertising Sales Chuck Nervick Senior Designer

Annette Carlucci


Jennifer Carter

Production Manager

Rachel Selbie

Production Specialist Paula Miyake

Circulation Manager

Maria Siassina

Proudly owned and published by:

President Kevin Brown

President & CEO Bill Rutsey







 The Integrated Resort: Answering the call for expanded food, entertainment and gaming options

14 FOOD AND BEVERAGE  The New Casino Restaurant: Designing foodservice operations to attract new demographics

Senior Vice President Chuck Nervick

Vice President, Public Affairs Paul Burns

Canadian Gaming Business is published four times a year as a joint venture between MediaEdge Communications and The Canadian Gaming Association To advertise: For information on CGB’s print or digital advertising opportunities: Chuck Nervick 416-512-8186 ext. 227 Copyright 2017 Canada Post Canadian Publications Mail Publications Mail Agreement No. 40063056 ISSN 1911-2378 Guest editorials or columns do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Canadian Gaming Business magazine's advisory board or staff. No part of this issue may be reproduced by any mechanical, photographic or electronic process without written permission by the publisher. Subscription rates: Canada $40* 1 yr, $70* 2 yrs. USA $65 yr, $120* 2 yrs. International $90* 1 yr, $160* 2 yrs. *Plus applicable taxes. Postmaster send address changes to: Canadian Gaming Business Magazine 5255 Yonge Street Suite 1000, Toronto, Ontario M2N 6P4

Official Publication of the Canadian Gaming Summit


Mobile Market: Let’s stop talking about Millennials already



Kevin Sheehan, CEO and President, Scientific Games


Entertaining Ideas: Leveraging the entertainment value of gaming facilities


Konami Gaming Inc.: Primed for a power play in next generation product


30 MARKETING The Attractor Factor: How expanding casino amenities can open untapped markets 33 REGULATORY Choice, Not Chance: Selecting the right Internal Audit model for your organization 34

G2E 2016: E-Sports, Soup Nazis and Video Gamification




New Horizons: RG takes centre stage at 5th annual conference

Canadian Gaming Business | 3

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Something for Everyone BACK IN MY COLLEGE DAYS, I once went on a golfing trip with a buddy to sample some of the Las Vegas links along the strip such as the now defunct Desert Inn and Tropicana golf clubs. While we both enjoyed our time on the golf course, I can’t say the same for my buddy during evenings in the casino. I had suggested Vegas as a vacation option for purely selfish reasons and was never one to shy away from a game of cards or a roll of the dice. My buddy, on the other hand, was decidedly not a gambler and found himself unbelievably bored, either wandering aimlessly around the casino floor or headed to the bar for a drink that he assuredly didn’t want. I often wonder how different that trip would have been if taken in 2016. As anyone who has visited Vegas in the last 10-15 years can attest, it is no longer a gamblers-only paradise. From spectacular shows and concerts to a who’s-who of celebrity chefs and restaurants, not to mention family friendly options that extend well beyond the original Circus Circus Big Top and Wet-N-Wild waterpark, Vegas has done very well in attracting non-gamblers to its resorts and properties. And while the trend has continued north of the border to gaming facilities here in Canada, I think we still have a long way to go. Like many of us the gaming industry, I have been keenly interested in learning more about how gaming operators and casinos are evolving to attract not only the next generation of players, but to provide viable entertainment and dining options that will appeal to gamblers and non-gamblers alike. In this issue of Canadian Gaming Business, we explore many of the areas that are playing increasingly important roles in expanding our core market — from our cover story on how the integrated resort concept has taken hold in North America to a roundtable discussion on how Canadian operators are leveraging the entertainment value of their amenities to drive more traffic to the gaming floor, the concert auditorium or the fine dining establishment. In addition to gaining insight into this amenity diversification, we also feature a number of fascinating columns and articles, including: • How focusing too intensely on Millennials may actually be distracting us from the real challenges facing today’s gaming industry; • What the recent G2E in Las Vegas revealed about e-Sports, Soup Nazis and the videogamification of casinos; • How to design foodservice operations for expanding demographics; and • Key considerations for selecting the best Internal Audit model for your organization. Much like today’s casino operator, we hope this issue of CGB has something for everyone. If you have any story ideas, suggestions or comments, feel free to contact myself at or CGB’s Publisher Chuck Nervick at for advertising information. Enjoy the issue and cheers for now, Sean Moon Managing Editor, Canadian Gaming Business

Canadian Gaming Business | 5



MY TITLE, Change is the only constant, sounds like an ox ymoron, but in today’s world it’s the absolute truth. Upheaval and change are today’s way of life whether you’re six or 96. For a pithy example, consider your smartphone. The thrill of owning the latest and greatest is soon replaced by anxiety and longing when you start hearing about the next model under design and testing. And, you’re constantly updating your apps and operating system. This is the world we live in, where there are only two kinds of products: Experimental and obsolete. W hich brings me to our plans for the 2017 Canadian Gaming Summit in Vancouver June 19-21, and our theme – Rapid Pace of Change. I touched on this a couple of columns ago when I wrote about the Millennials’ demographic shift juggernaut under way and f lowing through the market, and the implications for the gaming industry. A recent article by Rich Duprey in The Motley Fool (These 2 Casinos Are Making Very Different Bets on Millennials) spoke directly to this, noting that traditional slot players are a dying breed and how two major gaming companies, Caesars Entertainment and Penn National Gaming, are taking dramatically different approaches. Caesars is targeting Millennials while Penn is more interested in Generation X (the cohort that came after the Baby Boom). I’m not going to opine on which is the right strategy, in fact, both probably are. What’s interesting is that they share the belief that the games really attractive to either Millennials or Gen Xers have not been invented.

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So, the questions of critical importance are: What do they like and how do we give it to them? This f its right into the Vancouver Summit’s theme, and Vancouver is uniquely positioned to assist us in exploring Rapid Pace of Change in product development. Vancouver is a high-tech hub, with literally hundreds (if not thousands) of young system and game developers and coders dreaming up and producing new products that are being deployed around the world. These can be twists on existing casino games, sports and skill-based games, and products that touch on every sector and channel of the industry beyond game development, such as lottery, security, charitable gaming, customer engagement, and the like. Paul Burns and I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the technology community in Vancouver, including people who have developed tried-and-true applications and products w idely used, and visiting incubator centres where the next generation of product is being conceived. What we saw was truly eye opening, and the people we met were inspiring. Our plan is to showcase some of the best and brightest at the Summit. A nd technolog y is just one of the areas we’ll be exploring in Vancouver. You can’t afford to not be there with us on June 19-21, 2017. As Timbuk3 so eloquently sang: “Things are goin’ great, and they’re only getting’ better The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.”


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THE INTEGRATED RESORT Answering the call for expanded food, entertainment and gaming options BY COREY T. NYMAN

Canadian Gaming Business  |  9


In today’s changing markets and times, there are many opportunities for casino operators to expand beyond traditional gaming revenue streams. By tapping into opportunities that were little explored in the past — namely the trend of creating so-called Integrated Resorts and Venues — operators can successfully offer casino gaming guests and non-gamblers alike world-class dining, entertainment, retail, lodging, spa and more. The Integrated Resort trend is evolving throughout the global gaming industry as a whole, with operators learning every day what guests are now demanding based upon the changing opportunities available to them throughout the world. This includes a better understanding that an integrated front-of-house and back-of-house casino design offers operational efficiencies and an improved guest experience, which results in a longer stay by those guests during each visit. Ultimately, it is all about ensuring how a truly integrated resort model delivers an exceptional customer experience and improved return on investment (ROI). UNDERSTANDING TODAY’S CUSTOMER

When reviewing what amenities to offer players and guests, we first need to know who those people actually are, and once we’ve done that, look at who our guests are going to be in the future. Are they Baby Boomers? Generation X? Millennials? As the face of our guest changes, we need to make sure we know WHO they actually are and then HOW we’re going to provide them unique experiences. With change, it comes down to Quality v. Quantity. In middle age, quality begins to gain over quantit y in importance. 10 |  Winter 2016/2017

This leads many middle-aged and older g uest s to spend more on goods for the sake of quality. With an aging Baby Boom population, a nd a lso w it h m a ny G en X ers, this is of great signif icance. With

Millennials, however, it is more about ex per iences — both in number and variety — rather than tangible goods. The question is, are there generational or mindset changes


when it comes to our guests? Is it the changing times and greater inf luence of technology, or human nature? PREPARING FOR CHANGE

By determining the usage factor of our operations for each generation, we will be best prepared for the change in our players and guests for the future, and then become able to focus upon the arrival of Generation Z at our venues, as they become of legal playing and drinking age. With the role of Integrated Resorts and expanding the opportunities for our guests, we need to also make sure to ask the tough questions before construction ever begins. It all goes back to the planning, internal discussions amongst members of our executive team and staff, asking some of our best guests through focus groups, surveys and questions as to what they would like to see at our casinos and properties. Advanced planning thus becomes critical, working along with experts, reviewing the reasons to build, understanding all of the differences between building new or a retro-fit into a new concept and discovering what is available to us based on the restrictions or opportunities of our four walls, location and local market. With regard to the post-construction success, operators need to make sure there is full integration of the new additions with the implementation of marketing tools, both on-property and to the outside, using social media to showcase any changes. This also includes in-room branding if we have hotel accommodations. We need to be asking how our guests are using our casinos, operations, hotels

and resort facilities. Are they viewed as a short-term or long-term escape, and are we a community, regional or national destination? ANALYZING GUEST DEMOGRAPHICS

Another important question to ask is what is the balance of players coming to the venue for gaming compared with those who are coming in for shows, meals and additional entertainment? We know that we are first and foremost operating casinos and gaming floors, but want to make sure that we can capture additional revenue based upon changing tastes and preferences in our country and around the world. This includes making it as easy as possible for both types of guests to find their way around the property and get to where they want to go. This is accomplished through signage and wayfinding tools, of course, as well as a navigable gaming floor and venue. Next, what are we actually offering these guests? Is it a selection of restaurants that they want to visit? Are there bars and

lounges that are themed to our casino as a whole or unique destinations unto themselves? Do we have any concerts, shows or performances that bring a different guest to our property? MEASURING SUCCESS

Finally, how do we actually measure our success, ROI and guest satisfaction? It is essential that we have ways to determine our success, set a timeline for this measurement and determine who is monitoring this and analyzing why the change was a success. And, let’s think about what hasn’t been done yet that we could still incorporate into our resorts and experiences. With our guests, they are also looking for different food and beverage experiences than in past years. The old standard lineup of a buffet, steakhouse and café (with other dining options mixed in) is no longer enough. With the rise of Fast Casual restaurants and customization of dining and drinking options mixed with the

coverstory changing guest profiles, casinos need to be more aware and able to handle increasingly diverse preferences. It is about determining what is important to the guest — enabling customization, adding bold flavors and promoting functional benefits that may broaden a concept’s appeal and allow guests to create a dish that suits their moods, tastes and lifestyles. If your property or location only has one food and beverage outlet, how can you best maximize that venue? Is there an ability to install a “grab-and-go” counter for coffee, desserts and quick pick-up items? Can you open and close sections of the restaurant with some aesthetic design changes to keep it fresh for your guests and account for fluctuating business levels?


As our consumer base and player continues to develop and change, one area that has an even grander and greater role is the entertainment in a casino and at a property. Gaming is no longer the only reason that guests come to our properties, while it is (obviously) still significant. The world of entertainment can be related to performances (concerts and shows), corporate and promotional events, food truck pop-ups, food and beverage festivals and much more. Using the value of entertainment to drive more guests to our properties will be a huge opportunity over the next few years, as guests’ choices and interests vary widely, but still look to our venues as the best options for their dollar spend. When staging entertainment at the property, it goes back to the allure of perception versus reality: How does the guest feel when they first arrive for the experience they are about to have? Integrating proper lighting and music helps to set the mood, while posters, signage and displays provide an additional opportunity to capture guests who might not have known an event or performance was happening. When looking at Integrated Resorts and the opportunities that casino operators have for expanding revenue sources for gaming and beyond, we turn to Tom Wucherer, the CEO of YWS Design & Architecture, based in Las Vegas, Nevada, for perspective. CREATING MICROENVIRONMENTS

He believes it is about creating “microenvironments:” 10,000 to 20,000 square-foot spaces, focused upon “psychographic” profiles – spaces for people with the same values, lifestyles, hobbies and spending habits. The existing gaming floor is a big box designed for Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers still control 56 per cent of North American wealth so the idea is to refocus the 12 |  Winter 2016/2017

gaming experience without alienating any generational market. Segmented gaming experiences, designed to appeal to specific consumer groups, need to consider location on the gaming floor, the types of games offered, access to amenities, and the type of energy the space will support at different times of the day. The generational market strategy applies beyond gaming. New types of dining experiences and different forms of entertainment are all important considerations for the future integrated resort. For example, entertainment adventures and group activities should be something that every resort is discussing as they look at how to evolve their property and capture additional revenue opportunities. Tom notes that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution; the correct consumers to target will be specific to each market. Figuring out what they want is the next challenge, through an analysis of psychographics –the study of consumer lifestyles and a story of WHY consumers buy. The combination of WHO consumers are (demographics) and WHY they buy (psychographics) helps to create consumer personas and, by extension, highly targeted market segments. With this information, we can design microenvironments that fully engage our current and future consumers. WRAPPING UP

It is all about the time, effort and energy that we put into our casinos and properties. Using proper training for staff, being able to focus on what is important in employee development and having attention to detail in all that we do — these will all be noticed by our guests. Then, we need to ask ourselves: Are we willing to adapt to changing tastes, profiles and consumers or will we just stagnate and risk becoming irrelevant? Think for a moment: If you could wave a magic wand and money was no object, what would be the perfect integrated resort and collection of operations? We all want to be able to offer our players and guests unique experiences that they could not have elsewhere and feel that they’ve received value for their dollars spent. As a business, it is all about the ROI, combined with guest satisfaction and value proposition. Now, what are you going to do at YOUR location? Corey T. Nyman serves as the Director of Operations for The Nyman Group, an organization of hands-on operating professionals, specializing in consulting services, restaurant management and project management restaurant and hospitality industry. They have devoted their experience and energies to directing cutting edge restaurants, hotels and food service programs of today and developing and planning in the ever-changing marketplace. For more information, visit

THE NEW CASINO RESTAURANT Designing foodservice operations that will attract Millennials BY JEFF DOVER

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Millennials are now the largest group of restaurant customers in Canada, surpassing Baby Boomers two years ago. While total restaurant visits in Canada have been essentially flat for years, growth in restaurant visits by Millennials has surged and continues to grow. The Millennials are willing to spend money on dining out; however, what they desire with respect to a dining experience is not always consistent with traditional casino offerings (and what Millennials desire in a restaurant is quite different than Boomers). THIS POSES A DILEMMA for casino operators. How do you design foodservice operations at a casino (especially small casinos with one or a small number of restaurants) that will attract the younger generation without alienating the Boomers, who remain the core customer of most casinos in Canada? NEW PATTERNS EMERGE

While older generations generally eat three meals per day, Millennials reject such conventions. Their desire with respect to food is “what I want, when I want it and where I want it.” Morning and afternoon snacks are amongst the fastest growing day parts in restaurants. Customization and display cooking are options that casino food and beverage managers should consider to attract Millennials. Millennials love selecting the ingredients for their meals and watching them being prepared. They like to experiment when dining out. For operators, this can be a blessing. They are less likely to complain about the taste of a meal when they are the ones that designed it; in fact, they are likely to share with their friends about their tasty creation. Millennials are a social generation, which has several implications for restaurant operators. They are changing the way restaurants are designed. Millennials want to see and be seen, and this extends to dining out. Many restaurants are moving away from private booths and replacing these with communal tables that promote socializing. Millennials like interaction with restaurant employees and want to feel like an insider. Socializing while dining out does not always mean socializing with those in the restaurant; they want to share the experience with their friends in real time, such as through their mobile devices. SHARING EXPERIENCES

Millennials crave relevance. It often seems that Millennials are more interested

in sharing their experiences through social media than actually enjoying these experiences themselves. This is not necessarily the case (although they do like the status of being at a location or doing an activity that makes their friends jealous). They often photograph and share their restaurant purchases with their friends. Millennials “check in” on social media when they are somewhere they want others to know about and follow recommendations from their peers on where and what to eat. An effective social media strategy (we suggest this is run by a young person) is increasingly becoming a key to success in the foodservice business. Encourage your customers to share pictures of their experiences (presentation of food becomes even more important), allow the taking of selfies and encourage feedback. With respect to feedback, don’t be defensive when responding (and do respond). Millennials are the most ethnically diverse generation in Canada’s history.

Further, they seek ethnic foods from outside their cultures. What they do expect is authenticity. Chicken balls from Chinese restaurants may have been a staple to the Boomers; however, Millennials want authentic dishes as opposed to a “North Americanized” version of an ethnic dish. This includes ethnic beverages. Ethnic restaurants a generation ago consisted primarily of Chinese and Italian — Millennials want to experience cuisine from around the globe. FOCUSED ON FRESHNESS

In addition to authentic dishes, Millennials want clean ingredient decks—fresh food, less processed and no artificial colours or flavours. They want to be informed of what is included in the recipes of menu items they purchase, where those ingredients come from and how the menu items were prepared. Restaurants must be transparent with respect to ingredients if they want to attract Millennials. The Internet, cooking television shows and travel have made


Millennials food experts (or at least they think they are food experts). Desired menus do not stop at clean ingredient decks. It often amazes me to see Millennials flock to gourmet burrito restaurants because the ingredients are fresh and healthy and ignore the fact their entree is over 1,000 calories, but I am from an older generation so it makes sense I “don’t understand.” Millennials increasingly desire food that is ethically sourced, sustainable and locally produced. More and more, they are willing to pay for this through incremental prices. Casino restaurants have a benefit that large restaurant chains do not in this regard. The scale of our operations allows us to source local, sustainable, ethically produced ingredients.


For quick serve operations and takeout orders, Millennials demand less packaging a nd /or env iron ment a lly fr iendly packaging. Chef David Adjey, in his chain Chickery, has developed the term “precycle.” Instead of using recyclable packaging, which is much more expensive than traditional packaging, he was an innovator in putting salads in mason jars. Not only is the presentation great, but customers participate in the making of their salads by shaking the jar to toss the ingredients. A deposit is charged for the mason jars that can be returned for reuse. Similar innovations in take-out packaging are occurring across the country. Almost all Millennials (and, in fact, most of us now) carry smartphones. Millennials

want to use their phones to pre-order (and to a lesser extent, pre-pay) for their orders as well as to manage their loyalty programs. Pre-ordering is especially popular with Millennials, though many restaurants have not yet taken advantage of this opportunity. Pre-ordering and skipping the line is an attractive option, though for operators it can mean extra labour requirements to have a separate pick-up counter. Digital ordering has a multitude of benefits for operators. Digital orders have a greater number of items per eater, generate a higher check average than other ordering methods and results in greater overall satisfaction. Digital ordering platforms “upsell” automatically on every order, whereas with live employees this is not always the case. BANG FOR THEIR BUCK

All these elements are important to Millennials. But in addition, Millennials want great value. Millennials measure the value provided by restaurants according to the above factors that mean the most to them at the time of their dining experience — whether that is convenience (what they want, where they want and where they want), customization, “tweet”-ability, relevance, ethnicity, healthy ingredients, et h ica l sou rci n g, env i ron ment a l responsibility or technology enabled. Finding the right combination of these factors at the right price is the key to success in attracting this growing and important market segment. More and more, foodservice managers must fully understand their Millennial patrons and their needs and preferences. Such needs and preferences will vary by day part, location and a host of other factors. Foodservice managers must go the extra mile to engage with their Millennial customers, seek out what is important to them and find a way to offer it at a competitive price. Millennials are changing the game in restaurants across North America and casino restaurants are no different. Foodservice managers should take a look at each foodservice operation and determine how they can be made more attractive to Millennials. Oh, and if your foodservice manager is not a Millennial, we suggest they hire a younger person to assist them in this endeavour. Jeff Dover is a Principal with fsSTRATEGY Inc., business strategy consultants to the foodservice industry. Visit us at


MOBILE MARKET Let’s stop talking about Millennials already! BY KARA HOLM

Most everyone we talk to in the casino gaming industry is fatigued with the constant talk of Millennials. But, the apparent obsession and continued discussion are connected to very real business challenges faced by the industry in North America.

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industryperspective THE REAL ISSUES CASINO operators have been trying to address through the focus on Millennials, that speak to the long-term sustainability of the industry, are: Attracting, engaging and retaining new customers; and Activating and engaging infrequent and lapsed players. Millennials have become the scapegoats for the industry’s inability to effectively address these issues. No wonder we’re tired of talking about Millennials — they have been the frustrated focus for our industry for more than five years. MULTIPLE THREATS TO LAND-BASED GAMING

There are multiple threats that challenge the sustainability of the bricks-and-mortar casino industry in Canada, including: Mature gaming market in many Canadian provinces; Over-supply of slot product, particularly when considered in conjunction with VLTs, in many provinces; Strong anti-gaming sentiments in some provinces — compounded by the tentativeness of Crowns and private operators to demonstrate the value of a responsible, accountable industry to the public — have resulted in the erosion of social licence; Misconceptions about the casino entertainment experience among infrequent and lapsed players, and nonpatrons; The rise of online gaming (grey market and legal); Illegal poker and table games across the country is impacting revenue and labour supply; Slow pace of development in casino games, particularly slot machines; Disparate priorities between Crowns and operators: long-term sustainability vs. short term profits; Economic uncertainty impacting disposable income for discretionary spend, including entertainment of all types. RE-ORIENTING THE INDUSTRY: E-GAMING

It is a daunting list, but there is good news for operators, Crown agencies and product manufacturers willing to re-orient their thinking. There is an army of entertainmentseeking consumers active in Canada that are not defined by their age, but rather by their behaviour. Our industry talks about “gaming,” but there is another gaming

industry that exists parallel to casinos, lottery and other games of chance, that presents prospect opportunities – electronic gaming or “e-Gaming” for short. The e-Gaming industry includes three categories of games and gamers: Mobile gaming, which includes games played on smartphones and tablets; Console gaming (xBox, Nintendo, etc.); PC gaming, meaning games played on your personal computer. E-Gaming is big business. The sector in 2016 is estimated to generate $100 billion US in consumer spending. Mobile gaming accounts for 37 per cent of the e-Gaming consumer spend. 2016 is the first year that mobile gaming will outperform the other two categories. This is particularly impactful considering this $37 billion US represents worldwide spending on downloads and in-app purchases or “microtransactions.” For context, global casino revenues were estimated at $183 billion in 2015. WHO IS AN “E-GAMER”?

Now that we understand the scale of the opportunity, how can we relate this to the casino industry in Canada? Is there an audience crossover? We believe the answer is YES and we are especially enthusiastic about the mobile segment of e-Gamers. The e-Gamer is often misunderstood and misidentified. Here are the facts: The average age of an e-Gamer is 31. There are more e-Gamers over the age of 36 than there are gamers between 18 and 35, or under 18. 52 per cent of e-Gamers are men and 48 per cent are women. The average man who plays electronic games is 35 and the average woman is 44.

subscribers and over 10 billion views. KewDiePie comments on the video games he is playing. More people watched the League of Legends championship (the most popular PC video game in the world) than the 2015 World Series. 334 million viewers tuned into the fourweek League of Legends finals period in 2015, up from 288 million viewed the previous year. On average the audience was 4.2 million strong at any given time. THE PROFILE OF E-GAMERS LANDS IN THE SWEET SPOT FOR CASINO OPERATORS

E-Gamers can be seen to have attributes that make them extremely attractive to landbased casino operators. E-Gamers are: Highly social; Men and women; From various generational cohorts, they are not just youth and young adults; Not guaranteed to identify as e-Gamers; Individuals who have money to spend on entertainment and are willing to spend money on smartphone and tablet games ($37 billion!); A group that includes individuals who are currently casino players. In summary — practically everyone is a potential e-Gamer. E-Gaming has been mainstreamed. While e-Gamers used to be a defined subgroup of society (antisocial, basement-dwelling, geeky boys), e-Gaming is now accessed and enjoyed by a majority in our population, and is no longer marginal behaviour.

According to the 2016 Entertainment Software Association’s annual report: 54 per cent of respondents reported playing games with other people, including friends (40 per cent) and family members (21 per cent).

The land-based casino industry in Canada, and elsewhere, must determine how to steal some of this market share. This group of social, connected, entertainment seekers is an important part the future of games of chance, in whatever form they evolve for both land-based and virtual operators. They also represent new potential revenue streams for casino operators beyond traditional casino games.




Young gamers now spend more than twice as much time watching others play electronic games as they spend playing games themselves. According to Business Insider, KewDiePie, a Swedish “vLogger” (video blogger) is the most successful Youtuber in the world. (Can you believe being a Youtuber is a job?) He has over 39 million

The challenge for bricks-and-mortar casino operators who wish to engage with individuals in this market segment who have not yet found their way to casinos continues to be experience, preconceptions, and product. Efforts are being made in Canada to create casino experiences that appeal to a casual/infrequent casino customers who Canadian Gaming Business | 19



are more interested in an entertainment experience than gambling for its own sake. Micro-casino experiences, party pits and e-Sports are appearing at casinos across the country. None of the offered experiences in this country stand out as being effective means of driving gaming revenue; they are tentative steps forward on a long road. Some consumers — including those enthusiastically enjoying e-Games — have an outdated idea of what the casino experience is like. There is a widely held view, validated by research in multiple Canadian jurisdictions, that casinos are full of smoke and old ladies playing reel machines, clutching buckets of coins. Even when casino operators attract new customers to their properties, perhaps to sample entertainment or dining, engaging them with the casino gaming product is challenging – particularly slot machines. CASINO GAME DEVELOPMENT LAGGING BEHIND E-GAMING TRENDS

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Some product manufacturers and international casino entertainment companies are operating in the mobile gaming space. MGM and Caesars Entertainment come to mind, but they are still using the traditional slot experience as the launching point for their smart phone e-games. (They are making money with their games too!) This approach may be successful for established casino customers who cross over into the e-Gaming space, but does not have the necessary appeal to attract new casino customers from the e-Gaming audience. Product manufacturers have been evolving their casino games but progress has been slow. New games featured at Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in September look a lot like the same old slot machines, even when they incorporate skill-based elements or multiplayer opportunities. Some newer manufacturers offer games that look more like arcade games, which may appeal to the console game player. Skill-based games could start to appear in Canada in 2017, as the provinces work through the regulatory approvals. The introduction of these new products may have a positive influence and help operators attract a new audience to casino properties, if executed properly. THE OPPORTUNITY

There is a huge, largely untapped, market consisting of highly social, connected, entertainment-seekers with disposable income.

Millennials as a stand-alone group are not the answer. Operators and Crowns that are taking a long-term view, and considering the industry’s sustainability can look to a group of qualified prospects described in behavioural terms, rather than a broadly defined demographic group. E-Gamers share key characteristics that make them very strong casino prospects: Predisposed to gaming; Spending on entertainment; Social, connected; Experience-seeking. Operators need to consider how to mitigate the challenges that present barriers to engaging with this audience opportunity. This means continuing to refine both gaming and non-gaming experiences at the casino destination (in partnership with game manufacturers). Operators must reach this audience and encourage them to take a fresh look at casinos in Canada. Using the smartphone as a platform for a new type of engagement with e-Gamers could create new revenue opportunities and transform the casino experience. “Gamifying” the casino experience – meaning making all points of contact at the casino property part of the entertainment experience, employing smartphone technology – is an idea worth exploring, in our opinion. Unfortunately, our industry is technology forward but we are not innovative. In Canada, we have observed that there is little appetite for taking risks. Cautious Canadians, accountable to the public, prefer to see how things turn out for someone else before trying something new with the level of commitment required to see if truly works. So, we would like to issue a challenge to the industry. We all understand the issues we face. We all know there is an opportunity, but activating the opportunity requires someone to step ahead of the curve. Who among us will emerge as the leader? Kara Holm is the ExO for Strategic Insights & Application with All-In Gaming & Hospitality Advisory Group Inc., a founding partner of mobile game developer Play the Field and Curator of the blog All-In is an innovative Canadian-based think-tank that offers a unique, all-inclusive perspective that considers the customer, operators, and government agencies and regulators in the delivery of gaming experiences and associated revenues. Web:; email:; phone: (902) 830-4884.

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KEVIN SHEEHAN CEO and President, Scientific Games

Kevin Sheehan joined Scientific Games Corporation as Chief Executive Officer and President in August 2016. Previously he served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Norwegian Cruise Line Holding Ltd., comprised of Norwegian Cruise Line and Prestige Cruises International, Inc., which operates Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas. PRIOR TO NORWEGIAN, Sheehan was with Cendant Corporation. His last role was Chief Executive Officer of Vehicle Services, which included global responsibilities of Avis, Budget, PHH Vehicle Management Services, and Wright Express. His earlier career included nearly 10 years in the media industry. WHAT AREAS OF YOUR ROLE AT SCIENTIFIC GAMES ARE THE MOST CHALLENGING FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ACCOMPLISHING IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

Since joining Scientific Games in August, I have been impressed by the breadth and scope of our business. Getting my arms around all of our products, our extensive customer base, and our many talented team members around the globe takes time. Across the company, we have a solid foundation and significant strengths upon which to build: A robust gaming business with the most comprehensive product offering; the No. 1 position in instant lottery games; and an interactive business growing faster than the market. But, it’s time to transform the way we operate. We need to create a simpler and more efficient organization, streamlining the way we get things done. Our priorities are driving further innovation to create new, 22 |  Winter 2016/2017

differentiated products for our customers; focusing on prudent fiscal management to improve financial returns and free cash flow to accelerate deleveraging; and building a corporate culture open to new ideas and opportunities. WHAT ARE THE MOST PERSONALLY REWARDING ASPECTS OF WORKING IN A LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY AND WHY?

What I find most rewarding about being the CEO of Scientific Games in this vibrant industry is meeting our customers, helping find ways to solve their problems or enhance their operations, and leading our talented global employee team. I also love coming into a company like Scientific Games that already has great momentum and incredible innovation, and working with the team to further improve our business. We’re prioritizing our business strategies and strengthening the company to accelerate long-term growth.



I came to Scientific Games from Norwegian Cruise Line, where I was their CEO and President for seven years. Through fiscal prudence, we expanded our margins, generating year-over-year increases in EBITDA and operating margin for 26 consecutive quarters. My more than 30 years in senior leadership for large, global companies has given me incredible experience and insights. I believe that you have to instill an entrepreneur’s mentality across your culture, so that each employee feels like they are working for their own company and constantly finds ways to do things better. And it is not only about process improvement, but innovative ideas and a strong operational focus built upon our strengths, boosting the customer experience and, very importantly, increasing our revenue growth rate. I’m excited to drive Scientific Games into the next chapter in our success. We have strong momentum and are laser-focused on innovation and customer partnership. And without a doubt, our workforce is the most talented and passionate out there. WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF SCIENTIFIC GAMES AND ITS ROLE IN THE NORTH AMERICAN GAMING COMMUNITY, PARTICULARLY CANADA?

We have great momentum in North America, with leadership positions in slots, electronic table games, systems, utilities, instant games, and proprietary table games. Canada has been a terrific market and will continue to generate lots of opportunities. Our vision is to ensure that we have a product portfolio that appeals to all player demographics, but especially the emerging Millennial and Digital Native generations. As Canada continues to evolve, the health of the industry will be measured by younger players’ embracing gaming as a form of entertainment. Crown organizations are looking for innovative gaming products that will provide an engaging and rewarding experience. Some of the ways we are already addressing this is through community-style products such as our PRIZM Game Table™ and Stadium Blackjack™; highly innovative slot cabinets such as Gamescape™; our first skill-based game SPACE INVADERS™; and the omni-channel launch of CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’S KOOZA™, which we’ll launch in Canada with BCLC and Lotto Quebec simultaneously as a lottery instant game, slot game, and online game. Responsible gaming is also important to our Canadian customers, and we offer a pre-commitment solution through our casino-management systems. Maintaining and increasing player loyalty is also key in the competitive Canada gaming landscape, so we offer a groundbreaking systems-based playerloyalty solution (Power Loyalty™) which enables patrons to redeem loyalty club card points at neighboring businesses – supporting the communities and giving players many different types of ways to redeem their rewards. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ARE THE GREATEST GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES FOR GAMING IN NORTH AMERICA AND WHY?

Much like the United States, many of the slot cabinets on casino floors in Canada are quite outdated. We pride ourselves on

being at the forefront of hardware innovation and have a host of trailblazing new platforms to add significant player appeal. Our new TwinStar™ family, for example, supports Bally, Shuffle Master®, and WMS® content in upright, spinning reel, and a new curved portrait-style format in the TwinStar J43 which enables leading-edge graphics and game content. We’re excited to partner with Canada’s lottery corporations to update their floors. There are also video lottery terminal (VLT) replacement opportunities, and we provide a range of cabinets that offer features never before available in VLT terminals — delivering an exceptional player experience. Scientific Games is launching a new VLT cabinet for the Canadian market in early 2017, and we are also talking to our VLT customers about ticket-in/ ticket-out, wide-area progressives and other opportunities to revolutionize this segment of the market. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE GREATEST CHALLENGES FACING THE NORTH AMERICAN GAMING INDUSTRY TODAY?

I think the biggest challenge is the ever-evolving consumer and keeping pace with their demands, expectations, and desires. Not only is our industry competing against a myriad of other forms of entertainment, but we are designing games for four different generations including the much-discussed Millennials. The approach to this has to be multi-pronged, but of course innovation is key. You have to stay at the forefront of what’s next, and that means focusing on mobile, online, cashless and social and developing games that are highly engaging and interactive with cross-generational appeal. With over 40 per cent of our workforce or more than 3,000 team members focused on innovation, these challenges are constantly top of mind. WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF SCIENTIFIC GAMES’ MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND HOW DO YOU THINK THESE DEVELOPMENTS WILL IMPACT THE GAMING INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE?

It’s been a busy several months since I joined Scientific Games in August. We are moving forward with our acquisition of Canadian company DEQ Systems, adding to our portfolio of proprietary table games and table game progressives. This is an exciting and growing part of our business. And we designated our social gaming business as an unrestricted subsidiary, which opens up great potential and enables us to grow our social gaming business at an even faster pace if the right opportunity presents itself. WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY FOR ENSURING THE BEST GAMING EXPERIENCE FOR THE GAMING CONSUMER, GOVERNMENT STAKEHOLDERS AND THE GAMING COMMUNITY?

My philosophy for ensuring the best gaming experience for consumers is simple: listen, listen, and listen more closely. We have so many terrific partners in our industry – casino operators, lottery corporations, regulators, suppliers, shareholders and trusted advisors. We have to take the opportunity as often as possible to find out what our customers’ pain points are and how we can help solve their problems, drive more revenue, and make their business more efficient and profitable. We also have to stay at the forefront of what’s next, with a keen eye on emerging, innovative and disruptive technologies. Canadian Gaming Business | 23




Leveraging the entertainment value of Canadian gaming facilities As entertainment continues to play an increasingly important role throughout Canada’s gaming facilities, operators are faced with the ongoing challenge of not only retaining a dwindling and aging gaming customer base, but on expanding their offerings to appeal to wider demographic segments. Canadian Gaming Business recently asked a number of Canadian gaming operators to provide their perspective on how the industry can best leverage the entertainment value of their facilities in 2017 and beyond. Participants:

Brad Desmarais, Vice President, Casino and Community Gaming — British Columbia Lottery Corporation

Tannis Butters, Director, Marketing; Wayne Perfumo, Vice President, Hospitality and Entertainment Services; Casey Van Den Bosch, Marketing Manager, eGaming — Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries


casino industry face as a whole: Attracting light and casual players, retaining loyal players and positioning casinos as entertainment venues. Attracting new or light and casual players while retaining our loyal customers has always been a challenge that requires delicate balance. At BCLC we manage this balance through investing in timely marketing and promotional campaigns, supporting renovations of facilities through our commission structure, conducting product and game refreshes for different players and adding new equipment featuring the latest exciting technologies. All this goes hand-in-hand with positioning our

24 |  Winter 2016/2017

John Drake, President & CEO — Casino Rama Resort

John Siscos, Director, Communications — Woodbine Entertainment Group

facilities as entertainment venues with modern quality dining options, lounges and live entertainment. John Drake: Reaching potential new customers and getting them

to understand that we’re more than just the gaming floor — we’re a resort. People’s natural instinct is to think slots and table games when the word casino is mentioned. However we are a full resort experience and it’s the primary reason why we changed our name to Casino Rama Resort. To support this position we’ve enhanced our brand messaging to showcase our property and amenities including our luxury, all-suite hotel, full-service spa, eight unique dining options and diverse entertainment calendar – Welcome the Great Indoors, Welcome to Casino Rama Resort. So now when people are thinking of things to do, or places for a getaway or miniretreat, they can think of us. At the Great Indoors no two visits have to be the same. One night you can see country superstars Rascal Flatts and have dinner at our steakhouse St. Germain’s, while the next trip you can enjoy a spa-day that starts with brunch


at Couchiching Court and ends with a live performance from the hit TV show Dancing With the Stars. Wayne Perfumo: One of the biggest challenges is ensuring that our

Club Regent Event Centre continues to generate a profit. This is especially challenging when there’s a value gap between the Canadian and U.S. dollar and we’re trying to procure a number of U.S. based shows. We also try to create a balance between booking live performances and making the venue available for galas, weddings, holidays or corporate events where prime time space is often in demand by clients. Fortunately, the Club Regent Event Centre is a multi-configurable space that incorporates a Gala floor system that can transform from a 1,400-seat theatre to flat or tiered banquet space within about eight minutes. This affords our Entertainment team tremendous flexibility to adapt to a variety of live performances as well as accommodate all types of banquet and gala configurations.

John Siscos: Broadening our Woodbine and Mohawk brands will

be critical for us going forward. The pending gaming expansion will help, but we must go beyond that. We can’t ignore the data coming from the Las Vegas strip where revenue is now 60-40 in favour of non-gaming related commerce versus gaming. That’s a challenge for all of us in the horse racing and gaming industries, so a paradigm shift in our strategic thinking is vital.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE GREATEST OPPORTUNITIES FOR GAMING ORGANIZATIONS AS A RESULT OF THE EXPANSION OF ENTERTAINMENT OPTIONS AND WHY? BD: I see two great opportunities. Expanding our entertainment venues to include non-gaming options allows us to reach a wider and more diverse customer base and will go towards a long-term strategy to managing the growth and sustainability of our business. Second of all, offering a variety of amenities gives our players the opportunity to balance their gambling with other forms of entertainment, which is one of the key tips from our responsible gambling program, GameSense. At BCLC, we continue to invest in responsible gambling programs because we believe it’s the right thing to do and it can support and enhance the casino industry’s reputation as a whole. JD: Gaming organizations that position themselves as

entertainment and leisure destinations will be better able to expand into further entertainment options. As well, they will be perceived as more innovative and interesting to existing and new audiences. With the expansion of other amenities, these entertainment options will provide an enhanced customer experience and new revenue streams. Regional gaming operators need to be prepared for the time when non-gaming spend begins to catch up to gaming spend; and creating enhanced entertainment experiences is just one part of the process.

WP: Shows can be targeted to a variety of demographics which

allows the casino to drive traffic to the gaming floor during specific periods depending on the types of entertainment offered. In our entertainment market, we also calendar share with other local

venues regarding shows/events and on-sale dates to maximize our entertainment impact. We also cross-advertise each other’s shows at our venues to grow the audience for live entertainment in Winnipeg. In addition, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries has also partnered with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra to present a series of successful community-based concerts at our Event Centre. Similarly, if we can build a relationship with other casinos and gaming jurisdictions and possibly form an association to discuss common ideas and strategies such as coordinated buys of touring acts then everyone would benefit financially. As it is, each casino often pays a different price for the same act based on the negotiation between an agency, artist and casino. JS: Our situation is quite unique. Horse racing is a very distinctive

offering for customers, particularly in urban areas. It’s an asset that provides us with great opportunities to package other familiar experiences (gaming, entertainment, etc.) to attract guests that wouldn’t necessarily have Woodbine on their radar. This bundling offers terrific value to the customer, something that continues to be been demanded by horse racing fans in our experience. Packaging and offering entertainment value across all customer segments also continues to be an opportunity for gaming industry.

HOW MUST GAMING ORGANIZATIONS CONTINUE TO EVOLVE IN ORDER TO ADDRESS CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS AND CUSTOMER PREFERENCES? BD: Speed to market is so important in such a dynamic and competitive entertainment industry. At BCLC, our improved speed-to-market initiative has resulted in a 42-per-cent decrease in the time it takes for a new game to go through internal quality assurance and move onto the gaming floor. This means we can deliver more equipment in a shorter period of time so our players have access to a steady stream of new and innovative games. Combined with timely innovative marketing and promotional campaigns, this strategy has been very effective in giving the light and casual segment reason to visit our facilities and also retain our loyal customers who enjoy the experience and look forward to more exciting and new games. JD: Understanding what makes customer segments like

Millennials and Boomers tick is key: What interests them, what motivates them and how can we meet their needs and expectations. It’s no different than gaining a better understanding of your premium VIP players and what special triggers or experiences makes them want to come to your property more often. For Millennials, they are social, interactive, experiential and technically savvy. So introducing skill-based gaming in a friendlier, inviting and social setting would certainly appeal to that base of customers. From a programming standpoint it’s all about understanding the entertainment they like, what artists and celebrities they follow, what unique events can we host, and how can we package a night out, or a getaway for couples or a group of friends looking for a good time.

WP: Shows can be procured to appeal to various demographics.

Floor bar music, food and beverages can also be themed to a

Canadian Gaming Business | 25

industryq&a show to assist with the overall experience being targeted and maintained prior to and after the shows, which will increase the customer time onsite. The casino must be able to transition promotions, sound, lighting, entertainment, food, beverages and gaming based on time of day or day of week to appeal to various demographics. JS: We’ll need to provide distinct areas for each at the same

property. Racing and gaming does have charm across all demographics, but we can’t think we can appeal to each segment with the exact same offering at Woodbine and Mohawk. We need to keep the core customer happy and attract new customers in a way that they feel comfortable, specifically being around other like people and in places they want to be seen.


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Technology that counts. 26 |  Winter 2016/2017

campaigns are becoming increasingly vital components of our casino marketing plans. From the land-based casino perspective, today these mediums are primarily utilized to draw attention to gaming promotions, upcoming entertainment and current food and beverage offerings, as well as online contest opportunities designed to increase followers and engagement. Online and social media marketing allows for better targeting and campaign measurement over some traditional media types, which helps the marketing team direct budget dollars more effectively. Providing the marketing team with ongoing education regarding digital marketing strategies will be key to staying abreast of new developments to further leverage market opportunities. Off-line games and offerings will continue to be important – they create great live gaming experiences, which is what many customers want. However, we expect to see online offerings continue to grow as we provide a more robust and seamless experience. New online game options with networked jackpots and bonus rounds will give players more of a sense of playing along with others not only online but by being linked to live casinos too. Online gaming operators will need to work in close collaboration with technology providers in order to keep current players interested and draw new players to the site. Social media and other customer interactions will help ensure we are delivering what customers want.

BD: Technology is changing the way our customers want to do

business with us. They want a seamless experience whether they buy lottery, bet in a casino or play online. Our key differentiator as a business is that we are in all channels and we are in the unique position to be able to offer dynamic entertainment experiences across omni-channels. An example of this is our recent launch of Powerbucks, North America’s first progressive prize pool jackpot linked through slot games on multiple gaming channels such as land-based gaming facilities and online on PlayNow. com in Canada. Powerbucks has proven to be a very successful omni-channel initiative and we foresee more omni-channel opportunities in the future that could integrate new games or promotions to complement existing experiences across all our


“Technology is changing the way our customers want to do business with us. They want a seamless experience whether they buy lottery, bet in a casino or play online.” — Brad Desmarais gaming channels. There is great value in increasing collaboration across our business internally, whether it’s marketing, operations or other teams, or externally with other jurisdictions, to support the move towards omni- or multi-channel experiences, and better serve the needs of our players.

to date and continually evolve with ever-changing technology trends. Applying forward thinking is critical to delivering what today’s customer wants and needs and being prepared to do the same for tomorrow’s customers.

JD: We’ve already started to see the shift from traditional advertising

to all segments to the same degree, customers already expect that their experiences will include some of the latest technologies and our property and related offerings will have to constantly evolve to meet those needs. We expect customers will want to use their own devices and that it is expected that the lines will blur between online and onsite experiences as it relates to horse race betting and gaming aspects. The traditional on-site terminals will likely be replaced partially or entirely by smartphones and tablets. The experiences on-site are likely to be enhanced by the integration of the two devices.

to online and social media. Nowadays, everyone has a smartphone or a tablet, so it’s the most effective way to communicate with your customers — whether it’s through email, text, social media or interactive content. And further to that, today’s generation who are tech savvy are looking for convenience, so being able to deliver that in a mobile setting can provide value to them. There’s no longer a need to wait in line, or get put on hold when you can book your offers, make a reservation, or check your points with the touch of a finger. Operators need to keep their systems up

JS: While certain technologies won’t necessarily apply the same




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Primed for a power play in next generation product

Leading game developer and supplier Konami combines its proven casino technology and consumer entertainment legacy to pioneer future product RECORD EXPANSION

Just one year after the expansion of its Las Vegas headquarters, Konami is expanding its product portfolio with record R&D resources, creativity, ingenuity, and engineering. According to Steve Sutherland, Chief Executive Officer and President: “The building project more than doubled the size of our facility, with a focus on increasing our R&D capacity specifically. We’re already seeing the central benefit to our product pipeline. Our latest developments spanning new multi-station 28 |  Winter 2016/2017

concepts and skill-based products are a strong demonstration of what our team can bring to market. As our core product offering has also expanded to new formats, our team has the necessary development bandwidth to support each release.” Pe r h a p s t h e m o s t i m m e d i a t e example of Konami’s R&D ramp-up is its Concerto Collection. It takes the proven elements of the Concerto upright, and brings it to a variety of new video slot formats including Concerto

Slant, Concerto SeleXion multi-game, and single screen cabinets Concerto Stack and curved Concerto Crescent. “Our original Concerto upright arrived to the market just over a year ago and has seen strong success across Canada, the U.S., and abroad. We expanded on this foundation to build a complete collection, providing our customers with proven Konami game content on a variety of form factors, so they can diversify their casino offering and reach different player types,” said Sutherland. “When you look at the


landscape of any casino floor, operators have an intended purpose behind each space. Different slot types have different roles and we want to empower our customers with flexibility and diversity to optimize each space with a variety of Konami products.” FIRM FOUNDATION

Before such successes as the limitedrelease Titan 360 multi-station, Rapid Revolver video-mechanical hybrid, and its leading SeleXion multi-game technology, Konami’s greatest source of momentum over the past decade would likely be attributed to the core cabinet that preceded Concerto: Podium. Beyond the hardware advancements applicable to the time, Podium is also recognized in the industry for its quality. The machine in many ways solidified Konami’s leadership in product quality and reliability. “In recent years, much of what we hear from casino operators is that they trust our strong product quality and performance— they just wish they had a larger mix of Konami machine types to bring to their property,” said Sutherland. “This became a core focus of our strategy moving forward as we ramped up development of the Concerto core lineup.” As Konami’s product offering is expanding to new formats, its R&D made it a priority to support each release with a stable, robust content library. According to Sutherland, “it’s a responsible, measured release—in keeping with our typical practice. We maintain a robust development pipeline, while expecting top quality.”


For years Konami has been active in advancing Canada’s gaming market specifically. The Canadian market has been a key focus in Konami’s development spanning games and systems technology through continued collaborative efforts. “At Konami we place a strong emphasis on customer feedback and I can honestly say that our engineers, designers, and developers are introducing new advancements daily based on the comments and communication we receive from operators throughout Canada and abroad,” said Sutherland. “Canada is home to some of the industry’s top professionals and we keep the lines of communication open so the market can be supported by leadingedge development.” K on a m i ’s S Y N K R O S c a s i n o management system has seen particular inf luence from the insights of its casino partners. Best known for its reliability, marketing tools, and robust data, SYNKROS carries an inherent architectural agility to realize the latest systems tools and features to power new benefits for casinos and their customers. “We’re always pushing the envelope to bring our SY NKROS customers the latest technology. Minimally, on an annual basis we make our newest version update available to all users, so they have access to the most recent advancements,” Sutherland said. BORN FROM FUN

Konami’s “Born from Fun” tagline shows more relevance today than perhaps any time previous. As the casino

division of KONAMI HOLDINGS C OR P OR AT ION i n Japa n , t he company comes from a vast legacy of innovative entertainment and decadeslong proven popularity worldwide. Considering its connections include everything from Metal Gear Solid to Dance Dance Revolution, Yu-Gi-Oh! to Pro Evolution Soccer, Konami has access to tremendous mechanical, software, and hardware engineering resources to power next generation gaming product. “The technology and development resources we have from our parent company in Japan are best-of-breed, and as we bring those advancements to the casino gaming industry, we see new entertainment that’s completely unique to Konami, like Titan 360, and now Fortune Cup and Beat Square,” said Sutherland. Konami’s new multi-station horse racing game Fortune Cup, Crystal Cyclone multi-station slot, skill-based Frogger: Get Hoppin’, and rhythmic dex terit y sk ill game Beat Square, each demonstrate the company’s core creative power and potential to bring new gaming entertainment styles to the market. “Konami’s legacy in video game and arcade development puts our business in a special position to make next generation skill-based and multistation a reality for casinos and players,” said Sutherland. “And our Las Vegas expansion strategically provides our operations with the R&D bandwidth and momentum to deliver these all-new gambling styles to today’s markets.”

Canadian Gaming Business | 29


THE ATTRACTOR FACTOR The expansion of casino amenities can open untapped markets


30 |  Winter 2016/2017 30 | Winter


In the past, expanding casino amenities was usually done for two primary reasons: 1) To attract players from a competitive property; or 2) to retain and increase the satisfaction of existing players, generate more trips or hold players on property longer. Today, we should consider a third reason: To attract entertainment seekers and non-players to the casino and open new markets. UNTIL TODAY, attracting entertainment seekers and non-players has usually been a low priority as it was often too expensive to do, it took too long to nurture them and they provided low economic returns. The argument was that we could never get them to play on the casino f loor — understandable given that gambling was our only product. The casino industry is being forced to re-think some of its past assumptions and models. We used to wait for new customers to “age” into our demographic sweet spot and that kept the player pipeline f illed. T h at ’s not h appen i n g a ny more. Market share gains came from our competitors based on formulas we k new would incentivize players to switch, but our margins are getting thinner and there aren’t as many of those dollars available any more. REDEFINING THE CUSTOMER

So how do we keep the casino customer pipeline f illed? Well, we might have to re-think our definition of a casino customer. Consider this statement published in the Harvard Business Review in 2004: “Industries and business change when they are threatened; until that happens very little changes.” The threat to the casino industry is the shift away from land-based g a ming by young er population segments and the tracking suggests they have little future interest in casino gaming. Additional threats come from increased competition

(there are now over 1,000 casinos in North A merica) plus competition f rom t he proli ferat ion of on li ne casinos and, lastly, player attrition due to changing age demographics. But t here’s a lso a m ac ro ch a n g e o cc u r r i n g a c ross A L L con su mer sectors, gaming included, and it has to do w ith the overall purchasing behaviour of consumers. SEEKING VALUE

Tr e n d s i n d i c a t e c o n s u m e r s a r e rationalizing the “value” for almost ever y thing they consume and this isn’t just concentrated among Millennials and Gen Y ’s. It doesn’t mean that consumers are demanding more st u f f (a lt houg h somet i mes it feels that way), but that they are researching and thinking more about what they spend their money on and applying some measure of value to their spending. Non-players don’t see casino gaming as providing sufficient entertainment value for the money. However, the new suite of amenities being built at casinos could change that. In a recent 2016 IPSOS research study (an article appeared in Canadian Gaming Business titled “Not Your Grandpa’s Casino”) some of the top barriers to visiting a casino by NonCasino Players and Millennials were: • “Playing casino games is not good use of money.” • “I would rather take part in other forms of entertainment.” Clearly these groups have low interest

in casino games, but IPSOS posed the question whether amenities could be used to attract non-player casino customers and even Millennials to a casino? INCREASING AWARENESS

I f m a r k e t e d a s “ v a lu e fo r t h ei r entertainment dollar” there is reason to believe in revenue potential here. IPSOS noted the effect that a lack of marketing and advertising has on customer awareness of amenities. When non-players were surveyed for


their awareness of casino amenities, one casino with 12 amenities saw 66 per cent of non-player respondents indicate they were not aware of any amenities at the casino and at another casino with 19 amenities, 51 per cent of respondents had zero awareness. But simple awareness isn’t the answer either. It’s going to take some time for

people to shift their perceptions of what a casino is. To many people casinos are all about gambling and they don’t link gambling to entertainment. But with the abundance of restaurant choices, spas, hotels and entertainment centres, casinos can offer a diverse entertainment experience and make that link. Using these assets to connect to new audiences

in the form of small events like cooking classes, scotch tastings, wine education, wellness seminars or other small events can attract non-players and Millennials and provide “value for money.” It’s marketing’s job to change perceptions of what a casino is and how it fits into a customer’s entertainment portfolio by focusing on value and entertainment options — in other words, a refined definition of what a casino is. And yes, I recognize we are not only talking about a marketing shift but also a business shift. We aren’t just competing with other casinos for our share of the gaming customer; this is an opportunity to compete for our share of any customer’s entertainment wallet. ADAPTABILITY IS KEY

47 years old, male.

Has 3 casino rewards cards.

He’s not loyal to any of them because he gets the same offers from all of them.

We know your pain. We understand the challenges of your industry. But we also know your customers. And we can help you connect with them better than any other communications company. So if you’re looking for the most experienced casino marketing agency in Canada, give us a call.

Businesses pivot and shift all the time when threatened. When Starbucks first started its business it only sold espresso makers and coffee beans. They did well but Howard Shultz realized this business model wouldn’t scale well. So after a trip to Italy, he became inspired to shift Starbucks to a coffee brewer and café-style company. That worked out nicely. Even Wrigley didn’t always sell gum. In fact when William Wrigley Jr. moved to Chicago and worked as a soap and baking powder salesman, he got the idea of offering free chewing gum with his household products. Eventually the gum proved to be more popular than his products. Of course Wrigley went on to manufacture his own chewing gum brands and today the company grosses billions in revenue and is one of the most recognizable brands in American history. Building and designing new amenities is an opportunity for the casino industry to address a market it has historically avoided. It’s an opportunity to change perceptions among an impor t ant new audience component of their entertainment portfolio. It will require a shift in marketing, not away from gaming but “in addition” to gaming and it will take patience, because behavioural change doesn’t happen overnight.

We’re here to help.

32 |  Winter 2016/2017

Jim Kabrajee is the CEO of Marshall Fenn Communi cations, a marketing agency in Toronto specializing in casino marketing. Jim can be contacted at jimk@

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How to select the right Internal Audit model for your organization BY NAV SANDHAWALIA AND TERRY MCINALLY INTERNAL AUDIT (IA) should be a central component to an organization’s overall business model. Internal audit not only provides assurance to senior leadership that their organization’s governance, internal control processes and risk management practices are operating effectively, but can also be leveraged to seek efficiencies within the business (i.e. a proactive management tool). Now, we are not here to discuss the role of IA or what its mandate should be; rather, we’re discussing the various structural operating models available for organizations to utilize. Let’s look at the three models used most by organizations: CHARACTERISTICS

often tougher to assess. Qualitative factors can include, among others: the number of geographic locations; level of M&A activity; complexity of business processes and the supporting IT systems; and the magnitude of regulatory oversight (which is obviously high within the gaming industry). To summarize each model and determine which type is best for implementing within your organization, we’ve created a quick snapshot of characteristics of each for you to consider: IN-HOUSE



Institutional knowledge retained




Ability to leverage existing internal relationships




Flexibility of staffing model




Cost efficiency (e.g. creation of variable cost centre)




Access to subject matter experts




Knowledge transfer to existing staff




Access to emerging best practices and knowledge




In-house: The IA group consists entirely of employees within the organization; this includes ownership of all methodologies, technology, and knowledge. Co-sourced: The IA group consists of a combination of an organization’s employees and personnel (as needed) from a thirdparty provider; this may also include access to other benefits such as the third party’s methodologies, technology, and knowledge. Out-sourced: The IA group consists only of personnel from a third-party provider, including access to all methodologies, technology, and knowledge. So how is an organization supposed to choose? Having worked with a wide array of gaming organizations globally, we know that there are a number of qualitative and quantitative factors which need to be considered, and there is definitely no one-size-fits-all solution. Regardless of the size, whether a multinational operating in multiple jurisdictions or a single-product gaming entity supplying only one region, organizations should evaluate each to decide which model is best for their needs. Quantitative advantages or disadvantages are usually the easiest to comprehend. Any CFO should be able to list out the specific cost impact of each option. Qualitative factors are

One thing to keep in mind is that an internal audit model needs to fit the organization, rather than the other way around. An IA model should be regularly assessed as your organization grows, matures, and/or changes. Too often organizations become comfortable with how things have always been done and we find this can often lead to an ineffective IA function. We suggest that our clients consider adding the topic to their Board of Directors or Audit Committee meetings annually, in order to assess the effectiveness of their current approach. Now we know that choosing the right internal audit model may not be as easy as purchasing a lottery ticket, but the odds that it pays out are likely much higher. Nav Sandhawalia is a Vice President with Richter and can be reached at Terry McInally is a Partner with Richter and can be reached at Founded in 1926, Richter is an audit, tax, wealth management and consulting firm with a dedicated gaming industry offering focusing on supporting regulators, operators, and the broader private sector. Richter has offices in Montreal and Toronto. Canadian Gaming Business | 33


G2E 2016 E-sports, Soup Nazis and the Video-Gamification of Casinos BY ROBERTO COPPOLA

Jerry Seinfeld once said, “98 per cent of all human endeavour is killing time.” In the gaming industry we largely sell our own such narrative, attempting to sway people to spend their time and money with what we have to offer. With an ever-growing number of indirect competitors vying for the same finite attention from today’s consumer, the stakes have never been higher for gaming businesses to evolve and innovate. AT THIS YEAR’S Global Gaming Exposition (G2E) more than 25,000 attendees were exposed to a myriad of product and service offerings from more than 400 exhibitors attempting to answer that very challenge. The results, from this writer’s perspective, were mixed. RACING GAMES DEBUT

On the more innovative side of things, companies like Gamblit and Competition Interactive rolled out impressive new games aimed at driving incremental revenue (read: “Millennials”) for casino operators. Gamblit’s new G-Sports platform featured Road Redemption – a Mad Max 34 |  Winter 2016/2017

style motorcycle racing game that allows players to earn money by completing races and doing all sorts of violent things to one’s opponents (virtually, of course). Competition Interactive, a new game design studio backed by famed casino architect Paul Steelman, debuted Running Rich Racing at G2E. The game is a cartoon-like multi-player kart-racing experience where racers battle for cash on different courses based on modern spins of classic fairytales. Both Road Redemption and Running Rich Racing play like something you’d expect to find in a modern arcade and are “skill-based” (the second most bemoaned term for our

industry of 2016), which the research that goes into these types of things indicates is something of great interest to their target demographic (Millennials – the most bemoaned word of 2016 for our industry – who currently visit casinos more than any other age group). D espit e one’s opi n ion s of t he terminology, the “video-gamification” of casino floor zones is an important trend to monitor. If Gamblit in particular finds success in the market, it could open the floodgates for this type of content and perhaps foster innovation aimed more broadly at not only younger consumers, but current gamblers too.

industryevents THE RISE OF E-SPORTS

The emergence of e-Sports, which was also much discussed and dissected at G2E, is another important new gambling category to take notice of. If you don’t know what Twitch is and/or don’t have a PS4 entertainment console at home (or in your office), now is the time to make that investment to understand this new trend, which has become one of the hottest topics in the gaming industry. E-Sports, expected to approach $2 billion in global revenue by 2018, is basically competitive video game playing that often takes places in arenas or other public venues. E-Sports events typically feature teams of players who participate in competitions of popular games such as League of Legends (Riot Games), CounterStrike (Valve), Call of Duty (Activision) or Hearthstone (Blizzard Entertainment). In April, Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas played host to a League of Legends tournament that attracted 15,000 spectators who watched the winning team collect a $1 million grand prize. The Downtown Grand, also in Las Vegas, features a dedicated e-Sports zone, which has been highly successful for the casino operator. The Downtown Grand’s successful zone has also paved the way for a new 15,000-square-foot, 500-seat arena nearby that will exclusively host e-Sports events. With the expected proliferation of dedicated zones within casinos and gambling platforms such as that of market leader Unikrn, e-Sports is an emerging market segment to keep an eye on. Several years ago, I remember a consumer “shop-a-long” that I was involved with whereby a research participant was asked to walk through a casino floor and discuss her thought process as she made various decisions throughout the day. One comment that stuck with me was when she said, “It’s kind of weird that they have obviously put a lot of time and energy into developing a beautiful, classy space – only to have it sort of ruined with all these loud, tacky displays of old movies and TV shows on the slot machines; it’s like a graveyard of DVDs that overflow the on-sale bin at Wal-Mart.” LOSING RELEVANCE?

Among the many takeaways at G2E, it seemed obvious to this writer that the importance of licensed content, from old movies and television shows – with slot machines in particular – has largely lost its relevance and ability to impress modern consumers, at least as it pertains to the ways in which licensed content continues to be

utilized by slot manufacturers – typically as just a “re-skin” of an otherwise generic and familiar game mechanic. Many of the higher-frequency slot players, research data tells us, feel licensed games “pay worse” because of the widely held view regular players (aka “locals”) have that they are subsidizing the costs of the brand license. And of course most casino operators don’t like the participation model that many of these licensed slot games come with. More to the point though, licensing has become a crutch that has hindered innovation in game design and, as a byproduct, player experience. Sure, there are other issues that hamper the modernization of slots, such as regulatory challenges, but the continued over-reliance on a new brand association as somehow demonstrative of a manufacturer’s solution for future-proofing gaming floors or being (cringe) “disruptive” needs to be abandoned. At G2E Scientific Games rolled out a Seinfeld skinned slot machine. “Great TV show, but who cares?” was a reaction this writer heard while attempting to catch a glimpse of the “Soup Nazi” character in their booth at the show. To be fair, Sci Games was hardly alone. Yawn. CITES LACK OF INNOVATION

UNLV’s Centre for Gaming Innovation featured a series of lectures and demonstrations at G2E. One of them was by the centre’s Executive Director, Dr. Mark Yoseloff – former Chairman and CEO of Shuffle Master – who made a presentation that was very critical of manufacturers, essentially saying there has been no true innovation within the gaming industry in decades. As an admirer and former student of Dr. Yoseloff’s (and someone with two eyes and a brain) it’s not a difficult leap to see his point. Outside of our industry’s bubble however, it’s a completely different story where just about everything we do has changed due to do dramatic leaps in technology and the efforts of “disruptive” innovators. We as an industry must

challenge ourselves to find truly innovative ways to create new gamblers, beyond tweaks here and there that attempt to move an existing slot player from machine A to machine B. The behaviours, preferences and expectations of today’s consumers – your customers – are increasingly motivated by the pursuit of unique and authentic experiences, within just about everything they consume. As competition for casino operators today includes non-gaming establishments, home entertainment and an incalculable number of smartphone apps, it’s not enough to be a slight variation of what was offered in the past. We must truly focus on being innovative and offering exclusive experiences our guests will be willing to pay for. How we t h i n k a b o u t f u t u r e proofing our industry was a key thread throughout G2E this year, as it is (and should be) every year. Increasingly, the stakes are getting higher. If we can’t innovate fast enough, at risk is our very industry itself. If another disruptive force is able to better serve the desires of the customers we covet and our industry’s annual innovation exhibition continues to mainly be “a show about nothing,” it could some day in the not too distant future be “no soup for you!” (too). Roberto Coppola is a Las Vegas based gaming industry veteran. He has worked on multiple sides of the industry, with a particular focus on market and consumer insights as a means to drive innovation within gaming organizations and endeavors. Roberto recently began a new role as Vice President of Advanced Products at Aristocrat. Roberto holds a BA in English Literature from The George Washington University and an MBA, with a focus on the business of entertainment, from the University of Southern California. While at GW, Roberto was also an intern at The White House. At G2E, Roberto debuted a table game concept he invented called “Chinese War” which will premiere at a Las Vegas casino in January. For more information on the game visit Canadian Gaming Business | 35



Responsible Gambling takes centre stage at 5th annual conference BY SARAH MORRIS

How can gender, culture and ethnic background affect a gambler’s behaviour? Does access to game information lead to changes in play? What are the impacts of social media on gambling? What’s new in the world of skill-based gambling? THESE ARE just some of the questions and topics that will take centre stage at the fifth annual New Horizons in Responsible Gambling Conference from February 20-22, 2017 in scenic Vancouver, B.C. Proudly hosted by BCLC, the conference has quickly b ecome one of t he most h ig h ly regarded conferences of its kind in North America. The 2017 conference has, once again, attracted an impressive lineup of thought leaders and industry experts, showcasing innovative approaches and 36 |  Winter 2016/2017

new research into responsible gambling policy, treatment and prevention. The speaker lineup is highlighted by this year’s key note, Marg aret Trudeau. Mother of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, she is a Canadian icon, celebrated both for her role in the public eye and as a respected mental-health issues advocate. “On behalf of all of us at BCLC, I am ex tremely proud to lead the conversation on responsible gambling,” says Jim Lightbody, President and CEO of BCLC. “With the current pace

of technology, trends and research, so much has changed since we first launched this initiative. New Horizons has rapidly become an essential event for those in the problem and responsible gambling fields. The more we know, the better equipped we are to support our players in making healthy decisions when it comes to gambling.” Over two days, the conference unites academics, students, and leaders to hear from industry professionals and discuss compelling breakthroughs in responsible gambling practices, across


various disciplines. New Horizons provides an opportunity for those in the responsible gaming field to discuss and learn more about gambling, problem gambling, public health, and alternatives to providing healthier approaches to gaming. Held on the downtown waterfront of Vancouver at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, delegates have access to the city’s world-renowned sights and attractions. For attendees, New Horizons in Responsible Gambling can inform and inspire, and present new solutions to long-standing issues. For presenters and sponsors, the conference is an unmatched opportunity to make an impact on the future of the industry. “I encourage you to take part, either as a delegate, presenter or sponsor, and join our growing community of industry professionals, treatment providers, researchers, educators, and prevention specialists,” adds Lightbody. “As a socially responsible gambling organization, BCLC is dedicated to supporting new research, learnings, and approaches to responsible gambling. The New Horizons in Responsible Gambling conference really is our pre-eminent event to further that commitment.”

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Canadian Gaming Business | 37


Stay informed and up to date on the 2017 New Horizons in Responsible Gambling Conference by visiting, and follow us on Twitter @BCLC, #HorizonsRG Registration/Early Bird Deadline E a rly bi rd pr ic i n g is ava i lable until December 20, 2016. For more information and to register visit: and follow us on Twitter @BCLC for updates and information. SPEAKER ANNOUNCEMENTS

New Hor izons 2 017 is proud to welcome a n exciting new lineup o f s p e a k er s , i n clu d i n g k e y n o t e Margaret Trudeau. Renowned for her advocacy for reducing the social stig ma of ment al illness and her candid, honest approach, she will speak about her personal story and struggles w ith mental health. A n exceptional group of guest speakers will also be covering off an array of

responsible gambling topics including i n novat ive t h i n k i n g , t ech nolo g y and programming, and the impact to social responsibilit y and public health.

For more information, and to register for t h e N e w Ho r i z o n s i n R e s p o n s i b l e Gambling Conference, please visit Follow us on Twitter @BCLC.


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At Ipsos, we are your lottery and gaming research experts. For over 20 years, our team has been delivering insights into the habits, attitudes and desires of the gaming population. By combining the strength of our global resources with a dedicated team of researchers that specialize in the lottery and gaming sector, we help guide product development and ensure your advertising truly stands out. Visit us at:

2017 THEME:

Rapid Pace of Change

“Where the Canadian Gaming Industry Meets�

June 19-21, 2017

Vancouver Convention Centre Vancouver, BC

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

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© 2017 IGT. © 2017 Califon Productions, Inc. “Wheel of Fortune” is a registered trademark of Califon Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All other trademarks used herein are owned by IGT or its affiliates, may not be used without permission, and where indicated with a ®, are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. IGT is committed to socially responsible gaming. Our business solutions empower customers to choose parameters and practices that become the foundation of their Responsible Gaming programs.

Canadian Gaming Business | Winter 2016/17  

Canadian Gaming Business | Winter 2016/17

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