*Click on each of the links below to read essays from various sectors of the industry.
Part 1 (Architecture, Construction & Design; Associations, Attorneys & Law Firms; Cash Handling, Equipment and Access)
Part 2 (Casino-Resort Management, Compliance Development and Profitability Software; Finance, Accounting & Market Analysis; I-Gaming Analysts; Lottery; Operators; Peripherals, Accessories, & Equipment; Politicians)
Part 3 (Property Management; Regulation & Testing; Security & Surveillance; Slot and Class II Manufacturers, Slot and Class II Operators; Table Games & Equipment)
The buzz phrase in 2011 was “the new normal,” and as we gear up for 2013, we are still hearing that phrase quite a bit. Now though, while some say we are in a new normal, others argue that attitude extends from complacency and that times are still very much changing. However you look at it, the gaming industry has a lot going on. From talk of our still-recovering economy, to the fiscal cliff, new developments and emerging markets, advances in technology, and of course the big topic of Internet gaming, everyone is abuzz with their thoughts on where we’ve been and we are headed.
The U.S. election results influenced many opinions and opened new markets. Among them, Maryland voters approved gaming expansion, two Rhode Island slot parlors received approval to install table games and a measure to bring slot machines to pari-mutuels in Florida passed. Native American casinos in Oregon scored a win as enough people voted against allowing commercial casinos in state for the measure to fail. The same can be said for tribal casinos in Washington. With Jay Inslee (D), an avid supporter of tribal gaming, succeeding Gov. (as of this issue going to press) Christine Gregoire, Native American casino operators are confident their sector will develop even more. The election of Maggie Hassan as governor of New Hampshire paves the way for the creation of a commercial industry in the state. And in Illinois, gaming may actually have a chance as the Democratic majority (many of whom are in support of expansion) has increased to veto-proof numbers that could override Gov. (as of this issue going to press) Pat Quinn’s opposition to gambling expansion bills.
There were several headlines throughout 2012 that grabbed attention and shook the industry. Most notably, Caesars Entertainment demolished O’Sheas Casino and started redevelopment on that part of the Strip to make room for a new major attraction they are calling The Linq, complete with a Ferris wheel. Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, affecting casinos and many other businesses in New Jersey and surrounding areas. A bit north, Toronto is looking at growth for the Canadian casino industry. Meanwhile overseas, Asia’s numbers are still astounding, Sheldon Adelson announced plans to develop a EuroVegas in Spain, and Latin America seems to be the new hot spot for gaming, with its burgeoning casino industry and interest from manufacturers.
Suppliers have been busy as well, with the former Shuffle Master rebranding to SHFL entertainment, Amaya acquiring Cadillac Jack and Ongame, Bally announcing record growth and a changed management structure, WMS launching a new interactive company, IGT’s acquisition of Double Down Interactive, and much more.
No year would be complete without new developments in technology, and manufacturers sure do love to be on the cutting-edge of innovations as they develop their next top product. Many are realizing the potential of mobile and social, and those that are developing strategies and alliances seem to be thriving. While we never can predict what the next big thing will be, or what will be just a fad, it seems both are here to stay.
And then there’s Internet gaming—the topic that keeps people many speculating in the U.S. and abroad. It seems the consensus is that the U.S. won’t see it in the next year, but it is indeed inevitable and will be here sooner or later.
There is more to look forward to in 2013, and it will certainly be exciting to see what those upcoming headlines are and who will become the next movers and shakers. Stay tuned industry, as the next year develops, and let CEM keep you abreast of all the new news and developments in the year ahead. But in the meantime, read on to see what other industry experts say, as they each weigh in with their own unique takes on what may be to come.
With 87 essays in this year’s collection of forecasts, there are many thoughts, observations and predictions we loved reading about that we’re sure you will too. The following pages are filled with their expert thoughts and predictions, but for a quick snapshot, below are our favorite stand-out quotes.
“If there is one thing we have all learned over the past year, it is that being cautiously optimistic is the new norm.” —Sim Bielak, VP of Sales & Business Development, Global Casino Gaming, Crane Payment Solutions
“We enter 2013 with a bit of muted optimism toward better times for our industry.” —Steve Walther, Executive VP, Chief Marketing Officer, Aruze Gaming America
“Will 2013 be a lights-out success? No. It will be a struggle in certain geographies. But, given where we were two to three years ago, there is clearly a bright light at the end of the tunnel.” — Tom Nugent, President Gaming, MEI
“Now that the election is behind us, we’re seeing i-gaming initiatives gain steam once again. I believe that 2013 will be a year with greater understanding and more clarity on i-gaming and how it works.”—Gavin Isaacs, CEO, SHFL entertainment
“…economic expansion has begun. The mood at G2E was completely upbeat, as gaming revenues have stabilized and risen. This is particularly true in Indian country, which overall did not experience a decrease in revenue throughout the entire recession. And in 2011 there was a 3 percent increase in revenues, which has likely been topped in 2012.” —Barry Thalden, Partner, Thalden ● Boyd ● Emery Architects
“Every market needs its own customized strategies to meet its own political, legislative and market-based challenges, but we believe the future of gaming would look a lot brighter if regulators in their differing spheres elect not to operate in silos, but rather work in a cooperative fashion to design comprehensive strategies to meet a variety of goals, including maximizing employment and investment, as well as revenue.” —Michael J. Pollock, Managing Director, Spectrum Gaming Group
“Social networking sites and electronic gaming draw a large audience that is completely comfortable posting, tweeting and tagging friends continuously. When legalization of Internet gaming comes ashore, we see new alliances being formed that will help energize both parts of the equation—the online and physical realms.” —Tom Hoskens, Vice President and Director of Strategic Development, Cuningham Group
“2013 will undoubtedly see a rise in free-play and virtual currency sites. We will see proper execution of player marketing to bring online customers in to brick-and-mortar, and to continue an existing customer’s experience. Cross promotion of online and physical properties is vital, and there are some fantastic ways to do this.” —Jason Rosenberg, CEO, American iGaming Solutions
“The lingering residue of the ‘great recession,’ if it’s done nothing else, has forced gaming companies to become more attuned to the non-gaming customer with significant non-room spend, and more imaginative in recognizing and rewarding him or her. —Tammy Farley, President, The Rainmaker Group
“… Class II gaming in Native America is poised for a second wave of growth. Keep in mind, this is not your grandmother’s bingo game. Today’s electronic bingo systems are some of the most technologically advanced gaming systems in the industry today. These alternative entertaining displays, coupled with the increasing speed of game play, will help bingo continue to grow in the coming years.” —Nick Farley, President, Eclipse Compliance Testing