Attendees, exhibitors and show organizers seemed in high spirits at the 2012 Global Gaming Expo (G2E), and for good reason. This year’s show saw an increased number of exhibitors and attendees—all with high levels of interest—and the excitement in the air was almost palpable. From day one, exhibitors could see there were increased levels of traffic on the show floor—traffic that remained steady through day three. Most of those we spoke with claimed that they were seeing more interest in their products and/or services; some even ventured to say that this year’s G2E was the best it has been since the recession hit in 2008. A speaker at the conference, Valerie Red-Horse, president of Red-Horse Financial Group, claimed, “G2E is not a conference that’s an option anymore.” For many, G2E has become a must-attend event.
In his opening for Katty Kay’s keynote address on Tuesday, Oct. 2, AGA President and CEO Frank J. Fahrenkopf confirmed suspicions that G2E 2012 was better than ever, saying: “This year’s show is back to the levels it was at before the economic downturn in 2008.” He also shared that the show floor was more than 5 percent larger than in 2011, and was indeed the AGA’s largest show since 2008.
During the G2E media briefing, Fahrenkopf attributed some of G2E success this year to the conference’s new location, saying: “I think this growth has a lot to do with our move to this new venue.” Until last year, the Las Vegas Convention Center served as G2E’s home. The move to the Sands Expo and Convention Center is a recent development—one that has received a great deal of positive feedback. Fahrenkopf explained that the new floor layout at the Sands has been a strong point for many. “The configuration of the exhibit hall showcases the big guys, while also giving the smaller vendors more prominent real estate than they had access to in the past,” he explained.
Travis Carrico, VP of sales & marketing at Micro Gaming Technologies (MGT), told us that their booth saw a lot of drop-ins—welcomed of course—on top of all their scheduled appointments due to the increased traffic due to the new layout.
Fahrenkopf also commented on the correlation between G2E’s success and that of the gaming industry as a whole. “I think the growth of G2E is evidence of a renewed confidence in the industry,” he said. “We are witnessing growth here in the U.S. and in international markets. The revenues I’ve seen all indicate that we are in the midst of a continued slow but steady recovery from the economic turmoil of the past several years. We’re not out of the woods yet by any means, but we have most definitely turned a corner and are on our way.” Even gross gaming revenues in the U.S. for the year (thus far) support this statement, with national gross gaming revenues 6 percent higher than that of comparable figures from 2011.
G2E exhibitors were likely pleased to hear that most of the gaming industry’s growth has been driven by gaming expansion; this indicates an increased need for their services. States with rapidly growing gaming sectors, such as Ohio, Illinois and Maryland, are seeing a number of new projects spring up in their respective jurisdictions. The subsequent gaming facilities will require a variety of services and products from within the industry. Such expansion not only helps our industry grow, but has tremendous impact on communities within the states, increasing new job opportunities and revenues.1
This growth in the industry is also being seen abroad, especially in Asia. Fahrenkopf acknowledged that Latin America and Europe are indeed key markets, but emphasized the important role the East now plays in the industry. “Of course Asia is always the first region we all think of when we think of global gaming growth,” he said.
Today, however, it is not just important to consider where the gaming industry is enjoying expansion, but also how it is expanding. Subsequently, i-gaming was the hot topic at G2E. Fahrenkopf referred to it as, “the next frontier of our business.” He also shed light on the AGA’s stance in regard to these unchartered waters. “We continue to reiterate the need for Congress to enact federal legislation that lays out a clear regulatory framework for Internet poker and creates a level playing field for all interested parties, including Native American tribes, to enter the arena,” he stated. What does Fahrenkopf think will happen if Congress does not act? “Without action, we will see states legalize online gambling one-by-one, leading to a patchwork quilt of rules and regulations that will make oversight difficult and put customers at risk,” he explained.
Kay, Anchor, BBC World News America and Co-Author, Womenomics serves as the G2E Opening Day Keynote.
Kay, Anchor, BBC World News America and Co-Author, Womenomics serves as the G2E Opening Day Keynote.
In the State of the Industry panel discussion, the divide between those who support Internet gaming and those who oppose it was evident. IGT CEO Patti Hart discussed the many ways i-gaming can enhance our industry. “If you think about Internet gaming, think about social gaming and think about geolocation services … don’t think of them as threatening. Think of them as layers that you can lay on top of what this industry has demonstrated it can do over and over again. It really allows the industry to grow again here in the United States,” she said. “How can we provide a more connected and immersive experience to our players? That’s the challenge for us as an industry.”
These views, however, were not shared by Michael Leven, president and chief operating officer at Las Vegas Sands Corp. Speaking also on behalf of Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Sheldon Adelson, and the company as a whole, Leven laid out three concerns they have with online gaming. The first has to do with its profitability. Leven explained:“Today there are so few people in the market. We believe that when everyone gets in, the cost of that position for customers and the online gaming marketplace is going to go up dramatically and so the profitability is going to go down.” The second concern is about the potential danger i-gaming may hold. “We believe there is some danger, particularly for young adults,” he said. “You can’t control the irresponsibility in that gaming market as easily as you can in a casino. The third concern, one shared by a good few, is the impact i-gaming will have on brick-and-mortar. “The reason for that is simply a matter of wealth distribution,” Leven said. He doubts that Las Vegas casinos will be affected, but fears for tribal casinos.
Judging by some of the products and services promoted at G2E, the lack of online gaming regulations has not hindered the incorporation of new technologies into company offerings. Many explained that they have already invested large sums of money into Internet and mobile technologies, and stand poised to act, should Congress figure their issues out.
Innovation was evident on the show floor. Here, a Frankenstein character promotes VGT’s new game.
Innovation was evident on the show floor. Here, a Frankenstein character promotes VGT’s new game.
Aside from the keynote address, there were other opportunities for attendees and exhibitors to learn more about the aforementioned issues, discuss them amongst themselves and make new connections. The Latin American Gaming Networking reception, Table Games Networking Reception, Young Gaming Professionals Reception, NIGA Lounge and various networking luncheons were all well-attended, reflecting a general desire to be more informed and hear new perspectives.
There was even a new program introduced: the Global Gaming Women program. Fahrenkopf explained its creation, saying: “We launched the program last year at G2E to support the development and success of women in the international gaming industry through education, mentorship and networking opportunities. So far, the response we’ve received from women in the industry has really been overwhelming. It seems we’re really onto something with this.”
For some lucky visitors, the Food and Beverage pavilion was the place to go. In the food area, visitors were herded happily through a maze lined with delectable tidbits from various vendors. The beverage tent adjacent provided a welcome opportunity to relax and enjoy a drink or two. Treats and entertainment could even be found on the show floor. Orange Oompa Loompas in green wigs gave out rainbow lollipops, popcorn could be found on Fremont Street, and many booths had candy on hand. Futhermore, the more famous guests in attendance—Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley from KISS, NASCAR driver Clint Boyer and members of the hit reality series Pawn Stars—allowed many visitors to get a daily celeb sighting.
The networking, chatting and bonding often continued after the show and well into the night. At the G2E welcome reception on Monday, David Hasselhoff kicked things off, and bands Them & Us and The Guess Who kept the music going. The AGEM party on Tuesday was a hit with many, as were the various parties that were held every night until the conference ended. By Thursday evening, many were tired after such a stimulating, informative and fun week. But we’re sure most people would do it again. CEM certainly will; we can’t wait to see what G2E 2013 has in store!
1 Revenues are sourced from taxation on commercial casinos and revenue-sharing agreements with tribal casinos.
G2E’s Best Bets in 2012
Every trade show expo floor has a few hits and a few misses. This G2E gave us several hits, and following are the favorites from each of the CEM editors.
One of Quixant’s cupcakes
One of Quixant’s cupcakes
Antinea Ascione, Associate Editor
It was perhaps quite obvious I was a G2E rookie. Everything about the conference excited me and I passed by each booth glassy-eyed, amazed by all the incredible products shown on the floor. Now, even after I’ve had time to fully recover from constant stimuli during the day and multiple parties at night, some things still stick out in my mind.
JCM’s Mobile Wager Wallet (WM2) truly impressed me. In a few years I’ll be able to scan my phone around a casino resort instead of ever touching real cash? Is this real or have I just entered an episode of The Jetsons?
Running around the Sands Expo center in 4-inch heels with little time to break for lunch can wear a person out. I was lucky enough to have discovered the friendly (and well-stocked) team at MEI who let me grab some coffee and snacks at their booth, and gave me an SC Advance candy machine. Now that we’re back at the office, I wish I’d taken the real MEI SC Advance too. The vending machine at the CEM office will only take crispy new bills; I watched the SC Advance eat crumpled note after crumpled note, accepting each on the first try.
WMS’ Oompa Loompas were a highlight for many.
WMS’ Oompa Loompas were a highlight for many.
And then there were the small things. WMS’ Oompa Loompas with their bright smiles and golden tickets, Quixant’s cupcakes and Bally’s press survival kits made my days even better (an editor really needs a sugar rush at an event like this).
Amanda Huggett, Managing Editor
Aside from the salty and delicious popcorn at IGT’s booth that kept me satiated during each day of the show, another draw for me was their Family Guy game. It is both fun and funny. Slot machines are often entertaining, but really—how many of them make you literally laugh?!
The child still inside of me loves a good game based on a favorite story or cartoon, and the Aladdin game over at Aruze hit the spot.
Zombies wandered the floor promoting SPIELO’s Plants vs. Zombies game.
Zombies wandered the floor promoting SPIELO’s Plants vs. Zombies game.
Frantically trying to make all of my appointments and see the G2E sights, I often got lost and confused. Thankfully G2E had an app that proved to be extremely helpful—it literally got me back on the right path more than once.
But the one thing that’s stuck with me most after my G2E withdrawals? SPIELO’s Plants vs. Zombies. I loved everything about it, from the interesting graphics and features of the game itself, to the characters walking around the floor promoting it and the very good marketing. The flash mob? Loved it.
CEM’s media production manager Amber Hanson shared with me that she really liked SPIELO’s other games as well—Bejeweled and Zuma—with their well-designed cabinets, bright colors and cup holders. Any fan of those games would love the slot machine versions.
The misses? A distinct lack of seating on the expo floor. Where’s an editor—or attendee for that matter—supposed to regroup between booths? A couple of scattered benches would have provided welcome relief.
Incredible Technologies’ ULTRA MEGA! is an ode to the ‘80s.
Incredible Technologies’ ULTRA MEGA! is an ode to the ‘80s.
Kyle Iverson, New Media Editor
Anyone that has an inner gamer—those of us that enjoy classic NES—can appreciate Incredible Technologies’ ULTRA MEGA! slot machine. This machine pays tribute to all of the 8-bit games that kept us indoors while our parents yelled, “Go outside and play!” Created by the same designer that made The King of Bling™, this machine was a real treat that brought me back to my childhood.
The force was with IGT at G2E this year. My jaw dropped as I watched the over 120-inch screen for the community game Star Wars Trilogy show the destruction of the planet-destroying Death Star. You will not have a bad feeling about this game.
IGT’s Star Wars game.
IGT’s Star Wars game.
My absolute favorite part of G2E this year was the TournEvent of Champions that Multimedia Games held at Lagasse’s Stadium. The new slogan “Play Louder” is a perfect way to describe this event. The volume level was at 11 with the chanting of the crowd.
Music boomed over the speakers as players competed for a $20,000 grand prize. Pulses were racing and voices were cheering as the clock ticked down to announce the winner. This was a truly memorable and adrenaline-pumping time.
Most booths that I visited had mints on hand. At first this seemed a bit odd, but after numerous cups of coffee and the amount of talking that occurred, these minty pit-stops were just what I needed to extinguish even the worst dragon breath.
Jenessa McAllister, Senior Associate Editor
For most companies, G2E is a place to make business deals, seek out the hottest new technology and do what you can to make your business better. For us as a publication, it’s all about having eyes and ears on the entire show floor, keeping track of trending topics and the fanciest products, and we tried our best to do just that. Here are a few of my favorites from the show floor. Celebrity appearances included NASCAR’s Clint Bowyer and some of the Pawn Stars cast.
Celebrity appearances included NASCAR’s Clint Bowyer and some of the Pawn Stars cast.
One of the neatest things I saw throughout all of G2E was Interblock’s unique VIP Hologram Gaming Lounge, which featured a movie theater-style lounge and a hologram performance. It was so refreshing to attend the show, especially after seeing slot machine after slot machine! P.S., make sure to check out our video with Interblock for a peek at what the hologram performance was all about!
Every once in a while, I’m introduced to an area of gaming that I had no idea was in existence, or had never given much thought. This was the case when I approached the Morse Watchmans booth. I expected a regular interview, but instead was treated to a fun interview with George Lawson and a demonstration of their newest product—the KeyWatcher Touch™. I had no idea that so much security went into checking in and out all of the keys of a business! George was entertaining and taught me a lot about the product.
A couple of other highlights for me were the squishy carpet and ultra-comfy couches at the VideoPoker.com booth, learning more about Aristocrat’s systems offerings and all of the famous people—Clint Bowyer and the Pawn Stars guys at the Bally booth, KISS at WMS’ booth, and of course the Oomopa Loompas and David Hasselhoff.
Architecture, Construction & Design
Brett Ewing, Tom Hoskens and John Culligan
Brett Ewing, Tom Hoskens and John Culligan
Cuningham Group Architecture Inc.
Key messages: Cuningham Group has successfully worked on a number of very interesting projects this year and their hard work has not gone unnoticed. At the G2E Casino Design Awards, the firm won in two categories: Best Architectural Re-Design and/or Expansion for a Casino or Casino Resort for the Golden Nugget Atlantic City and Best Overall Construction Project for a Casino or Casino Resort under $250 million for Mystic Lake Casino Renovation.
Buzzing Trends: Mobile technologies.
Thoughts on the show: Tom Hoskens, AIA, LEED AP, vice president of Cuningham Group was quite pleased with this year’s G2E. “I see this as being a pivotal year,” he said. “It appears that attendance is up. The excitement about the fact that projects are getting financed has brought a lot of people here. We’re seeing more traffic, which is nice. We’re even seeing more clients.”
He then explained: “If we’re doing well, it means that the vendors are going to have more business in the future, because as architects, we are engaged to design more facilities. We’re designing casinos and hotels; this leads to more consultants also providing services and products.”
Goals: Cuningham Group plans to look closely at technology and mobile gaming, examine how these factors will influence the gaming space and the future look and feel of casinos. The firm will focus on the addition of these new technologies and aim to integrate them into their newly designed casinos.
Thoughts for the future: As Cuningham Group is in the business of designing and refreshing casino resorts, they can foresee clients continuing to seek them out for these services. Brett Ewing, AIA, director of resort development, Las Vegas, shared why these services will be crucial: “There was a rule of thumb in the gaming world that you’d remodel your property every seven years. Some people haven’t done that because of the economic downturn. However, with newer properties coming onto the scene, older properties will need to be refreshed and our aim is to help our clients with their design goals. Rebranding projects, such as ours with the Golden Nugget Resort and Casino Atlantic City, and new projects such as the new hotel tower for Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee are great portfolio pieces for us to demonstrate the value of design to our clients. ”
Final thoughts: “We are on the forefront of another shift on what resort gaming is all about and how a casino floor is designed. I think the casino floor of tomorrow is going to be an integration of lounge spaces with handheld gaming devices, boutique slot and table games areas,” Hoskens concluded.
Rob Jurbergs, Nathan Peak and Paul Bell
Rob Jurbergs, Nathan Peak and Paul Bell
Hnedak Bobo Group (HBG)
G2E focus: Recently completed national projects.
Key announcements: HBG’s Four Winds Hartford Casino was recognized as the 2010-2011 Best Casino in the Gaming Industry under $250 Million at this year’s G2E Casino Design Awards and also took the award for Best Native American Casino. HBG’s Northern Quest Casino Resort also won for Best Native American Casino 2009-2010.
Plans for the future: Work on an urban casino entertainment destination in Lansing, Mich. “Casinos help create and support dynamic environments in metro areas,” Dan Elias, AIA, partner at HBG, said. “It will be interesting to see how this trend continues across the country, especially as more states with heavily populated metropolitan areas approve and/or expand gaming over the coming years.”
Other notes: A centerpiece of HBG’s exhibit was the recently opened 250-room hotel addition, new Hard Rock Café and 1,500-seat multipurpose event and entertainment center at the Pokagon Potawatomi’s Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich. This project introduces fresh, new amenities and entertainment options designed to entice an expanding market segment for this gaming leader in the Northern Michigan/Chicagoland area.
HBG also highlighted their new casino and hotel additions to the Winstar World Casino for the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, and their recently designed Seneca Buffalo Creek casino project in downtown Buffalo, N.Y., which has started construction and is anticipated to open in late 2013. According to Elias, who also moderated a G2E panel discussion, the new ground-up $130 million facility for Seneca Gaming Corp. “is an excellent example of the face of gaming post-recession.” He adds: “The conversation with other industry design leaders at my panel discussion focused on continued casino expansion through increased holdings in new and existing markets—fueled largely by brand strength. Our project at Seneca Buffalo is capitalizing on the power of Seneca’s well-established brand as they reposition their property in the Buffalo market.”
The firm has led the planning and design of several other tribal casino expansions in new regional markets, including a recently opened “satellite” casino for the Pokagon Potawatomi in Hartford, Mich. “We’ve seen this expansion model work very successfully with tribes like Seneca and the Pokagon Potawatomi,” Elias said.
Adding to their success in Hartford, the Pokagon Tribe is opening their second satellite casino in southwest Michigan—Four Winds Dowagiac. “This type of expansion helps fuel the continued economic development of gaming tribes,” Elias added. “The key is the right combination of service and quality to build customer loyalty and preference in your brand. What Pokagon and HBG have been doing with these satellite expansions is working.”
HBG also reported the re-launch of their website, www.hbginc.com.
Thalden ● Boyd ● Emery Architects
New projects: Three of the firm’s projects opened recently, including Soaring Eagle Waterpark in Mt. Pleasant Mich.; Wildhorse Casino Resort Expansion in Pendleton Ore., and a new hotel expansion at Cypress Bayou Casino Resort in Louisiana. Two addition projects are about to open: the Eastern Shawnee Casino and Hotel near Tulsa, Okla., and FireKeepers hotel and event center addition in Battle Creek, Mich.
Thalden ● Boyd ● Emery also has many projects on the drawing boards, including a new racetrack and casino near Cincinnati for Delaware North and Churchill Downs, and several projects along the Las Vegas Strip for Caesars Entertainment and MGM.
Key initiatives: “One of our biggest focuses has always been on diversity and flexibility,” said Nick Schoenfeldt, vice president. “We have always tried to convince clients that spaces don’t need to one dedicated to one specific purpose—with the exception of gaming—because the amenities need to change. We want a facility that has a lot of different functions. That’s even more important now that money and dollars are so critical.”
Key messages: “We’re always looking at technological advances. We use the most up-to-date BIM software, we’re doing iPad lounges, we’re exploring in-room gaming, we’re looking at new ways to provide a segmented floor,” Schoenfeldt said.
Topics of conversation: “Three years ago, most of the tribal people were very fearful about the economy, so not a lot happened,” Barry Thalden, partner, explained. “But the reality looking back on it is that Indian gaming remained stable and did not drop off in that period while commercial gaming did. Last year Indian gaming went from 26.5 billion to 27.3 billion—a 3 percent increase. This year I suspect it will be even higher. In this new era of confidence, I think there will be a lot of growth and expansion. As the tribes waited to do a lot of things they would have liked to have done, I think they’ll do it now.”
Plans for the future: Continue working with clients in long-term relationships.
The takeaway: “We take our projects very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves very seriously!” Schoenfeldt said.
Gaming Standards Association (GSA)
Theme: What is the price of freedom?
Services showcased: Global standards.
Major focus: Giving operators the freedom to be creative and solve challenges locally.
Key messages: With the use of GSA’s open standards, operators now have the ability to choose exactly what they want. As GSA President Peter DeRaedt explained: “With GSA’s open standards, the operator is no longer handcuffed to his vendor; he can innovate himself. For the vendors, it’s about encouraging them to create new products and drive innovation.”
Announcements: GSA had many exciting announcements to make at this year’s G2E. 1: GSA commissioned a study on online gaming regarding the potential opportunity for standardization. Results were released to the board a few days before G2E and will be released to members soon. 2: For the first time ever, GSA has retained a highly respected consulting company for their strategic planning session. 3: In Oregon and within two provinces in Canada, there are more than 23,000 VLTs that will be using GSA’s open communications standards. DeRaedt expressed his excitement, saying, “This is a phenomenal step for GSA, considering we’ve spent 14 years trying to develop this technology.” 4: GSA’s recently created Certification Validation Tool (CVT) assists vendors in correctly implementing standards. 5: In Macau, GSA has been the driving force behind the creation of a new baccalaureate degree in computer science, with the option of a gaming technology focus. It is expected that 23 students will graduate from this program in 2013.
Trends: Many suppliers, regulators and operators (both tribal and non-tribal) were very interested in the successes operators are having with GSA standards at the property level.
Other thoughts: GSA is very excited for the next few years!
Plans for the future: Promoting the use of the CVT.
Business Software & Services
Agilysys Elevate™, a single-pass point-of-sale solution, allows customers to take advantage of fast-moving trends in application delivery.
Agilysys Elevate™, a single-pass point-of-sale solution, allows customers to take advantage of fast-moving trends in application delivery.
Major focus: Investing in the business, customer engagement and focusing on core markets.
Upcoming releases: A new release of the InfoGenesis™ POS system with enhanced mobility, is due by the end of first quarter 2013. A new release of the Visual One™ property management system—with foundational improvements, a new web front-end and greater connectivity—will debut in advance of the HITEC show. Continued investments also will be made in Elevate™, the company’s next-generation cloud-based POS system.
Trends discussed: Cloud, mobile and social are the three buzzwords.
With a well-developed strategic plan, Agilysys was at G2E promoting three major initiatives—investing in the business, customer engagement and focusing on core markets. Jim Dennedy, president and CEO, explained the thoughts behind each.
“Investing in the business goes way beyond products; it’s investing in service and service quality, while making improvements in overall product quality. Feedback from our customers guides much of our planned investments, which can be seen in new releases, like LMS v7.2, released this week. Another major investment in products is a new cloud-based enterprise solution. The emphasis focuses on providing greater integration between all the applications a property uses.
“On the point of customer engagement, there are two things we’re doing differently. First, we’ve established product advisory boards. We’ve recruited our top customers from across industry segments to provide direct input on product roadmaps, features and technologies. And, second, in our strategic planning process at the board level, we’re bringing customers into board meetings prior to the budgeting year in order to get their input on the business’ strategy.
“Finally, when thinking about our growth plan, we are focusing on the core market segments. These are the segments that contributed to our success in the past and will drive our business in the future. The casino industry is our leading market segment. This is closely followed by cruise, resorts, hotel, food service and stadium & arena. These are our six core hospitality segments, and we want to make sure our customers know this, and that the products we develop address the requirements of each.”
Services promoted: SAS for Patron Value Optimization, an end-to-end marketing solution; SAS Social Media Analytics, which cycles through all social media sites and pulls out comments, runs analytics and does sentiment analysis; SAS Revenue Management and Price Optimization Analytics, which was previewed at G2E; and SAS Master Data Management, which takes data from all a casino’s databases and brings it all together for a “golden record” of a customer that’s updated at each point of contact.
New launches: SAS Workforce Planning and Optimization can forecast and optimize any type of labor needed in the casino. It displays the suggested number of staff needed. It also forecasts the available staff, accounting for attrition. This will alert the manager if they need to do additional hiring.
SAS’ Director of Hospitality, Gaming and Travel Solutions Suzanne Clayton previewed an exciting announcement due the week after G2E. On Oct. 10, SAS broke the news of its Revenue Management and Price Optimization Analytics, currently used by MGM to help solve challenging pricing problems.
Plans for the future: SAS just finished Casino Floor Optimization projects with Canadian casinos and will offer that in the U.S. market. Casino Floor Optimization, powered by SAS Analytics, is focused on doing more accurate demand forecasting and predictive analytics for slot machines and table games. It will help casino operators optimize slot and table game revenue based on analytical insights.
Cash Handling & Banking
Products promoted: QuikTicket™, TableXchange®, and GCA Digital Wallet, an i-gaming solution in collaboration with Live Gamer Inc.
Key messages: “We’ve got the most innovative payment products,” said Scott Betts, CEO of GCA. “We focus not just on providing payments, but also lowering operating costs and improving player experience. We’ve got the broadest, most innovative lineup of payment products that go beyond not just providing cash to patrons, but helping our customers with their operations in very meaningful ways.”
Thoughts on the show: “We get Internet-focused people who are interested in our Live Gamer product, and then we get the brick-and-mortar operators who are extremely interested in the QuikTicket and TableXchange products,” Betts said.
QuikTicket, GCA’s approved and fully compliant “cashless gaming” solution, provides patrons the option of a TITO ticket or cash when completing cash access transactions at a GCA Xchange kiosk. According to Betts, this solution brings several operator advantages including lowering cash handling costs on the casino floor.
TableXchange is a device tightly integrated with the QuikTicket product, and is made available through a strategic alliance with FutureLogic. This product is designed to enable table game players to buy in with a TITO ticket and color up with a TITO ticket, which is also redeemable at an Xchange kiosk for cash.
“Both of those options have tremendous operational savings,” Betts said. “It’s faster and easier for the player to get cash and get back to playing. It takes a lot of traffic off of the cage, and it also helps in some of the risk and fraud that you have with money and chips on the floor.”
Through GCA’s collaboration with Live Gamer, they intend to provide operators of legalized online wager-based casino games a licensed end-to-end payment, patron e-wallet and management solution, which is something Betts indicated as important to GCA, in order to continually evolve the next innovative gaming solutions for their customers. “Our ability to connect online and brick-and-mortar gaming is important to casinos who want to go online,” he said. “We’ve got a great solution for not only wager-based gaming, but also for social gaming.”
Giesecke & Devrient (G&D)
Products showcased: G&D had a couple of products that they were showcasing at G2E this year with several neat new features to offer casinos. “We are going to be highlighting the new BPS M5, which is a third-generation high-speed currency sorter,” said Jim Goodwin, market segment director for casinos at G&D. “We’re also going to be showing the BPS C4, which we highlighted a little bit last year,” he continued, “but our main prize is going to be the BPS M5.” The BPS M5 brings more speed and true continuous processing to casinos’ count rooms. “You keep feeding it and it keeps going so it gives us higher throughput for our customers,” Goodwin explained.
Major focus: Meeting with G&D on the first day of G2E there was a lot of anticipation in the air as to what was going to unfold in the upcoming days. “We’re bringing some new equipment to the show and we’re excited to show it to all the casino management people that are coming this week,” Goodwin said.
Key messages: G&D really wants customers to understand the quality of their products. They make sure to bring accuracy and efficiency to their customers’ count rooms. “We far surpass any of our competitors in that realm and we’re really excited to be able to show them our next step of our next generation,” Goodwin said.
Plans for the future: If you thought the BPS M5 was impressive at G2E, just wait and see what G&D has in store for the future. They are hoping to roll out additional automation on the M5 to show customers at next year’s G2E. What additional automation? Goodwin had this to say about it: “Some automatic loading capabilities with the M5 where they don’t have to have a person doing it, it will actually do it robotically. We have some really exciting things not only now, but also in the future.”
G2E theme: Innovation. Delivered.
Products launched: NRT had its complete cash handling and cash access product portfolio on display. This includes the QuickJack2™, QuickJack v4™ and its world-class ATM, POS Debit, Credit Card Cash Advance and Dynamic Currency Conversion solution, Centre Payment Systems™
“We also launched the re-design of Cash Handling System® (CHS) including our CHS mobile app,” said Michael Dominelli, vice president of marketing. “CHS is our industry-leading management and monitoring software for the entire line of NRT products.”
Major focus: NRT’s world-class casino payments solution, Centre Payment System, is gaining momentum and was on display with the ATM, POS Debit, CCCA (credit card cash advance) and DCC (dynamic currency conversion). Extensive discussions took place at NRT’s booth and look out for major announcements in the near future. NRT also announced its alliance partnership with one of North America’s largest banks, bringing the latest in DCC instant FX (foreign exchange) technology and strengthening the Centre Payment Systems product suite.
Key messages: “Innovation is our key to success and it was excellent to see gaming operators from around the world validation or visions and innovations,” Dominelli said.
Topics of conversation: Centre Payments System, NFC technology, service and support
Thoughts on the show: “This year the show was a great success and gaming operators are back in the buying mindset and looking for ways to reduce operating cost and improve efficiencies,” Dominelli said. “NRT is in a great position to provide those types of products and services to help casino achieve those goals.”
“This has been a strong year for innovations at NRT. We have strengthened alliance partnerships and simply focused on our customers and how we can improve their operational efficiencies and drive revenue,” Dominelli said. “These are drivers that allow NRT to innovate leading-edge solutions that satisfy clients’ needs with high ROI and improved productivity.”
Thoughts on the show: “A lot of our work is in alliance with other parties, so it’s fun to be in the same place as those companies, and collaborate on what’s coming out next,” said U.S. Bank Gaming Services Managing Director Paul Nielsen. “We have our services on the NRT kiosk, GLORY, Western Money, and we are excited to add our services to the just released Diebold 720G kiosk.”
Plans for the future: Besides their main goal of remaining a top ATM service provider in the gaming industry, Nielsen said that the company is looking at mobile applications. “We are very interested in how mobile payments might enhance or even transform how ATM transactions will be conducted,” he said. “We are actively exploring potential solutions.”
When casinos consider their ATM service options, they often look to a company with years of expertise in the area, and U.S. Bank has just that. With more than 30 years’ experience in the payments industry and over 25 percent of the company’s revenue coming from the payments industry, there’s no shortage of knowledge and proficiency here.
Continuing the tradition of sharing a booth with Global Payments, Nielsen said this collaboration is great for both parties. “Our relationship now spans a decade,” he said. “The synergies between our two companies and technologies are very strong and have fueled our strong growth over the years.”
Gaming Capital Group (GCG)
Services promoted: Gaming Capital Group’s capital for equipment financing, casino and hotel projects.
Major focus: “We strive to maintain and cultivate long-term relationships through our passion to provide awesome service, and our focus on adding value to our customers in everything we do,” Melissa Cox, vice president of marketing, said.
Key messages: GCG is one of the largest customers of the gaming manufacturers, having purchased more than 10,000 electronic gaming devices.
Topics of conversation: Video product continues to do very well in the Oklahoma market. Super Star Poker from IGT has also stepped up the poker market and has become one of GCG’s top performers.
Thoughts on the show: “Bally, Konami and WMS had the strongest new core product,” Cox thought. Additionally, “IGT’s CSI and Family Guy™ games should be a hit! MGAM and SPIELO have some really cool product coming out as well.”
Favorite moment(s): “I loved the Oompa Loompas in the WMS booth!” Cox commented. “MGAM had a great feel to their booth. The make your own T-shirts was a great success! I loved the Peter Griffin characters IGT had wondering around on day one.”
Plans for the future: GCG continues to grow within the Oklahoma market and is always looking for opportunities outside of Oklahoma as well.
Rymax Sales Manager Mike DeSola, Ernie Stevens Jr., chairman of NIGA, and Rymax VP of Sales Paul Gordon.
Rymax Sales Manager Mike DeSola, Ernie Stevens Jr., chairman of NIGA, and Rymax VP of Sales Paul Gordon.
Major focus: Rymax’s promotions revolve around branded items, such as Michael Kors, Canon and LG. Vice President of Sales Paul Gordon says the company is always focused on bringing out what is the latest, hottest and greatest. “Players are better-educated than ever, and they have access to knowing what the best products are,” he said.
Thoughts on the show: “What I think is interesting is that a lot of the more traditional casinos are less involved than a lot of the emerging casinos,” Gordon said. “There are a lot of tribal casinos coming by, a lot of people from places like Iowa and Oklahoma.”
Plans for the future: For Gordon, a big push for the coming years is to make casinos aware of the importance of promotions. “The biggest goal for us—even beyond 2013 and 2014—is to impress upon segmentation and concentration for marketing strategy,” he said. “Almost every market has some competitive element. Not like the old days, where you had gaming just in New Jersey and Nevada. Now most states have some form of casino activity, and what we’re doing is showing them how to differentiate themselves in their own market and even in neighboring states. Everyone should have their own specific type of loyalty program, that’s right for their program, keeping players loyal.”
Peripherals & Accessories
Products showcased: At G2E, Atrient showcased five products. Its flagship product, PowerKiosk allows casinos to build and offer promotions. But going beyond promotions, it allows customers to check account information, serves as a wayfinding device, connects to social media and other property information.
Others included a buffet self-order product that was displayed for the first time at this year’s G2E; an audit acceptance application that manages the internal audit exceptions process that also eliminates paper, requiring a digital signature and increases efficiency; a surveillancing security product for incident reporting and disassociated persons; and finally, Bally CoolSign®, a digital signage product that Atrient re-sells.
Key messages: “I think that a number of things set us apart, but one of the key things really is our technology background and how we set up promotions on the back end,” Sam Attisha, director, said. “One of the things we’ve emphasized is the flexibility with which [customers] can do things. For us as a company, that’s very important. We look at it as how we architect these products as key in how casinos are able use them. I think that is one of the things that sets us apart, is the functionality and flexibility behind all of our products.”
Plans for the future: “Atrient’s goal is to do really two things,” Attisha explained. “To continue enhancing the products that we have and build more functionality, constantly stay up with the times as we realize any new trends we’ll build those into our products so that our customer get the benefit of whatever it is that we add to it. The other is developing additional products. We actually have a couple of others that we’re working on right now and we’re really excited about that. We think they are going to be very solid operational products for casinos. We have been working really hard on them so hopefully we’ll have those on exhibit at G2E next year.”
Bill Nichols and Nishit Shah
Bill Nichols and Nishit Shah
Crane Payment Solutions
Products showcased: The CashCode one and Money Controls Ardac Elite bill validators, soft count and cash management technologies oneCheck™ and oneTrack™, NRI G13.mft/ GDS coin validators, and its high-tech product and service support tools designed for casino operators.
Key messages: Fastest bill acceptance, easy to replace any make and future-proof products, Crane stated. Nishit Shah, product manager, also explained, “To get upgraded from CashCode one to oneCheck technology, there is no additional investment required, which makes it really easy for an operator to start with a basic bill validator and upgrade anytime in the future to full cash management. Also, the CashCode one bill validator is available with a unique 900 size cashbox that fits most slot machines, proven to reduce emergency drops on your floor by 50 percent. Our industry’s largest and most reliable 2500 cashbox solution designed for redemption kiosks can handle a daily volume of 800-plus bills while cutting down your drop frequency by 70 percent.” Full banknote scanning technology is available on the Ardac Elite along with a handheld unit allowing easy programming and auditing.
Announcements: Crane Payment Solutions’ patented oneCheck™ technology is now available with every printer manufacturer and redefines accuracy, efficiency and control. Crane Payment Solutions is not only winning new properties like Valley Forge, but is also winning established casinos such as The Borgata and Tropicana in New Jersey. “We have a strong presence in industry and we are serious players in the industry,” Jim Gabriele, director of new business development, said.
Thoughts on the show: “G2E provides us a platform to get the feedback from operators and industry partners all at once,” Simcha Bielak, vice president gaming, said. “It is exciting to see our customers walk in our booth commenting ‘we love your products; we’ve never had such a great experience during field trials and we made right choice by selecting you.’ There’s a lot of traffic and there’s a good vibe.”
Goals: Continue to focus on innovation and introduce new products that offer real end-user benefits, from the highest level of security and fast acceptance rates to low maintenance and labor costs. To provide an unparalleled customer service experience and become a global industry leaders in payment systems.
Elite Casino Products
Products showcased: Elite Casino Products unveiled a new slot cabinet at G2E this year. The cabinet was introduced at the show with no name, but after a promotional event held during the show to name it, Onyx was selected as the winning entry. Jim Fitch, general manager of the Elite Companies had this to say: “The purpose of the cabinet is to introduce into our line a machine that will satisfy a broader spectrum of customer needs and complement our signature Nitro cabinet that we’ve had out for several years now.”
After attending several international shows over the last two years, the company decided to create the new Onyx cabinet in response to the needs of those markets. “One of the things that we discovered from those shows is that we needed a more modestly priced cabinet and one that was friendlier to coin handling,” Fitch said.
Key messages: The company takes pride in its talented design team at home. “All of our design people came from larger gaming companies,” Fitch elaborated. “We have a lot of industry veterans on our team who understand the needs of our market.” With the manufacturing resources of ECP’s sister companies, EMT and EMT West that service numerous gaming customers, it’s safe to say that Elite Casino Products and the Elite Companies fully understand the needs of gaming customers.
Thoughts on the show: The response to the new cabinet was tremendous. A lot of attendees stopped by and had very promising conversations about the product. Elite Casino Products hopes that they can take their existing client base that have found success with the Nitro cabinet, and introduce them to the benefits of the new Onyx cabinet.
Plans for the future: “We’re working on our strategic plan for 2013, which includes our product development road map for 2013 and beyond,” Fitch said about the future. “We are looking to continue to bring innovative products and services to the gaming market while working with our customers to make them successful. “
A demonstration of TableXchange.
A demonstration of TableXchange.
Key products promoted: PromoNet® Promotional Couponing Solution and the TableXchange® Printer/Scanner.
Key messages: With more than 1.5 million printers shipped to casino gaming, video lottery, AWP, LPM, SWP and kiosk applications worldwide, FutureLogic is clearly a leading developer of ticket printing and couponing solutions.
Director of Marketing for North America Matthew Naraghi commented, “As evidenced by the range of products and solutions displayed at G2E in 2012, FutureLogic is more than just a printing company.”
The TableXchange device brings TITO to table games, allowing crossover players the convenience of using TITO tickets to move from slots to tables and back. The operators benefit because chips don’t leave the tables and it reduces the number of required chip fills. “This year, we are very excited about our partnership with GCA and how it will accelerate the product’s time-to-market. The TableXchange device is going through final developments and is expected to go through the GLI testing process in December with several trials expected in the first quarter of 2013,” continued Naraghi.
Naraghi also discussed FutureLogic’s PromoNet® couponing solution. He informed us that several successful trials are ongoing, most notably the South Point casino in Las Vegas and The Casino At The Empire in London where coupon redemption rates are reaching rates as high as 75 percent. “What makes PromoNet stand out from competing solutions is that our system is designed to help casinos identify and reward their most valuable players—carded or anonymous. Promotions can be easily developed and executed in large networked casinos, or in smaller stand-alone banks of slots that are not connected to any network,” Naraghi said.
Trends: People are excited to learn that you can have all kinds of control over your promotions.
Future goals: The newest key feature of the PromoNet solution demonstrated at G2E is PromoNet Online. It allows patrons to select their choice of a coupon from the convenience of their smartphone. Naraghi explains: “Patrons are given the ability to scan coupons issued at the game using their smartphone’s barcode reader. At that point, the patron will have the option of selecting from a variety of coupons on their smartphone. If their play session is still ongoing, they can choose to print the coupon of choice at the game. Or, they can choose to e-mail the desired coupon.”
Tom Nieman with the Mobile Wager Wallet.
Tom Nieman with the Mobile Wager Wallet.
Theme: Evolve, it’s in your DNA.
Products showcased: Mobile Wager Wallet (MW2™), DNA (Dynamic network Applications) and the iV8™ high-speed bill validator for use on table games.
Key messages: JCM is driving technological innovations that will help operators evolve their casino floor.
Product recap: The MW2 is an emerging Near Field Communication technology that will allow casino patrons to utilize their phone for payment transactions. “Players can start out at the ATM, withdraw cash and deposit it all on their mobile wallet. Credit put on the phone can then move to anywhere on casino floor that uses this technology, including retail outlets or restaurants on the casino property,” explained Tom Nieman, JCM’s vice president of global marketing.
Another product, DNA, is an incredibly articulate wireless ecosystem that provides information on machines operating on the gaming floor and also helps casino operators manage all their products. Nieman reported that, “response not just by operators but also by regulators from various jurisdictions has been great. They’re all amazed at amount of info they can get.”
Proving that they think about every sector of their clientele, JCM also displayed the iV8™ high-speed bill validator, targeted for markets that see a high number of notes entered at table games, such as Macau and Singapore. At eight notes per second, the device validates and denominates currency, then comes back with a display to tell the dealer and pit the value of notes inserted. The iV8 can even take multiple currencies to accommodate markets in which more than currency is commonly used.
Major focus: “Our goal at G2E is as much to inform [our customers and clients], as it is to capture their reactions, comments, and feedback in response to our new products. The best products are always those shaped by what the end user tells you they want it to be,” said Nieman.
Trends discussed: Near Field Communication, mobile technology and virtual dollars. JCM is excited about the constant evolution of their products and the convergence of their new technologies with the gaming space.
Goals: To continue evolving! Nieman elaborates: “We used to be perceived as the bill validator company; today we’re so much more. Within our product lines, things are always evolving.” JCM also plans to continue promoting DNA and working on the technology that drives MW2.
Thoughts on the show: “Great. Our booth was constantly full and filled with decisionmakers,” Nieman said. “Even day three was active. Kudos to the AGA and Reed!”
Tom Nugent and Eric Fisher
Tom Nugent and Eric Fisher
Products showcased: The new SC Advance note acceptor and EASITRAX Soft Count product extension.
Highlights: MEI was very excited about the release of their SC Advance and Eric Fisher, senior vice president for the Americas, informed CEM that this next generation note acceptor for CASHFLOW SC was already seeing GLI approvals. MEI’s most interesting advancement is its ability to accept street-grade currency—mutilated money. As Fisher explained, “Acceptance of street-grade notes is essential to a property’s success. The cash players carry in their wallet is so worn that one in four $1 notes are removed from circulation every year. The fact that MEI can take these street-grade notes and our competitors may not, will translate to increased profitability for our customers.”
MEI also celebrated the 100,000th instillation of EASITRAX Soft Count. This number of machines operating on the EASITRAX system represents only 10 percent of the entire market, and MEI is excited to continue expanding the footprint of EASITRAX.
Key messages: The SC Advance uses the same chassis and cashbox as the CASHFLOW SC, allowing for compatibility between the two. Customers who already have the CASHFLOW SC will not have to replace the entire machine if they wish to upgrade to the SC Advance. Furthermore, it has been operating in the retail market (i.e., self checkout and electronic retail safes) for the last 10 months so it’s already proven in the field. MEI expects to begin shipping the SC Advance in December. CEM was reminded of another important message for the industry from MEI. Fisher stated, “Not only do we accept the cash at the slot machine, but we follow the cash throughout the entire process. [MEI] is a complete systems provider.”
Thoughts on the show: Nugent, Fisher and Marketing Director Andy Reichlin all agreed that G2E has been steady and the new location, the Sands Expo, has a great deal more personality than the previous location. They particularly enjoyed the way the booths were laid out; it allowed for more manageable and consistent traffic.
Goals: As Fisher put it, “We have a very simple mission to accept the good notes, reject the bad notes and stay up and running.”
Products showcased: TransAct demonstrated the Epicentral software system at G2E. Epicentral creates promotional coupons and delivers them from the Epic 950® thermal slot machine ticket printer that exists in machines already. “The Epicentral Print System prints promotional offers and coupons to get players playing longer, feeling rewarded and more connected to the casino,” said Tracy Chernay, executive vice president of sales and marketing at TransAct.
Major focus: TransAct wants their customers to realize that timing and location are key when it comes to communicating with players. “The new features that we’ve brought out with Epicentral continue to build value in what Epicentral can deliver,” Chernay elaborated. “It’s the ability to communicate with those players at their slot machine while they’re playing, versus marketing to them after they have already gone.”
Key messages: The innovative technology offered by TransAct sets them apart. “Epicentral is an extremely innovative system that was designed as an open system to connect to a variety of other casino based systems,” Chernay said. “For example, in the booth we are showing Epicentral working with the Bally system printing offers presented to the player from the Bally iView DM window. Our approach has been open to work with all casino management systems and also to deliver on the promise we made to Epic 950 customers that we would work with their existing ticket printers in their games—this sets us apart from competitors.”
Thoughts on the show: Those on the floor at the TransAct booth were put to work with all of the traffic at G2E this year. When asked how the show was, Chernay commented: “So far so great; we’ve just been excessively busy with back-to-back scheduled demonstrations for our Epicentral product. There is a tremendous amount of excitement and we are really thrilled with the response that we’re having from customers.”
Plans for the future: TransAct is looking forward to publishing results from additional installs of Epicentral and showing customers the greater results with that system. “So far our customers have been able to prove that they can grow enrollment in their player loyalty clubs, increase the number of visits of their top tier players, and increase the average daily theoretical win for top-tier players,” Chernay said. TransAct wants to share those results with more casinos and help to increase them for more of their clients.
Gary Platt Manufacturing
Products showcased: Gary Platt Manufacturing highlighted multiple new changes to an already successful product line. “Some changes are pretty subtle,” said Skip Davis, president. “We have introduced a new handle that we are putting in the back of the chair, very low profile that we’ve gotten a lot of enthusiasm about.” The curves on the chair base have also been lightened to create a new style of pedestal base to make it more visually pleasing.
Another change deals with the glide that they have on the bottom of their chairs, a feature that was created nine years ago. “We’ve gone to a new version of the glide that is screwed on so it cannot come off inadvertently,” Davis explained.
Major focus: Connecting with customers was at the top of Gary Platt’s list when it came to priorities. “There is a lot going on in the industry right now and we have a lot of activity—a lot of quota activity,” Davis said. “More than anything else, we want to see our customers and let them know that we’re here.” Gary Platt wants customers to become educated about their new products, and hopefully establish new relationships in the process.
Key messages: Comfort is just one thing that Gary Platt prides themselves on. “We think we pioneered ergonomics in the casino industry and we’re very proud that the chairs we make are designed to keep people in the chair and comfortable for an extended period of time,” Davis said.
Plans for the future: The future for Gary Platt is filled with business. They have been in the business of making chairs now for 15 years and have built a substantial customer base. “Our replacement cycle in this industry has gotten to be quite a significant part of our business,” Davis said, “so we expect another very strong year in 2013.”
Gasser Chair Co.
Products showcased: Gasser Chair Co. showcased several new products this year. “One is the Coltrane series, which is a very ergonomic yet very functional product for the casinos,” said Mark Gasser, president of Gasser Chair Co. On the Coltrane series, Gasser has made part replacements easy by creating a two-piece easy chain seat. “We made a seat on this very ergonomic stool that is easy to change in a matter of two or three minutes,” Gasser commented. This proves to be a convenience for the maintenance staff, enabling them to make these replacements with a single tool and be back in business on the gaming floor.
Major focus: When it comes to competition, Gasser believes their committed success in the industry comes from years of experience and their manufacturing capabilities. “Our manufacturing includes a complete metal fabrication facility, wood fabrication and upholstery, so I think that gives us flexibility,” Gasser explained. No matter what timeline customers give Gasser Chair Co., Gasser delivers a custom product that has players sitting in comfort.
Key announcements: Gasser wants to let customers know they are committed to succeeding in the gaming industry and helping their customers succeed along with them. “We realize that if our customers are successful that we’ll be successful and we’re constantly listening to them,” Gasser said, “not just what they need, but their problems and we try to find solutions in advance of it becoming problems.”
Thoughts on the show: This year’s G2E has proven to be a great one for the company. “The traffic seems to be up, not just the number of people but also the quality of people,” Gasser said. “That is people with projects with the capital budgets and missions to accomplish at the show.”
Security & Surveillance
Products showcased: Avigilon’s high-definition video surveillance solution.
Major focus: The transition to high-definition.
Key messages: HD surveillance provides casinos with significant return on investment from a security standpoint, but also when it comes to business intelligence.
Topics of conversation: High-definition surveillance and server-based gaming.
Plans for the future: “We’re looking to take innovation in the high-definition surveillance space to the next level for the casino sector,” said Douglas Florence, business development director global gaming.
Avigilon is a full-service provider in the high-definition security and surveillance sector. According to Florence, high-definition surveillance was definitely the trend at this year’s show, and it’s an area that holds great potential for Avigilon’s business goals. “Half of the casinos in Vegas are still using VCRs,” Florence said. “They’re living with grainy, fuzzy pictures, so the opportunity for casinos to get more out of their surveillance through a technology refresh is abundant.”
Avigilon is able to give customers the opportunity to view analog camera and high-definition camera in the same view, through the same software interface, Avigilon Control Center. “The advantages of high-definition for risk management, false liability, as well as game protection are undeniable,” Florence said. “What’s great is our customers are pleasantly surprised with some of the bottom line benefits they’re seeing when migrating to HD. Whether it’s using the system to provide enhanced customer service or decreasing their environmental footprint through reduced power consumption, they’re seeing a world of difference.”
G2E theme: Morse Watchmans makes it easy and affordable to manage keys more securely in the gaming/hospitality environment. Their comprehensive product portfolio offers industry-leading solutions that illustrate their outside-the-box thinking.
Products promoted: Morse Watchmans showcased their new KeyWatcher® Touch system with touchscreen convenience. They also featured the design and network flexibility of both the KeyWatcher Illuminated and KeyWatcher Touch systems. The KeyWatcher True Touch management software package was also demonstrated, as well as a variety of modules for custom configurations, including lockers and credit/access card modules.
Key announcements: Morse Watchmans’ KeyWatcher Touch system features several industry firsts that are ideal for the gaming/ hospitality market, including multiple site integration and common usage of databases and programming, according to George Lawson, an account executive for the company. Other firsts include the time-saving KeyAnywhere capability that allows the return of a key to any KeyWatcher cabinet in the enterprise and the KeyFind feature that quickly enables administrators to locate which KeyWatcher cabinet a specific key is in, or determine who has it out.
With a client list of more than 400 casinos, racetracks and pari-mutuels in the U.S., it’s not surprising that Morse Watchmans had a considerable presence at this year’s G2E. With a prime location on the show floor, Lawson says that this year’s show was a success.
The KeyWatcher Touch is the latest in a line of proven KeyWatcher products. “The KeyWatcher is known for its reliability,” Lawson said. “It goes 24/7, year after year. By integrating state-of-the-art touchscreen technology we’ve taken a product that has consistently performed in this market and brought it to the cutting edge.”
On top of those great features, the KeyWatcher Touch upgrade is particularly of interest to companies who already have the KeyWatcher technology in use, Lawson said. “Customers can keep the existing hardware, and simply replace their metal keypad with a touchscreen, and as always, the boxes are customizable.”
G2E theme: AXCESS Granted!
Products promoted: The progression of AXCESS, Robojack, Slingo Crazy Jokers, Tooks Timber and the new AXCESS Premium Roller Cabinet.
Major focus: “Our major focus for this year was showing our customers how far we have come in our first year of launching AXCESS,” said Aimee Schultz, director of marketing & public relations. “It is important that we invoke customer confidence at this point to show them that since we are new to the manufacturing game with our new platform, that we have what it takes to compete with the ‘big 3.’”
Thoughts on the show: “This is truthfully a buying show,” Schultz said. “Customers are coming here to buy, not just to look. It’s a really exciting thing for the economy. We’re able to actually sit down with people who come to the show, and get contracts out immediately.”
Plans for the future: AC Slots is excited to launch into the participation market this year with the release of its AXCESS Premium Roller Cabinet. Additionally, they are looking to continue expanding into different markets—the U.K., Macau, the Caribbean and Latin American markets.
At this year’s show, AC Slots was focused on showing the progression of their AXCESS product. Launched and installed for the first time in 2011, Schultz said that the evolution of the product has been impressive. “We’ve been in business for 35 years,” she said. “We had a great year of getting our feet wet and getting our boots on the ground. We’re excited to show the evolution of where our first products have gone out into the field and how well they’ve done, and what we’ve learned.”
Robojack is one of AC Slots’ newest titles, and is available on the 22V video base game. Action-packed, interactive and playful, Robojack features five different bonus events that showcase a fun techie adventure. One feature new to this game is that players have a bonus randomly selected for them and then, depending on the outcome, they can accept or reject that random bonus selection in favor of another bonus option that they choose.
Future goals: Regarding the future of AC Slots, Schultz has the company’s plan down to a simple statement: “We want to continue to make games that earn and that that players love. It has been the focus of all our efforts this year and the key to our continued growth and evolution.”
Ainsworth Game Technology
G2E theme: “Play the Future”
Products promoted: The all-new A560st™ slant top
Key messages: Ainsworth showcased the all-new A560st slant top for the first time in the U.S. The new cabinet is an engineering masterpiece that embodies the attributes of a classic entertainer. The A560st provides state-of-the-art technology with its dual widescreen LCD platform, powerful Quadtronic™ processor, compact storage, premium sound system and an intuitive player interface supporting a 15-button play deck play with a programmable button option.
Thoughts on the show: “We had a successful and busy show,” said John Glaser, manager of sales.“All the comments regarding our products on display were very positive, just like we expected. We brought our strongest and most diverse product portfolio to date and it showed the creative and innovative edge Ainsworth strives for. We unveiled the latest lineup of link progressive packages from our stunning World of Jackpots™ library and provided innovative updates to some of our already established ranges like Double Hit®, Triple Shot™ and Dollar Games.”
Plans for the future: As it has been noted before, Ainsworth has been building for the future and it is ready to further raise the bar with leading-edge brands and innovative cabinets like the A560st slant top, the all-new Wide Boy A560™ and the stunning Mega Top A560™.
Parting thoughts: Ainsworth is committed to delivering players with quality and unique entertainment experiences.
Products showcased: On the proprietary side, Aristocrat is bringing back products such as Mr. Cashman™. The popular character is in the new games Mr. Cashman, Cashman Live™ and Cashman Fever™. On the side of licensed titles, Aristocrat has included a follow-up to its popular Tarzan® Lord of the Jungle™ called Tarzan® & Jane Forbidden Temple™, which has been very well-received. Superman™ The Movie slot is another licensed title that Aristocrat is doing sequentially on their VIRIDIAN Hybrid™ stepper cabinet and is already in the marketplace and doing very well.
Major focus: Aristocrat sets itself apart by creating a partnership with its customers. They want clients to go on a journey with them to extend their client’s marketing brand and bring new emerging technologies to the forefront of their operation, ultimately aiding them in success.
Key messages: On the systems side of the company, Kelly Shaw, vice president of sales and marketing, had a clear message for attendees, saying: “I want them to know that systems are no longer just casino management systems. We are bringing strong technologies and a marketing brand alive for our operators. I want them to think about that and every solution that we provide.” Aristocrat knows that it’s about what the consumer faces when at the slot machine, what they can play when they go home and providing that content on multiple platforms. With offerings such as nLive and nLive Link, Aristocrat has created a recipe for success and they are sharing that with their customers.
Thoughts on the show: Dallas Orchard, vice president of gaming operations, said Aristocrat had a fantastic time at G2E. When discussing Aristocrat’s portfolio, he said: “The most pleasing thing for us is the amount of depth and diversity we’ve been able to show in the portfolio. Starting out on the gaming operations side we’ve got a tremendous balance between proprietary themes and licensed themes, which has been very well-received by our customers.”
Aruze Gaming America
G2E theme: “Designed to Engage Players All in the Name of Fun.®”
Products showcased: Aruze Gaming has launched their Innovator Deluxe™ product line, which includes Ali Baba™, Aladdin and the Lamp™, Gold™ and Crystal™. These have proven to be very strong titles, along with their Innovator™ stepper product line that includes Catch the Money™. “Catch the Money has what we call dancing reels within it,” said Steve Walther, vice president of marketing at Aruze. “When the music plays, the reels move back and forth dancing to the beat.” Just like the reels, players want to get their groove on when playing this entertaining game.
Major focus: With more than 30 new titles at their booth than they’ve ever shown in the past, Aruze’s focus this year deals with showing off their multiple product lines to attendees.
Key messages: Aruze gaming wants attendees to know they are a serious leading competitor in the gaming industry. “You cannot help but notice that we have more product than some of the bigger contenders that are out there these days,” Walther said. “We’re here to stay and we have a commitment to bringing out the best product and we will be No. 1 someday.” G2E proved to be a tremendous starting point for Aruze to accomplish this goal.
Thoughts on the show: “The traffic has been the highlight of the show this year,” Walther said. “We have had more people the first day this year than any other G2E that I can remember with Aruze Gaming.”
Plans for the future: Aruze gaming sees more of the same great-performing products in their future. They would like to take these games to the next level with more innovative features and exciting dynamic games. You will definitely see more of this innovation from Aruze as they begin to penetrate more markets and increase their performance on the floor.
Products showcased: Bally Technologies had more than 300 games on the floor, 100 of them new. However, the biggest focus was on two games in particular. The first is the licensed title NASCAR, which is Bally’s first world-class brand that they have carried across both its games and systems businesses. “The racing theme is a great fit for our industry, and we’ve confirmed the appeal of the brand in our player testing,” said Dan Savage, vice president of corporate marketing for Bally Technologies.
The second game that was unveiled was HISTORY’s Pawn Stars featured on the ALPHA 2™ Pro Series™ Wheel cabinet. Bally could not be more excited about this addition. “The biggest names in the pawn business are here to play,” said Jean Venneman, vice president of product management and licensing for Bally Technologies.
Thoughts on the show: “The show has so much energy and so much excitement,” said Laura Olson-Reyes, senior director of corporate marketing and communications for Bally Technologies. “It’s a great time to see all of our customers from around the world.”
Favorite moment(s): Bally also had some famous faces stop by their booth this year. Stars of HISTORY’s Pawn Stars, Rick Harrison and his son Corey, stopped by to sign autographs and take photographs. There was also an appearance by one of the featured NASCAR drivers from their slot machine. “We have been lucky enough to have Clint Bowyer spend some time at our booth,” said Olson-Reyes. “He also did the opening ceremony today. It was a lot of fun and a lot of people came to the booth to see him and get autographs.”
Plans for the future: Future plans for Bally Technologies include a lot of the titles that were showcased for the first time at the booth at G2E. “A lot of the games that we’re showcasing here at G2E, and a lot of this innovation, are actually going to be rolling out to casinos in 2013,” Olson-Reyes said.
G2E theme: Escape with Games that Take You Places.
Products showcased: Peter & Wendy, Wicked Sexy Devil, Wild Belles, Unicorn Fortune and a new tournament system.
Major focus: Cadillac Jack develops games and product series that are as unique and multi-faceted as their players.
Key announcements: Acquisition by Amaya Gaming Group.
Plans for the future: Continue to develop performance-driven products that immerse the player, further expand into Class III markets, and identify and leverage synergies within the Amaya product portfolio to offer gaming content to customers through a common platform across physical, virtual and mobile.
For Cadillac Jack, G2E was the perfect opportunity to elaborate on the Sept. 25 announcement of the company’s acquisition by Amaya Gaming Group. According to Gina Lanphear, Cadillac Jack’s senior director of marketing, initial reactions by customers, employees and the investment community have all been extremely positive.
The acquisition, which is set to be finalized by the end of 2012, merges both companies’ areas of expertise to bring even more to the table. Amaya’s strong presence in the online and mobile world will combine with Cadillac Jack’s growing reputation in the brick-and-mortar area of gaming. “The merger provides both companies with tremendous growth opportunities and the ability to enter new markets,” Lanphear said. “The most exciting aspect is what this merger will offer to our customers in the future—game content across multiple media channels—physical, interactive and mobile.”
With more than 90 game titles on display at G2E, the Amaya acquisition wasn’t the only thing attracting attendees to the Cadillac Jack booth. Many new titles—including Peter & Wendy, Wicked Sexy Devil, Wild Belles and Unicorn Fortune—were on display, and caught the attention of both customers and passersby.
Cadillac Jack introduced a new wide area progressive product, Wicked Sexy Devil, which features multiple progressive levels activated by an interactive wheel bonus. “We also highlighted games with Streaming Stacks, Wild Pay Days and mystery progressives which add a tremendous level of excitement and rewards to the player experience,” noted Lanphear.
Cadillac Jack also debuted their new slot tournament system. “To introduce our customers to our new tournament product, we have been running slot tournaments throughout the day at the booth,” Lanphear said. “Our tournament system allows operators to quickly and easily switch machines from revenue generating mode into tournament mode from an iPad. There is no need for bulky servers or dedicated tournament banks.”
Staci Columbo Alonso
Staci Columbo Alonso
International Game Technology (IGT)
Products showcased: When talking about the products showcased at this year’s G2E, Staci Columbo Alonso, vice president of global marketing at IGT, had this to say: “My personal favorite is Dolly Parton. What’s exciting about Dolly, not only that she’s Dolly, but that she appeals to a 25-year-old player and a 70-year-old player.” The Dolly Parton® video slot also has the first interactive jukebox in the game. “When you are playing the game you can pick your favorite Dolly song and it comes up on the screen,” Alonso said. “It really brings her music to life within the game.”
There were several TV-themed slot games at IGT. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation allows the player to choose from their favorite CSI show. “The CSI game is three games in one, you actually pick your city,” explained Alonso. “So if you want to play CSI: New York, CSI: Las Vegas or CSI: Miami, all of those characters are built into the videos so you are playing your favorite CSI city game.” Another TV title that IGT had was Family Guy. Video is incorporated directly into the game creating laugh-out-loud entertainment for players.
Order in the court! The final game that was discussed was Judge Judy. “You can actually get yelled at by Judge Judy,” Alonso said. “I’m sure that anybody that has watched her show has definitely wanted to feel what it’s like to get yelled at by Judge Judy, so if you play our game you can have that feeling. It’s really fun,” she said.
Major focus: This year’s G2E brought with it a lot of excitement for IGT. “We’ve been delivering pop culture entertainment over the last few years and this year is no different,” Alonso elaborated. These games are proven to have a very large fan base so the recognition of the game is instantaneous.
Key messages: IGT has a passion for paying attention to trends, even creating them themselves, and delivering that to their operators. “We have always led the change in the industry,” Alonso said. “IGT has not only changed the industry, but they have set a high standard for quality games and systems products. “
Products showcased: Incredible Technologies had 12 new titles at G2E. One of the crowd favorites at the booth was The Herd™. “The Herd is part of our traditional line,” said Don Pesceone, senior vice president of sales at Incredible Technologies. “The game features herding symbols like buffalo, antelope and horses. Symbols herd together to create all sorts of big wins, and when the animals get going it’s really exciting.” The Herd’s majestic soundtrack was created internally and after months of testing, it is proving to be a fantastic game.
Another game that brought excitement to the Incredible Technologies booth was ULTRA MEGA!™ This unique game was created by the same designer of The King of Bling®. “ULTRA MEGA! is an 8-bit celebration,” Pesceone said with excitement. “It’s got robotic sounds that kind of bring you back to retro video game styles.” The game has a tremendous multiplier feature called Power Box™, which allows for enormous line wins. ULTRA MEGA! is a true throwback that will please any player.
Incredible Technologies also has a strategic partnership with game design firm GC2. GC2 has contributed to a number of IT games including The Munsters: Family Portrait™, which debuted this year. This game features Slide & Win™, a 3-by-5 frame that slides back and forth to determine the reel set. “The game also has a multiplier feature that starts out on the far right of the screen,” Pesceone said, “and then multiplies wins as the bar slides back across the screen, a really neat idea.”
Major focus: This being Incredible Technologies fifth G2E, the main priority was to expand on an already-growing reputation. “We are at 67 casinos with more than 700 games placed right now, so our reputation of well-earning games is really starting to precede us,” Pesceone said. “Instead of having to work to get people in our meeting schedule, our booth was absolutely packed so we’re really excited about this show.”
Key messages: Innovation is a proponent of Incredible Technologies’ strategy that they share with partners. The company even takes traditional ideas and innovates them to make a product that is unique. “We have great innovative themes with really exciting features that make them pop,” Pesceone stated. “We’re here. We’re starting to gain our market share and look forward to continued expansion.”
Konami Gaming Inc.
Products showcased: Specifically on the systems side of Konami Gaming, SYNKROS™, the evolution of KCMS, was being demonstrated at G2E. Michael Ratner, director of systems product management at Konami Gaming Inc., had this to say about the rebranding: “We felt with the significant product enhancements, improvements and repositioning to our systems product it was warranted and well-timed to launch our new brand, SYNKROS, to our competitors.” The features of the SYNKROS system allow operators to efficiently manage and analyze their gaming operations, equip innovative marketing campaigns and create success for their business.
Major focus: The SYNKROS system has a reputation in the industry for being extremely well engineered. “Operators love the fact that it is hardly ever down and we do all of our upgrades remotely,” Ratner explained. “It takes about an hour or two to do a full system upgrade.” The company’s marketing abilities also set them apart from competitors. They market to players at the machine and having a number of marketing incentives that can be implemented using the engine of SYNKROS.
Key messages: Konami wants attendees to see their offerings in a brand-new light. Ratner went in-depth on this message: “With the rebranding, the repositioning, all of the new marketing collaterals, the videos, the website that we launched at the show, we definitely want them to take a second look at our systems division and not see us as a niche player, not see us as an offering to smaller casinos.” They showed that they are a competitor in the systems business with their SYNKROS system at G2E. With the horsepower in their marketing products to the reliability that they continually advertise, Konami is a proven player in the systems arena.
G2E Theme: “Play Louder.”
Products showcased: Multimedia Games presented a variety of products at their booth this year, including new High Rise Games™ titles, Smokin’ Hot Jackpots™ and TournEvent®. Mick Roemer, senior vice president of sales at Multimedia Games, was also excited about other events: “The launching of our National TournEvent of Champions™ and the Washington State TournEvent of Champions, are all going on at the same time.”
Major focus: The theme “Play Louder” has to do with the connection between Multimedia Games and their customers. The company is based in Austin, Texas—not Nevada—and the employees take pride in that location and want to show it off. “We’re wearing cowboy boots and jeans at the show,” Roemer said. “We’ve got a really good, fresh attitude and great game designers, and everyone is doing a fantastic job.” The content that Multimedia Games creates with video, mechanical reels, upright premium games and the TournEvent of Champions truly sets them apart.
Key messages: Roemer wants attendees to take away an important message: “‘Play Louder’ means being excited about what we’re doing, bringing that energy and passion into it and sharing that with all of our customers and players.”
Thoughts on the show: “The booth has been packed, and we expect more to come,” Roemer said. “We love to show everyone the products when they’re out and about.”
Plans for the future: With approval in the Nevada market, the future looks bright for Multimedia Games. Last year, the company had access to roughly 50 percent of the gaming market, and with this approval they are expanding to about 85 percent. The company is also excited about what they deem as the true community game, the TournEvent of Champions. “The TournEvent of Champions will be taken to more than 150 casinos throughout the country and we’re very excited about creating something that is a true community game in the industry,” Roemer concluded.
Products showcased: Novomatic had a big range of products, systems and platforms at the show this year. “One of our core presentation series is our NOVOLINE™ platform, our server-based ready platform and we call it NOVO LINE INTERACTIVE, which you can completely operate stand-alone,” said Max Lindenberg, head of marketing and business development at Novomatic. Then when a customer is ready, they can even choose to go with a full-fledged server based installation of the platform.
“On the other hand, we are showing new jackpot systems—our electronic multi-player games, beginning with roulette over to blackjack to different versions of poker,” Lindenberg said. “They’re all interconnected to each other and all available on the same terminal.” They also share an interconnection with the slot games.
Octavian had 12 single games that were displayed at Novomatic’s booth, along with an array of innovative game concepts and bonus features that prove to be very rewarding for players. There was also a demonstration of the Octavian ACP (Accounting Control Progressives) system which is easily customizable for any operator.
Major focus: Novomatic wants attendees to know that they are a one-stop shop for the gaming industry. “We deliver everything needed to run any size of casino,” Lindenberg said.
Thoughts on the show: Novomatic was thrilled to meet with their customers and partners at G2E. “It was a great G2E for us this year, with great prospects for making good business,” Lindenberg exclaimed.
Plans for the future: Next up on Novomatic’s plate is the ICE show in London. “The focus will be on the new product line—NOVOLINE—with new functionalities for server-based ready or full-fledged server-based solutions,” Lindenberg said. Novomatic plans on having new products and innovations, such as new cabinets, rolling out in the near future.
Products launched/key announcements: SPIELO International’s new partnership with PopCap® Games, a popular casual game maker, brings SPIELO International three exciting new game titles—Plants vs. Zombies™, Zuma™ and Bejeweled™. “For us, this is a new type of license, and for the market this is a new type of license,” Mike Brennan, product marketing manager, explained. “Instead of having a nostalgic movie or a musician, we are going with established games that have followings online, on PC versions, as well as on mobile devices and on Facebook, and we’re bringing them to casinos with the hopes that we are going to bring new players. We would like to have casual game players check it out and say, ‘Hey, I didn’t know they made a slot version of Plants vs. Zombies!’”
Major focus: “We are trying to make sure we are satisfying regular players,” Brennan said. “We want to surprise them with some of the features to make sure they are happy and they have some of the standard slot machine features that they’re used to getting out of a machine.”
Future goals: Responsible growth, customer intimacy, product growth one bank at a time, and of course, great games.
Brennan says these new games represent one way SPIELO International is evolving the player. Plants vs. Zombies, which is launching at the beginning of next year, is the gateway brand—a standard game with interesting interactions and one-on-one animations. Then there is Zuma, which actually requires some physical skill, and Bejeweled, which is a non-spinning wheel slot with actual skill, strategy and betting structures. “In general, we are trying to meet the needs of players and casinos, and one of the ways is through PopCap,” Brennan said.
Ryan Cuddy with VGT game characters.
Ryan Cuddy with VGT game characters.
Video Gaming Technologies (VGT)
Products showcased: Four new video titles and three new mechanical reel titles. Some of the new game titles included Frankenstein, The Joneses and Charm Destiny.
Key messages: Ryan Cuddy, vice president, shared that VGT does Class II bingo, but it believes these products will compete with anyone’s products, whether in Class II or Class III. “We set ourselves apart in terms of the sounds, the design, the integration and the math model, with the marriage of them all,” he said. “It really comes down to how we develop the game. It’s more collaborative than any other environment that I’ve ever worked in before. That’s a continuous thing for us is to always pull together shoulder to shoulder as much as we can. I really believe that your culture comes out in your product, and I think that’s what we’re seeing in our games.”
Plans for the future: A bigger initiative to cater to a new player base for video via a focus on VGT’s mechanical reels.
Cuddy explained that a very high production quality goes into all VGT products. And there’s no exception to that when it comes to their new Frankenstein game. “We try to separate ourselves in terms of the level of detail that goes into every single pixel that goes into the game above and beyond,” he said. “We don’t want to be a standard production house so to speak, and you see that in Frankenstein. It’s all VGT IP built off of the public domain, but the intensity of the characters, the facial expressions, the animations it is really horror film driven. I joke about that with some folks. They say it will give them nightmares, but I say if they are going to sleep thinking about our games, that’s a good thing.”
Products showcased: WMS rolled out its KISS™ slot game this year, which they were really excited about. “We’ve got the voice of Paul Stanley in the game,” said Shekhar Dhupelia, lead producer at WMS. “We got him really involved in the creative direction of the game. We have music from the band actually in the game.” As a player navigates through the game, they unlock each of the band’s members as they go. This brings the player experience to a new level, along with the sensory emergence surround sound chair. “It’s a really fun game for players,” Dhupelia added.
Another interesting game was Monopoly™ Legends, which gives a throwback to famous brands from the past. “For the first time we have a Monopoly game that also includes some famous brands from the past like Gold Fish®, Reel ‘Em In® and Jackpot Party®,” Dhupelia said. “While you’re playing Monopoly, you can unlock the bonuses from those other past games that players really like and play through them as well.”
“We have the new Gamefield xD™ Wizard of Oz™ games, where we have a feature called the flying monkeys,” Dhupelia added. These games had amazing attention to detail and they brought the famous movie right to players on the gaming floor. The witch’s flying monkeys actually fly between the top and bottom screens, landing on wild apples, in turn showing how many credits have been awarded to the player.
Major focus: WMS wants to cater to every player on the gaming floor by providing a game for each individual type of player. “We have a really strong breadth this year. Dhupelia said, “We have a lot of depth in our content. You see games here for every type of player. If you like movie licenses, if you like music, if you like a more core gambler, we cover every type of player this year.”
Key messages: WMS has an amazing spirit of innovation. “We get an idea and we run with it and we refine it to make it the best it can be,” Dhupelia said. WMS believes that they have the very best offerings at G2E. “I look around the show and I see what we have, there really is no comparison,” Dhupelia said proudly.
Systems & Technology
Casino Data Imaging
Products showcased: CDI GlobalSuite™ Advanced Visualization and Analysis, and iGuide™ Wayfinder Plus.
Working closely with its client base and embracing state-of-the-art technologies, the new CDI GlobalSuite data visualization program brings features and functionality only dreamed of in previous years. The GlobalSuite platform also allows CDI to look at logical future add-ons and enhancements including Windows 8 capabilities, touchscreen and handheld devices, and to be positioned when its clients are ready.
“The key to this program is a great front-end for the patron and an easy-to-update user-interface for the casino operator,” George Levine, executive director, sales and marketing, said about iGuide Wayfinder. “Once [customers] see how easy it is to maintain, they’re onboard with us and this product.”
Major focus: Providing optimum state-of-the-art platforms, allowing CDI engineering to continue meeting and exceeding customer requirements.
Key announcements: Strategic alliances and added features and functionality to products.
Key initiatives: Working closely with customers (multi-game multi-denom, benchmark and utilization tracking) and trying to better understand their specific jobs and the questions they must address daily.
Plans for the future: More strategic alliances, joint ventures and vertical markets, further features and functions.
The Iverson Gaming Systems team
The Iverson Gaming Systems team
Iverson Gaming Systems
Products showcased: Iverson SeaPET (portable entertainment tablet)
Major focus: iPad/mobile gaming.
Trends/topics discussed: Definitely mobile gaming.
Favorite moment(s): When a visitor interested in mobile gaming told the Iverson team that they had the best product on the show floor.
Plans for the future: Iverson plans to implement this exciting mobile technology into its largest market segment: the cruise line industry. “Once regulations are established in land-based jurisdictions, we are poised to install this proven and dependable mobile gaming solution without delay!” Matthew R. Brown, project manager at Iverson Gaming Systems, commented.
With a conveniently placed corner booth by the entrance, Iverson Gaming Systems offered visitors the chance to rest their tired feet while gaming on an iPad. Promoting their new partnership with Acres 4.0, they were touting play-for-cash, Vegas-style tablet games, like Bejeweled, that casinos can offer for customers wanting to game on or off the floor. “It’s an interesting time for mobile gaming right now,” Brown said. “Everyone’s been saying it’s the next big thing for about 10 years. The last two years has had a little more momentum, but this year everyone is saying, ‘Without a doubt, mobile gaming is the next thing that’s going to happen and it’s going to happen very soon.’ For us, it’s a great time.”
Leap Forward Gaming
Products promoted: SaffariNet® Casino Ecosystem
Major focus: Innovation in gaming floor networking technology.
Topics of conversation: The networked gaming operation of tomorrow is here today. SaffariNet makes networking possible regardless of system or EGD platform.
Thoughts on the show: “The show has been extremely exciting—very busy!” said Ali Saffari, CEO. “We were visited by manufacturers, regulators, operators—everyone! We heard from several operators this was the most innovative, exciting product they’d seen at G2E.”
Plans for the future: Continued releases of additional features and functionalities built on the proven SaffariNet infrastructure.
Leap Forward Gaming’s new low-cost wireless SaffariNet ecosystem delivers real-time, secure and comprehensive information, as well as picture-in-picture capability via LFG’s patented technology, all without traditional cables, wires or connections to enable maximum gaming floor connectivity and flexibility.
According to Saffari, this technology was of extreme interest to attendees at G2E. “It was extremely well-received,” he said. “Customers want to know how quickly we can deliver it.”
Through several alliances with familiar gaming industry companies—JCM Global, FutureLogic, TransAct and Spin Games—Saffari says that he’s impressed with what the company has accomplished in a very short time . “I have extreme pride in the fact that we have something no one else has,” he said. “Our technology isn’t exclusive to anyone, which is why it brings value.”
Saffari also pointed out that the reason the technology is so popular and effective is because it’s adaptable in any situation. “We can work with every gaming machine from every manufacturer, despite the type, model, age, aspect ratio, etc.,” he said. “Our ecosystem also works in any casino, no matter what player tracking system they have. It’s important that we be transparent.”
Theme: Going Mobile
New products: Mobile and Vault Manager
Major focus: Regulation, taxes, compliance—making it simpler and saving operators time.
Announcements: In the early part of next year, NEWave will be releasing a new program, Vault Manager.
Key messages: NEWave poses two questions to the gaming industry: What else can we do with Mobile? And what other processes do you have to get done by some agency? As Founder and Chairman Jim Bach explained: “There are more and more regulations on both the federal and state level. People are wondering what the regulations are and what they have to do. We’re in the business of telling you what you have to do and helping you fill out the right forms, and we want to take this to the mobile level. For example, if you win big at a casino, you may spend an hour filling out forms and paperwork. Our new Mobile software takes care of all of that, makes sure you’re the right person, makes sure we have all of your credentials and we do all that authentication. Our goal is to get you back playing in 5 minutes.”
NEWave’s aim is to also take these simplifying processes mobile. “What we’re also saying is, instead of having to go to a VCE and do all the work, operators can go mobile, put it all on their iPad, iPhone or Droid and work one on one with their customers using a mobile device. This is a major focus this year going into next year,” Bach concluded.
Goals: To see what else NEWave can do with Mobile.
G2E theme: Always In Play–more content, more channels, more markets. Williams Interactive is the newest evolution in WMS’ history as a gaming industry leader. According to the company, Williams Interactive will be the vehicle for deployment of an integrated gaming ecosystem that combines casino, online, mobile and social media experiences into new distribution channels that will power their customers’ growth for years to come.
Major focus: “First and foremost, we are a leader in developing the most innovative, entertaining, game content in the wagering and non-wagering spaces, more specifically we focused on our offering of more than 100 world-class online casino games and tailored services, from real money gaming in regulated markets, to ‘play for fun’ games in unregulated markets, Williams Interactive offers an unprecedented catalog of player favorite games,” said Damon Gura, senior director product management. “Consider the 70 years of gaming innovation experience that the WMS gaming brand brings to the table—only Williams Interactive understands the player’s voice, in a unique way where they capture how the future of gaming is evolving to provide the player with the ultimate gaming experience.”
Gura continued: “We did focus our presentations on helping customers understand what they could do to evolve in this uncertain regulatory landscape in North America. This suite of offerings starts at an online player community and ends at B2B managed services touching social, casual and mobile along the way.”
Favorite moments: “Taking customers through our booth and showing them the exceptional set of land-based content WMS has created over the last year, while articulating to them that this is the online library of Interactive’ s future,” Gura said. “That is a message I was happy to deliver.”
Genesis Gaming Solutions and Genesis Interactive Technologies
Products promoted: BRAVO Pit and BRAVO Poker system with new features, BRAVO Poker Live mobile app with online registration feature, Tip-Central™ employee payment module, gaming tables, casino chips, precision dice, playing cards, table layouts, roulette wheels, and table game displays and reader boards.
Key announcements: Genesis has a new on-table dealer unit technology in its BRAVO Pit system that allows for easy data input by the dealer. A patented sensor technology on the tables is located under felts and counts hands to allow for more accurate player ratings. And, the BRAVO Poker Live site is now launching online player registrations.
On the recent launch of Genesis Interactive Technologies, Randy Knust, president of Genesis Gaming, shared: “One challenge we had with all this technology we’re putting on the table, is how to protect it and make it efficient for dealer operations, maintenance and things like that. We felt like we had to control the design and manufacture of the tables, so we started Genesis Interactive, which is the supply side company. We’re working with card and chip manufacturers to sell the whole gaming supply side. It was something we felt we really had to do. We’re looking at it from a game standpoint. We’re happy with the launch of Genesis Interactive, and hopefully it makes sense to everyone.”
Topics of conversation: There was a lot of interest in Genesis’ BRAVO Pit and Poker systems as casinos are looking for ways to make table game operations and player tracking more efficient and effective. They also saw a lot of interest in their tables and gaming supplies as well as their quick-change table tops, which allow the casino to easily and quickly change the table layout to accommodate different games or themes without having to disturb any equipment or electronics in or on the table.
Plans for the future: Possible expansion to other markets such as Europe and Asia, manufacturer partnerships and continuing the development of high-quality products.
Key takeaway: “The combination of Genesis Gaming Solutions and Genesis Interactive Technologies makes us the only comprehensive solution for the entire pit,” Knust said. “There’s no one else selling systems and tables and all the supplies and looking at every feature of table play. We’re a complete table game solutions provider and you can come to us for anything.”
Gaming Partners International (GPI)
Products showcased: B&G Premium Chip, RFID Chip Rolling Solution (CRS), RFID Total Money Management (TMM), 4C-UV, Holographic MicroDots
Major focus: Introducing new innovations and technologies to what are deemed traditional products.
Key messages: GPI offers a combination of tradition, innovation and quality.
Topics of conversation: Gaming currency security innovations and new uses for RFID.
Thoughts on the show: “The show has been fantastic,” said Rob Jackson, vice president of sales—America, Europe & Africa. “We’ve got a great mixture of quality products, so people are attracted to our booth.”
Often what leads G2E attendees to a booth is the company’s reputation in the gaming industry. GPI is no exception, as they’ve become a well-known and proven player in the industry. It’s that reputation, Jackson said, that gets people to the booth, but it’s the company’s newest and most innovative products that keep them there. “People will stop by for the proven products, and then we tell them about our newest options,” he said.
One of GPI’s newest products is the RFID Chip Rolling Solution (CRS). By automatically tracking and validating all chip movement transactions that occur during VIP play that involves the use of non-negotiable and live chips, the RFID CRS streamlines the dead-to-live chip-rolling process.
RFID Total Money Management (TMM) combines the efficiencies of RFID with the iV8™ high-speed table game bill validator designed by JCM. RFID TMM streamlines table game cash and chip transactions to enable an increase in rounds per hour while providing increased currency security through instant authentication and validation.
Other products GPI had on display included the fully customizable B&G Premium Chip, and several new security-based features—4C-UV and Holographic MicroDots.
Jackson said that the importance of chip security is often overlooked in the casino industry, but it’s important that both players and casino operators understand its importance. “People often just think of chips as chips, but don’t realize that to the casino, they’re money,” he said. “As counterfeiters become more sophisticated, we have to make sure that we’re offering products that meet that.”
Products showcased: Interblock stood out at G2E with fantastic new products that have taken off in the U.S. and worldwide markets. “This year we featured our new hologram gaming lodge, which consists of actual projected holograms,” said Tom O’Brien, vice president of sales. “It allows the customers on the casino floor to use their imagination to impact things like gaming outcomes, so you can project the actual outcome of a machine up on the hologram.” Not only can gaming outcomes be projected; the hologram can also help promote a property’s advertising by marketing to the customer’s wants. Casinos can now use their imagination to cater to every player within their casino with the breathtaking holograms.
Interblock also showed attendees their most advanced multi-player product range to date, including the G4 Organic Roulette™ 08 in Football Shape, G4 Organic Virtual™ 07 Blackjack Portrait, G4 Organic Virtual 07 Baccarat Landscape, G4 Organic Twins™ 12 in Football Shape with Roulette and Dice center, G4 Organic Bartop™ and the G4 Organic Live Pulse™.
Major focus: “The fact that we have a fantastic product and we’re a growing company. We’re getting better all the time and we’re looking forward to next year,” O’Brien said.
Key messages: Interblock takes a lot of pride in producing luxury products. They stay focused on one area and do that area with expertise. “We are electronic table games so what we want to do is perfect that resource all the time to come up with new and exciting games,” O’Brien said.
Thoughts on the show: “The show was fantastic. I never have seen visitors so happy with our products,” said Jose Pececnik, chairman of Interblock. Attendees came back to Interblock’s booth multiple times to check out the IBHL (Interblock Hologram Gaming Lounge).
Final thoughts: “We have just set the bar as high as ever,” O’Brien said of their booth. “Without a doubt, one of the best shows I have ever done in my 20-plus years in gaming.”
Products showcased: In addition to demonstrating the improved speed of the new Deck Mate 2, SHFL entertainment also highlighted the innovative way it reads cards. “We incorporated optical recognition on the Deck Mate 2,” said Gavin Isaacs, CEO of SHFL entertainment. “Typically the cards were shuffled and counted, but now they are sorted and scanned, so that if someone was to slip a card into the deck the casino would be alerted.”
On the table games side of the business, SHFL entertainment has launched eight new specialty table games. “The one that has attracted a lot of interest is the blackjack side bet House Money, where players make their regular blackjack bet, and optionally, the House Money side bet. If they receive a pair or a straight, they win the House Money bet, but here’s the twist: They can then take their winnings or add it to their initial blackjack bet,” Isaacs explained. “So effectively, you’re playing with the house’s money.”
Major focus: SHFL entertainment places a great deal of focus on table games and its strong content portfolio. “What sets us apart is that, in addition to having the industry’s most diverse product suite, at our core we are the leaders in table gaming,” Isaacs said. “There are a lot of electronic table manufacturers, but only one can use our wide range of content.” The company also has leverage with its shuffling devices, chip sorters and other ancillary offerings.
Key messages: On day one of the show, the company announced a new name: SHFL entertainment. Isaacs explained: “The rationale was to update the name to reflect all of our varied businesses and product lines while still retaining the strong heritage of the past. We are clearly a shuffler company that initially moved into proprietary tables, and now we offer electronic tables, slot machines and i-gaming. We’re a lot more than just a shuffler company and part of the image change was intended to reflect that.” Wanting to keep the link to the past with the “SHFL” part of the new name, they added “entertainment” because across all of their product categories, “entertainment” is the key theme as to what they truly provide today and in the future.
Marketing manager Tracy Cohen and Roger Hawkins
Marketing manager Tracy Cohen and Roger Hawkins
Products showcased: Dragon 21, Baccpo, Gaming Floor Live™ (GFL), Tablet Roulette
Major focus: Back at G2E for the first time in three years, TCSJOHNHUXLEY demonstrated new innovations that underpin its commitment to provide high-value solutions to customers that deliver added value.
TCSJOHNHUXLEY made a welcome return to the G2E show floor as an exhibitor. According to Chief Executive for the Americas Roger Hawkins, the move back to the expo was partly due to a change in product portfolio, and the timing was right for the company.
Hawkins said that this year’s show was not only about promoting new products and services, but more importantly, focusing on customers. “It’s really about us using this event to take the opportunity to speak with our customers, evaluate what the business needs, and then to produce products that suit what our operators are looking for,” he said. “Our aim is to create solid partnerships that build for the future.”
He also mentioned the company’s push toward systems and software solutions, noting that Gaming Floor Live. is the first step. “We want to be more focused on what the operator is looking for, and looking at what will generate income for the casino,” Hawkins said. “We are a global provider of live table gaming equipment and we will continue to be so, however some of our focus is changing to more systems/software solutions.”
Gaming Floor Live is a real-time game optimization tool that is designed to maximize key performance areas and profitability, and was just one of the popular products at the TCSJOHNHUXLEY booth.
Tablet Roulette, the exciting server-based solution offering tablet device gaming in a live environment, also created a lot of interest. The system allows customers to play live tables on a touchscreen tablet throughout the gaming venue. “Tablet roulette is the perfect roulette solution for what have traditionally been non-gaming areas such as bars, restaurants and smoking terraces,” Hawkins said. “It enhances electronic revenue by giving flexibility during busy periods, offering increased player positions without the need for additional staffing levels. Its small size makes it ideal for card room players to enjoy live roulette action during their quiet periods.”
Services promoted: BMM showcased all of their areas of expertise at G2E. These included i-gaming, certification services, audit, security and quality assurance testing.
Major focus: “What matters is that the products that hit the floor do so with great integrity and great quality and we are there to be able to test and certify the products on behalf of regulatory bodies around the world,” Mike Dreitzer, chief operating officer for BMM explains.
Thoughts on the show: BMM was very pleased to have a lot of fresh faces stopping by their booth at this year’s G2E. Dreitzer had this to say about the traffic at the booth: “Booth visitation was non-stop throughout G2E, a lot of really strong interest in utilizing our services from all around the global gaming industry.”
Favorite moments: “It has just been great to see a lot of old friends from the industry, meet a lot of new people in the industry and pursue all the myriad of opportunities out there,” Dreitzer commented. BMM spent the majority of G2E making, renewing and building relationships with attendees from across the gaming industry.
Plans for the future: BMM is excited to grow its involvement in the i-gaming space with its team of experts. Recently, they’ve started a very successful series of i-gaming “Choose your path” roadshows at various Native American venues. “It’s all part of a larger regulatory outreach program,” Dreitzer explained. “As G2E is the largest show in the world, we’re really excited to be here and to continue to grow this business and support this industry as best we can. We are particularly excited about our new world headquarters in Las Vegas and what that will mean for our ability to work with and service regulators manufacturers, operators worldwide.”
Janice and Nick Farley
Janice and Nick Farley
Eclipse Compliance Testing
Theme: Integrity, Impartiality & Independence. “A wise man once told us that if you do not have honor and integrity, you have nothing,” said Janice Farley, vice president. “Eclipse maintains this paradigm as its strong foundation from which we build our business.”
Services promoted: Testing for Class II and Class III gaming devices and systems, charitable gaming, amusement devices, finite pool systems such as electronic pull-tabs and sweepstakes. RNG and VLT testing for lotteries. Continued on-site training services.
Key announcement or messages: “We are ready to serve Internet gaming as regulations and regulatory schemes evolve here in the U.S.,” Nick Farley, president, shared. “In addition to our laboratory testing services, this past year we assisted the new staff members of the Ohio Casino Control Commission with comprehensive training tailored to new regulators.”
2012 also marks the silver anniversary—25 years of service—for Nick Farley in the gaming industry.
Parting thoughts: “Eclipse has built its business on integrity and hard work,” Nick Farley said. “Our staff of outstanding professionals provides outstanding customer service without compromising our ethics or cutting corners. These are the cornerstones of integrity, and that on which a compliance testing laboratory must be built. Eclipse Compliance Testing will continue to foster these values as we extend our growth and development efforts in the gaming, amusement, lottery and Internet gaming industries.”
Gaming Laboratories International (GLI)
G2E theme: All Around the World
Products/services promoted: GLiCloud and GLI Mobile.
Announcements: Major expansion at the Nevada lab, with more to come. Also, the GLiCloud is available for beta testing.
Trends: Mobile technology.
Major focus: G2E provides an important opportunity for GLI to visit with its clients, customers and regulators. Director of Worldwide Marketing Christie Eickelman explains: “This conference gives our team the chance to view new technologies and take regulators over there to view it themselves. This way, we can get a better idea of what regulators would like with regard to testing and technical specifications for the new technologies that are coming onto the market.” For GLI, G2E also provides an opportunity for the lab to pinpoint their tools, such as GLI Mobile®, GLIAccess®, GLI Verify®, as well as discuss the things they’re doing moving forward into the next year. A visitor at the GLI booth explained just why GLI’s presence at G2E is essential. “One of the things you’ll always hear people say is ‘Oh, it’s GLI approved.’ That’s a big deal for suppliers. It means they’re able to sell games into about 265 jurisdictions all at once. That’s an enormous level of certification that couldn’t be possible without the lab,” he said.
Thoughts on the show: This is Eickelman’s 25th year in the gaming industry—and she has attended every Global Gaming Expo—and she is pleased to say that this one does stand out amongst the past few. “It’s a good one with a good vibe. The economy has been a sticking point for the gaming industry and this year reflects that. People are positive with different levels of enthusiasm,” she said.
Highlights: GLI’s presence at G2E also helps them set the agenda for the coming year. Eickelman explains: “When regulators see all this technology, it rolls us right into our Roundtable, which we host the beginning of every year. In 2013, it will be held during the last week of February. So, the technology they see can be put in regulatory terms to assist them in doing their jobs better and moving forward with the technology.”
Favorite moments: James Maida’s panel keynote on Thursday.
Plans for the future: GLiCloud beta testing and a wide launch.