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Interblock’s Big 3 Six Wheel Generator.
Interblock’s Big 3 Six Wheel Generator.
“Play Like a Champion” was Interblock’s theme at G2E 2013, and the company showed just the products to help players live it. Interblock introduced multiple new products that excited the gaming industry. One of the highlights was the iBlock Console, a niche product that targets video game enthusiasts. Players are presented with an arcade game and as a bonus or for reaching the next level, they are offered a chance at a casino game of their choice: roulette, baccarat or blackjack.
Another popular product was the IBHG Mini-Hologram. It uses the same technology as the popular large Hologram introduced at the Interblock booth last year, but it is positioned for a smaller audience: about three to five players at a time. Part of the mini-product line, Mini Roulette was designed with smaller casino floors in mind. It features new curved LCDs with updated graphic features. Showing a commitment to updating its products, Interblock also had its new G5 PlayStation on display. It features a larger LCD, new button decks and a new antimicrobial illuminated TechnoGel armrest.
When asked if there were any particular initiatives in place for the coming year, Interblock CEO Tom O’Brien said: “Our number one goal is to continue to penetrate the markets with electronic table games and show that our product line has a place in markets all over the world.”
SHFL entertainment (SHFL)
This year, SHFL entertainment (SHFL) wished to tell G2E attendees that the company provides “the only way to play.” This theme, SHFL Vice President of Marketing John Strickland said, defines their approach for the year. With the Bally Technologies acquisition of SHFL expected to be closed on or before Dec. 31, 2013, and an evident commitment to continuously updating and innovating its product line, SHFL has had a strong year and expects the company to continue along that path. Customers obviously feel the same way. When asked about the traffic at SHFL’s booth, Strickland said: “It is typically always busy at the SHFL booth, but the volume of people this year has been outstanding. I thought it would let up on Thursday, as it was the last day of the show, but it hasn’t.”
The rebranding and aesthetic overhaul of the products in the Electronic Table System (ETS) line was a recent change promoted at G2E. “We acknowledged that there were a lot of products competing in the same core space,” Strickland said. “There were a lot of names but all with similar components; that was confusing for customers.” SHFL Fusion is now the overarching brand for the ETS line. It all starts with a universal platform: The Fusion terminal is a central cabinet that connects games to each other. Featuring a space-conserving footprint, the Fusion terminal is built for modular configurability and compatible with SAS, TITO and all known player tracking systems. One of the most exciting products was the SHFL Fusion Hybrid. Offering baccarat, roulette and sic bo dealer podiums, SHFL Fusion Hybrid allows for up to four games to be played simultaneously in jurisdictions where that is legal.
The new SHFL Flex is another innovative SHFL product that will definitely provide casino operators with greater flexibility on their tables. A pay-per-shuffle option, SHFL Flex presents a new shuffling solution for properties with limited or part-time tables. Properties can lease the shuffler and are billed per individual shuffle. Free upgrades and maintenance are provided while the shuffler is leased, assuring SHFL can keep its product up-to-date. Better yet, the shuffler communicates with the casino’s server, providing information on the number of shuffles per hour. “This statistical data is available to the operator and can help gauge response to floor activity,” Strickland said. “A property can then choose to increase dealers on a shift that is very frequented or decrease the number of dealers on a shift that does not see as much action.”
For TCSJOHNHUXLEY (TCS), new leadership aims to usher this popular name in table games into the new era of gaming. CEO for the Americas Todd Cravens said that he’s inherited a great team and great core products, so going forward it’s about maintaining that strong reputation while continuing to build and expand the product line. “Our focus right now is building for the future, with a continued investment in traditional and technical products,” he said. “For us this year, it’s about less talk and more action.”
While less talk, more action is his own mantra, Cravens made it clear that it is not applicable to TCS’ approach in dealing with customers. For clients, conversation is essential. And the feedback TCS has been receiving is playing a major role in the development of its services, especially when it comes to the Xia platform the company was promoting at this year’s G2E. This customizable product serves as a base platform to which all other products can connect. It takes the form of a small box under a table game that connects to the central server, which is then connected to the casino network. The platform serves as a great tool for data collection, something Craven said is powerful in this day and age.
The company’s Gaming Floor Live real time optimization product also focuses on providing customers with more data from their operations. “Data can be taken from chippers, displays and wheel spins,” Director of Marketing Luke Davis said. “This data is then gathered and given to operators to provide real time information about play on their floor, which helps to optimize gaming revenue and ultimately save money.”
Another popular product this year was Supernova Progressive Platform. “We’ve launched this product fully in the U.S. at the show, and the response has been great,” Davis said. “It’s a flexible and progressive platform that goes across any game. It has multifaceted jackpots that increase the excitement of table games.” Although it has only just been introduced to the U.S. market, it has already been utilized in Africa where it has seen great success. It was first introduced at casinos in South Africa this March, with the number of tables installed reaching 60 to date, and Davis said that feedback has been incredible. In one weekend, a casino reported 10,000 additional side bets.
Looking forward, TCS plans to continue developing in a number of key markets. “We expect to see continued work in the Caribbean and Latin America,” Cravens said. “2013 will be our best year in that market. And we are also observing Mexico closely. It’s definitely an interesting jurisdiction to watch, what with new regulations.”
Davis expects that TCS will see increased popularity. “Table games are at the heart of most casinos,” he said. “So TCS is trying to truly maximize on the benefits our products can offer.”