Always WATCHING, always ANALYZING
Slot system companies look to evolve their data collection and analytics capabilities to better meet operator needs
As competition for the gambling customer intensifies across North America and the world, casino operators are increasingly relying on the data gathering and analytic capabilities of slot management systems, seeking out tools that easily and accurately gather, parse, evaluate and prioritize patron information and deliver it across a wide variety of platforms for staff perusal.
In response to this demand, slot systems providers are creating more robust tracking tools that have the ability to gather customer data across various sources on the gaming floor, within the resort property and even outside the premises; creating a detailed gaming and non-gaming patron profile that can then be used to develop, among other things, personalized marketing campaigns aimed at boosting player entertainment spend at the casino.
“Looking at the current state of the analytics market, I think it is safe to say that it has really become the modern way of marketing to customers… thanks to advancements such as player club cards and mobile technology that continues to sync disparate systems,” said Tom Doyle, vice president of product management, systems at Scientific Games. “Advancements such as these, combined with third-party companies that provide data from outside the gaming world and Cloud-based applications to help with the analysis, allow operators to take a more personalized approach in targeting customers.”
To further help in this effort, Scientific Games recently introduced Power Loyalty, a tool that enables casinos to extend their loyalty program to retail locations within and outside of their property. This system lets players redeem points, coupons and comps instantly, not only on the casino floor, but also at retail outlets partnered with the casino.
Despite the improvements to the data gathering and analytics capabilities of slot management systems, challenges involving information integration, reporting and access remain.
“As the gaming industry continues to become more competitive, operators can’t afford to rely on inefficient or inaccurate analytics,” said Scott Richards, senior director, systems sales at Konami Gaming. “Agility, knowledge and reaction time are critical to reaching operational profitability goals.”
For Konami, SYNKROS Dashboards solve these challenges by leveraging the advanced data integration within SYNKROS for optimal speed and accuracy, and then deploying the information to the industry’s latest and most intuitive visualization tool. “By improving the efficiency and accuracy of data mining activities, it empowers operators to unlock the value in their data and gain a deeper understanding of initiatives across all areas related to slots/table games operations, CRM, promotions and events,” Richards added.
Konami is not the only systems provider finding new ways to satisfy the demands of modern day data collection and analytics. Below are updates on how game system suppliers are evolving to better meet the customer identification and retention needs of land-based and online casino operators.
International Game Technology PLC (IGT) offers advanced systems technology that works seamlessly with every part of their interactive portfolio, but also is open to integrate with third-party products, giving operators flexibility to create a solution that meets their business goals.
“IGT is continually evaluating methods and technologies that we can deploy to augment our current systems offerings and drive revenues for our customers,” said Victor Duarte, global chief product officer, gaming for IGT. “In recent years, we have placed an emphasis on the data quality and granularity that our business intelligence systems generate. Through IGT Advantage and our Game-to-System (G2S) technology, operators are able to extract real-time game performance and player behavior data at a depth and breadth that is unmatched in the industry. We have cutting-edge technology partners who enable us to then package this data for our customers in a compelling user-friendly manner on a series of platforms including PCs, smartphones, tablets and even the Apple Watch.”
IGT Advantage is one of the industry’s top casino management systems and it is utilized by casinos in a number of markets around the world. The versatile, scalable solution can be paired with a range of other IGT systems solutions such as Service Window and bonusing apps to create a truly unique player experience. IGT Advantage also leverages Game-to-System (G2S) technology, resulting in data that operators can leverage to better understand their players’ preferences. The scale of IGT’s CMS portfolio, along with its decades of experience in the industry, are two factors that are driving its success in this segment.
“IGT’s integrated systems solutions such as IGT Advantage, GALAXIS and Casinolink comprise a critical segment of our product portfolio and represent an area where our customers in all parts of the world look to IGT for leadership and innovation,” Duarte said. “IGT’s systems strategy and R&D investment are driven by our customers’ unique business needs and the candid and ongoing dialogue that we share with them. We are expanding our mobile systems strategy and developing new, versatile technologies that give operators tremendous flexibility and enable them to deliver personalized customer service across a series of platforms.”
Konami is a leading provider of casino enterprise management solutions with its award-winning SYNKROS systems technology. It features best-of-breed architecture, an agile single database environment and unparalleled uptime reliability—all powering a robust suite of tools spanning marketing, slots, tables, analytics, finance, cage and credit, integrations and more. SYNKROS provides a 360-degree view of the business and its customers through SYNKROS Business Intelligence and the new SYNKROS Dashboards.
SYNKROS Dashboards were seamlessly developed for Konami’s SYNKROS to provide operators a single location to observe, test and process dozens of graphical indicators addressing all major business areas—slots, tables, marketing, cage and more. It’s the industry’s latest and most intuitive visualization and business intelligence tool, giving actionable data to casino operators with critical insights to drive revenues and optimize business spend.
“Reporting and analytics have always been important to our systems offering,” Richards said. “The wealth of data SYNKROS generates, combined with the data it captures through robust integrations, gives properties a powerhouse of information on their business. Because we’ve expanded our offering to include tools like SYNKROS Dashboards, operators are able to access that with incredible convenience and interactivity.
“As an organization, we actively work toward building collaboration within the gaming sector with people who understand the needs of the operator,” Richards added. “Considering tools like SYNKROS Dashboards can be used across business from floor personnel to executive management, Konami looks for talented professionals who can help maximize the effectiveness and relevance of the data at all levels of an organization. Many times you can find big data companies entering the gaming space without the expertise to supply the holistic data set an operator needs. Through Konami’s collaborative partnerships and thorough talent acquisition, we’re able to take an immense ecosystem of data and present it in a digestible fashion to benefit all levels of business for the casinos we serve.”
SYNKROS Dashboard is very intuitive and gives staff the analytical independence to leverage all performance measures to the fullest. It provides intimate data revelation with easy point and click drill down capability for dynamic views and insights, so operators have a complete view of their business health and opportunities to advance.
Everything included in SYNKROS Dashboards was developed from the ground up through collaboration with top tenured casino managers and operators who understand the unique business nature of the casino environment. All data loads precisely without the need to manually manipulate data to produce results. Each dashboard is fully interactive—with unique insights across varied levels of detail—and constructed with industry-leading intuitive design to offer agile data revelation and dynamic point-and-click interaction for complete analytic control.
With SYNKROS these tools can even be expanded on an enterprise level with multi-site data sources pointing to a single interactive environment. “Additionally, our dashboards are available ‘out of the box’ and engineered for immediate use as a plug-and-play business solution, so our SYNKROS customers aren’t required to wait on any additional dev time,” said Richards.
Scientific Games has continued to advance its games, technology, programs, marketing research and security. At Scientific Games, creating the best player experiences with cross-platform solutions is a way to offer exciting new experiences with more ways to play, more ways to win, and more ways to share and interact. Incorporating systems like their beverage ordering system, BOSS, enables players to order drinks right from the slot machine through an iVIEW or iVIEW DM touch-enabled player user interface generating player retention.
The iVIEW4 In-Game Display Manager is another major advancement in the use of on-device messaging for Scientific Games. The iVIEW4 system features state-of-the-art web widgets and connectivity to web services, enabling opportunities for casinos to communicate with their players like never before. Whether it is floorwide bonusing, secondary wagering, customer service or accessing websites and promotional kiosks, the feature-rich iVIEW4 enables casinos to manage their own content dynamically.
Also shining at Scientific Games is Praxis Analytics, the company’s new big data solution. “We just got it into the analytics field a couple months ago and the operators are very, very excited about it,” said Doyle.
Praxis Analytics is a cloud-based big data solution for improved marketing and player engagement, providing casinos with a centralized analytical platform that integrates with non-gaming business intelligence to maximize business decisions, optimizing player value and enhancing the casino’s bottom line. Praxis Analytics can increase operators bottom-line by leveraging predictive analytics, machine-learning and external data sources to derive pertinent intelligence on casino players.
According to Scientific Games, this robust solution complements Bally Business Intelligence by applying advanced data science techniques to data gathered from both on-premise and external sources. Praxis Analytics can also convert the analytics into action, recommend how to target each individual player and push the recommendations directly to the games, saving operators time and money.
Praxis Analytics mines years of player data from numerous internal and external sources to pinpoint a player’s true spend potential, responsiveness to promotions and wallet share. This includes data from gaming systems like Bally CMP, Bally ACSC or other third-party CMS systems. Data from hotels, restaurants, gift shops and other amenities can also be included, as well as social, economic and behavioral data from consumer data providers.
Scientific Games works with data providers to secure over 500 non-gaming consumer characteristics to better understand player behavior. The Praxis Analytics software dissects the vast amount of data collected into impactful, ROI increasing information for the casino using complex data science techniques including a player’s true wallet size, a player’s breaking point that could predict when the player stops playing, a new player’s play references to increase loyalty, pro-actively targets future decline in players and understanding a player’s preferred offers.
“We are really trying to move forward fast with this new analytic technology,” Doyle said. “It is a very exciting time for us.”
Scientific Games believes in upward mobility
As a global leader in the gaming and lottery industries, Scientific Games’ mission is to empower customers by creating the world’s best gaming and lottery experiences. The company’s games, systems, content, services, gaming machines, along with their interactive products, are designed to reach players wherever they are, whenever they want to play and in any channel they choose: retail, casino or digital. “Our gaming and interactive divisions develop world-class content that players love for both land-based and online venues,” said Greg Colella, vice president of product marketing for Scientific Games’ Gaming Division. According to Colella, mobile technology is all about ease of access… mobile users want content instantly with just a quick tap or search wherever they are at any time. “We have to cater our slot products to an audience that expects constant engagement,” he said. “Our content has to reflect their wants and meet their needs. Mobile has forced us to innovate at a rapid pace to ensure our players get something fresh every time they sit down at a machine.” Augmented and virtual reality platforms are all being explored in the industry, changing the way games are being made and transforming how players can interact. As creators work to respond to these trends, they need to be able to adapt to the landscape. “Sometimes seemingly insignificant tweaks can make a huge impact,” Colella said. “This is evident in LeapMotion technology in some of our land-based machines and in portrait mode gaming in the online space. Both innovations offer a refreshing twist on how a game or bonus is normally experienced. Evolution is a constant in this industry, so innovation becomes crucial.” For land-based traditional slot gaming, Scientific Games has implemented a number of features and developed products based on mobile technology. On the slot machine, USB charger ports were integrated into their new TwinStar family of new cabinets, allowing players can charge their mobile devices while at the game. “Our Systems division has developed a few products that capitalize on mobile technology,” Colella said. “One is called Take ‘N Play, which allows players to leave the physical slot machine they are playing and take the game with them through the use of a hand-held tablet. Another innovation allows players to initiate a play session without their player loyalty card, either by entering a unique set of digits, or by scanning a QR code with their smart phone.” The presence of mobile channels has led gaming suppliers to the development of products that enhance the player experience while they’re at home, online or on-the-go. “Our SG Universe product suite, developed by our SG Interactive division, does just that by empowering players with a social casino and 24/7 access to their casino loyalty account,” said Tom Wood, vice president and chief product officer B2B for Scientific Games’ Interactive Division. “Players can also view casino amenities, make reservations and much more with SG Universe Mobile Concierge.” The SG Universe product suite is a holistic solution that provides 360-degree player engagement anywhere and anytime the player chooses. By putting a social casino, loyalty account access, loyalty linking with spending and earning capabilities and a casino’s amenities in the palm of the player’s hand, SG Universe gives players an all access pass to the property. Meanwhile, the casino can use player data to extend exclusive marketing offers based on a user’s behavior on or off property. “It’s a truly all-encompassing platform that extends a casino’s reach beyond the brick-and-mortar,” Wood said.