Fahrenkopf: Online gaming a ‘critical underpinning' for casinos going forward

Speaking at the iGaming Congress at last month’s Global gaming Expo (G2E), Frank Fahrenkopf, president & CEO, American Gaming Association (AGA), said online gaming’s transformation of the global gaming industry is spreading to the U.S., but he was cautious about the prospects for federal legislation in the current congressional session, which the AGA deems critical for the sector’s domestic success.

“There’s no doubt the Internet has forever changed our industry,” said Fahrenkopf. “Very few could have predicted how quickly the online gaming sector would grow. As technology has advanced, online gaming has expanded exponentially, growing from a niche market to an international giant.”

Citing research  by H2 Gaming Capital, Fahrenkopf said there are approximately 85 countries that have chosen to legalize online gaming. It’s estimated that about 33 million players worldwide will gamble online with real money, generating total gross revenues of about $34.9 billion. These are numbers generated with only minor participation, about 10 percent, from players in the U.S.

As another example of how this sector continues to grow, another study shows that online casino-style gaming via social media platforms  is a $1.6 billion market and will grow to $2.4 billion in the next few years.

“These numbers help drive the point home; online gaming isn’t just another trend,” said Fahrenkopf. “It’s a critical underpinning to the evolution and future growth of our business.”

Here in the U.S., where millions of Americans are gambling online, the future of online gaming has changed substantially since G2E last year. No event has complicated the future more than the reinterpretation last December of the Interstate Wire Act by the U.S. Department of Justice, Fahrenkopf said. Encouraged by that decision, Nevada and Delaware have already taken steps to expand into the online gaming realm, and Illinois has begun selling lottery tickets online. Nevada was the first state to legalize intrastate online poker and in June began issuing licenses to several entities that may begin operating within weeks. Delaware has authorized an even wider array of online casino-style games with expectations for launch in 2013.

“The entire gaming industry is anxious to see more clarity for the legality of online gaming,” said Fahrenkopf. “The AGA supports states rights to license and regulate online poker, but not without federal minimum standards that address consumer protection, prevent underage gambling and promote responsible gambling.”

SHFL Entertainment unveils expanded slot offerings

With over 25 new and proven titles displayed at this year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E), SHFL Entertainment’s slot machine lineup showcases the company’s deep portfolio of content and highlights its growing success in competitive locals markets.

Based on its debut at the Australasian Gaming Expo in August, The Flintstones slot machine generated buzz at G2E. This three-level standalone progressive, low-denomination product features a suite of exciting base games and attractive jackpot prizes along with the company’s new “mini-reel” feature trigger.

Adding to the appeal of Flintstones and other SHFL games is the acclaimed Equinox cabinet, a 32-inch LCD Super Top Box add-on that includes four interactive multi-feature games that are triggered randomly.

Shuffle Master’s slot machine lineup also included games such as Cats, Hats & Bats; Hubble, Bubble, & Trubble; Pink Panther Returns; Epic Quest; Random Magic; Karnak; Duo Fu Duo Cai Linked Progressive and many more of the company’s popular titles. All of the titles offer unique features like new mathematical models, new jackpot triggers and new themes.

IGT, Olympic Entertainment extend product agreement

Olympic Entertainment Group-one of the largest providers of casino entertainment in Central and Eastern Europe with properties in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Belarus-expanded its use of the IGT Cloud solution to its Olympic Jarve and Olympic Ulemiste properties. This expanded deal was inked at Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas.

“We are pleased to extend our relationship with the IGT Cloud,” said Madis Jaager, CEO at Olympic Entertainment Group. “Their Cloud-based environment has provided us with a versatile way to drive even more entertaining game experiences to our players. We believe that IGT systems are critical to the success of our casino operations.”

Among the deciding factors relating to Olympic’s desire to expand the Cloud system to multiple sites was the ability to utilize in-depth analytics to make the best decisions for their gaming floor based upon user preference data, in addition to having direct access to IGT’s expansive 400-plus title game theme library. The Cloud has also afforded Olympic with a way to differentiate the Cloud-connected casinos from other properties in the area since the technology enables for multiple games to be loaded onto a single cabinet.

“The confidence that Olympic has shown in the IGT Cloud speaks to the promise that we have made as a company to provide immense value to our casino customers,” said Chris Satchell, CTO for International Game Technology (IGT). “The extended partnership between Olympic and IGT will allow them to continue to grow their brand, and create new opportunities for even more thrilling and engaging entertainment to the players on their casino floors.”

Following the current trend of casinos offering players multiple games per cabinet, IGT is allowing Olympic to stay ahead of the curve by providing their players with a selection of up to nine games. Looking ahead, Olympic also has plans to expand the use of the IGT Cloud to their properties in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania over the next twelve months.

SPIELO showcases proactive diagnostics solution at G2E

At this year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E), SPIELO International showed systems and products that will enhance the sustainability and performance of distributed VLT, route and venue markets.

Featured distributed-market products on display included the patented Proactive Diagnostics value-added application of the INTELLIGEN Central System, which offers operators significant cost savings and improved efficiency through increased uptime of gaming devices and retailer terminals. According to company literature, by using sophisticated data mining software, Proactive Diagnostics predicts gaming machine and site controller faults before they occur, and its intuitive user interface means operators always have a clear and comprehensive picture of the health of their gaming operation.

Visitors also saw innovative solutions and game content based on SPIELO International’s Player User Interface (PUI) technology. The PUI takes full advantage of existing screen real estate and uses a web browser to deploy content on a large variety of hardware and operating system combinations. The PUI uses the Game to System (G2S) open standard protocol for integration with any manufacturer’s G2S-compliant VLT.

SPIELO also presented an updated version of its Responsible Gaming (RG) System with modified user screens delivered via the PUI window. This solution provides operators and players with a set of flexible tools to enable players’ informed choice about their gaming activity and voluntary management of their own behavior.