THOUGHTS FROM THE FLOOR: G2E's most promising solutions
IGT showcased machines themed after country singer Dolly Parton, reality star Judge Judy and the television series Family Guy and CSI. Bally Technologies offered slot machines themed on NASCAR and the Las Vegas-based reality television show Pawn Stars. WMS brought in rock legends Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley from KISS to promote a machine themed after the group and hired actors dressed as the Oompa Loompa characters from the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory to hand out candy and advertise their slot product based on the motion picture. Although the cost to purchase and operate these sparkling new cabinets and licensed game titles continues to rise and the appetite for this style of gaming continues to diminish, the major manufacturers cannot be found at fault for offering these new products to the industry; they are providing you the solutions you are willing to pay for, namely larger cabinets, with branded software content and proprietary marketing solutions.
However, the operators I spoke with during the show were searching, not for these types of games, but for solutions that can be added to their current floor to increase service to the player utilizing the tools and staff they already have on hand. They must attract new customers to meet the diminishing wallets of their regular customer base and must accomplish this goal with a limited capital budget to spend on new devices.
With that said, there were a handful of companies that jumped out at me as offering solutions that actually allow operators to build on their current infrastructure at a minimal cost in order to drive more revenue, instead of exhausting their gaming budgets on brand new licensed participation games.
Here’s a look at a few that caught my eye:
• Tipping Point Gaming (www.tippingpointgaming.com)
Tipping Point Gaming, a Las Vegas-based company, produces hardware and software solutions that enable casino operators to deploy new marketing content and engage their customers through their existing gaming machines. Its PlayItVision system uses the primary game screen of the gaming machine to provide casino operators with a unique marketing tool and advanced player user interface. Players enjoy rich marketing and promotional content and have the ability to manage certain aspects of their player account at the machine level while operators benefit from the ability to message and interact directly to players at the machine and offer targeted promotions.
• Leap Forward Gaming (www.leapforwardgaming.com)
Leap Forward Gaming, a Nevada-based company, has created a hardware and software bridge between the products currently on your casino floor and server-based gaming content. Its SaffariNet product lets you simply plug your Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) into a power source and your floor is instantly connected in real-time. This solution allows new levels of connectivity between an operator’s machines, peripherals, progressives, player-tracking content and existing casino networks.
• Iverson Gaming Systems (www.iversongaming.com)
Iverson Gaming Systems, a Philadelphia-based company specializing in providing services to the cruise industry for more than 20 years, is offering a solution that incorporates mobile tablet gaming with a fully integrated concierge service. Its mobile solution allows guests to access games whenever and wherever they want, extending the boundaries of brick-and-mortar facilities beyond the conventional gaming floor.
In addition to the games, Iverson seamlessly integrates a concierge service that connects the guests not only to all of the services and stores on the ship, but also to each other. The best part for the casino is that management can access and utilize this vendor information as well. This integrated product suite truly points to the future of gaming that I envision-enabling the games to emerge from the traditional settings while offering true customer services at the tip of our players fingers.
To wrap up, the customers we serve have far more options to spend their entertainment dollars on than ever before, both inside the realm of gaming and beyond. I believe that with the amazing and varied content available to them, we have to focus our efforts on the best customer service we can possibly provide and truly empower our customers to make the discerning choice between simple content and an environment that both anticipates their needs and exceeds their expectations. SM