Scenes of unbridled enthusiasm unfolded each Saturday night in July at Barona Resort & Casino near Lakeside, Calif., as slot players cheered on their favorite steeds in an hourly virtual horseracing event that proved to be one of the casino’s most successful promotions.
At the heart of Barona’s “Off to the Races” was a synergistic powerhouse of Bally Technologies products, including Bally’s SMS slot management tools, its CMS system providing critical player data, its Elite Bonusing Suite and CoolSign media management system, working together to deliver a new level of player excitement via Bally iVIEW screens attached to 2,000 Barona gaming machines.
The hourly “races” were synchronized to deliver a first-of-its-kind, floor-wide gaming experience across the slot machines, as well as some 60 large-format video screens, directly to carded players who qualified based on reaching a predetermined coin-in threshold and then were notified via the iVIEW screens. Players picked their horses on the iVIEW screen and pulled for their pony as a professional race announcer called the action. Winners each hour received their shares of $10,000 in free play right on their gaming machines.
An unqualified success, the racing promotion demonstrated the power of iVIEW and other tools Bally offers to help casinos reinforce player loyalty, increase revenues and differentiate their slot floors from their competitors.
The latest of these cutting-edge products is iVIEW Display Manager, or iVIEW DM, which takes the power of iVIEW to the next level.
COMPELLING PROPOSITIONiVIEW DM uses picture-in-picture-style technology on the slot machine screen to deliver a host of customer-friendly features and applications, such as floor-wide bonusing games, tournaments, targeted marketing messages, players club and property amenity information and customer-service features. These are displayed in a smaller screen on the main game screen during play, without interruption to the game, using a player-configurable touch-screen interface at eye level with the player.
iVIEW DM lets gaming operators present content such as player account information, Bally CoolSign media content and targeted marketing messages right onto the main game screen or top screen. iVIEW DM turns gaming machines that have video displays using industry-standard protocols into a delivery system for customized marketing at the point of play. In addition, all current functions on the iVIEW display are available through iVIEW DM.
iVIEW DM is backward-compatible with existing gaming devices, protecting operators’ investments and enabling easier implementation across banks of games, sections of the casino floor or floor-wide.
“What that means is that an operator can think about putting DM on their floor much quicker than they could if it required replacing every game on their floor to have G2S or a single CPU approach,” explains Bruce Rowe, Bally senior vice president of business development and strategy.
That’s pretty compelling in the midst of this challenging economy, he notes.
“We’ve been in the system business over 33 years, so we have to be able to satisfy the people who have already purchased from us, as well as those who want to purchase from us in the future,” he says. “What operators want with their slot systems and media management systems is a ubiquitous experience regardless of manufacturer and age of device, and it’s very difficult to do that through the game itself.”
Since the time the economy started becoming a huge challenge, casino customers have become a lot more operations-oriented versus development-oriented, says Ramesh Srinivasan, executive vice president, Bally Systems division.
“It has not been all about developing new casinos. It’s been about how can I get more out of the capital I already have. So I would say marketing became even more important at that phase. Marketing has always been important, but it became even more important.”
iVIEW DM adds a valuable tool to help casinos achieve their marketing objectives.
“DM now provides a canvas. It provides a platform with which you can add a whole lot of value to every marketing or bonusing idea,” Srinivasan says.
In terms of marketing capability, it all comes down to communication with the patron, he says. “You can have all the marketing programs in the world, but it is a matter of how well we communicate to the patron, in how timely a fashion, how fun a fashion, and how much of it can we bring to the slot machine itself so they don’t need to go somewhere else for the marketing information.”
At the end of the day, slot machines are a commodity because virtually every operator can have the same products on their floor if they choose, Rowe says. “So the question is, how do you differentiate your customer experience or your loyalty marketing if all the products are commodities? This allows us to do marketing at the game that previously we could only do in the mailbox or at the loyalty center. But if we want to reward or acknowledge customers we can do it both at the game and even during play if the operator chooses. The applications are really just emerging with regard to this, what I would describe as ‘one-to-one marketing’.”
Rowe and Srinivasan say the pace of the development of applications for iVIEW and iVIEW DM will accelerate now that the product infrastructure is in place.
“I think it’s going to exponentially expand,” Srinivasan says. “I don’t think it’s going to be a normal progression. I think over the next 12 to 18 months it’s going to be an exponential explosion of ideas and third-party tools, Bally marketing tools and bonusing applications and tournament ideas.”
iVIEW DM technology can work on any manufacturer’s gaming machines using computing-industry standards, Srinivasan explains. That aspect is borne out at Galaxy Entertainment Group’s StarWorld Casino in Macau. iView DM is live across 90 percent of the games on the casino floor, delivering an interactive player communication and messaging experience - without interrupting play - on games manufactured by Aristocrat, Bally, IGT and WMS.
Earlier this year, after a competitive evaluation process, Galaxy awarded Bally an enterprise-wide contract to provide comprehensive table, slot, casino management and server-based solutions.
“In the course of our lengthy evaluation process it became obvious that Bally Systems provided the most comprehensive and powerful solution for our growing operation - from table management to marketing to cutting-edge player communications,” Galaxy Vice Chairman Francis Lui said at the time.
StarWorld is the first casino in the Asia-Pacific region to use iView DM as well as Bally Business Intelligence data analytics and visualization solutions.
Other solutions currently live at StarWorld include a number of marketing, promotions, bonusing and cashless solutions, including eTICKET, Bally Power Winners, Bally Power Coupon and Bally Power Promotions.
Bally’s next Galaxy system implementation will be in 2011 at the new Galaxy Macau on Cotai in Macau.
Marian Green is managing editor of Casino Journal and editor of Slot Manager. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.