G2E SPECIAL SECTION: Off the periphery... into the Mainstream
Throughout the years, Global Gaming Expo (G2E) has garnered a well-earned reputation as the primary slot showcase for the worldwide wagering industry. The 2012 version of G2E was no different, as gaming machine vendors from across the globe unveiled the latest iterations of their slots and systems. A review of some of the more promising game trends at G2E can be found in the November/December issue of our Slot Manager supplement, which is packaged with this issue of Casino Journal.
Equally front and center at this year’s G2E was a host of new and innovative products and services from the gaming support side-the various peripherals that either draw crowds to the slots and tables or make these items run more efficiently and effectively. Here is a quick recap of the peripheral items noticed by the editors of Casino Journal at G2E 2012.
WADING INTO THE CASH STREAMA flat economic recovery has forced vendors to generate more profit from their established enterprises, and they’re turning to improved front- and back-of-house cash management products to create time, labor and cost savings.
One of the company’s leading the charge in this area is Cummins Allison (CA) , a Mount Prospect, Ill.-based provider of currency and coin handling devices, which unveiled its next generation JetScan iFX ticket reading and check processing solutions at the G2E. Among the improved products featured in this line was the JetScan iFX i400 multi-pocket sorter, now more configurable, compact and able to recognize casino ticket bar codes. According to company literature, properties can realize substantial time savings by using this single device that can process and sort mixed tickets and cash on a desktop multi-pocket sorter at a rate of 1,000 documents per minute. The JetScan iFX i406 processes Canadian dollars, Euros and U.S. dollars, allowing domestic and international casinos to process multiple currencies on the same sorting machine; while the JetScan iFX i200 is a two-pocket unit with ticket, currency and check processing functionality that can handle 1,200 documents per minute.
In celebration of its 30th anniversary in the American market, West Caldwell, N.J.-based GLORY U.S.A. showcased upgrades to its cash management equipment and software, led by its new SK-100C casino kiosk with enhanced security features. The SK-100C is an ADA-compliant, easy-to-operate stand that provides customers with fast and accurate cash dispensing and other standard ATM functions, bill breaking and TITO processing. From the operator end, the SK-100C offers five currency cassettes with 3,000-note capacity and Web browser-based accounting, administration and monitoring capabilities. GLORY also displayed a full line of cash dispensers, recyclers and currency handling products such as the PD-600 cash dispenser, the RBG-300 with iCR intelligent cash recycling technology, and the USF-100 and UW500 desktop currency sorters.
West Chester, Pa.-based payment system provider MEI also touted recent product installations which included the placement of its CASHFLOW SC bill acceptors at Atlantic City, N.J.-based Revel and the Silver Slipper Casino in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The company also celebrated the first European win for its EASITRAX Soft Count cash management solution which is now in use at the Hippodrome Casino in London. MEI also showcased the ability of its SC Advance product to accept street-grade currency normally rejected by other bill acceptors, and its recent launch of an exclusive website for EASITRAX, which allows users to customize reports and integrate with mobile devices.
JCM Global, Las Vegas, displayed the latest upgrades to its line of automated transaction solutions that includes the iVIZION bill validator, Intelligent Cash Box (ICB) version 2.5, the Sentry 2.0 display bezel, the PayCheck 4 thermal printer and the iPRO, iPRO-RC, UBA-RC and Vega-RC currency validators with note recycling technology. The company also featured its iV8 table game bill validator it introduced earlier this year at G2E Asia, and offered a demonstration of the progress it has made with its fully interactive mobile wager network project it launched last year with partners Techfirm Inc., and NRT Technology Corp.
Suzo-Happ, Las Vegas, a provider of professional consultation, development, solutions and services to the global gaming industry, showcased a number of slot components at G2E. Among the products and devices was a line of cutting-edge coin acceptors that included the belt-driven Evolution Coin Hopper which features anti-jam electronics, low- and high-level sensing, and a 1,500-coin capacity. The company’s Cube Hopper MK2 is a small, single-denomination hopper that can process seven coins per second while the Flow Hopper features an innovative through-hole coin disk hopper with extremely durable construction and a flexible design.
ANALYTICAL TAKEStreamlining casino cash flow is only one way operators can derive more profit from existing gaming devices and facilities. Another method is to use analytics technology to parse property and patron information and create steps that can lead to increased play.
Las Vegas-based Casino Data Imaging (CDI) has been filling just such a role for years with its GlobalSuite data visualization software, iGuide Wayfinder-Plus program and CasinoCAD slot data analysis solutions. At 2012 G2E, CDI displayed the latest iteration of GlobalSuite, which provides single and multi-casino operators a thorough view of their gaming data from a user configured 2D and ultra 3D visualization module and data analysis control center. Easy to deploy, powerful and affordable, its capabilities allow users to analyze and explore data with unprecedented speed, flexibility and visual creativity, according to company reports. The GlobalSuite platform allows CDI to look at logical future add-ons and enhancements including Windows 8 capabilities, touchscreen and handheld devices. Since the software is an XAML-based application, it can also be utilized as a browser-based application and run inside Internet Explorer.
Omron Electronic Components, Schaumburg, Ill., the Americas subsidiary of Japan-based OMRON Corporation, used G2E to unveil a new market vertical that will concentrate on the Class III gaming machine industry. The parent company has decades of experience supplying components for Japan’s pachinko and pachisuro markets, and believes its switches, illumination technology, LED control drivers, motion sensing and hand gesturing software will appeal to the slot manufacturer community. Omron will also offer supplier’s analytic devices to integrate into gaming machines, and was showcasing its OKAO face detection and recognition software. The OKAO system uses a slot-based camera and facial recognition software to passively identify and track players on a gaming floor or throughout a facility. The company believes this system has all kinds of business intelligence capabilities for gauging slot play.
COMING TO THE TABLEOperators are constantly looking for ways to drive more play and profit from the table games pit. Vendors at G2E did not disappoint when it came to displaying products and services designed to fill this need.
Las Vegas-based Shuffle Master came to G2E in part to announce a change in company name (SHFL Entertainment) and to display a line of slot machines it unveiled last summer at G2E Asia. But the company did not neglect its table games roots and showcased a number of new products designed to add excitement and efficiency to the pit area. This haul of new or improved table utility devices such as DeckMate2, an upgrade of its popular DeckMate shuffler, and the latest iterations of the MD3 baccarat and blackjack shuffler, the one2six multiâ€'deck continuous shuffler, the iâ€'Shoe Auto optical cardâ€'reading shoe, the new 24â€'inch doubleâ€'sided LCD iâ€'Score baccarat viewer; and the Easy Chipper D chip sorter. On the support side, SHFL Entertainment also debuted Game Manager 2, a new progressive management system. The enhancements in this nextâ€'generation software are a networkâ€'based system that allows for multiâ€'level jackpots and fully configurable multiple reserve pools. Players are able to compete for multiple realâ€'time incrementing meters with just one wager on all of the company’s pokerâ€'derivative specialty games.
On the games front, the company introduced eight new specialty table games at G2E, including House Money, Raise It Up Stud Poker, Free Bet Blackjack, Face Up Stud Poker, 6 Card Fortune Pai Gow Poker and Three Card Mulligan. SHFL also added to its e-Table line of products with titles such as Rapid Fusion, Vegas Star Live Roulette and Vegas StarMulti Game.
Gaming Partners International (GPI), a worldwide supplier of table game equipment based in Las Vegas, concentrated on its radio frequency identification device (RFID)-centric currency, tracking and inventory solutions at G2E. This line of products included RFID Chip Rolling Solution, a tool that streamlines the deadâ€'toâ€'live chip rolling process by automating the numerous manual processes associated with this procedure; and RFID Total Money Management, which improves table game cash and chip transactions to enable an increase in rounds per hour while providing increased currency security through instant authentication and validation. GPI also displayed security solution such as Holographic MicroDots, miniscule hologram particles that can be added to decal printing inks or incorporated into transparent chip materials to add an overt or covert protection to table game currency.
JCM Global also showcased a table-based cash management solution. The iV8 table game bill validator counts currency at eight notes per second, and can instantly increase the number of hands played per hour. iV8 processes a “brick” of 40 notes in seconds-from presentation to storage-in stackable cash boxes. Meanwhile, buy-ins are inserted directly into an adjoining tray where every note is then validated and counted and the total value displayed for everyone to see and verify-the player, the dealer, pit management and overhead surveillance. Levis, Quebec-based DEQ, a provider of table games, table game bonusing, progressive jackpot and table game linking solutions, produced four new items for 2012 G2E. Pai Gow 8 is a commission-free Pai Gow Poker with the advantage of making a three-card poker hand in the low hand. Suit’Em Up 31 is a fast paced singleâ€'deck poker game with a bonus card. Double Ball Roulette is an enhancement to roulette that mechanically operates with two roulette balls thereby increasing the winning possibilities of clients. Buster Blackjack Progressive is a new jackpot concept for traditional blackjack tables.
Genesis Gaming, a Spring, Texas-based supplier of hardware and software solutions for the casino pit, announced the formation of a sister company at G2E. Genesis Interactive Technologies will be headquartered in Las Vegas and will augment the company’s popular pit and poker room management and player tracking system products by offering a full line of table game furniture and products. This lineup will include custom-built gaming tables and furniture, table layouts, precision dice, playing cards, table game displays and reader boards, and table game accessories.
It’s no secret that the more comfortable a player is at the table, the more likely they are to stay and play longer. Gasser Chairs and its Coltrane line hopes to accomplish this task by offering seating with enhanced ergonomics and cushions that can be easily be removed for either cleaning or design change.
GOING MOBILEAs cell phones, iPads and other mobile devices become more prevalent among consumers and casino workers, gaming companies are on the watch for solutions the can be accessed remotely or while on the go. It hasn’t taken vendors long to sense this desire and either introduce or modify their products to meet this demand.
One company that is meeting to mobile challenge head-on is Iverson Gaming Systems, the Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based provider of gaming management solutions for the cruise ship industry. At 2012 G2e, the company introduced the Iverson SeaPET (Portable Entertainment Tablet), a server-based gaming system consisting of a suite of slot-style games, video poker, bingo, and innovative new games that combine luck and skill. The system can allow players to conduct gaming activities anywhere around the casino or resort where the property is allowed to provide gaming (e.g. by the pool, in bars or lounges, in guest rooms, or in the casino itself). The system uses off-the-shelf, consumer-grade handheld devices (currently the iPad). Player’s Club points are seamlessly carried between the iPad and traditional slot machines. The games can be custom-branded for the property and can be incorporated into a suite of other custom or proprietary concierge apps.
NEWave, the Las Vegas-based developer of gaming and hospitality software applications, released its newest innovation, Mobile, at G2E. Mobile gives casino operators the ability to quickly process tax forms on the casino floor, without breaking guest contact. It is a user-friendly tool that expedites the entire tax form process because it works in conjunction with NEWave’s Title 31 Manager and Tax Form Validator software. Mobile gives casino staff incredible flexibility to confirm already stored and validated guest information, create tax forms, speed payouts, maintain Title 31 compliance, track MTLs, and more, all while maintaining face-to-face contact with the guest. The technology works on a variety of mobile operating systems, including Apple, Android and Windows.
Toronto-based cash handling and financial services provider NRT Technology Corp. , along with partners Techfirm and JCM Global, demonstrated a fully interactive mobile wager network that connects the players, their Mobile Wager Wallet, a QuickJack redemption ATM kiosk and a gaming device. This integration allows casino patrons to withdraw virtual funds from ATMs onto their phone and into their mobile wager wallet for use at electronic gaming machines, and potentially at retail, food and entertainment venues within a casino property. Additionally, players can transfer virtual funds from the MWW back in to their account on the NRT ATM, or dispense funds, if desired.
Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), Lakewood, N.J., the world’s leading gaming testing laboratory and technical consultancy, had a lot to celebrate at this year’s G2E, including a major expansion of its Las Vegas test lab. GLI also showcased the exclusive tools its offers its clients, one of which was GLI Mobile, an on-the-go portal to GLIAccess. With GLI Mobile, clients can securely and quickly log into GLIAccess for a variety of tasks and information. GLI Mobile is available for Apple, Android and BlackBerry operating systems, and can quickly be downloaded from a mobile store or from GLI’s corporate website.