G2E 2010 Preview: Bellying Up to the Tables
Along with the longtime nuts and bolts of the table games industry - games, cards, dice, chips, furniture - a new segment has been building market share in recent years. Electronic table games have been gathering steam, becoming a major part of casino floors in Europe and Asia while starting to carve out a niche in North America.
“I did a GLI presentation [in October],” says Brian Folger, senior product line representative for International Game Technology’s M-P Series. “A year ago I did a similar presentation for another jurisdiction at their offices here in Las Vegas, and they had a lab area where they had set up multiplayer electronic table games. There were probably three or four vendors there besides IGT whose products were being tested locally for the GLI jurisdictional approvals. And now I go back a year later and the area was just packed with vendors from all over the world coming in with electronic table devices, from Asia, from the European bloc, from Europe itself, from South America.”
The show floor at Global Gaming Expo 2010 figures to underline the growth in electronic table games. A number of developers will be showing their versions, with IGT, Novomatic, TCSJohnHuxley and Evona Electronics among the many companies that will have a strong presence. Of course, vendors supplying more traditional-style games will be out in force as well - Shuffle Master, Galaxy Gaming and Casino Gaming among those with new offerings - and Bally Technologies, long an industry leader in slot management systems, will bring its expertise to the table side of games management.
Joining them will be the manufacturers of chips, cards, seating and a host of other products designed to keep table players engaged and the pit running smoothly.
BALLY TECHNOLOGIES: System Expertise
Bally’s TableView is an innovative, fast and easy to run table-management solution that allows operators to replace their existing manual rating processes with the ease, speed and simplicity of electronic automation.. It’s just one of the many table game innovations at the 2010 Global Gaming Expo.
TableView is a Microsoft.NET-based stand-alone application accessible for floor operations staff via touch-screen. They can enter real-time player ratings, request chip fills and credits, input table closes, issue customer comps and markers and make shift changes, all seamlessly integrated into Bally’s Casino Management System.
TableView can be installed on every table or individual pit stand.
CASINO GAMING: Side Bet Action
The company that first made a splash with the “Automatic Win” option for players dealt a 20 in blackjack also has drawn attention with its “Colors” bet in roulette and its “Point-Seven” wager in craps.
This year, Casino Gaming is coming to G2E with an expansion of the Colors concept with Colors (Greens). The original version invites players to bet that three consecutive numbers will be red or black. Colors (Greens) puts zero and double-zero into play for bigger payoffs at longer odds.
Colors is easy to deal and track. If a player’s color comes up once, a “1” is placed atop his marker, a “2” if it comes up again, the winning third time pays 8 to 1. In Point-Seven the player who chooses to make the bet is paid at 7-to-1 odds if the shooter establishes a point on the come-out roll and then sevens out on the next roll.
DIAMOND CASINO PRODUCTS: Keeping It CleanDiamond specializes in environmentally safe card- and chip-cleaning systems.
Its portable chip-cleaning machine, weighing only 20 pounds, can clean 2,200 chips per hour - about 11 times as many as can be cleaned by hand.
For casinos and poker rooms using plastic cards, Diamond offers an extremely portable 15-pound card-cleaning machine that can wash 37 decks of cards per hour.
DIGIDEAL: X-Table and More
One of the earliest entries into the electronic table games field, DigiDeal customizes platforms and peripherals for a wide range of operator options - fully hosted games with digital cards but live dealers making payoffs and interacting with guests, automated hosts, traditional cards, traditional chips, virtual cards, virtual chips, TITO, AFT and player-tracking.
DigiDeal will be at Booth 2095, where the spotlight will shine on its newest platform: the X-table, a complete “plug-n-play” e-table solution. The X-Table is powered by robust client/server architecture delivering a rich graphical environment that intuitively leads players through game play. Offering eight player positions, with individual touch screens, bill validators and ticket printers, this fully automated table does not require a host, kiosk or attendant.
DigiDeal’s Classic Blackjack and Classic Baccarat, along with Texas Hold ’Em Xtreme, will be featured on the X-table, the first in a series of games planned for the platform. Both are configurable with side bet options. Classic Blackjack’s “High Tie Blackjack” and “Upcard Luck 21” bonuses are paid on the first two cards, the “Bad Beat Blackjack” and “Buster Blackjack” bonuses on the final hand outcome. Classic Baccarat is operator configurable with one, two or no bonus bets at all. Bonus wagers are the “Win Sum” bet and “Match Card”.
Both Classic Blackjack and Classic Baccarat also available on DigiDeal’s DTS-C and DTS-V platforms.
EVONA ELECTRONIC: Building on Strength
Founded in Slovakia in 1992, Evona Electronic has grown into a credible competitor in the growing electronic table games market.
At Booth 3075 Evona will be showcasing its line of multiplayer roulette games, a signature product for the company, available in a wide range of models and configurations, all running on the Linux platform and including a variety of optional enhancements.
The company also will be showcasing its new BetX sports betting terminal, a self-operated Internet-based platform that allows players to wager on all major global sports events, including betting in-running, and also offers virtual dog races.
GALAXY GAMING: The Triple Threat
A leading developer, manufacturer and distributor of proprietary table games and enhanced electronic wagering platforms, Galaxy Gaming will be at Booth 3331 with three hot new games: Triple Attack Blackjack, Deuces Wild and Emperors Challenge.
Galaxy also has gone electronic with its Bonus Jackpot System, which is available on all its table games and side-bet games and enables operators to offer life-changing jackpots, bonus awards and customized promotions at the table. The latest version of BJS, the Andromeda Series Stage 2, has recently been approved in Nevada.
Galaxy also will be showing a full range of popular side bets, including Lucky Ladies, Suited Pairs, Super Pair, Bust Bonus, 21 Magic and Bonus Blackjack.
GAMING PARTNERS INTERNATIONAL: Technology at the Next Level
GPI, a pioneer in the use of RFID technology in casino chips, will be showcasing its latest advancements in security technology for table games at Booth 2731.
GPI recently acquired the ability to develop, manufacture and distribute additional high-frequency RFID products and systems worldwide, enabling the company to combine RFID applications for both 125 KHz (low) and 13.56 MHz (high) frequencies to add improved functionality, security and communications with a range of casino management systems.
GPI’s new Chip Inventory System uses RFID technology to track the location and status of all embedded chips throughout the casino, from the cage to the gaming floor, allowing for real-time monitoring of inventory and instant validation of chip amounts and serial numbers, thus streamlining management processes and increasing the accuracy of cash-outs.
Complementing these technologies is eReady Tables, designed specifically to accommodate them, and new roulette and baccarat reader displays which are customizable to display game statistics in real-time.
Also on display will be GPI’s RFIDPoker, which was developed to improve accuracy and increase the speed of various actions on the poker table, and Progressive Poker, which links tables throughout the casino in a progressive jackpot network.
INTERNATIONAL GAME TECHNOLOGY: The Expanded M-P Line
The slot giant has moved into electronic table games in a big way and will be showcasing a number of M-P products at G2E.
Roulette Evolution is available in improved virtual and automated wheel versions and also can be configured with a live dealer for casinos that already have live wheels but want to bring Roulette Evolution’s touch-screen betting to M-P player stations. The live wheel is displayed on players’ individual screens. Operators also can add a large-format LCD screen.
Earlier this year, IGT rolled out Triple Towers Horse Racing, which also will be on display along with Triple Towers Greyhound Racing. Both use the M-P platform to deliver thousands of virtual race possibilities to up to 96 player stations at a time. Triple Towers Greyhound Racing game has been enhanced with 3D technology via a Philips 52-inch Intelligent Display Solution monitor.
Two new electronic games also will be shown. Phantom Blackjack links up to 10 player stations and includes a “phantom” dealer, a configurable multiple-deck shoe and “Hot Streak” and “Up Card Luck” side bets. It features a simplified “phantom hands” approach for dealing to keep the focus on the game. Golden Baccarat lets players wager on “banker, player” or “tie,” as in the traditional game, and offers side bets on a pair or three-of-a-kind. It features virtual chips and cards in real-time play with oversized touch screens and a large-format LCD as the central dealer display.
NOVOMATIC: Diversity, Flexibility
Novomatic’s Novo Unity II is all about diversifying the game offering within a powerful network that provides the maximum of flexibility for casino operators.
Up to 250 player terminals can be linked to a single live table, and operators can offer any number and combination of Novomatic multiplayer games on each terminal. Players can select not only the type of game to play but also the specific table link they want directly to their terminal.
Other player-friendly features include multi-denomination and multi-language options, a live camera feed of the table and a wide range of side bets.
SHUFFLE MASTER: The Next Blockbuster
Shuffle Master is leaving home some if its longstanding favorites such as Fortune Pai Gow, Let it Ride and Caribbean Stud Poker in favor of a G2E exhibit devoted to new games.
The new offerings will include No Flop Pineapple Hold ’Em, a four-card poker game in which players get three cards and throw away one, using two community cards to complete their hand. Another is Fortune San Lo Poker, in which players get six cards to make three poker hands: a one-card hand, a two-card hand and a three-card hand. In High Five Poker players get seven cards to make their best five-card hand, with a joker doubling as an ace or to complete a straight or flush. Dealer Bluff is a six-card poker game that combines card-reading technology with artificial intelligence so the dealer can initiate action against players based on the strength of his hand. Rabbit Hunter is a five-card poker game that gives players the option to buy an extra card after seeing their initial hand.
“I try to leave the predictions up to the tarot card readers,” says Roger Snow, Shuffle Master’s executive vice president and chief table games designer. “But I’d bet a couple of bucks that one of these games will become a blockbuster, if anyone wants to book my action.”
TCSJOHNHUXLEY: Exciting Games, Innovative Systems
TCSJohnHuxley is hosting its own “Access All Areas” mini-show on November 16 and 17 at the Ghost Bar in the Palms casino resort and sharing a booth on the G2E floor with Novomatic.
Fully automated and cashless versions of traditional table games are a Huxley specialty. This year the company is showcasing an enhanced TouchTable MultiPLAY roulette that can identify individual players and specific bets with its innovative Touch ID system.
New offerings include Double Action Roulette, which delivers two winning numbers on each spin.
Also on display will be Gaming Floor Live, a revenue-optimization system that harvests data from the roulette wheel and Huxley’s popular Chipper Champ 2 chip-sorter to allow operators to determine the optimum game speed, number of players, number of tables open and price of play.