Which trend is more exciting to you right now – digital signage or server-based gaming? Why?


Gregg Solomon, chief executive officer, Detroit Entertainment LLC, which owns and operates Motor City Casino in Detroit, Mich.:

If you ask me today, I’ll say the total integration of this interactive gaming environment, audio, video and lighting-the whole shooting match. But five years from now, I believe server-based gaming will allow me to do the things I want to do, like buddy lists, messaging that our customers are able to do on social networking sites. They’re going to want to do those things. The fact that we [eventually could] break into a display to do some of the things I currently do with signage right on the machine display is going to be huge.

Shawn McDaniel, director of casino operations, Three Rivers Casinos, Florence, Ore.:

Digital signage. I don’t know where the manufacturers are with server-based. I don’t know what server-based gaming is going to offer for the player. When it becomes an advantage to the player, I think it’ll be great. Players are superstitious already when they see the game change. I don’t know if it’s going to be good for the casino.

[But] digital signage displays allow us to communicate with the player and let them know what’s going on here. And we can change it instantaneously. It’s easy to use, and it’s not that expensive.

Glen Sawhill, vice president of gaming operations, Casino Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada:

I’m still looking forward to server-based gaming. We’re still a ways from getting there, but the interaction you can have with the players right at the machine and what it’s going to be able to offer is exciting. There are still some questions. We still need to figure out some things, like how the manufacturers are going to get together, and there are still regulatory issues. However, we’re seeing more openness with the vendors, and I think that’s showing the way. It’s still something I foresee as the next big technological advancement for our operations. The capabilities that it’s going to generate, the way you can communicate with your customers-there are just so many ways you can engage with your players and reward your players. Eventually we’re going to be there.

Marcus Suan, corporate director of slot operations, Boyd Gaming, Las Vegas, Nev.

Server-based gaming is the least thing on my mind. It’s just too expensive to change the floor out. They don’t really have anything settled yet. Even they’re not pushing it as hard anymore either.

We’re doing a lot with digital signage right now. With some of the programs we’re going to be using, it’s very important for the customer to see what’s going on. There’s just so much that we need something big on the floor so people can see it. We’re doing some stuff I can’t really talk about right now. It’s pretty cool.

Jay Fennel, corporate director of slot operations, Station Casinos, Las Vegas, Nev.:

I am excited about the possibilities of both. Currently at Station, we are utilizing digital signage. At Red Rock, most of our slot signage is utilizing LCD displays and media servers. It gives us the ability to be very creative with regard to communicating with our guests. We can really get creative with the latest generation of progressive controllers when combined with digital media. We can display and offer multiple progressives on multiple denominations on the same bank of machines. With the digital media, it all can be displayed very clearly to the guests when there is so much going on. That was our challenge in the past as you can only communicate a limited amount of information to the guests utilizing the standard meter displays. Also, we can change the look of a LCD display in a matter of minutes versus weeks when looking a traditional signage.

On the server-based front, I am still excited about all of the possibilities, but nothing is very clear or concrete with the whole idea. We still have no idea how everyone is going to play together or what the business model is going to look like. The cost of operating a slot floor has increased dramatically, and the returns are not the same. Server-based is certainly another piece of the puzzle with additional costs that we are not realizing today on top of what our costs currently are. Time will tell on this. I do see, in the future, digital media and server-based working hand in hand. You can have all of the latest bells and whistles on your floor, but if your guests have no idea what is going on, it’s a fruitless endeavor. Communication to the player in an easy-to-read-and-understand format is paramount in today’s technology-driven slot floor.