News and notes from the international slot industry

GLI forms division for interactive gaming

Gaming Laboratories International Group has created a new Interactive Gaming division, GLI Interactive B.V., and has acquired the assets, intellectual property and trade names of Technical Systems Testing, a leader in interactive gaming testing, systems testing, and wagering system certification for regulators around the world.

GLI Europe Managing Director Phillip Barow, a key architect of the acquisition, will become the new managing director of GLI Interactive B.V., responsible for leading the interactive testing effort worldwide for GLI. The new division will allow GLI to combine its services with TST’s technical knowledge in the iGaming and interactive gaming niche. For several years, iGaming has been the fastest growing segment of the global gaming market, and GLI noted it is proud to be able to integrate the knowledge base of TST with GLI’s unending dedication to customer and regulator service.

TST CEO Salim L. Adatia; Chief Technology Officer Noah Turner; the current management team; and all employees will remain with the company. TST will continue to operate normally under its current brand and will continue to operate from its labs in London, Macau, Manila and Vancouver.

Since it was established in 1993, TST has become globally recognized as a leader in testing and consulting, particularly in new media and interactive gaming technologies.

“For several months we had been working to develop a cogent iGaming strategy, as we are very keen to bring our knowledge to the iGaming space,” Barow said. “We could not have found a better, more respected partner in TST, capably led by Salim and Noah, to allow us to enter this fast growing market segment. With the growing trend in Europe to regulate iGaming on a country-by-country basis, regulators need a company they can rely on to provide the best testing services possible, and we believe bringing GLI and TST together will help give regulators the confidence they need to move forward in interactive gaming.”

Aristocrat Technologies recently opened its new Mexico City office.

Aristocrat establishes presence in Mexico City

In May, Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. cut the ribbon to open its Mexico City office, launching an exciting new era in the slot manufacturer’s history. The office will support Aristocrat’s growth strategies for Mexico.

“Mexico holds tremendous potential for Aristocrat, as Class III regulated gaming expands in this country,” said Aristocrat Americas’ Chief Operating Officer Seamus McGill. “We recently commenced business in Mexico with major clients and will continue to aggressively pursue opportunities throughout the market. We are thrilled to be opening our Mexico City office, firmly establishing our presence and allowing us to provide high-earning gaming products and service to our customers.”

Aristocrat’s Vice President of Latin America Alvaro Nores will be responsible for overseeing and directing Aristocrat’s Mexican business strategy, and Carlos Carrion, director of sales and operations for Mexico, will direct the Mexico City’s office sales and support staff.

Aristocrat’s new Mexico City office is located at Av de Las Palmas 425 Of., 1401 Col. Lomas de Chapultepec, Mexico D.F. 11000. The office phone number is +52 55 5282 4800.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs opens new penny area

Judging from the player response to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs’ new penny slots area, a penny is worth a lot more than your thoughts.

A crowd of hundreds was on hand in June when the casino opened its new Penny Grove, a smoke-free slot room featuring nearly 300 machines all with a one-cent denomination.

“We are excited to open Penny Grove as it not only complements our existing offerings, but is a sign that the launch of table games should soon be following,” said Bobby Soper, president and chief executive officer for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. “To make room for the new tables, we needed to remove some of the machines, but did not want to inconvenience our guests. We felt it was important to create a new area with even more machines for them to play.”

Penny Grove, which was inspired by a forest in the mountains of the Poconos, is home to just under 300 machines, all with a denomination of one cent, and features popular games such as IGT’s Sex and the City, Bally Technologies’ Quick Hits Platinum and WMS’ Ruby Slippers.

Interblock installs TwinStar 10 Roulette at Pala casino-resort

TwinStar 10 Roulette, the first of its kind in the world, made its debut in June at Pala Casino Spa & Resort in Southern California.

TwinStar 10 is a pair of 5-station Megastar units back to back with 55-inch LED displays featuring a live camera feed of the game and the extensive game history that the “Player Information Display” (PID) offers to players.

Brad Martin, Interblock business development manager, called Pala “a market leader in their region [that] has for years led the way with its range of roulette and slot offerings.” “We’re proud to be a part of their operation,” Martin said. “By offering the Megastar with such a purposeful, unique and attractive display, we’re confident Pala’s players will have a rapid acceptance of the games.”

Interblock’s Megastar is a unique offering in the region, being the only slot device with a live spinning wheel. “We look forward to offering our guests the only slot roulette machine with this configuration in Southern California and the only game with actual live wheel play,” said Mike Crenshaw, vice president of casino operations for Pala Casino Spa & Resort.

The Player Information Display contains detailed statistical information including the previous 42 game results, graphical representations of frequency of each number over the last 500 games, and percentages on red/black, odd/even, columns, streets and more.

GCA introduces proprietary Casino Share Intelligence

Global Cash Access, a provider of innovative cash access solutions and data intelligence for casinos, has launched its proprietary marketing and business intelligence tool, Casino Share Intelligence (CSI).

CSI, powered by DiamondStream, is a Web-based data analysis tool that provides gaming operators a full picture of where and how patrons are spending their gaming dollars, enabling them to evaluate the success of existing and future marketing strategies.

“CSI provides actionable intelligence that shows a casino operator exactly how they are stacking up against the competition, both within their market and across state lines,” said Scott Betts, chief executive officer of GCA. “We believe GCA’s invaluable strength of network and market intelligence will change the way casino operators evaluate their business and make strategic decisions.”

The combination of GCA’s and Diamondstream’s strengths makes for a powerful diagnostic tool, Betts said. “It really gets you to start asking the right questions. It makes a good marketer better,” he said in an interview.

This is particularly important in today’s economy, he noted. “Everyone has to work harder for patrons. Everybody in this kind of an environment is looking for an advantage,” Betts said.

GCA currently provides cash access services to more than 1,100 casinos in the United States and around the world and is able to leverage the strength and reach of its network to compile unmatched industry data available only through CSI. Using GCA’s rich data, CSI presents weekly trended market share reports over the last twelve months, including: Market Share, Wallet Share, Patron Share, and Top Patron Module; all with drill-down diagnostic capability.

From this data, casino operators can assess the success of their current marketing strategy and prioritize where to focus marketing dollars in order to drive additional business to their casino floor. They can also evaluate the success of new marketing initiatives in driving improved market share, patron share and wallet share. Furthermore, the Top Patron Module allows marketing departments and player development the opportunity to predict defection and identify the total wallet value of its most valuable patrons. This can be used to prioritize on whom to spend to get the biggest return on that investment.

“To stay ahead of the curve in today’s gaming industry, casinos need to be acutely aware of how their patrons are spending their time and money,” said Dean Donovan, co-founder of DiamondStream. “Understanding market share to this degree provides a critical competitive advantage that allows a casino to better plan its marketing and sales programs.”

CSI and GCA’s database is subject to confidentiality restrictions, which are strictly adhered to by DiamondStream. CSI is only available to GCA cash access customers.

United Coin brings new multigame to Nevada

United Coin Machine Company has brought the U1 Keno, Poker and Slot gaming machine to Nevada. UCMC is the exclusive distributor of U1 to bars in both Nevada and Montana.

Manufactured by U1 Gaming, the multigame console, with a 24-inch high-resolution LCD monitor and touch screen, offers players their choice of seven different games with payouts up to $250,000 and 14 different games with payouts up to $225,000.

It offers a variety of novel keno concepts with new ways to win and a variety of bonus features. For the first time, players can view the payback percentage right on the playing screen, and they enjoy an increasing payback percentage with each incremental higher wager. Wagers from 1 cent to $10 and up are accepted.

Players are not accustomed to seeing their payback percentages, said Steve Arntzen, chief operating officer of United Coin. “This provides players with greater knowledge so they can better determine their personal risk and reward level for each game. Multiple bet keys offer a wide range of wagers and the payback percentage increases with higher wagers. So far, response has been terrific. Once players get acquainted with all the options, they are playing significantly longer.”

U1 is revolutionary for its unique three-way split between the manufacturer, the bar or location owner and UCMC, the service provider, Arntzen said. Rather than passing the risk of large jackpots onto either the location owner or service provider, U1’s weekly revenue split on these devices is based on theroretical win, instead of actual results. Under this new economic model, location owners are now guaranteed a weekly check for having the device in their establishments, regardless of whether the actual performance on the games is positive or not. The more the customers play the U1 gaming machines, the higher the check to the location.

“Much like IGT’s wildly famous linked progressive game, Megabucks, the U1 spreads both the risk and the profits across their entire spectrum of games in the field via this formula to enhance both player payouts and operator revenues,” he said. “It’s a proven formula that works for everyone.”

Nevada regulators OK IGT MP Series Roulette Evolution

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has approved the animated version of IGT’s M-P Series Roulette Evolution for use in Nevada casinos. Differing from traditional video slot games, M-P Series (multiplayer) themes offer a group of players real-time wagering on a common outcome.

“M-P Series games are popular because they bridge the gap between video slot and table games players,” said Tom Mikulich, IGT vice president of MegaJackpots products. “Novice players are more willing to try M-P Series games because of their easy-to-understand nature, while experienced players appreciate the consistent game pace. And everyone loves the camaraderie.”

Approximately 130 player terminals statewide are slated for early placement, including in seven major casinos in Las Vegas and several others in Northern Nevada. For those casinos with cashless wagering systems, only IGT Advantage 8.x and Aristocrat Oasis 360 11.5.2 are approved for use in Nevada, according to IGT. IGT is currently seeking approval for other cashless wagering systems as well.

Three versions of Roulette Evolution are approved in jurisdictions around the United States and Canada. The animated version, now approved in more than 35 jurisdictions including California and Nevada, features game play viewed on a large-format LCD. The automated version features a mechanical roulette wheel with game play transmitted to player stations via camera. The live version, developed for jurisdictions with traditional live roulette games, uses a camera to transmit game play from a live roulette game to the player stations. Players of all versions place their bets on a 23-inch touch-screen LCD at individual player stations.

M-P Series games feature comfortable player stations arranged theatre-style around a large-format LCD. A single game server can accommodate up to 96 player stations. Other games released for M-P Series include Golden Baccarat and Triple Towers Virtual Horse Racing. Triple Towers Greyhound Racing and M-P Series Blackjack are in development and scheduled for release later this year.