Common Ground: The time for operators to make their wants and needs known is NOW
The recent Gaming Technology Summit was an incredible gathering of the tech-minded side of the industry, and for three days, we as a group, and in GSA-sponsored sessions, talked about the future of the industry from a detailed perspective and from a 30,000-foot level.
One of the most interesting sessions took place the first day – a GSA-sponsored roundtable titled, “Generating More Revenue and Streamlining Your Operation.” Moderated by Gregg Solomon, chief executive officer of Detroit Entertainment LLC, which operates the MotorCity Casino, the panel consisted of GSA board members as well as Jacob Lanning (formerly of Aria and now from the Cosmopolitan Resort) discussing the successes, challenges, and where we go from here.
Naturally, the successful launch of G2S protocol-driven products at CityCenter was front and center in the discussion. Solomon opened the session saying, “We’ve succeeded, and G2S is out there.”
Rob Siemasko from WMS agreed and offered additional insight: “Aria is a great first step. The supplier experience was at times a painful one, but when it all came together, we all gave a big sigh of relief. It was a watershed moment for GSA.”
However, as Melissa Price from Harrah’s pointed out, “We can do more.”
Indeed we can.
GSA supplier member companies are preparing to do much more. We are hearing incredible feedback from our members about the work their research and development teams are doing. Operator members, such as MGM Mirage, and non-member operators, such as Boyd Gaming, are beginning to allow field trials of new products. For example, one of our member companies soon will see its GSA-compliant innovations begin a field trial at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
This new field trial is possible because suppliers from across the industry and around the world came together, first to create the standards and then at Aria to make sure they came to life, giving suppliers and operators alike a secure foundation on which to build the future.
That afternoon’s GTS session also clearly illustrated that we as an industry are at a crossroads.
We have the protocols in place, and now suppliers are looking to operators to tell them exactly what they want them to build on them. Suddenly, an incredible new world has opened to operators, and they are in a unique position where suppliers are excited about the potential and are ready to show operators what they can do.
How operators communicate their needs and wants with suppliers could be done on a one-on-one basis, but that almost defeats the purpose of standards. So how can this be better achieved?
To help facilitate that communication, GSA created our Operator Advisory Committee (or OAC), to provide a safe forum for operators to tell suppliers, “This is what I want, this is what I need, this is what I expect,” and perhaps more importantly, “This is what my players want, need and expect.”
Several operator members of GSA, including several lottery operators who, because of their direct interaction with suppliers on the OAC and in other committees, have made tremendous strides in shaping applications for their industry based on the new protocols. The potential for traditional casino operators is no less significant, and can occur regardless of geography.
For example, GSA recently welcomed the European Casino Association as an Affiliate Member. The ECA represents more than 1,000 casinos in 23 countries across Europe, and we expect their input will be invaluable in shaping how casinos operate and serve customers.
The same potential exists for operators on every continent. Suppliers want to hear from tribal casinos in North America, from large-brand operators with multiple casinos, from operators across the globe from Buenos Aires to Sydney to South Africa. The tools are finally here; come tell these suppliers how you want to see them in action on your own floor, benefitting your own customers.
The protocols we have developed have given us a solid foundation. Now is the time for operators to make their needs and wants heard, so together, we can create the next phase of the gaming industry, one that is prepared to fully compete with other industries in the entertainment business.