No doubt this year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) trade show floor was a showcase for a whole host of slot machine-centric products, technologies and services. But to say G2E was focused solely on the latest gaming machine innovations would be selling the event very, very short.
Indeed, a number of non-slot categories were very well represented on the G2E show floor, not the least of which were table game products and services; perhaps a reflection of the growing importance this type of wagering has among the younger generation and burgeoning Asian gaming markets. Table game innovation appeared to take two primary forms—new advances in electronic table game formats and devices aimed at making table game play faster, more efficient and in the end, more profitable.
SHFL entertainment was among the companies displaying new or improved electronic table game technologies. SHFL’s latest eTable innovation, TableMaster FUSION, made its U.S. tradeshow debut at G2E. Featuring a high-definition 72-inch LCD display with attractive virtual dealers, 22-inch widescreen player terminals with touchscreen betting, enhanced graphics, and multiple blackjack side bets, TableMaster FUSION is a significant overhaul to its long-standing, successful predecessor.
SHFL also displayed SHFL FUSION Hybrid, which features a live dealer and user-friendly 22-inch widescreen electronic betting terminals. For a dynamic gaming experience, players may switch between and concurrently play baccarat, roulette and sic bo from the same terminal with the touch of a button, according to company literature. Meanwhile, SHFL FUSION Auto provided all the efficiencies of a fully electronic table with the added benefit of a live electronic wheel and ball; while SHFL FUSION Virtual allows players to switch between roulette, sic bo, baccarat, and craps from the same terminal.
SHFL also featured i-Table Blackjack and i-Table specialty table game variants at the show, equipped with a convenient bill validator, a printer for all cashouts and multiple language options. Additionally, both i-Table games can interface with an operator’s slot accounting system to provide pertinent financial information and produce tickets.
“Once again, we are confident that SHFL’s impressive product lineup will send a clear message that we are leaders in this space and that our expertise in gaming innovations is unmatched,” said Gavin Isaacs, SHFL CEO, in a prepared statement.
Interblock also used G2E to showcase advances in its popular line of electronic table games. The company displayed the latest iterations of its Mini Roulette and Micro Dice, which are smaller versions of the company’s signature products. Attendees also saw the new G5 PlayStations that incorporate a larger LCD and new LED illumination armrests.
Even with all this new product, the showstopper for the company remained its Hologram Gaming Lounge, which debuted at G2E 2012. This year, attendees viewed a smaller version of the product, a three- to five-player device meant to appeal to smaller gaming properties.
No matter the size, the Hologram Gaming Lounge still scored with booth visitors. “On the electronic gaming side, Interblock continues to surprise and impress with their mini version Hologram tables,” wrote Michael Palmieiri, director of slot operations, Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway.
TCSJOHN HUXLEY announced the North America launch of its Supernova Progressive Platform for table games at G2E. According to company literature, Supernova is a powerful floor-wide event and mystery progressive platform for the live gaming space that drives revenues delivering incremental profits and gives fast return on investment. It adds higher levels of player excitement and loyalty by using multi-level prizes combined with stunning graphics, sound and table interaction. The fully flexible platform adapts to almost any table game and allows operators to configure as many different prizes and jackpots as they want.
“Supernova has already been successful in markets such as South Africa where over 50 tables have been rolled out since March this year alone,” said Cath Burns, group CEO at TCSJOHNHUXLEY. “All of the properties where we’ve installed the system have reported significant increases in play adding a new dimension to gaming floors.”
Novomatic displayed its Novo Unity II multiplayer arena, comprised of Novostar and Novo-Bar terminals. The featured game was Novo Multi-Roulette, with one automated roulette wheel at the center of a multi-terminal arena. Novomatic also showed fully animated versions of roulette, Double Action roulette, baccarat, blackjack, Texas Hold’Em poker, Poker 3, bingo and sic bo.
While some companies concentrated on new games and concepts for electronic tables, others instead showcased operations-oriented products aimed at making table game play faster, more efficient and profitable. Two companies leading this effort were Global Cash Access (GCA) and FutureLogic, who together showcased their TableXchange, a device that connects table games to a casino’s existing TITO network allowing for scanning and printing TITO vouchers. TableXchange utilized GCA payment and kiosk technologies with a QuikTicket product, developed through a strategic alliance with FutureLogic. This product enables table game players a convenient buy-in with a TITO ticket and cash out with a TITO ticket, which is redeemable at an Xchange kiosk for cash.
By connecting table games to a casino’s existing TITO network, TableXchange allows for scanning and printing of TITO vouchers. This creates a common currency across the casino that promotes crossover play between slots and tables.
“TableXchange brings TITO to the tables,” said Matt Naraghi, director of marketing, FutureLogic. “You don’t have to have cash; just scan your ticket and you get chips. When you’re ready to leave, you can turn in your chips for another ticket, so the chips stay at the table. It’s a savings for the operators because it’s fewer chip refills and that means fewer play stoppages at the table.”
TableXchange further streamlines casino operations by virtually eliminating the need to replenish chips at table games, which improves the patrons’ experience by eliminating game downtime. TableXchange also removes the risk of counterfeiting at the table game or cashier cage and reduces operating expenses by minimizing cash handling, along with fills and credits at the table game.
JCM America also showcased product designed to streamline cash flow issues at table games. Its iV8 table game bill validator was developed specifically for the high-volume table game marketplace. Unlike manual counting at the table, iV8 counts and validates currency at eight notes per second, and can instantly and dramatically increase the number of games played per hour.
Gaming Partners International (GPI) displayed its latest innovations in table game RFID technology, such as the RFID Plaque Box. According to company literature, the Plaque Box is an innovative RFID product that provides secure protection of the casino’s highest value currency items while enabling real-time counting and movement details. With its ability to store and track dozens of variable size RFID plaques during game play, the Plaque Box can be installed next to a regular chip tray or installed with GPI’s RFID Dual Chip Tray for maximum table currency accounting and efficiency.
“With the continued growing interest in RFID products and solutions that improve casino performance and efficiency, we are proud to showcase our latest enhancements like our RFID Plaque Box,” said Gregory Gronau, GPI president and CEO. “Together, these time- saving products help operators maximize their table revenue by eliminating unnecessary game delays and providing more currency security at busy tables.”
Given the recent launch of online poker in Nevada and the legalization of Internet casino games in Delaware and New Jersey, both social gaming and for-pay web casino products received a lot of attention at this year’s G2E.
International Game Technology (IGT) was busy marketing its DoubleDown Casino social gaming platform, inviting show-goers to immerse themselves in the DoubleDown Casino Partner Program through the DoubleDown Winner’s Circle, an experience that provided a 360-degree journey illustrating DoubleDown Casino’s social capabilities. The DoubleDown Casino Winner’s Circle was an opportunity for operators to learn more about the Partner Program, witnessing first-hand how this collaborative solution can expand operators’ reach for new players with the ultimate goal of increasing customer loyalty and retention.
Since last year, IGT’s DoubleDown Casino Partner Program has more than doubled, with 46 casinos, including over 50 websites, taking full advantage of the program, according to company literature. IGT’s DoubleDown Casino engages more than 1.8 million players daily
Aristocrat Technologies showcased its nLive virtual casino product, a custom B2B online gaming solution with fun and exciting online wagering, social gaming and managed services. nLive virtual casinos feature a mix of slot and table games, a new relationship between Aristocrat and the Ongame poker network, and an established RGS allowing for future content integration. nLive casinos are protected with best-of-breed geolocation and age-verification technologies, and are linked back to the property’s CMS system.
Williams Interactive, a subsidiary of WMS Industries dedicated to premium iGaming platforms, products and services, debuted its new premium mobile platform and exciting brands, themes and game engines at G2E. Among the games highlighted by the company were online versions of popular WMS Gaming slots, such as THE WIZARD OF OZ andKISS: Shout it Out Loud!, including upcoming theme releases built on the popular Super Multi-Pay, Reel Boost, and Colossal Reels game engines. Visitors also sampled the Double Money Burst game engine, a player-favorite in land-based casinos since its 2012 debut, powering the newest addition to the Williams Interactive premium brand library ELVIS: THE KING Lives.
In response to the increasing importance of mobile casino revenue on European gaming sites and the imminent launch of full online casinos in emerging markets including New Jersey and Delaware, Williams Interactive has developed a premium mobile platform to deliver slot games to players on the go. According to company press materials, the mobile system is built on cutting-edge HTML5 technology, which provides the platform with an optimized high-definition gaming experience for each player’s device of choice, with a next-generation game client interface that seamlessly adapts to different devices, operating systems, screen sizes and resolutions.
Williams Interactive also announced an ambitious new game introduction schedule to keep customers coming back to both its free-play and for-pay online gaming systems. “In Europe, we plan to launch five new real-money games each month,” said Rory Shanahan, head of marketing for William Interactive. “We also plan to launch one new mobile game each month as well.”
Konami Gamingused G2E to announce a strategic partnership with GameAccount Network, which will bring Konami’s popular casino games to the online market via GameAccount’s iGaming platform. The initial stage of this partnership will provide Konami content via GAN’s network to a wide range of iGaming service providers that include legal real-money online wagering and simulated gaming sites around the world.
“GameAccount Network is a world-class provider of iGaming solutions,” said Steve Sutherland, COO and executive vice president at Konami in a prepared statement. “It was critical for us to find a partner who could help us deliver our game content online in a manner designed to help our casino customers grow revenue and expand their businesses.”
BEST OF THE REST
• Gary Platt Manufacturing introduced a number of new seating concepts at G2E, including new products for its X2 lineof high-end chairs designed to extend customer play through better design and ergonmics. For example, theX2 Airis a 22-inch high seat with a self-contained and powered air cooling/ heating system that allows the player to fine tune their immediate casino environment.
“Casinos are looking at high-end product a lot more, trying to set themselves apart from the competition,” said Mark Yurcisin, vice president of sales for Gary Platt. “The X2 Air is one way a casino can differentiate its high-limit gaming areas.”
• Gaming Laboratories International (GLI)displayed new tools to make compliance matters faster, easier and more cost effective for regulators, suppliers and operators. One such product was GLI S.C.A.L.E., which stands for Simulated Communication Automated Load Engine. It is a software tool designed to test systems that are being evaluated by GLI for regulatory and operational compliance. GLI S.C.A.L.E. is intended for load testing of online systems and automated generation of accounting and tilt conditions for end-to-end reconciliation for systems. It is an embedded processor design that responds to SAS polling commands from an online system. Utilizing a proprietary scripting language, GLI engineers are able to simulate activity that would ordinarily require an EGM.
GLI also showcased GLiCloud, which works in concert with the online web portal GLIAccess and GLI Mobile to give operators instant access to their entire casino inventory, from anywhere, anytime.
• Innovolt, a provider of patented electronics protection technology and comprehensive monitoring and analytics applications, used G2E to promote recent gaming placements. For example, Laguna Development Corporation (LDC), which manages more than 2,300 slot machines, tapped Innovolt to implement its intelligent asset management and Remote Optimization Control (ROC) technology within the corporation’s three casinos. According to company press materials, LDC recognized a need for electronics protection and asset management years ago but had been unable to find a solution that solved the problems that are exasperated by bad weather and generally poor power grid. After a highly successful proof-of-concept, in which the slot machines that were equipped with Innovolt’s ROC technology did not fail once, LDC is moving forward and implementing Innovolt’s solution throughout its three casinos: Dancing Eagle, Route 66 and Express Casinos.
• Cintas Corporationshowcased a new ap that streamlines the uniform planning and design process for casino employees. The iPad tool uses computer-assisted design technology that allows Cintas representatives to instantly design and price uniforms that match a properties décor or theme.
• Suzo Happ had plenty of news to share at G2E. To start, the company announced that it had become the exclusive marketer and distributor of TransAct Technologies printing solutions to casino and gaming operators in most areas of the world. The company also showcased products it acquired from the recent purchase ofTranscity Group, an Australia-based gaming electronics and hardware producer. The product that garnered most attention was the Sport Vision Table, a sturdy, self-enclosed table composed of four high-tech monitors that can be programmed to broadcast horse racing, sports or other wagering events. The table can also be used to place bets on these events.