For the second year is a row, there was a runaway winner for the top platinum spot in Casino Journal’s annual Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products awards, the honor of which went to SkyWire for its Mobile Connect Suite product line.

The rest of the contest, however, was fairly tight, with a mere one point separating the gold award recipient, the Pro Wave 360 slot cabinet from Scientific Games, and silver honor designee, which was the Apex V slot topper solution from Everi Holdings (formerly GCA/Multimedia Games). Indeed, outside of the winning product, less than 10 points separated the top 10 products from one another.

The platinum, gold and silver winners of the Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Products of 2014 were announced during the Casino Marketing & Technology Conference, which took place last July at The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Visitors to the event’s trade show floor cast ballots for an Attendees Choice award to be given to one of the Top 20 finalists, an honor that went to the Omni-Table live-dealer electronic table game concept from New Millennium Gaming.

The platinum, gold and silver winners received the three highest scores of over 50 submitted products in the annual contest, which was judged by Warren Davidson, slot director, Coushatta Resort; Donne Grable, vice president, gaming operations, VCAT; and Claudia Winkler, president, G.H.I. Solutions. The full Top 20 list of designated products was announced in April and written up in the June issue of Casino Journal; a recap description of the winning entries is provided below:

PLATINUM AWARD

Mobile Connect Suite

—SKYWIRE

The Mobile Connect Suite allows the casino to keep guests inside the establishment longer, maximizes their experience, and guides them to undiscovered areas of the casino that they may have never found themselves. The product interacts with the guest, knows the correct timing of when to send more offers, and can be tailored to each guest’s preferences.

The Mobile Connect Suite of products offers a variety of services such as polling, coupons and discounts, and alerting customers when their hotel rooms or restaurant tables are ready for them.

SkyWire has two patents for the Mobile Connect software that makes it stand out from all other SMS marketing providers. The first, Triggered Events, sets up a multi-message campaign to be delivered based on the redemption of a coupon or the answer to a poll. Second, Viral Coupons, where subscribers can share offers with as many contacts as they want and where those contacts in return can share with their own friends and family after opting in. These viral campaigns give the company the ability to track the origin and route that each individual coupon code has taken on its way to redemption.

“I really like the Mobile Connect Suite,” a judge said. “Many casino hotels are slow to integrate new technology so this is a great way for operators to get ahead of their competition.”

GOLD AWARD

Pro Wave 360

—SCIENTIFIC GAMES

The Bally Pro Wave 360 from Scientific Games redefines community-style gaming with its circular display featuring five ALPHA 2 Pro Wave cabinets, a striking curved video topper and 360-degree surround sound.

This latest addition to Bally’s cabinet portfolio is built on the award-winning Pro Wave, the industry’s first cabinet with a 40-inch curved LCD touchscreen monitor that delivers optimal viewing and increased player interaction. In this unique design, the Pro Wave 360 brings together five Wave cabinets in a circular pod configuration with a stunning 40- inch high-definition curved 360-degree video display for a towering centerpiece reaching 10 feet tall. Complete with the company’s 5.1 surround sound audio chair, the Pro Wave 360 is an engineering masterpiece that synchronizes audio and visual events throughout its components for a community gaming experience unlike any other. The realms of possibility for community gaming are off the charts thanks to the Pro Wave 360’s powerful platform. By connecting each Wave cabinet, Pro Sound Chair, and the 40-inch circular video topper, graphics and sounds come together to create a true community experience where players share the joys of winning and bonuses together, while their play and coin-in stays separate.

When Bally demonstrated the Pro Wave 360 at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in 2014, the feedback from casino operators was extremely positive. Casinos were excited about this impressive cabinet with its unique presence, game play, and immersive audio and visual features.

“Bally does a fantastic job using the 360 degree display to create a spectacle on the floor that will draw players from all depths of the casino floor to join in the excitement,” one judge said.

“The Pro Wave 360 redefines the community gaming experience, offering casino operators more profit potential and happier players,” added another judge.

SILVER AWARD

Apex V

—MULTIMEDIA GAMES/GCA

Multimedia Games’ Apex V is the industry’s first scalable, multi-screen topper solution with synchronized content across a complete bank of machines.

Each screen is actively networked to a central content server, offering content flexibility as new titles are added to a bank. Whether casinos want to unite four games or 10, Apex V can accommodate them through its ability to present a panoramic video display on all screens or separate video content per the content management system and dual video screens atop each machine. Never before have casinos had the opportunity to present an entire bank to their patrons as a unified unit, thereby not only ensuring it stands out from the crowd, but also simultaneously encouraging play on every single machine included in the bank.

Apex V’s multi-screen video topper system finally gives casinos the product they’ve been looking for to attract attention to an entire bank on their floor with its ability to display synchronized video content. With the content management system and dual video screens atop each machine, casinos can upload still, full-motion video and mosaic video content into the system, and then watch as it gets displayed over all the toppers on the bank in a synchronous manner. When new titles are switched or added to the bank, the video content and display configuration can be updated via the content management system to accommodate the new changes.

Casinos also can choose to have each set of dual toppers atop each machine display their own content, separate from the other sets of toppers on that bank. Apex V’s ability to differentiate a bank from every other one on the floor through eye-grabbing, synchronized video content gives casinos the solution that will set their casino floor part from the competition.

“I like this product,” said one judge. “We are constantly trying to create more exciting atmospheres in the casino and make games stand out. The Apex V topper system gives a standard cabinet a more vibrant appearance.”

ATTENDEES CHOICE

Omni-Table

—NEW MILLENNIUM GAMING

The Omni-Table is the first of its kind electronically controlled live dealer gaming table that allows a casino to change the gaming layout at the touch of a button on a tablet computer. The table can display any game, side-bet and background graphics at any time, all controlled by casino staff.

The table uses an LED video screen covered with an innovative proprietary felt cover that perfectly mimics the feel of a traditional gaming table. The friction of the surface allows for fanning and dealing cards in the exact same manner as a traditional table. The unique LED video screen includes an embedded rubber layer that adds cushioning and allows for cards, chips, dice and other gaming elements to be easily handled.

Using the tablet computer controller allows the layout to be customized right on the gaming floor. The table allows a floor manager to determine what games are available based on customer demand.

A single pit can contain any variation of games reducing the need for staff in separate pits to keep specific games in those pits open. Games and pits can be consolidated to increase early outs or reduce floor personnel on each shift.

The table’s video screen can display over 10 million colors, including full motion color video.

“Omni-Table takes the first step into an exciting new era of table games,” a judge said. “This product is attractive to the players as well as economical for the casino.”


To see a full list of Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Products of 2014 finalist and write-ups on those products, access the June 2015 digital version of Casino Journal at: http://www.casinojournal.com/digitaleditions.