Over the years as casino floors have expanded in size, scope and geographic location, all sorts of technologies were adopted into slot management systems to better support the gaming machines and meet a growing list of operator demands for more advanced marketing capabilities.
Unfortunately, these new services were often installed in isolation, resulting in an assortment of disconnected data environments. Stepping in to provide a solution are analytics providers; companies that have developed advanced ways to gather, mine and disseminate information across the entire gaming enterprise to resolve this disconnect. In turn, slot systems providers are integrating software solutions into their platforms or developing marketing analytics packages of their own.
Either way, analytical capabilities figure to play an increasingly important role in slot management systems going forward.
“As markets across North America and abroad have become increasingly competitive, the data, analytics, targeting and technical functionality of systems marketing is more crucial than ever to property performance,” said Steve Walther, senior director, marketing and product management for Konami Gaming.
Today, slot marketing analytics goes beyond the historic on-site indicators, thanks to innovations such as smartphones and other mobile devices that can access more offsite metrics into the data mix. Current technologies allow for this whole-picture approach to marketing analytics.
“IGT continues to place a large emphasis on mobile technology for both the player and the operator,” said Victor Duarte, global chief product officer, gaming for International Game Technology PLC (IGT). “Mobile devices are the one thing that most people have within arm’s reach at all times, so IGT has developed solutions that our customers can leverage to capitalize on the immense popularity and relevance of smart phones and tablets.”
Below lists a few of the top slot systems and analytics providers in the gaming industry and how they are stepping up with technology to allow operators to better market their gaming floors.
IGT leverages a wealth of premium content, substantial investment in innovation, in-depth customer intelligence, operational expertise and leading-edge technology. “Recently, we have built upon our momentum in systems by deploying mobile solutions such as Cardless Connect, Mobile Host, Mobile Responder and Mobile Dashboard,” Duarte said. “Giving our customers access to real-time data and tracking against Key Performance Indicators (KPI) from a mobile platform gives our customers an added dimension of convenience and flexibility.”
IGT’s Service Window is an ideal example of a systems solution that gaming operators can leverage to deploy on-device marketing, bonusing and guest communications. With Service Window, operators can push customized promotions and incentives directly to players while they are playing their favorite slot themes. “The communications simply come up on a dedicated window and the player can engage without having to stop gameplay,” Duarte said. “Service Window provides an excellent complementary solution to our bonusing applications. IGT customers can leverage these apps to differentiate their casino floors and offer their players unique rewards that are not offered at competing venues.”
Another technology operators can utilize on their casino floor is IGT’s PlaySpot solution. PlaySpot is a versatile software solution that operators can embed into their property applications to offer a variety of gaming experiences such as sports betting, slots, bingo, poker and table game back betting, all from a mobile device. By embedding this technology into an existing application, the operator gains visibility to a wealth of player data such as player preferences and gameplay patterns.
To better support an increasingly mobile world, IGT fabricated the Cardless Connect mobile system solution to eliminate the need for a physical loyalty card and the use of TITO tickets. With Cardless Connect, players can initiate a patron loyalty session and transfer casino funds by simply tapping their mobile device to a slot machine. Similarly, IGT’s PlaySpot technology can also be leveraged to provide slot play on a mobile device within the confines of a casino, or outside the casino environment in a play-for-fun mode. “At G2E, we introduced Lucky’s Quest, a skill-based game that may be enjoyed on a mobile device and on an electronic gaming machine, while allowing players to transfer their progress within the game from machine to mobile device and vice versa—closing the gap between the mobile environment and the casino floor,” Duarte said. “As we evolve into the digital era of gaming, we will continue to take an omni-channel approach to content development and deployment, and to providing a seamless play and transactional experience between land-based and mobile gaming.”
“I believe that in the future we’ll continue to see more seamless integration of gaming across multiple platforms, from the gameplay itself to the way people wager,” Duarte added. “These innovations will span systems, software, content and emerging technologies, and I believe that an omni-channel approach will be the common driver. We will continue our path of innovation as we address specific customer needs by working closely with casino partners from around the world to develop the next generation of systems solutions.”
Konami’s casino management system has always focused on marketing and analytics. Understanding that the value of a patron goes well beyond the slot floor, the company evolved the product into SYNKROS, which marked a strong influx of advanced marketing and analytics tools. Konami continually works to enhance and expand—giving SYNKROS properties a competitive edge in ensuring a unique gaming experience for patrons.
Konomi’s latest enhancement is a tool called SYNKROS Offers Management, which empowers operators to reach, incentivize and reward players uniquely to their demographic and spend. It allows players to select from multiple available bonus awards—such as comp vouchers, free play, drawing tickets, tournament entries and extra point prizes—and receive personalized notifications across a variety of touchpoints including kiosk machines, SMS, e-mail, direct mail and EGM displays. SYNKROS Offers Management gives operators the flexibility and control to maximize marketing promotions, with seamless, real-time tracking across their player base.
From the perspective of operations functionality, SYNKROS Dashboards is one of the company’s newest business intelligence tools to help drive decision-making for all aspects surrounding promotions, events, player behavioral activity and demographics. It captures a wealth of data across complex gaming and non-gaming operations and provides a visual breakdown of guest activity for actionable intelligence across all areas of business.
Konami’s SYNKROS casino management system is best known in the industry for its reliability, marketing tools and robust data. “Casino properties of all varieties select SYNKROS to power their business because it has the agility and core strength to power leading-edge solutions across different competitive markets,” Walther said. “This year alone we’ve brought SYNKROS to everything from large destination properties, to cruise ships, to local casino stops and entire multi-property portfolios. Additionally, our SYNKROS customers receive zero-cost annual upgrades to access the latest systems technology innovations for optimized response with targeted marketing, unique player bonusing, and mobile management.”
Scientific Games, a leading innovator in the global lottery and regulated gaming industries, has continued to advance the games, technology, programs, marketing research and security that have been a driving force behind their success of more than 300 customers on six continents over the last 40 years.
“From a legacy standpoint, we were the trailblazers introducing the first slot accounting system in the gaming industry,” said Murali Ganesan, vice president of system sales for Scientific Games. “Player tracking started more than a decade ago, including the point-of-play communication technology that we have used. We now have a little over 250,000 player tracking units that have been embraced by our customers worldwide, and that encompasses both the iView, which is a LCD touchscreen and the iView Display Manager, a picture-in-picture technology. Going into marketing analytics and player tracking was driven all from the customers’ needs to drive promotions that work best for each individual operator.”
Scientific Games also has their advanced marketing solution, Bally’s Elite Bonusing Suite, which allows operators to reward players right at the device thanks to the iVIEW display and iVIEW Display Manager (DM). This technology is beneficial to player retention, attracting new players and increasing player value. Applications on the Elite Bonusing Suite automate existing promotions and player loyalty programs and enable operators to launch new floor-level interactive promotions that weren`t possible before.
By turning every game into a robust communications device, players can be rewarded right at the machine as they play, promotions can be announced in seconds, slot tournaments run with unprecedented ease and messages to valuable players can be personalized.
The Bally Hub is another solution that can be used to drive players across multiple properties. It is an advanced solution that gives operators a 360-degree view of the player across multiple properties and a deeper insight into that player’s status at a specific property. Bally Hub helps determine the player’s value to the entire enterprise, not just a specific property. Bally Hub also allows operators to gain the advantage of creating multi-site promotions and leverage offers across those properties.
And most recently Praxis Analytics has been introduced. “We continue to evolve, especially over the past six months, into the next level of intelligence with our Praxis Analytics, which is actually a big data solution” Ganesan said.
Praxis Analytics increases operators bottom-line by deriving pertinent intelligence on their casino players by leveraging predictive analytics, machine-learning and external data sources, complementing Bally Business Intelligence and mines years of player data from numerous internal and external non-gaming sources to pinpoint your players’ true spend potential, responsiveness to promotions and wallet share. Praxis Analytics also converts the analytics into action, recommending how to target each individual player, and pushes the recommendations directly to the games so that operators can maximize the revenues derived from their player base.
“When you include this big data solution Praxis Analytics along with Bally Business Intelligence, what you get as a casino operator is a very powerful medium to factor in both internal factors within the four walls of the casino, and external factors outside of the four walls in designing and developing conceptual promotions that are very targeted and very precise for their specific patron,” Ganesan said. “We’ve come a long way over the past several decades and we hope to be able to evolve these solutions. And by the reception we have received from our operators, we think that we are headed in the right direction.”
Win Systems is a global technology provider for the gaming and entertainment industry, specialists in systems and services for casinos and lotteries, gaming devices and server-based video lottery terminals (VLTs). WIN offers a full range of technology services, including design, programming, installation, operation and maintenance of its systems, and is perhaps best known for its WIGOS CMS Casino Management System.
At Global Gaming Expo, Win announced enhancements for WIGOS, a complete system for casino management operations that includes tools such as accounting and statistics in real time, to optimize management, supervision and control of casino operations under a singular software platform. These upgrades included Intellia, a tool that allows operators to make decisions in real time; WinUp, a solution designed and developed for casinos to always be in contact with players through a custom app; and a Customer Service mobile App that offers customers new ways of contact to assure the best quality of service.
VizExplorer offers a wide range of OI solutions to the casino industry, allowing businesses to analyze live, fast-changing data and take immediate action using a single toolset.
According to their website, sophisticated casino operators have long realized the value of good, real-time data, but few have found the perfect combination of solutions to make data gathering, analysis and subsequent decision-making easy. VizExplorer’s smart casino works by consolidating data from across various systems into a single usable view, which gets real-time insights into the hands of casino operators when and where they need it most. This is operational intelligence that informs good decision-making, helps departments work together more effectively and lets management take action to drive profits.
The company’s floorViz solution was designed for operators to optimize game change decisions and maximize slot floor profitability with analytics derived from a combination of slot machine and player data to drive actionable insights. floorViz analyzes slot floor performance by accurately calculating slot game occupancy with combined rated and accounting data, visualizing play patterns to determine how location affects performance and get a complete picture of operators slot floor and individual slot machine performance with intuitive data visualizations like floor maps and tree maps. It also measures and tracks slot ROI allowing operators to make better buy/convert decisions with detailed, yet easy-to-read analytics, measures ROI from new machines and machine moves quickly and accurately by analyzing floor maps and related data, not just machine numbers and understands the true price per hour of play by analyzing theoretical hold, game speed and the average bet per machine.
Player loyalty and guest experience can also be driven by floorViz with its ability to quickly identify underperforming machines and their most loyal players to take immediate action to reconfigure the slot floor and notify affected customers, as well as pulling lists of players using game type or select slots to easily visualize where they play on the floor.
floorVizOps, an advanced slot floor intelligence to maximize ROI, is also improving analytics of slot floors for maximum play with key features including:
- ActionFactory—automated workflows and alerts that create workflow management for machine performance, notifications and approval workflows for automated slot operations along with easily coordinating the game change process dynamically throughout the department with notifications and alerts;
- PredictiveAnalytics—predictive modeling and automated analysis with advanced predictive models that includes volatility, lift (cannibalization) and automated analysis to support decisions that drive slot floor revenues;
- InstantResponse—a mobile e-mail system queries that allows operators to access data on-demand with automated and user-initiated email system queries for slot machine performance and metrics; and
- StackedForms—drillable report queries that empower slot managers to manage the entire game change workflow process, from initial work order, to tracking the supply chain process, to flagging changes as “on order.”
Growing steadily over the past few years, VizExplorer now has 600 deployments in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Moving forward VizExploer plans on developing this further and adding a layer around predictive analytics and bringing together the data, the operators, frontline employees and the customers.
Casino Data Imaging (CDI), founded in 2001, provides industry-leading interactive visualization and analysis solutions that help casino management users gain critical insight from all types of data. According to company press materials, CDI technology speaks directly to our ability to provide high performance solutions that are reliable, cost effective and easy to deploy. For optimizing casino performance and revenue, CDI GlobalSuite delivers the solutions and support needed that is fast, actionable, cost effective and constantly evolving. Built on top the latest Microsoft technologies, GlobalSuite is able to stand alone and/or complement existing BI assets already in place.
Recently, CDI announced a strategic relationship with Hong Kong-based Intelligencia, a technology company involved with BI, CI, CRM, Data Lakes, marketing automation and analytics implementation for several casinos in Macau as well as offsite with clients in both Australia and the U.S.
“Intelligencia’s expertise in data mining, analytics and business intelligence is impressive and brings a terrific knowledge base to CDI,” said George Levine, a representative for the company. “Leveraging their disciplines provides more value to our development path and GlobalSuite customers.”
“We are pleased to include CDI as a technology partner and will be incorporating them on several projects,” said Andrew Pearson, managing director for Intelligencia. “Intelligencia helps companies determine best practices for managing their data, including extensive consulting and development for predictive modeling, CRM and social media marketing. Our own IP includes BetWatch, a real-time analytics engine for the sports betting industry.”