When Scientific Games acquired DEQ last year, it did so because the company—a producer of progressive systems and live table game content that is installed in over 300 gaming properties in 30 countries—complemented its expansive product portfolio for casinos, which includes a large library of proprietary table games, table progressives, electronic table systems and utility products for the casino pit. According to press releases, Scientific Games was particularly enthralled with the potential of distributing DEQ’s EZ Baccarat, a Talisman Group-owned game that is one of the world’s leading baccarat brands with over 800 table games in 150 casinos across the globe.
Since the DEQ purchase was completed this past January. Scientific Games has dedicated time and resources to improving and growing EZ Baccarat, and has also committed to the product’s popular promotions such as its Chinese New Year (CNY) package. Francisco “TJ” Tejeda, co-principal with the Talisman Group and co-creator of EZ Baccarat, recently took some time to answer questions from Casino Journal Associate Editor Joan Mantini regarding how the popular game has fared under new ownership and its CNY promotion. Below are some excerpts from these answers.
Has EZ Baccarat shown significant advances since the acquisition by Scientific Games?
Tejeda: Yes. Scientific Games began distributing EZ Baccarat in January, 2017. The first half of the year has been a transitional period with integration of the EZ Baccarat brand into the new, much bigger company being quite complex. Regardless, the marketing reach of Scientific Games is already evident with a significant number of games in the pipeline. Upshot: EZ Baccarat is heading for 1,000 games in the marketplace—making it the number one baccarat brand in the U.S. and Canada, and one of the most successful table games of all time.
What sets EZ Baccarat apart from other table games?
Tejeda: EZ Baccarat has a one price policy (OPP)—which means every operator pays the same price to lease the proprietary game. Whether an operator has two tables or fifty, the price, service and promotions are the same. In addition to the OPP, there has not been any increase in the price of the game in the last 10 years. These policies have become the hallmarks of the brand and immensely popular with operators.
What do you believe are contributing factors of EZ Baccarat’s continued success?
Tejeda: Among others, EZ Baccarat’s unwavering commitment to the customer and their success, demonstrated by constant innovation and enhancement to the brand. An example of this is the incorporation of the very popular Panda 8 side bet to the game without any cost to the operator.
Together, all the policies, operational procedures and long-term strategies at the core of EZ Baccarat have brought about the defining characteristic of a true brand—an emotional connection with its customers, specifically the operators.
Can you describe the CNY tradition?
Tejeda: Chinese New Year is the most important holiday of the year. It is celebrated between late January and the 3rd week of February according to the lunar calendar. Playing games of chance and baccarat (in the last few decades) are a very large part of the CNY tradition. The reason being is that Chinese players believe that what happens during the CNY (a 15-day mega-holiday: over 20 percent of the world’s population will be revelers) will reflect on the rest of the year. So, they play to conjure up luck and prosperity.
What are some of the details of EZ Baccarat’s CNY promotion?
Tejeda: Here’s how the CNY promotion works: Any operator with EZ Baccarat games may add as many tables as they like for free during the CNY holiday; and EZ Baccarat operators that cater to Asian/Chinese players are given the opportunity to accommodate the increased business for up to 30 days surrounding the holiday.
This powerful promotion is in lieu of the more common ones: t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs or other incentives. These are difficult to quantify, so are difficult to ascertain their value. Giving EZ Baccarat away on New Year’s is a quantitative boon to the operators and it underlines the innovative business relationship that this brand brings to the table.
So what is the theoretical ROI for the operator with the CNY promotion?
Tejeda: Let’s say a casino has 10 EZ Baccarat tables that cost a combined $102,000 to lease for a year. If that operator orders an extra two tables during the 30-day CNY promotion and these tables produce $1,000 per table per day, which equals $60,000. That’s over half of what it takes to lease the 10 tables for the entire year. It is an extraordinary and welcome rebate on the cost to operate EZ Baccarat.
What are your plans for future growth with this promotion?
Tejeda: The CNY promotion is one of those rare instances where a win-win situation is created. For the game’s owners (Talisman Group) and its distributor (Scientific Games), this promotion reinforces the we-are-here-to-help-you-be-successful image of the EZ Baccarat brand with casino operators; they, in turn, get an opportunity to increase market share in an amount directly proportional to the percentage of EZ Baccarat tables (historically 35 percent) that are retained once the promotion ends.
For the EZ Baccarat operators the CNY promotion offers a real money-making opportunity that is quantifiable. In addition, operators get a tangible measure of the potential size of their EZ Baccarat market; and can then make an informed decision whether to increase the number of tables.
The outcome of the CNY Promotion proves that promotions do not have to be a zero-sum game. This promotion justifies itself financially for both the vendor and, most importantly when trying to gain market share, the operator.
Francisco “TJ” Tejeda is a co-founding principal of the Talisman Group and the co-creator of EZ Baccarat. He can be reached at www.talismangroup.com.
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