Youngstown, Ohio-based Gasser Chair Company has been designing, manufacturing and selling hospitality seating solutions for the past 75 years. The company has been servicing the gaming industry since the late 1950s, when it developed some of the first dedicated slot chairs for casinos in the Lake Tahoe region of Nevada. Gasser Chair now offers seating solutions for all aspects of the casino enterprise, and has managed to stay in the forefront of this marketplace by engineering seating that emphasizes style, innovation and durability; which can create better value for facility operators over the long run.
As part of its goal to supply seating to all areas of the casino, Gasser currently offers a line of chairs for sportsbooks. But with the recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for nationwide expansion of sports betting, Gasser is in the process of augmenting its sportsbook product. One chair benefitting from this emphasis is The Metro, Gasser’s lounge-style seat for sportsbooks, which now comes with enhanced technology and special features. Shawn Danks, business development manager for Gasser Chair, recently took some time to speak to Sports Betting Management editor Paul Doocey to discuss how Gasser is approaching the sportsbook marketplace, how seating has evolved in this space over time and how The Metro seat is adapting to better meet consumer needs. What follows are some excerpts from this conversation:
What kind of opportunity does Gasser Chair see in sports betting?
DANKS: We have had quite a bit of success in the past in regards to sportsbook seating, particularly within the state of Nevada, where sports betting has been legal. Outside of Nevada, we have also had success with our sportsbook line as a crossover product for keno areas.
With the big shift in legislation that now allows for sport betting elsewhere in the U.S., we certainly expect the market to gain momentum pretty quickly. Right now, it is still too early for us to tell how big this market will be for us… but we do know there is a lot of opportunity there.
How has sportsbook seating evolved over the past few years?
DANKS: Traditionally, sportsbooks have relied on cabinet-style seating—a desk-style chair for the long desk-like areas of the average sportsbook. This was certainly popular outside of Nevada for racebook/horseracing applications.
But now in true sportsbook-type environments, we have seen a trend toward lounge-style seats. Operators want customers to feel like they are at home, and lounge seats in a lounge-like area offer more in the way of privacy and comfort when watching a game. Needless to say, the lounge chairs offer a significant comfort advantage over the cabinet-style chairs previously used.
So ergonomics are playing a key role in this evolution… the more comfortable the sports seat, the longer the customer will stay and play…
DANKS: That is our goal… to make a comfortable chair that is going to last a long time. We like to think of our products as an investment; the value associated with our chairs is that if they are properly maintained, they will outlast any offered by our competition.
What new innovations are Gasser integrating into its sportsbook seating?
DANKS: The Metro is our main lounge-style sportsbook chair, and at last October’s G2E we released a model with a USB charging station option. Now a sportsbook patron can charge their smart device while they watch a game and wager.
We have some other innovative features incorporated into the Metro and other lounge-style chairs as well… the biggest one is that all our lounge-style models are available with an optional tablet tray. It gives people a hard surface to write on, along with a beverage or ashtray holder.
Also worth mentioning from an innovation standpoint is the modular design of our chairs. That is one of the biggest selling points of our product—if there is a part or component that fails or gets worn out, an operator can replace those individual components rather than needing to tear the entire chair down or throw it out. We build all our products to be very modular and components can be replaced as needed.
Any other Metro advancements you would care to mention?
DANKS: We are in the process of developing new models that feature a tilt mechanism, which will be good for those players that need to be close to the sportsbook viewing screen… customers will be able to naturally tilt back in the chair and have a better angle to watch the screen.
Our lounge chairs currently offer a fixed-tray option; we have new models in development that offer a swivel-type tray, so when that tray is not in use, it can be swiveled away from them and stored out of their space.
What are some of the reasons an operator should go with Gasser products instead of those of a competitor?
DANKS: Gasser Chair custom manufactures all its chairs here in the U.S. We are vertically integrated so every aspect of the chair manufacturing process—from preparing raw materials and molding foam to powder coating and sewing—takes place in our Youngstown, Ohio factory. We encourage and promote factory tours for any of our customers; we are very proud about what we do, and the time and craftsmanship that goes into each seat is quite superior to that of a lot of the other manufacturers out there. SBM