Suppliers to the gaming industry gathered in Las Vegas this week for the first time in over a year to showcase their latest and greatest products at the Indian Gaming Fair and Convention.
“It’s like a celebration of the industry. We’ve been virtual and remote for 18 months, with Zoom calls and all that stuff. And it really is a people business. These are long-term, lasting partnerships, ”said Matt Wilson, CEO of the games division for Scientific Games. “So it’s good to be back, face to face.”
Gaming technology companies showcased their products at the Caesars Forum show, including several that they have recently rolled out or that will be arriving in Las Vegas casinos in the near future. Here are some trends to watch out for in the casino:
Money (less) is king
Cashless gambling remains a priority for gaming technology companies. Manufacturers and analysts say the pandemic has accelerated casinos’ interest in cashless and contactless products, although the technology has been around or has been developing for some time. years.
Las Vegas-based companies such as International Game Technology, Scientific Games, and Everi all showcased their various financial technology products at the convention, hosted by the National Indian Gaming Association.
“We already had a good base of customer interest in our IGT cashless technologies,” said vice president of global communications Phil O’Shaughnessy. “With the pandemic, I mean, literally the phones started ringing, ‘Hey, how do we implement this? “”
IGT offers a Resort Wallet product that gives players the ability to fund an account and play slots cashless using a casino player’s loyalty card or a digital wallet integrated into a resort’s app. said Michael Ratner, director of product management.
A partnership with digital casino marker maker Marker Trax, announced at the convention on Tuesday, adds the ability to play slots with casino credit, something typically limited to table games.
Ratner said a player can transfer funds in and out of a slot machine inside any property using IGT’s casino management system, IGT Advantage. Two Las Vegas casinos have installed Resort Wallet – one on and one off the Strip – and are preparing before they go live, he said. IGT is field testing an external fundraising function “at a large corporate client here in Las Vegas.”
Everi’s digital wallet, CashClub Wallet, holds real money on behalf of a casino customer and is “independent of the gaming system,” according to Darren Simmons, executive vice president of Everi who oversees its gaming business. financial technology.
The wallet is actually a bank account with a license and federal insurance, Simmons said. You will be able to load money into the account and use it to fund a slot machine, table game, mobile game of chance, or on-site retail purchase.
Players can fund their CashClub wallet using a debit or credit card or direct payment from their bank account. The funds are accessible through a mobile app or a self-service kiosk that allows players to withdraw money from the wallet, Simmons said.
He said he hopes the technology arrives in Nevada this year.
“You absolutely want the customer to feel good and comfortable with their money,” Simmons said.
Aristocrat Technologies also announced on Tuesday a partnership with Sightline Payments which facilitates cashless payments at any casino using Aristocrat’s management system. These efforts were initially initiated at the properties of Boyd Gaming Corp. in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana via BoydPay.
Tall and tall
Think IMAX, but for the slots.
Buffalo slots maker Aristocrat Technologies this month launched a new line of “Game of Thrones: King’s Landing” slot games and a new version of Buffalo machines, Wild Wild Buffalo.
It will be hard to miss them. They’re in the company’s Double Neptune cabinets, which launched earlier this year, according to Ryan Scott, vice president of gaming operations at Aristocrat. Each Neptune cabinet has two 49-inch curved screens, 4K definition, a 23-and-a-half-inch button set that curves to fit the screen, and side video screens at eye level .
“You will actually see it from any point in the casino,” Scott said.
And what will gamers see when playing “Game of Thrones”?
“Dragons, dragons and more dragons,” he said.
Wild Wild Buffalo combines the Wild Wild West chase mechanic and Buffalo gameplay with a wheel feature from previous games, Scott said. The company launched in May another combined game with Dragon Link and Buffalo called Buffalo Link.
Scientific Games worked to design their own extra tall cabinet game – the 11 foot tall mural that features two 55 inch, 4k curved screens and the popular game “WILLY WONKA – Dreamer of Dreams” – during the pandemic with a specific cause in mind.
“People are stuck inside on their couches, consuming media on their little little iPhone or up there on a 42-inch LCD screen. What experience can you have that you cannot have at home? Wilson said.
The new game, Wilson said, provides an immersive experience that they hope can bring people back to the game tracks “with an experience they won’t have sitting on their couch.”
Agreement or no reseller
Electronic table games – essentially digital versions of popular games such as blackjack, baccarat, roulette, etc. – are by no means a new technology.
These types of games, often referred to as ETGs, have been popular in Asian gaming markets for years. But during the pandemic, ETG makers said they saw an increase in demand from North American casinos looking for alternatives to traditional table games as they sought to restructure their gaming stands in the midst of the crisis. social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions.
This is where products like Interblock’s Pulse Arena come in more. The company’s setup allows a live dealer for certain games, located at the front of an arena-like setup with a large screen behind. showing him the game board, or fully automated games, and players can play multiple games at once. But most notably, the setup is modular, with each machine capable of being moved to create almost any type of setup that a casino might want or need due to restrictions.
“It’s a really good solution because you can distance yourself socially. You can space it out as much as you want,” said Stephanie Kozal, Marketing Director for Interblock.
Beyond the pandemic, manufacturers see ETGs stay and continue to increase their market share.
Digitized table games often require smaller buy-ins than their traditional counterparts, and new players can learn as they go without worrying about slowing down the game.
“A lot of new players are getting more and more used to this type of betting experience,” said Koval. “You can sit here and enjoy and learn without really feeling intimidated by some of the more advanced players.”
Everi is also field testing its digital jackpot system, Jackpot Xpress, at El Cortez and Caesars Palace. The program speeds up what can be a tedious process for jackpot winners at casinos, said Adam Fong, senior vice president of product management, casino operations. A jackpot winner can wait more than 30 minutes at the winning – and therefore disabled – slot machine for an attendant to return with the necessary tax documents, he said.
Jackpot Xpress helps slot machine attendants prepare tax forms, collect winner information, apply withholdings and choose a payment method, the company website said. The system is designed to reduce the time a winner spends waiting in front of a disabled machine. This benefits both the player and the operator, Fong said, because the former can leave earlier with their winnings and the latter can return the functionality to the machine and continue to earn money.
Company executives also note that Jackpot Xpress can send a player’s winnings to the company’s CashClub digital wallet, allowing the lucky person to exit the building without carrying a large wad of cash.