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“The Future Looks Strong. It’s an Exciting Time.”

Before leaving for ICE in London, Derik Mooberry spoke with Jack Bulavsky, Special Assignment Correspondent for Casino Life.



Derik Mooberry, Senior Vice President of Games, Table Game Products, and Interactive Research & Development, has been with Bally Technologies for more than 12 years.  He also leads Bally’s business in Mexico and South America.  Up until two months ago, he was senior vice president of Games. During his Bally career, Mooberry has filled several key leadership roles at the company including Vice President of Products and Operations, and Vice President of Games Sales and Operations in the Americas.

Prior to joining the company, he was the Chief Operating Officer for Casino Marketplace Development Corporation which was acquired by Bally Technologies. He has nearly 20 years of gaming industry experience and is also a Certified Public Accountant in Nevada.

How are you fitting into your new title?

It’s been quite busy, but a very good busy. The title encompasses everything around slots and now includes table games, utility products, proprietary games, and additional responsibilities ever since SHFL entertainment came on board.

Can you tell me more about SHFL entertainment coming on board?

The transaction between the two companies closed at the end of November 2013 and it’s been a very exciting time for all of us here. Two highly innovative companies, both highly regarded in the industry, have come together. The beauty of the move is that it’s bringing together two companies, each with its own strengths, to meld into something even better.

SHFL entertainment is seen as a global leader in table games space along with shufflers, chippers and proprietary table games and electronic table systems. They’re also widely regarded as extremely good manufacturers of electronic slot machines for the Australian and Asian markets. This is good for Bally as that strength compliments us.

I’ve been here 12 years and watched Bally grow from a company with revenues of several hundred million dollars into a company of more than one billion dollars. And that growth is not just in revenues, but in employees, locations, products, and customers. Keep in mind that the integration of these two teams is not just in Las Vegas; it’s global, around the world. We now have a combined company totaling more than 4,300 employees. Bally Technologies and SHFL entertainment have grown in every single facet and it’s a fantastic time to be here. The future looks strong.

How would you describe the difference between ICE and G2E in Las Vegas?

First, the two differ just in size alone with G2E being a much larger show. But London is more international while G2E tends to be more North American. ICE will have heavy European influence along with Central and South America, Mexico and South Africa. The show has a very solid global appeal. Also, because the European market is a leader in the on-line gaming space, there will be a greater emphasis on interactive related products at ICE - much more than what we see in Las Vegas.  Those are two primary differences.

What will Bally be showing at ICE?

We’ll be highlighting all our products from slot machine groups, i-gaming platforms, systems division, and now table-related products because of SHFL which, by the way, will have its own separate booth space. One could say that Bally Technologies will have the most diverse set of gaming products to demonstrate at ICE. Highlighting our booth will be the new Pro Wave cabinet, a 40-inch concave, high definition screen that has become popular around the world. Clients like its flexibility because it can run just about every title within the Bally line-up on one cabinet in either single screen or dual screen games. It’s a solid investment as clients will get a regular pipeline of all our software content.

We’re also going to showcase Titanic which was quite popular at G2E.  This game, or maybe I should say the movie, continues to target a demo that is female and who have probably seen the movie multiple times. The movie is a great love story and when you play the game, it brings out the best features including many of its symbols and sounds. There are movie clips within the game experience and you can listen to Celine Dion’s award-winning song on bonus rounds. We integrated the game with surround sound chairs so it becomes an even more exhilarating gaming experience.  We’re expecting a lot of traffic for this game as we have discovered that it has an emotional impact on players. The Titanic brand is known everywhere.

Where do you go from ICE?

Let me check with my secretary. Bally does an array of shows throughout the year. Actually, we do multiple shows just about every month and our marketing team is always planning for just about every gaming market around the world. And now that we have combined with SHFL entertainment, the show market has gotten even bigger for us.

So many shows. So much demand. How do you stay current?

Staying current demands focus. What we’re finding is that globally, there are differences in game content and game development which means we create more market themed games that are specifically designed for a particular market. For instance, we’ll design some games that are more graphic than others and they will be popular in the Asian market.  Other games are driven by math and design those games based on certain math models. We’ll be showcasing those games because some of them work more successfully in one market versus another.

In terms of innovation, we could talk forever as to what is the next new idea on gaming devices. For us, it’s a careful balance between what has worked well in the past and repeating that past with a new twist or two.  Our players like our older, proven games and it’s incumbent on us to add an innovative feature every now and then. For instance, we’re bringing back a classic like Blazing Sevens, a three reel stepper machine that is now integrated into a curved platform.

And since we’re talking about innovation, did you know that Bally Technologies was the first to remove the actual physical buttons from machines. We noticed over time that people now have smart phones with touch screens and came to the realization that players would eventually become comfortable with touch screens only. As we do our demographic research, the screen is now very interactive. Players interact with bonuses and other screens and can do any number of things. The technology is attracting an entirely new demographics beyond the 40-65 year old that is current on the slot floor.

And all of this is being done in partnership with our clients to generate ideas and concepts on what the next generation wants.