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Are your Players Very Important?

Damien Connelly met with Max Lindenberg at NOVOMATIC Group headquarters in Austria

Are your Players Very Important?

Every single casino I have visited recently is making space for one machine: the NOVOSTAR V.I.P. slant top. In all my travels to visit and tour casinos, this is the first time I’ve witnessed every casino wanting to place the same machine on their floors.

NOVOMATIC has designed a real winner; one that generates over double the handle as the machines it replaces, according to Max Lindenberg, Director of Marketing for Austrian Gaming Industries. What’s even more intriguing, V.I.P. was created by the founder and majority shareholder of NOVOMATIC, Professor Johann F. Graf, himself, showing he still has the knack of understanding what players want.

In V.I.P., the “P” stands for Player, and this unique cabinet really does place the player at the centre of gameplay. The seat is incredibly comfortable and has so many movement options, I couldn’t begin to list them; trust me, your players will be comfortable in this seat. In the headrest area of the seat, the speakers ‘connect’ the player to the game in a very personalised manner that both grabs and keeps attention — I doubt players will get bored playing on a V.I.P. cabinet anytime soon!

I’d expect the slot handle from V.I.P. to both start good, and stay good — too often I hear from operators how new games/cabinets have a handle spike when new on the floor, which then tails-off. Something tells me V.I.P. will not see a tail-off in its slot handle. Then there’s the ease and choice of play mechanics — buttons in the arm-rest, an additional Start button in the foot rest, and the cabinet has a touchscreen to provide a third playing choice for players. Add to this brilliant cabinet the multi-game library of NOVOMATIC, which for the V.I.P. offers 43 player favourites, such as Book of Ra and Dolphin’s Pearl, and I expect V.I.P. to join the Gaminator cabinet series as one of our industry’s all-time greats.

Curves are Good

Dominator is the follow-on cabinet from the hugely successful Gaminator. Dominator has proven to be a player favourite over the years. The new take on the Dominator cabinet is the Dominator Curve with its 40” upright full HD curved touchscreen. The concept of the curved screen is so the player is “in the focal point of the gaming action.” As with the V.I.P. machine, the focus of this cabinet design is the player; helping operators to retain existing, and gain new, players.

Two features of the Dominator Curve stand out for me from an operator’s perspective:

• The cabinet is thin (shallow depth), allowing operators to place the same number of machines on their floor while creating more floor space for their customers to walk around and watch other players playing. There’s a saying: ‘white space sells’. For me, in casinos, ‘floor space sells’ as it allows customers to more easily walk around without bumping into other customers or, more embarrassingly, being forced to stand immediately behind a slot player…literally ‘breathing down their neck’ because there’s no room to give that slot player their own personal space; and

• The main door opens upwards for easy access and maintenance, just like a slant top; again allowing operators better use of their valuable floor space.

Players in Control

Slot play is facing increasing competition in many jurisdictions. For example, Nevada slot wagering is -23% over the period 2006-2014. Operators need more product variation on their floors to make the gaming experience as enjoyable as possible for all their players. From my own customer research spanning many countries, being in control (or at least feeling like they have some control) is an important ‘missing piece in the casino jigsaw puzzle’ for certain player segments. Enter Panther Roulette.

It’s a simple concept. Use the ball launch system common to pinball, combine it with an electronic roulette wheel, and you’ve a hybrid (some would say skill-based or arcade-style) gaming machine. As with pinball, the player controls the ball launch…meaning the player is also the dealer. Most of us have played pinball and have likely varied the amount of power we’ve given the ball when launching it into a game in order to try and place the ball exactly where we want to in the game. The same arcade element of power variation exists with Panther Roulette.

Additionally, players can switch from playing roulette to playing a slot game using the same Panther Roulette cabinet. This increases the flexibility offered to operators from this single cabinet; helping operators make better use of their valuable floor space.

‘What don’t they do?”

To go through every offering from a company as diverse and large as NOVOMATIC, whose 2014 Group revenues were €3.8 billion (about $4.3 billion), is impossible here. I will touch on two other business areas: Lottery and Sports Betting.

NOVOMATIC is quite a recent entrant to the lottery industry, and already has contracts with major lottery operators including the: British Colombia Lottery Corporation; Catalonian Lottery; Danish Lottery; Icelandic Lottery; and Spanish National Lottery. It also has VLT operations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Israel, Italy, and Romania. NOVOMATIC Group is really building capability and expertise in lottery with a fresh approach to the business that is reflected by the NOVOMATIC LOTTERY SOLUTIONS slogan, “Expect Better”, as one can see from its client base.

And on sports betting…well, this is one of the historic cornerstones of NOVOMATIC Group’s business. NOVOMATIC is both an operator of sports betting outlets and a supplier of sports betting solutions, and has been so for many, many years. Its ADMIRAL Sportwetten chain is Austria’s largest sports betting provider, allowing NOVOMATIC to offer what may be a uniquely comprehensive variety of gaming solutions in our industry to operators small and large, be they in Lagos or Las Vegas.

The best way to see for yourself what NOVOMATIC Group can do for you and your operations is to visit its ICE Totally Gaming booth's S5-110, S5-130, S5-140, S5-150