English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

Global Research Helps Develop IGT Games

Sabby Gill joined IGT in August 2011 as the Regional Vice President, EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa).  In September 2012, he took on the additional responsibility of managing sales for South Latin America and the Caribbean (SOLAC) and subsequently was asked to take on the role of Senior Vice President (SVP) International Sales in September 2013.  Gill is responsible for providing overall sales leadership with the sole objective of exceeding overall International revenue targets and executing effectively against the growth strategies and focus target markets.

Gill joined IGT from HP where he held the role of VP, EMEA and General Manager, Partner and Mid-Size Enterprise Business.  Prior to that he had senior executive sales roles at CA, Oracle & PeopleSoft and spent over 26 years within the IT industry.

Your title is SVP International Sales.  Define international.

I focus primarily on the regions outside of the U.S, Mexico and Canada.  I had great preparation for my current role as I previously managed sales in the regions of EMEA and SOLAC, so I have empathy for the day-to-day situations that the leaders there are experiencing. 

How successful is IGT in Europe and elsewhere? 

IGT enjoys worldwide leadership so it’s exciting for me to drive different measurements of success in different regions.  We have expanded our sales coverage within Europe adding a significant number of sales and support personnel including the recent appointment of a new Regional Vice President for EMEA.  You don’t make these sorts of continuous commitments if there is no opportunity.  We are excited about the prospects we see especially within the systems business with recent wins at DLV and Cloud installations in Barriere, France.  

Do games created in the U.S. carry over to international sales?

IGT games do have universal global appeal, yet we also recognize the importance of creating content specifically for certain playing styles in different regions.  Some markets prefer more of a “gambling” experience while others are more attuned to an “entertainment” style of play.  When we were at G2E Asia earlier this year, we introduced new culturally-enriched content for the Macau market that was designed in our Asia-based studios with the math and art that resonates with players in the region.  With IGT’s seven studios around the world, we’re uniquely capable of developing content in the regions where we distribute and that helps us develop the right formula.  I have had some pleasant surprises regarding how content developed for one region is embraced in others.  We have a popular game that was designed for Mexico that is one of our top sellers in Germany.  That’s a nice reflection on how the world is becoming a smaller, more connected place.

What new games are popular in the international market?

Games such as Lucky Dragon and Gold and Dragon, the high-volatility progressives that we have introduced in Macau, have that right blend of math and art that speaks to the player in the region who prefers the concept of gambling over entertainment.  In Latin America we have introduced El Gran Festival and Legend of Gaucho, themes that resonate with the cultural experiences that players in the region love. That translates nicely to the slot play experience.

What regions have the most potential for growth as gaming continues to grow and how will you capture that market?

Asia certainly holds a lot of promise with new casino openings and also the promise of Japan, which has had a great head start to slot play with its rich legacy of Pachinko.  We’re securing sales of both machines and systems so I think we are well-positioned there.  We conduct extensive research in all of our international markets, continually striving to find the precise winning formula of math and art that will ensure game success in a particular region.

What games do Europeans like to play? Do they play differently than anyone else?

There are different demographics in every market where we operate as we previously touched upon and it is our job to match the right demographic to the right content.  Different strategies are adopted; the most successful is working with the casino operators and using their experience and knowledge of their players and their markets in developing content that resonates with their players.  It sounds simple, but too many times you see U.S. driven content deployed within international jurisdictions and expect the same great results that they had elsewhere.  Players are different in many ways: culturally, their propensity to gamble, entertainment vs. gambler-style play, and preference for high or low volatility.

Can you describe some market-specific games and why they are successful in the international market?

There are far too many to choose from, but I must say the most exciting for me recently have been our Winners Choice.  It uses a diverse selection of proven performers to allow customizable player choice for four games of action. The average bet per unit is substantially increased due to the MultiPLAY action on every spin.  It contains two-level mystery progressives and random bonus feature allowing for initiation of free games on any of the available themes.  This game has been great for the international demographic where it appeals to Progressive Players, fans of IGT Classics, and players who enjoy a diversity of play styles on one unit.

My favorite configuration is with Treasures of Troy, Siberian Storm, Wolf Run and Cleopatra. 

What are your most successful markets?

Some little known facts about IGT:  We hold over 5,000 patents worldwide and hold over 350 Gaming Licenses worldwide; have 5.9 million monthly active players at Double Down Casino; and have 4,500 employees worldwide with 65 offices across six continents.  So when asked the question about what are your most successful markets, it is important to understand the breadth and depth of IGT as every market we come across can leverage from existing content, systems, services and offerings that are more than likely previously architected.  All markets are successful in some way. We operate and supply, for example, in markets with growth such as Macau, the Philippines and other Asia Pacific markets.  With the promise that Japan holds, I’m working to make sure that IGT secures business in new casino openings and continues a growth path there with our introduction of new culturally enriched content.  Then if I look at a market such as Argentina, we have more demand than we have supply due to the restrictive importation environment.  So from a global perspective, there is always opportunity to find new ways to advance our business and distance IGT’s global leadership from our competitors.

Are you able to apply research you get from one country to another?

We recognize that some markets, such as Asia, prefer more of a gambling experience. We also know that the overall entertainment experience is important in the U.S. We implement the findings from our extensive global research into our game creation and development in all of our seven global studios.

When you attend G2E in Las Vegas, what do your hear or see that you can take home with you to make your products more alluring?

Given its size and widespread industry participation, G2E provides a great showcase for innovation.  It’s a good opportunity for us to assess how IGT can continue to lead and innovate in areas we are pioneering and also areas where our competitors are focused.  Our product development roadmap for the next 12-18 months is already in place when we get to G2E so it’s always good from a comparative standpoint to see what other companies think are important game elements and features.

How big an industry is gaming equipment manufacturing in Europe?

Gaming equipment manufacturing is certainly well-established in Europe across a spectrum of products from slot machines, VLTs, table games and more.  We’re pleased to see that IGT slot machines, manufactured in the U.S., have performed well and are widely represented across our product lines in Europe.

What is your opinion of the challenges and opportunities for IGT within the international market?

While there are certainly more competitors in the slot machine industry than there were several years ago, IGT has maintained its global leadership based on the scope of our best-in-class product portfolio, global footprint, strong relationships, and reputation for great service.  Given the increased competition, we must work harder than ever before to continue to grow our market leadership. However, we see numerous opportunities to build on our positive momentum to secure new business for our games and systems businesses.