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Global Zitro has Innovation at Work

Interview with Jonny Ortiz President and Sebastian Salat CEO Zitro By: Glyn Thomas

Congratulations on the 10th Anniversary of Zitro.What has been the rate of growth from your beginnings to the present day?
Johnny: Thank you. It may be that Zitro exists because of the government’s closure of the gaming industry in Brazil in 2004. That decision left us without any business at all, and we went through a number of years of uncertainty which resulted in the creation of Zitro in 2007. From then on, working in conjunction with our customers, principally in Mexico and Spain, we developed markets which did not exist around video bingo gaming, and we became world leaders in this market segment. In these ten years, we have expanded our presence notably in the global market. Mexico and Spain were joined by Asian countries, such as the Philippines and a number of countries in Europe and Southern and Central America. In 2012 we created Zitro Interactive to put our games to the service of online casino operators, and to be able to reach users of social games through our online casino World of Bingo, which already has more than 2 million registered users. Now, with our Bryke Video Slots, we are looking at expanding our international presence and growing even more quickly. It’s true that we have achieved in ten years what it has taken other companies a couple of decades to achieve.
                                         Johnny Ortiz President  and  Sebastian Salat CEO
The ‘Zitro Experience’ Event with 300 guests hosted earlier this year in Mexico City was an impressive occasion (check out the YouTube video here: www.goo.gl/z95MEu).
Johnny: There is no doubt it was a unique event. At Zitro Experience 2017, we welcomed our customers, friends and the market in general to the remarkable Zitro spectacle, and we showed the world our commitment to making Zitro a leading company in the global market. At the event we presented Show Time, which is also the name of  the new Zitro product range that includes amazing video bingo games, spectacular new platforms, new promotional and loyalty systems, and fantastic video slot games destined to become essential ‘must haves’ for gaming casino operators across all continents. We also presented Club Vip Zitro, a loyalty system which does not require players to register and will make them stay longer in the casinos, thereby placing a powerful tool at the service of the operators to attract and retain their public. With regards to our BRYKE Video Slots, at Zitro Experience we launched new packs of multigames in the Pick & Win collection and the fantastic new family of multigames with four jackpots Spin Hit. We also presented our spectacular new Fusion cabinets, which made a great impact. Fusion was presented in three different configurations: Fusion Up Right 23/23 and Fusion Slant 27/27, designed specifically for video slot games, and Fusion Slant 23/27 designed especially for the video bingo games.
All the Fusion cabinets share a common aesthetic, performance and great comfort for the player. The company also recently launched the mobile app “Busca Premios” Johnny: Actually, we launched the Busca Premios applicationat the start of 2017, and we  have recently launched a new version. The app uses a geolocation service to allow the player to identify the casinos closest to his or her location, view on their mobile screen the day and time of the promotions available, and the nature and the size of the prizes offered in every establishment. The new version also allows players to locate the gaming venues in which the new “Show Time” prizes are offered, the “Zitro Club VIP” loyalty system, recently launched at the Zitro Experience event, and the location of gaming venues which have the BRYKE Video Slot machines. At Zitro we believe in what we call the Triple Convergence of the land-based, online and social offer. We offer our gaming machines to landbased operators and our games to online operators, but we also make our games available to social network users through World of Bingo, and we use Busca Premios to inform those same users of the venues where they can experience our games in land based casinos. In fact, Busca Premios is one of the pillars of our Zitro Partnership Program, together with the different land-based promotions that Zitro offers its customers, its management and communication at the point of sale.
The Bryke Video Slot machines with the Pick & Win series of multigames have proven a big hit since their launch. What aspects of the new range of Video Slots and the multigames package have made it such a winner with Gaming Establishments worldwide?
Johnny: The key is in knowing how to apply Zitro’s knowhow in the creation of a new product, different from Video Bingo, but using the same quality standards we apply in the process of creating our most successful bingo products. Our slots have been so successful that, following on from the incredible results of BRYKE in Mexico, we have rolled out this product line in Latin America, almost tripling our presence in the region in fewer than twelve months. With BRYKE we have demonstrated our vocation as a global provider, maintaining our ongoing leadership in video bingo while at the same time showing our potential to compete with the leading companies in the video slot market segment.
Zitro recently launched Caliente Online Casino in Mexico. Can you tell our readers about this deal, your partners and about Caliente Online casino?
Sebastián: A little over a year ago, in June 2016, Zitro Interactive signed an agreement with Playtech to integrate its games in the company’s most successful platforms. Thanks to this agreement, the first Mexican operator to benefit from the new content was the Caliente Online casino (www.caliente.mx). This agreement has been extended over the months with the launch of new Video Bingo games for the online channel,  and this major casino now has 24 Zitro games to offer its customers. Zitro Interactive also has similar agreements with other online casino operators such as Codere, Bigbola, Suertia, Vera & John, Ondiss, Playbonds and Betmotion.

Malta Gaming Authority earlier this year certified thirteen new video bingo games from Zitro Interactive, expanding the catalogue of games certified by Malta’s regulatory authority. With 21 certified games this provides your online casino customers even more choice.

Sebastián: Exactly. Zitro was the first company to obtain the licence for the Class 4 game category for its video bingo games. Now we have just received a new extension to this licence, thereby increasing the catalogue of titles certified by the Maltese regulatory authority. Zitro now has 21 games certified in Malta, available to all the online casino operators operating under a Maltese licence, who can offer their customers all the excitement and entertainment of our successful video bingo games.

Earlier this year Zitro won an award. This kind of recognition for the company must be very rewarding for you and all your employees?
Sebastián: Yes, it is. In fact, this year we have won various prizes awarded by the Spanish mainstream press in recognition of our successful business model based on innovation, difference and excellence; this is a rarity, because, generally speaking, the gaming industry does not usually receive the recognition it deserves as a driving force for the economy, technological innovation and job creation. We were also awarded the prize for Best Company of 2017 by the organisers of the Expojoc show. Of course, it is a great honour and a source of great pleasure for all of us at Zitro to obtain recognition for work well done, particularly this year, with our company celebrating its tenth birthday.
What are the unique factors that distinguish Zitro from its competitors?
Johnny: Our slogan, The Power of Ideas, is a good pointer. Ideas and innovation are the essence of our growth, together with the passion for what we do. More than 300 people work on designing and developing Zitro games and products on our Technology Campus, an area of more than 12,000 square metres just a few kilometres from Barcelona. We invest 14% of our turnover on R+D+i to offer players a unique experience, with the character which defines and distinguishes Zitro products. This is a sizeable investment, enabling the ideas we generate to become spectacular products.
What are some of your personal highlights of the 10 years since you established the company?
Johnny: During these 10 years, Zitro has evolved considerably, making a success of every product which has come onto the market. We started out in 2007 with the launch of the Bluewave platform, followed the next year by Blackwave, which created a trend in the global gaming industry. Then we released our first community games, like Air Cash, with innovations in the design of systems offering players new community gaming experiences. This was followed by the launches of Revolution in 2014, and then by Big Bang in 2015, with its famous Super Win button. Last year we launched Big Time, with new games and promotion systems which can be personalised completely by the operator, forming part of the new Zitro Partnership Program service. Last year we also launched our first video slots with the BRYKE brand and recently, at the Zitro Experience event, as I said before, we presented the widest range of games ever displayed by Zitro.
Our global organisation has also grown, since we embarked on our operation in 2007, and to accompany our growth we opened our new offices in Madrid in 2009, closely followed by Buenos Aires in 2011. In 2012, we founded Zitro Interactive and announced the opening of our impressive Technology Campus in Barcelona. Last year we announced that we were moving and expanding our office in Buenos Aires to cater for our growth in Latin America, and we are planning to expand our network of support offices in other geographical areas, which we will announce when the time is right.
Are there any geographical markets that you will be targeting in the next 12 months?
Sebastián: Our BRYKE Video Slots will allow us to expand our presence in markets where there is great demand for this type of game. We are going to grow in Mexico, a market where we are leaders in video bingo, but where a big portion of the market was beyond our reach because we did not have video slots. We will grow in South America and in Central America, areas in which, in fact, we have tripled our presence in a few months. We are going to grow in Europe, as soon as we obtain the approvals required by the many jurisdictions on the Continent, and we are going to grow in Asia, in particular in the Philippines, a country in which our games enjoy great popularity.
What are your hopes and ambitions for Brazil in the years ahead?
Johnny: Brazil needs to legalise gaming to generate wealth and employment, and also to organise a sector which, in any event, has existed for years on the fringes of legality. The products that were the precursors of today’s Zitro were the leading products in the Brazilian market during the short period of time gaming was legal, and we see how Brazilian customers play our games in casinos bordering Brazil which have Zitro machines, or in our World of Bingo social casino. The tastes of Brazilian players have not changed: they love playing Zitro machines. This is why, while we respect our competitors, we are convinced that Zitro will be a major provider in Brazil, and we are preparing to be just that.
Casino Life Magazine would like to thank Johnny Ortiz and Sebastian Salat and PR Team at Zitro for their time and assistance with this interview.