Of course, Bally will be challenging all the way for the slot market in Asia. They are another company that has taken the time to tailor its product to the market, and are already seeing results from that. Their renowned Hot Shot Progressive is making some headway in the region, according to Marcus Prater: "We're showing some video product specifically for this market. After a couple of years of game development time, it's finally paying off. We just installed a Hot Shot progressive at Wynn Macau, which is doing very well. It's been followed up by Hot Shot installations at Sands and Grand Lisboa. For Bally, it's small steps toward product success on the games side."
Of course, Bally is about far more than slots, and the systems side of the business is equally important. Marcus added: "On the systems side, the Sands Macau and the Venetian Macau are systems customers and we're here also to support the Sands group from that standpoint."
Videobet has product that should certainly appeal to Macau. The server-based gaming specialists had a suite of up to 60 games on show, but most appealing was their live Roulette offering. Matt Phiilips, Asian Sales, elaborates: "We're showing a direct feed from the Philippines, with a live dealer and live Roulette. It goes down very well in Asia, because players here don't seem to really trust an electronic random number generator. They like to see live games, a live wheel, so this is very popular. They also like high volatility games in Asian countries, they're not so fussed about the entertainment factor, and we can tailor everything we make for whatever market it's aimed at."
WMS were fighting for market share too after opening an office in Macau recently, and had some of their impressive array of new product on show. Most attention-grabbing was their excellent Top Gun video slot. It's a great looking machine, and plays like a hybrid arcade/slot. It's a great experience, and with speakers installed in the seat it's exceptionally absorbing.
Star of Octavian's brilliantly-placed stand – it was right in front of the escalators on the top floor of the exhibition – was their Tikit+ TITO solution. It's a simple but excellent idea, and enables TITO functionality to be added to most non-compatible slot machines. The machines apparently need to be part of an Octavian system running EPS 2.0 with AssistSuite. Eric Dias, Octavian's Business Development Manager for Asia, explains more: "The main feature of this system is that you can show it on any machine, old or new. You don't have to have the proprietary software from the manufacturer, it can be used on any machine which uses a standard protocol.
"Australia is a big market we're looking at for this at the moment, and there's plenty of interest in Asia too. Along with our card-based gaming system, we're also looking at larger venues. Latin America is also going to be an important market for this product." Andrew Cammegh was proudly showing Cammegh's roulette wheels to the Asian market from the RGB stand, which was one of the show's busiest areas. They had a Mercury wheel running and the automated Slingshot II for customers to admire, and a remote terminal which the user could select which wheel to play from via the company's EyeBall camera, sitting above each wheel.
Andrew was particularly pleased with an installation of wheels in the Crown Macau. He said: "What they [Crown Macau] wanted to do is to create the finest gaming area in Macau, and they wanted the best wheels. We provided them with 10 Mercury wheels, with Indian rosewood veneer, solid brass cones with a French four-spoke capstan and they look magnificent in Crown's custom-built tables. In that installation they're linked to a Paltronics display running off our in-rim sensors." As for this show, it was a success, he said. "We've had fantastic interest here in the Billboard and the EyeBall. "The show itself has been very productive, and we've had a lot of enquiries, and an order for 15 Cammegh Classics from a major casino." An excellent week for Cammegh then!
IGT had a typically strong presence at the show, and an exciting selection of product. With their visually arresting toppers and signage (from Signs4U), it's fair to say their product will always get attention, no matter what market it's presented to. It will be very interesting to see how Three Kingdom Wars does in the Asian market, as it has striking Asian themes running right through the game. Descended from the company's collaboration with Sega, it might be too arcade-like for the hardened Macau gambler; on the other hand, it plays beautifully and the bonus games hardly interfere with the core of the product, gambling. It might be the perfect balance between East and West and as such, will find its own niche in Macau and other Asian territories.
Alfastreet presented their striking and classic-looking R8 Roulette, also on the RGB stand, as they act as Alfastreet's partner and distributor in the area. It's a fine addition to their impressive automated Roulette canon. It is apparently part of the company's 'Alfa Solution' concept, where an operator can add more stations to their standard eight-player configuration, with up to 24 possible to one wheel. Abbiati were another company on RGB's popular stand, and had their exciting new RFID product, in association with PGI, to promote. Terry Clarke was at the forefront, and he took time to explain the way the company is taking it forward: "Customers are all very interested and are asking us for samples now. We've been slow in introducing this product because we want to make sure we do it correctly and make sure we have the quality. Otherwise, one bad tag in a batch could ruin a reputation. So even though we've had the technology for six months, we've spent that time making sure our processes and our setup, the way we install it, is correct. Now we're ready to let it out into the market."
Royce & Bach turned a few heads with their extremely attractive Archipelago automated Roulette, and there were many more companies in attendance. It was evident that everyone had their big guns out, hoping to grow their share of this expanding market. (E-07.06.07)
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