Can we have your final assessment of this year’s G2E? What were Merkur’s highlights? Have you met your expectations, regarding volume of visits, feedback, launches, new deals, networking, partnerships, etc.?
During the time when a show, any show, is actually taking place one can only determine its success or otherwise based on your own personal reactions. The statistics of exhibitor numbers, visitor numbers and occupied floor space quite naturally come later. For this year’s edition of G2E (this being the 19th running of the event in Las Vegas) the feeling, the buzz, of the show all around the vastness of the halls was overwhelmingly positive. For Merkur Gaming, those feelings were abundantly clear: this was a Great Show! With the announcement of new products, from a linked progressive jackpot, a range of new Bonus Feature games, new cabinet innovations, an outstanding display of electronic table games and the input of other Gauselmann Group companies, Cashpoint for the dramatically increasing sports betting sector, and GeWeTe, the cash handling maestros, the reports all spoke of satisfaction at the number of visitors and the reactions that they provided and the general opinion that gaming, based on the snapshot in time of G2E, is experiencing good times, and expecting much more of the same to come.
What was the feedback for Merkur’s Bonus features and Linked Progressive Jackpot innovations presented this year?
The key products that Merkur Gaming presented at G2E can be described by just two words: bonus and jackpot. In terms of standout products, the first must be the brand-new linked progressive jackpot, called Treasure Link, a link that sits on its own range of five brand new games. In terms of bonus feature games there was also the first showing, anywhere, of a whole range of new Bonus Feature games; two of which would be familiar, in their titles at least. They are Striking Fortunes and Big Deal Wheel. Both of these games have now been extensively modified (we like to call it ‘supercharged’) and now have an additional bonus feature that makes them immersive and highly attractive. Additionally to them, we presented Runnin’ Wild, an African wildlife Adventure, and also Jewels of the Nile, which is a presentation of four games all with a similar theme, but each with a different main character and a common bonus feature.
What does G2E mean for you as a company this year in particular, with the new edition of G2E’s Innovation Lab and the Sports Betting Symposium? Which are the main topics, concerns or upcoming trends of the industry attendees were looking to talk to Merkur about during the event?
A show as large as G2E (and the same can also be said of ICE in London, the only other truly global exhibition) always has more innovations and breakout events that an exhibiting company’s representatives can only attend in small numbers. Cashpoint were active in the Sports Betting Symposium and other staff members took in the events and sessions that were in their particular area of interest. The key focus, however, remained on our own booth; looking after the most important people of all: show visitors.
Did you attend any education activities, and/or organize special activities during that week? If so, what were the learnings and take-outs from them?
Like all manufacturers Merkur Gaming relies heavily on the help and co-operation that we receive from the gaming media, in both the printed magazine and electronic formats. It has become a tradition that, at major shows such as G2E, we invite our friends in the media to a Monday pre-show evening where we can all relax, eat, drink (in moderation, of course, the three show days lie ahead!) and chat informally about matters of mutual interest. It is our way of saying thank you for all the support that we receive. For the three show days themselves and as previously noted, out large team’s collective focus is on our customers, business partners and visitors: they being the reason that we take such care of our preparations and our at show performance.
What do you think of the event’s novelties for this year, such as the G2E Mobile App, touch screen kiosks and G2E Hot Hits? Was this useful for Merkur?
All new innovations at shows such as G2E are very much to be welcomed. They are always useful and, as information hubs and time saving shortcuts, they all add to the framework and general vibrancy of the events.
How would you say your strategies to approach the markets and draw new generations of players were reflected during the event?
As a top level manufacturer, Merkur Gaming employs very direct strategies to deliver what the new, and more sophisticated, generations of players now demand: ever greater levels of gaming entertainment. In that regard, the product presentations that we made this year very definitely made an impact; something that will surely be attractive to operators as well as players when these new games hit gaming floors very soon.
What role has sports betting taken at your booth this year, with the presence of Cashpoint and GeWeTe? What is your approach for the fast-growing and competitive sports betting market in the US?
As noted elsewhere, both Cashpoint and GeWeTe reported high levels of visitation and interest. There is no doubt that sports betting, in both commercial and tribal government gaming, is the phenomenon of present times. While Merkur Gaming concentrates on land based casino gaming, our Group’s other subsidiary companies are constantly seeking to expose operators to the market leading products and solutions that we offer.