If there is one core value that the supplier of gaming systems and jackpots DR Gaming Technology (DRGT) leverages within its portfolio, that would be innovation. The Belgium-headquartered company finds pride in developing its systems by using the latest tech available, including the ability to operate without a permanent server connection, as well offering flexible and modular solutions across 50 different countries.
In addition to pandemic-adapted products such as its drGateCam access solution -which assesses body temperature ahead of entering any premises, among other functionalities- the company is accompanying the industry's recovery with innovations for the cashless and system-driven jackpot spaces. "The actual migration expense is easily accommodated and "pays for itself" extremely quickly," DRGT CEO Jurgen De Munck tells Yogonet in regards to cashless solutions, for which their adoption the business has long campaigned.
In conversation with Yogonet, the executive also reflects on the main benefits of system-driven jackpots, and the possibilities opened by an appropriate assessment of gameplay data. Additionally, De Munck discusses future plans, including trade expos and markets of interest, as well as the challenge of providing players with a superior experience.
As the casino industry rebounds from the pandemic and venues started reopening last year, how is demand advancing and what are the main demands from DRGT's clients and partners at the moment? Safety has taken a center spot since Covid-19. How did some of the company’s products, such as its access solutions, adapt to this?
There is no doubt that we are all very cognizant of the effects that the pandemic has had on us, particularly in the land-based sector, and as such we are all doing our best to assist operators in driving efficiencies in as prudent a manner as possible.
Whilst we do our level best to provide as best a player experience as possible, we need to do so within the confines of what revised regulations allow, and what we can actually (within reason) deliver. To this end, we have done our best to assist operators in managing the aforementioned regulatory updates, whilst still providing technology solutions that surprise and delight players.
The key demand for our products has been in the cashless and system-driven jackpot space, along with the adoption of our social distancing solutions and the adaptions to our access management solutions you refer to.
Can you expand a bit on what you refer to as system-driven jackpots and the direct correlation, which you have been quite vocal about as of late, between its success and the adoption of cashless (and player tracking)?
Of course! The greater the % of tracked play, the more player information you have; that is straightforward. The challenge then is always how you analyze that data, and then what you do with it.
Notwithstanding our reporting which aids significantly with the analysis of the data, what our system-driven jackpots do is allow operators the unincumbered ability to tailor jackpots for players or groups of players, based on how and when they play in basically any way they want, when they want.
Standalone ‘normal’ jackpots are limited in their offering by the machines they are supplied with, as well as the configuration options and themes provided by the supplier, whereas in our case, our jackpot parameters and configuration options and the slot machines they operate on are determined 100% by the operators themselves and driven by the analysis of the gameplay data cashless gaming provides. Operators can furthermore develop their own themes via our drMediaManager.
DRGT’s gaming management and marketing product offerings include the cashless functionalities you have just referred to. As cashless gaming is expected to keep gaining momentum this year, with more operators seeking to offer these products, how is the company positioned in terms of capitalizing on this trend and what does it expect in terms of demand going forward? What sets DRGT’s offering apart in this area?
Cashless, as we have said on many occasions, is not something players or operators don’t want. The adoption thereof has only really been affected by two key things:
-The cost to migrate; and
-The type, or rather age, of a casinos’ actual slot machines, where:
Many older machines do not have EFT capabilities and as such need to be upgraded; along with the fact that any of older machines’ games still generate significant gameplay, and as such operators are wary of changing them.
Set aside the second point, as the decision to upgrade machines is something we have no control over, despite the fact that we lobby the point extensively. In respect of the first point, though, the actual migration expense is easily accommodated and "pays for itself" extremely quickly in that:
-There is an immediate hardware cost saving in that no more hard counts are required;
-Security concerns decrease as there is less actual cash in circulation;
-Reduced physical cash outs mean players can ‘move about’ far quicker; and then of course there is
-The significant increase in tracked play we referred to earlier, and the value of that data is almost incalculable.
DRGT currently operates its technology across over 50 countries. What markets would you describe as a priority at the moment and which ones could present new opportunities going forward?
I think we’re all using our best endeavors to consolidate our position, and obviously grow it where possible, and as such, every market is a priority; that said, shouldn’t they always be?
Nonetheless, it’s now been 24-odd months since the pandemic started to truly affect our lives and our livelihoods, and to that end, I think we all adapted where necessary, and continue to leverage any opportunities as best we can, where we can; either as land-based service providers or as land-based operators.
The above said, new technologies provide new opportunities. DRGT has always found pride in utilizing serverless tech, a solution that not only simplifies system installation and implementation but provides unparalleled stability and redundancy. How are serverless solutions moving forward and evolving at the moment?
For clarity's sake, let me start by saying that our solution is not serverless, what it does afford operators is the ability to operate without a permanent server connection; functionality that is driven by the ‘mesh network’ created by our ‘in device’ patented drSMIB.
What the drSMIB does is collect gameplay data from each device it is connected to, for example: a slot machine, a gaming table, a player kiosk, a cash desk, etc. and then shares that data with all drSMIBs in the network, in so doing ensuring unmatched data redundancy and transactional security, as well as the provision of real-time data and reporting.
Furthermore, should a drSMIB be removed or replaced for whatever reason, the new drSMIB will re-synchronize all information and tracking history automatically to the time the initial drSMIB was removed. Similarly, should any major catastrophe result in the demise of a casino, as long as a single drSMIB remains intact, the entire gameplay history of the casino can be restored.
Then in respect of your question: serverless ensures flexibility and ease of use, along with the added security and data redundancy I just mentioned. The key takeout for me moving forward remains the ongoing measures we are all using to better manage the ‘Big Data’ that the ever-expanding reach and speeds of ‘connectivity’ are generating; not only in respect of player insights, but also in respect of how we are able to leverage these insights.
The above said, and we’ve noted this before in previous interviews: the true benefits of having all this data can only be realized when you know what to do with it, and as such BI and the options and choices it should drive are becoming more and more integral to operations' success, and as a result, there are more and more niched service providers.
In our view, and I have noted this before, in order to deliver the best choice management system, service providers will have to start aligning themselves with like-minded partners, offer an ‘Open Solution’, and then develop really good integration APIs. We need to start doing more things together.
The company’s solutions allow for player tracking, bonusing and promotions management, among other features. As collecting and utilizing data are vital assets for operators, how do DRGTs solutions help casinos leverage them? What potential benefits do these tools bring both to companies and players, and how do they improve the gaming experience, and real-time decision making?
This leads on from your previous question and in addition to how gameplay data can drive our jackpot offering, that same data, as you correctly say can and should drive player bonusing and rewards. For players, it adds that extra excitement and feeling of being recognized and valued for their custom (the right reward at the right time), and for operators it allows them to reward at the right level, understand their players, and hopefully assist in positively changing player behavior.
At the heart of the casino industry, operators seek to gain sizeable shares of a player’s entertainment wallet, which implies offering them the relevant benefits and rewards you referred to. How is DRGT working in this area, and how does the company facilitate communication with players? Which would you describe as the priorities and main needs of the player at the moment?
People like to receive ‘bang for their buck’ – value is relative and as such as long as operators offer value, players with play. The logic then is quite simple: offer the best value and acquire the largest portion of a player's entertainment wallet. If there is no perceived or real value, players won’t spend the money.
The same rings true for us as it does in any other market – consumers associate a certain value to the brand, the experience, and the actual product or service. To remain relevant and a formidable competitor in acquiring more than your fair share of the aforementioned ‘entertainment wallet’ you need to tick all three of those boxes.
As in-person industry summits are returning worldwide, does DRGT plan to attend any specific expo in the coming period?
We remain committed to G2E Las Vegas in October, an event that provides the perfect platform to engage with our North, South, and Latin American customers, as well as those travelling to the event from elsewhere too.
In addition to the above, as relevant opportunities arise and more summits return, we will in all likelihood pursue exhibiting elsewhere too.