Video interview: Derik Mooberry, new CEO

Zitro USA: "We'll be expanding rapidly in 2022 into additional states, primarily focused on tribal gaming markets"

2022-04-01
United States
Reading time 4:23 min

In early February, Zitro made the decision to reinforce its structure to expand its presence in the U.S. and Canadian markets, with the appointment of Derik Mooberry as the new CEO of Zitro USA.

He has more than 20 years of experience in the gaming industry, including 14 years at Bally Technologies, where he served as SVP of Gaming and also SVP of Products and Operations. He also served for 6 years as EVP and Group Chief Executive of Gaming at Scientific Games. He is currently recognized as a global leader in land-based gaming products, including leadership positions in most geographic areas of the world.

One of the first challenges he is facing is Zitro's first time attending NIGA's Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention, to be held April 19-22 in California. "Our goal is to really establish ourselves as a supplier within the US marketplace," Mooberry tells Yogonet in a video interview. "While we are new and we are growing within the US, we are very established in many other global markets as a supplier, and in many of those markets we actually have a leading position. So this is our chance to shine, and showcase our products to the US marketplace."

"I joined Zitro to capitalize on an opportunity to expand the company's presence globally," Mooberry underlines. "While Zitro was established in markets like Latin America, Mexico and Spain and has a growing presence in Europe and Asia, in the US it's just getting started. We have a tremendous opportunity in front of us, and it'll be an exciting period of growth over the next few years. I believe my previous experience as a leader in the gaming industry can assist Zitro in achieving that market share and specifically the growth that we see ahead of us in the US. Zitro USA is essentially a startup operation, but my broad experience with all aspects of the gaming business, including sales, marketing, engineering, product strategy, etc., I think can really assist Zitro in achieving our ambitious goals ahead."

Today, Zitro operates primarily in three states: Oklahoma, California and Florida. But the new Zitro USA CEO says it will be "expanding rapidly throughout 2022 into other additional states, primarily focused on the tribal gaming markets, which emphasizes the importance of the NIGA trade show for us." With tribal gaming considered a significant part of the US marketplace, Mooberry notes the Midwest offering a large tribal gaming installation base, as well as the Southwest. "And the relationships we are seeking to gain at the NIGA trade show aim to gain awareness of our brand-new product line specifically at Zitro, so that we can get a foothold into more casinos throughout the US."

Another challenge that Mooberry and Zitro USA is facing is the diversity of the large U.S. market, with different types of gaming throughout the country and very different segments. "Our goal really starts with compliance, getting ourselves licensed and approved. That's the first step in any new gaming companies' goals, it is obviously to make sure that you can get yourself approved, both the product and the company approved. We've been rapidly seeking licenses throughout the United States and that'll become the forefront, which enables the growth for us to go from there."

In terms of competitive advantages, the new CEO points at the product portfolio's positive performance on a global basis, which is now starting to enter the U.S. market. "The performance to date has quite frankly exceeded our expectations, and we think that's going to be the catalyst that allows us to grow into the future," he says.

In that sense, the recently released Glare cabinet line, with four different form factors with unique content each, is poised to take center stage when it comes to expansion strategies. "This gives us quite an arsenal of products to launch within the United States. So we are not going to market with just a single cabinet and a single game theme. We've really got today already a portfolio of products to choose from, and we think that gives us a unique and competitive advantage in the marketplace. So what you are going to see at the NIGA show is certainly Glare at the forefront, and lots of unique content to go on each of those cabinets for customers to choose from. That'll be a great offering for us into the future."

Regarding the booming iGaming expansion in both the U.S. and Canada marketplaces, while Mooberry considers it "very exciting", he notes that the initial focus for Zitro USA will actually be on the land-based placements of its products, and as it gains market share, the company will then seek to complement them with a digital offering. Therefore, the digital perspective with Zitro Digital is currently left for the long run.

When asked about Zitro's decision to not attend ICE London 2022, he says this had no impact on the company's NIGA decisions in terms of the show and how it intends to participate. "The shows are very different. There are different customer bases, different people attend each of those shows. The NIGA trade show is obviously extremely important to the tribal gaming community and market within the United States."

Looking ahead, Zitro will be present at "all the major global stages." This has recently included FIJMA Madrid this month, the NIGA show next month in California, and G2E Las Vegas later this year. The company has been doing private Zitro experiences, recently in Argentina, and it plans another one in Mexico a little later into the summer time frame.

"I think you couldn't be more excited about what we see in the casino marketplace today," he tells Yogonet. "Casinos, especially in the United States markets, continue to have either record or near-record levels of revenue. The industry as a whole seems to really be thriving, and that's encouraging for us as a major supplier in the global marketplace. And I think it will lead to investments in casino floors."

"As the industry is growing, we intend to grow right along with it. And that gives me just a tremendous amount of excitement for what we have in front of us here from the Zitro USA perspective," Mooberry concludes.

Watch the full video interview on our YouTube channel.

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