Exclusive interview

"Novomatic's primary strategy for G2E Las Vegas is to present our full portfolio of premium gaming products and solutions"

Jakob Rothwangl (VP Global Sales, NOVOMATIC AG; left), Rick Meitzler (President & CEO, NOVOMATIC Americas; middle) and Max Bauer (CFO Latin America & Caribbean, NOVOMATIC AG; right).
Reading time 6:39 min

With G2E Las Vegas just a few weeks away, Yogonet talked with the Novomatic team ahead of the expo to learn more about the international gambling company's plans for the event, set to take place October 10-13 at The Venetian Expo.

In this exclusive interview, Rick Meitzler (President & CEO, NOVOMATIC Americas), Jakob Rothwangl (VP Global Sales, NOVOMATIC AG) and Max Bauer (CFO Latin America & Caribbean, NOVOMATIC AG) share insights on the company's lineup at its booth and its goals for the edition, along with markets to be targeted and new developments in gaming.

Could you describe Novomatic's final product lineup to take center stage at G2E Las Vegas? How have you crafted this selection? Are there any premieres you can anticipate?

Jakob Rothwangl: We have designed our product display for Las Vegas with a strong focus on the US and LATAM markets. In the hardware segment, we will stage a premiere for these markets with the launch of the new DIAMOND X 1.55J single-screen upright cabinet. The multi-screen version DIAMOND X 2.32 has already been a visitor magnet at the Latin American gaming shows – now at G2E, we will present both cabinet versions side-by-side with dedicated content for the various markets and regions.

Rick Meitzler: For the US, we are leveraging the continued performance success of our major Progressive link brands THUNDER CASH and MONEY PARTY. We are launching powerful additions to these popular game families, plus an exciting next version called THUNDER CASH X. This impressive link will be launched at G2E with two stunning “Candelas de Los Muertos” titles next to other entertaining releases.

The MONEY PARTY Link is one of our player-preferred, successfully linked fruit game products in the US.  The product line continues to be a staple on casino floors – and apart from new titles like Yummy Yummy expanding the existing portfolio of great fruit games, we will present two titles that are specifically for the high-denomination player segment.

Max Bauer: For the Latin American and international markets, we will present a broad range of sophisticated multi-game mixes, including some with a Linked Progressive and some without, such as the NOVO LINE Edition X3 and NOVO LINE Concurve Edition 6. Of course, the current linked best sellers IMPERA LINK in the FUNMASTER 2.27 cabinet and NOVO LINE CASH CONNECTION Edition 3 in the DIAMOND X series will be at the center of the show portfolio.

What are your specific goals for this edition, considering it's the first fully in-person one since the pandemic? What do you think we will learn in terms of the gaming industry recovery?

Rick Meitzler:  Our goal for this and every show is to put our best foot forward and showcase the past 18 months of hard work. We look forward to reconnecting with customers and demonstrating our strong product entertainment, quality, and value. We appreciate the opportunity to show customers how much we have truly listened to them over the past year and thank them for being true partners in our market growth.

Jakob Rothwangl: That’s what visitors at the NOVOMATIC booth can expect in Las Vegas. Our teams are excited to meet their customers and to demonstrate gaming technologies that have been designed to entertain.

Max Bauer: In terms of the industry recovery, we will most probably see further proof of the different stages of recovery in many markets. Whereas we know that the US market has bounced back quickly and even surpasses pre-pandemic levels, we see the same recovery trend in Latin American markets. This recovery is reflected on fully booked agendas for some countries at G2E again this year. It will be particularly interesting to speak with many operators and learn about their latest experiences and strategies, of course.     

Novomatic's booth at G2E 2021

Which key markets are you targeting, both from the Americas and worldwide? Which Novomatic representatives will be present with that aim?

Rick Meitzler: Our primary strategy in Las Vegas is to present our full portfolio of premium gaming products and solutions in this world-class format. This includes slot machines for US Class III and VLT/VGT markets to electronic table games, sports betting kiosks, management systems, promotional systems and ancillary services.

We will have representatives from NOVOMATIC Americas, from all the regional Latin American units and from our international sales teams available at the booth, ensuring that every customer will connect with their sales representative.

Max Bauer: The G2E in Las Vegas is traditionally a gaming event that draws a huge Latin American audience, being the nearest global gaming event outside the region. We actually expect this year’s visitor numbers in general and participation from LatAm to bounce back to pre-COVID levels and will therefore prepare a strong line-up of both products and teams.

What technological progress and investments will be reflected at Novomatic's stand in terms of linked progressive slot machines, cabinet design and integration? 

Jakob Rothwangl: One of the most obvious developments is the ever-increasing size of the game screens and the prevalence of PCAP technology. Our latest cabinet developments are no exception: the new standard for multi-screen monitors is 32” and for the DIAMOND X 1.55, we have premiered a 55” J-curve screen in the NOVOMATIC portfolio. The reason is quite obvious: frameless screen technology becoming available at a reasonable price and being adopted by an industry that aims for an immersive gaming experience.

On the game content side, I have my own theory of why Progressives are such a prevailing trend, especially in the land-based markets and that has little to do with technology and progress but much with the social aspect of land-based gaming. Brick-and-mortar players either consciously or unconsciously opt for the social gambling experience: playing in the physical company of fellow players and – especially in the case of Linked Progressives – an atmosphere of direct competition for a jackpot win. That, too, is part of the entertainment aspect of gaming. 

Max Bauer: Within the last years our clients recognize already that our games and cabinets have had a big jump towards a positive evolution that boosts the emotional experience in the social context; therefore, providing to the end customer the entertainment she is seeking either in stand-alone machines or playing with their friends in progressive banks.

Jakob Rothwangl: Exactly! With our products, we aim to nurture these aspects of land-based gaming. Of course, linked progressives are also popular in the online segment – but there, this deeply engaging social spectrum of the emotional bandwidth is lacking.  

Novomatic at G2E 2021

What will be your offering in terms of sports betting solutions, considering the US booming market?

Rick Meitzler: NOVOMATIC Americas have made themselves quite a name in the US sports betting market with a constantly growing footprint of currently over 1,200 self-service sports betting kiosks already operating across North America. We offer great flexibility for operators in using premium software partners and cabinet style options.

The NOVOMATIC ActionBook Compact is a bartop version with a 32” monitor that fits on every counter whereas the NOVOMATIC ActionBook Plus is an upright multi-screen version with two 32” monitors. Both are solid self-service kiosks, equipped with premium components and all the cabinet technology know-how of a leading sports kiosk supplier.

We offer a user-friendly touch betting experience with quick response times, excellent ergonomics, reliability, and low maintenance. All these are assets that leading sports betting providers have come to value. We continue to adapt and improve our kiosk and operators recognize the focus.

In July, Novomatic decided to merge Central America and the Caribbean management under its Colombian subsidiary in Bogota. What's the current status of this process? Will this move be reflected during G2E as well? 

Max Bauer: The consolidation has taken place and we already see the first results of this synergetic approach. Our Colombian team is really going the extra mile to make the transition smooth for our customers in the region, reinforcing our relationships and introducing them to the many benefits and enhancements in both quantitative and qualitative terms that the new structure offers to them.

At G2E, the move will primarily be reflected in the new point of contact for our customers in the region through a team that is fully committed to providing premium product information, maximum service and digital support. Any and all questions will be answered and the Colombian team will be at hand to explain not only new products for the region but also the novomaticclub.com application. 

Which other Novomatic Group brands will have a prominent space in G2E Las Vegas? How will they complement each other there?

Jakob Rothwangl: Most prominently, the booth will again be shared with Ainsworth, of course, with a substantial US-focused product presentation on the right wing of the floor space.

At the center of the NOVOMATIC area, Greentube, the NOVOMATIC Digital Gaming and Entertainment division, will stage their HOME OF GAMES. Their growing portfolio of classic and new NOVOMATIC core content plus top-performing Greentube titles is going from strength to strength in many regulated markets, internationally – and in the US, as well. The Greentube online gaming offer perfectly complements the NOVOMATIC land-based portfolio for operators worldwide, seeking a 360° gaming offer for their brand.

September marked a year since Greentube entered the US market through a partnership with Golden Nugget Online in New Jersey. That first venture was a milestone, with expansion in North America being one of Greentube’s main strategic targets. Now as the region continues to regulate online gaming state by state, Greentube follows swiftly with license applications that pave the way for a dedicated growth strategy.

Max Bauer: Stopping by at the Greentube booth is definitely worthwhile for Latin American operators, as well. Greentube is already present in regulated Latin American markets such as Colombia and Argentina and is really looking forward to expanding their reach, as further markets implement the required regulatory framework such as Peru.

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