In this interview, Jurgen De Munck, DRGT CEO; and Alfredo Moreno, Managing Director, Mexico, discuss in detail the company’s journey since its inception in 2012 to its most recent developments, along with product launches at the event, slated to take place from October 9th to 12th at The Venetian Expo in Las Vegas.
What can visitors to this year’s G2E showcase look forward to seeing at Booth 4405?
Jurgen De Munck: As you know, whilst our company was established almost two decades ago in Belgium, we opened our Lima office in 2012, followed by offices in Mexico, Paraguay, and Uruguay as of 2017 – as a result, exhibiting at G2E became a given. It provides the perfect opportunity for us to engage with our extensive customer base in North and South America as well as the Caribbean.
To the above end, much of what we will be launching and exhibiting come October 10th is tailored to, and driven by, the needs of those customers and those markets.
Alfredo, you have been the Managing Director of DRGT Mexico since inception. You have been enjoying some serious inroads in your region, correct?
Alfredo Moreno: Yes indeed! Competition remains tough, but I'd like to think that we have been able to keep up, and in many instances remain 'ahead of the pack', if not lead it. In fact, one of the new products we'll be launching at G2E was developed, initially anyway, with specifically the Mexican market in mind.
DRGT's Next-gen software
Going back to the first question, what can visitors to the Venetian Expo expect to see from DRGT?
Moreno: Well, as I am sure you are aware: in addition to our casino management system and jackpot technology, we are also APEX Gaming's official distributor in Mexico – co-incidentally a business also founded some 20 years ago, and a partnership that continues to go from strength to strength.
De Munck: Yes, and so much so, that by the time G2E gets underway, Alfredo's team will have installed their 1,000th APEX slot machine in the country; we’re also busy finalizing a distribution agreement with a 2nd manufacturer, the details of which we are confident will also be finalized in time for our showing in Vegas.
Your association with APEX is an interesting one. Product and systems service providers working together makes sense.
De Munck: Agreed! We remain a technology company, and a software one at that, and so the association with APEX really works. We do our level best to jointly leverage one another's expertise to the benefit of both our customers, the operators; and in turn their customers, the players.
Our design mantra remains: 'The Player First', and it is our unwavering commitment to that as a software technology developer (and hardware distributor) that drives specifically our technology development roadmap – a map that we believe will continue to yield significant value from a player engagement point of view, and one that will also offer significant commercial value to operators.
Could you elaborate on this?
De Munck: As I said earlier, we are at our core a software technology company, one that is continuously looking to leverage its own skills, as well as the opportunities created by advances in technology to continue to create better, more efficient, and more enjoyable experiences for our players and the casino operators that service those players.
The fun and excitement of slot (and table) games aside, players want to also be able to access the games easily, understand what jackpots within the games they are eligible for, view any bonuses, free play, vouchers, or raffle tickets that may be due to them, and then redeem them there and then, they also want to be able to top-up their account and be able to cash-out hassle-free.
Whilst they're able to do all the above via our drScreenUltra 8.8'' HD player interface – I'll let Alfredo tell you what they'll also be able to do on some new tech we've developed and will be launching at G2E.
Moreno: Legislation in Mexico (and I know many other jurisdictions too) allows players to engage with Slot Machines directly, so to speak, and to fund their player accounts and cash out from those player accounts to and from their personal bank accounts – much like any online transaction through the likes of Amazon or an online betting platform, a truly cashless experience; the result: our drApp. An easily accessible free application that links a player through the drApp on their Smartphone to any slot machine on the casino floor via a dedicated QR code – as simple as that.
Would operators leveraging this solution no longer need to purchase player interface hardware?
De Munck: Exactly that! Whilst we maintain that player cards will become a thing of the past in the not-too-distant future, and that at present a combination of cards and our App is probably the most player-centric option, what the drApp does is present a significant cost saving moving forward for any operator, and one that we believe will set the trend for all suppliers in the future.
Moreno: Whilst casino players are our consumers, our customers remain casino operators, and as such our App has been extended to include operator-specific functionality too, with the likes of player-specific push notification functionality, which in our view should be a given, as well as geo-location technology, tailored management tools and reports, staff specific notifications and even 'key off' functionality in respect of the likes of hand-pays and fault reparation.
The management reporting you refer to in your new App leverages the advances and developments made in both mobile and web technology as referred to earlier, correct?
Moreno: Yes, but please don't ask me about how it all works behind the scenes; for that, I rely on our CTO Michiel van Dam, and his team of developers. What I can say is that at G2E we will also be launching an updated suite of web-based software that is 100% responsive and accessible now from any mobile device; no need for any technical assistance or additional PC-based hardware – it's all there (with a new look and feel too) in your back pocket.
De Munck: Affording casino operators more time on their floor to engage with their players whilst having access to all relevant real-time reports and gameplay data on their hand-held devices. No installations are required; it’s all there, on the web, via their smartphone or tablet, and of course still via their desktop if need be.
Would you like to share any concluding comments ahead of October's show?
Jurgen: Maybe just the fact that in addition to the aforementioned new products our Table jackpot games, cash desk and cage technology, player registration, Roaming Cashier, media management and tournament software solutions will also all be on show. With that, travel safely and we'll see you in Vegas between 10th and 12th October.
Alfredo: Indeed! Viaja con cuidado, nos vemos pronto en Las Vegas (Travel carefully, see you soon in Las Vegas).