hat is Bally presenting for the Asian market? Your big bets are Michael Jackson and Grease titles. How have these products been received at the show?
Well, they are being very well received. We actually have several things we are excited about at this year’s show. One is the exhibition of big brands, like Michael Jackson and Grease. We are also showing our new Pro Curve cabinet, featuring a curved LCD to emulate spinning reels on a video slot, so it kind of look alike stepper, a physical mechanical-reel game, to play like a video slot. Then we also have localized content, so we bring content that is much more regional specific, making the games more appealing for the Asian players.
Are those games specifically developed for the whole Asian region?
They are targeted for the region, so we are hoping they are working well in other areas of Asia as well as internationally. Quite often games featuring Asian cultural items work well in the US, but we have created more Asian themes than usual and expect they will appeal to this market specifically. As for region-specific games, we’ve developed some targeted in-house mystery progressive links. For Macau, there’s a product called Golden Empire. For the Philippines, there’s Jeepney Joyride.
How do you see Macau and Asia in general? How important is Asia for Bally?
It is very important. We see a lot of great opportunities here. It continues to grow at an amazing pace; every year the area gets bigger and bigger and more and more players seems to be coming. What is also interesting is that it seems that there are different types of players now. There’s the local player, that specifically likes table games more, and there’s also the leisure player, that likes to play games with a little more entertainment involved, and maybe not concerned about the actual gambling part.
The Asian people used to be more focused on table games. Do you think this trend has been changing during the last years?
Yes, I think there’s opportunity for more diverse products here now. If you look at the market several years ago, it was dominated by one manufacturer and one game style. Well, that dominance still exists but there’s a lot more opportunity for variety, for different game styles and game manufacturers. So we think that we have an opportunity because we have contents that have been fitting well into the market.
Bally is also very strong in systems. What is the company doing in that field in Asia?
Yes, we do have a lot of strength in the system’s business. Macau has been an extremely significant part of Bally Asia-Pacific’s business over the past five years. We have the largest market share on the systems side, with three out of the six concessionaires running on our casino-management, player-tracking solutions which we are extremely proud of. We have done significant work on our systems in order to localize our products to suit the Asian market, namely Junket and Premium Player modules.
And how do you see the show this year? Was it positive for Bally?
Yes, it’s been very busy and so we are pretty happy with the amount of traffic we had at our booth and with the number of customers that came to see our new products. So again we are hoping that we can grow a little bit in this market if we continue to focus our development efforts here and continue to come up with content that is really enjoyed by the Asian player.
Which are the goals for the next month for the company? Do you have a specific range of markets you want to achieve?
I don’t know if we have a specific target, you know, we have a specific goal as far as making sure that our games are most compliant to the region. There’s going to be a new regulation regarding the language and we have a plan to have a steady stream of games continue to come into the market. So every moment we consider new games that we can test, sell and promote in this area, so that there’s a lot of variety for the customers to choose, depending on what they are interested in their properties.