et’s start by talking about Novomatic’s huge presence at the ICE show. What does it represent for the company to be some the ‘big host’ of the show?
David Orrick: Let’s go back a little. In the recent history of ICE Totally Gaming, Novomatic has traditionally had the largest booth of the event. We obviously wanted to continue that, but even more, we wanted to have a very special presence. That is to maintain our tradition but also to show our support for the efforts that the show organizers have made in bringing us to this facility. As you know, the discussion about moving from Earls Court to another location has been going on for several years and now it is a reality. As it is a reality, we’ve always planned well ahead of time, to have a major presence here, and, as you can see, I think we have succeeded.
As every year in London’s show, there are many products showcased in Novomatic stand. Which are the highlights of the group’s different brands you are presenting here?
Max Lindenberg: Actually we brought Novomatic global attractions to ICE. That was the headline we sent out to the global industry and I am certain we have proved that claim. We have here so many subsidiaries from all over the world, showing products for all market segments of the industry. Starting with land-based casino products, then we have also street products for Spain, for the UK, for all the markets worldwide. We also have online gaming on our booth, and sportsbetting, too. So what we show here is that Novomatic is a company that caters to the complete a range of market segments that make up the industry.
Our big focus here, at the international casino products stand, is our new cabinet, the Dominator. A self-confident name? Absolutely! But we are quite sure it will be a leading and dominating machine on the international gaming floors. It is a cabinet exclusively made for the Novo Line platforms; either the Novoline interactive, standalone, server-based, or for the Novo Line VLT platform, integrated into the complete server-based environment.
Is it already available worldwide?
ML: It will be available soon. At ICE 2013 we present this cabinet innovation together with a range of new jackpot products available with a great number of new Novo Line and Coolfire II games. We also have a new community jackpot, Amazeland at the show, where up to five guests can join together to win the community jackpot, which is then distributed according to each player’s individual bets.
We’ve further laid about 25 kilometres not just for the equipement’s electricity but also to interconnect the majorityof the machines with our incorporated video system, the Admiral Absolute Vision for the flexible display of all sorts of content on the beautiful proporietary signage, also presented for the first time.
David, how do you see the show, the new venue? What benefits do you consider can bring to both exhibitors and visitors?
DO: I think the enthusiasm for the show comes from both directions at the same time. I’m sure as you walked around and talked to companies and organizers you had a positive feedback from that side, and certainly we endorse that. If you then go and talk to the visitors about what there is to see and how do they move around, I think you would get the same reaction from them. So if you take both sides of the equation, and they have been positive, then the overall result is also extremely positive.
The facility here is fantastic. I would add to that that, of course, “for now”.Everyone is going to say “Yes, it is fantastic”, but it would be so much nicer for people that it was located at the center of town. In my view, we can change many things, but not geography. ExCeL is where it is. This year it is a challenge in some respects but we are rapidly becoming familiar with the area and the facilities that it offers. The challenge for this show, going forward, is not about this year. This year is now a successful reality.Now we all, exhibitors, organisers and visitors, have to start thinking long-term again about next year and the year after that. There is a natural attraction for visitors to come to the show for the first time in a new location. Now they have to be satisfied enough and comfortable enough to come on a regular basis. It is a question of time. As we all know, Earls Court was our home for many years, more than two decades. And changing that situation means everyone will take their time to feel comfortable. But everybody is here having a good experience and now we have to think how can we enhance that experience for the following years.
But from the Novomatic point of view, the first and second day the attendance has been excellent, the right people are here, theyare all in the mood to do business. That’s why we are all here and so we can absolutelysay it is a success.
Novomatics recently finished Astra Games acquisition. What does it represent for the company? What extra value does it bring, in contents or technology, to Novomatic?
DO: We have had Astra Games since 1997, as a member of the Novomatic Group in the full sense. What we’ve done in recent times is to create additions to Astra. Not to go away from your question but first we brought Greentube, and we brought a smaller company, Empire Games, which has its headquarters in South Wales. And we started to create a group structure, which we’ve now completed, with the creation of the Astra UK Gaming Group, through acquiring four more companies that were formally owned by an investmentorganization, Those companies being the iconic firm Bell Fruit Games; Gamestec; which is a distribution and service organization; RLMS, which is a sales organization catering specifically for the British industry; and Mazooma Games, that is a game creator. So, with all this, we have given the Astra UK Gaming Group a whole new dimension.
We have the power to create, we have the power to distribute, we sell, we have the power to enter into other areas. So we have protected and enhanced a lot of jobs. Jobs that are a human element and are vitally important. The Astra UK Gaming Group comprises now more than 1,100 people, and in anybody’s language, that’s a significant number of people who rely on the company for their employment and their well-being.
We’ve also protected and we’ll enhance all the time the most iconic names in the UK industry. The UK industry itself has a long tradition, a long history. It is, in its own way, the same but different to other industries in the world. It has its own conditions. Bell Fruit Games will celebrate its 50th anniversary in July. It is a company that needed investment and needed encouragement to do what it does best, and now, within the Novomatic family, they have it.
Similarly with the other companies. Astra itself goes from strength to strength because, as part of Novomatic, all of those companies I mentioned have access to huge resources: technical resources, financial resources and human resources. And through that, we create something, not just for ourselves, but for the whole industry. It is no secret that the British industry has been quite depressed, due to smoking bans, due to economic downturn, specifically in the UK. By creating this group, and making our own fortune, we’ve inspired and we’ve heldped the rest of the UK industry.
What can you tell me about Greentube?
ML: Greentube has been doing extremely well during the last few years since it has been acquired.They’ve been integrated into our group structure with Astra, heading the whole the theme of online gaming. The most successful Novomatic land based games they have brought into the world of online and mobile gaming have been going extremely well with still huge potential for furter growth for this third business branchof the group. Today at ICE we are showing our most successful games in all platforms. Visitors to their booth have shown a great interest and keep the Greentube’s staff is extremely busy.
What can you tell me aobut the new campaign released “Build you career with Novomatic”?
DO: For the last two years Novomatic has expanded tremendously in all areas. One area specifically is in our operations worldwide. Operations need skilled people, and here at Novomatic we need the right people to bring their experience to the firm. By publicizing this in an open manner, we say to the world of gaming, “wherever they are now today, whatever they are doing, take a look at Novomatic. There are oportunities for the right people, in the right time, in the right place, to be ahead at the game”. The message is “tell us about your wishes, aspirations, your skills and experience, and let’s talk.
ML: This is an offer to the international industry talents worlwide. We are really looking for talents in all top levels, starting from slot technicians up to slot managers, up to casino managers, to send their CV to [email protected]