hat products are you presenting at the upcoming ICE show? Are you debuting any new products specifically designed for the European market?
It’s been a very eventful and transformative year for the company and as a result, AGS has amped up its presence at ICE this year. We made many strategic acquisitions in 2015 - one of those purchases was Rocketplay, a renowned designer of social casino titles for mobile devices with a development studio in Tel Aviv, Israel. Rebranded AGSi, in just six months the team has launched seven of our proven, land-based slot machine titles onto its social casino apps Lucky Play Casino and Vegas Fever.
Player favorites include Colossal Diamonds, So Hot and Royal Reels, to name a few. We’re showcasing our social casino capabilities at ICE this year and we’re proud of the quality and performance of these play-for-fun games.
This year, we’re bringing nine innovations for the pit, which is a testament to our growing library of over 25 table game products. Nearly all of these products are new to the European market: our poker-derivative card games – Top 5 Poker and Double Draw Poker, our variety of blackjack side bets – In Bet, Deuces Wild, Push Your Luck, and Buster Blackjack, and our roulette enhancements – the Tornado, 100x Roulette and Double Ball Roulette. We’re also offering European customers a variety of table signage options, including roulette displays and min/max signs.
What will be the highlights of this year's edition of the London exhibition? What are your expectations for the show?
ICE is not only strategically important because it offers a global perspective on all forms of gaming, but it’s arguably the most influential tradeshow in terms of bridging the online and land-based gaming sectors. This year’s theme centers on the “Gaming Technopolis” and the conference agenda is focused on the tech aspects of our industry as well as building the gaming community of the future. AGS is excited to be a part of those conversations, using the show as a platform to gain insight from our customers and peers. But what we’re most looking forward to is being able to present the “new AGS” to the international gaming community. We’ve been reinventing ourselves over the past 18 months so ICE provides an excellent opportunity to educate the industry about who we are today and all that we have to offer.
What's your strategy to continue to gain market share in Europe?
Although Europe is a mature and established market, we’re a new player in the region and there are many countries that hold a lot of potential for us. The key to our initial entry with tables was to build a strong relationship with a reputable distributor and we’ve done just that. We’ve engaged a Swiss-based company called Windrop to focus on product placements in all European jurisdictions, with initial emphasis on the UK, Switzerland and Germany. We believe titles like 100x Roulette and Buster Blackjack will perform exceptionally well in these markets because of player appetite for high-volatility and high-excitement games.
Since we have such a comprehensive and balanced table product portfolio, the next step is to continue focusing on what products make the most sense in each jurisdiction; we like to be strategic and measured to ensure that we’re getting it right. In the next couple of years, expect to see AGS take this same approach with introducing select slot machines into the European marketplace.
What are the strengths of the European market and where do the opportunities lie?
European casinos have traditionally been very table-centric; players gather around a roulette or blackjack table, enjoying each other’s company and the entire social experience of gambling. That social gambling culture aligns well with what AGS has to offer. Europe in general is a roulette-heavy market and we have some of the most innovative roulette offerings in the industry.
We think that innovations like the Tornado and Double Ball Roulette have the potential to be roulette floor staples in the region because they offer a unique twist to the traditional game format. Instead of the dealer spinning a ball, players assume control by pressing the Remote Ball Activation Device to randomly deliver the spin; and in the case of Double Ball Roulette, two balls are triggered. To have a sense of control in the outcome is an incredibly appealing dynamic for a player. And to play with not one but two roulette balls creates a sense of player advantage.