Jurgen: As you know, DRGT literally started in a garage. We began with a relatively simple idea then, one that very quickly became our vision, and I guess our entire development mantra: ‘…to develop and deliver the best technology that puts the player first’.
To fully execute this though, Michiel (van Dam, CTO and co-founder) and I realised that we also needed to not only provide operators with cutting-edge technology that was robust and user-friendly, but we also needed to ensure that we had the people and the means to support those products, and more importantly our customers the operators who use them.
Charl: I left Aristocrat after 13 years’ service in 2007, dabbled in running my own pubs (with street market machines, of course) for a couple of years and ultimately decided to get back into gaming equipment distribution in 2009.
My involvement with DRGT dates back almost a decade, to when I took on the distribution of the then SiP product; I met Jurgen and Michiel when they purchased SiP in late 2011.
At the time we met, I had secured an EGM distribution contract, and was looking for a jackpot service provider to meet a local tender opportunity. In DRGT not only did I find a great jackpot solution, but in my view the most powerful, cost-effective and user-friendly casino management system I had ever come across. I firmly believed that I had found the proverbial ‘goose that lays the golden egg’ – the perfect disruptor, the product that I could really launch my newly established Simplicit-e Gaming Solutions off of.
Roll ahead to 2018, and Simplicit-e Gaming solutions is now DRGT Africa, a joint venture between DRGT and South African investment holding company Grand Parade Investments Limited.
Jurgen: We are very proud. Christian Eder, and his team in Austria, as well as Jean-Michel De Busscher and his team in Belgium have done a great job in securing, and then maintaining and growing our presence in Switzerland.
Since installing our first system in Grand Casino Bern in 2008, we have expanded that footprint to over 10 casinos; what remains encouraging is that many of these installations, and others across the globe, follow referrals and endorsements from one operator to the next. You cannot put a price on that sort of marketing, it is invaluable, and we treasure it immensely!
Jurgen: Yes, you are quite correct. With our proverbial roots in the country, we did our best to secure as much local support as possible. In fact, I can now proudly say that all 9 Belgian casinos manage their operations using our system.
Jurgen: Michiel along with our R&D Directors and our Global Product team drive our product development and its associated timelines.
Without divulging too much, I think it is safe to say, as I have said on many previous occasions, consumers in general (and this includes gaming ‘players’) are becoming more and more demanding of tailored solutions and ease of use, and less and less tolerant of extended timelines or service intervals. With this in mind, we need to develop quicker, install quicker and be able to provide operators with technology to engage quicker and more directly with their players.
Products like our drMediaManager, drScreen video and TV streaming functionality and our ability to present jackpot and other media to the top screens of EGMs talk directly to this ‘shift’.
Charl: Whilst we continue to develop and design new jackpot systems and expand on the solutions our casino management systems are able to provide, the key to our success remains our core product offering driven at present by our Tables Management System and our BlackJack11’s Tables Jackpot game, our world-leading range of slots jackpots and our revolutionary drScreen player tracking interface and world-leading 8.8” drScreenUltra player tracking display. These will all be on display in London.
Charl: Our most successful slots product is a Wide-Area Progressive (WAP) Jackpot called SunStriker, the 2nd in a series of three bespoke WAPs developed for Sun International. Since inception, it remains the top performing jackpot in Africa, I’m also proud to say that since our initial installation of the 1st of these three WAPs over 5 years ago, there has never been a single second of downtime.
Off the back of our slots success, we developed BlackJack11’s that I referred to earlier, a fast and easy to learn tables jackpot side bet game. To date the game is installed across a number of Sun International and Peermont casinos in South Africa, at the Hippodrome in London, Grand Kaz in the Seychelles, Monterey in Mexico, Casino Platino in the Dominican Republic, Richard’s Casino in Peru, as well as a number of casinos in Belgium and Cyprus. In fact, at present it is the most profitable tables side-bet game on the African continent, an accolade we trust we will be able to replicate elsewhere across the globe too.
Jurgen: Advances in technology allowed us to provide a truly serverless offering at the outset. It also afforded us the ability to provide more functionality than existing legacy systems, and furthermore ensured that we were able to install our product extremely quickly. A case in point was our installation at Grand Casino Basel, where we completed the entire change over in a single day during normal operating hours.
Charl: Absolutely, we’re able to operate our systems and jackpots on literally any slot machine, as long as it operates using a legislated protocol. What I’m referring to here are the likes of SAS, ASP, NSW and GRIPS.
Jurgen: My answer here is not a new one: I think in any industry, whether it be product or service related, the customer (and in our case ‘the player’) must come first. Our technology solutions afford operators the functionality and products to do just that!
Charl: I agree 100%; if an operator is looking to replace his/her existing management system, upgrade part of it, or is in the market for a new casino development system, call us! I can promise DRGTs full commitment to finding a solution that works, is robust, reliable and cost-effective, and focussed whole-heartedly on ’putting the player first’.