hat products are you planning to unleash at G2E Las Vegas?
Our 2019 G2E showcase will be our largest yet, with new product innovations that highlight AGS’ obsession with the game and the player experience. AGS will showcase three new hardware innovations in our G2E booth No. 1253 and feature more than 70 game cabinets and 30 unique slot titles, in addition to a host of innovations from our table products and interactive divisions.
In our Slot Product lineup, we will unveil two stunning new Orion cabinets. The Orion Rise cabinet delivers eight feet of gaming excitement in a dual-screen portrait platform, highlighted by a dramatic 55-inch 4K LCD HD top monitor, 24-inch LCD HD bottom monitor, premium multi-touch button deck, custom audio, and LED displays – all of which provide an immersive, cinematic game-play experience. The Orion 49C, AGS’ first curved platform, features a 49-inch Ultra HD curved LCD display, digital topper, and premium LCD multi-touch button deck integrated with low-profile dual PLAY buttons surrounded by lights. Both cabinets are recognizable for AGS’ signature U-shaped lighting design with more than 400 game-synchronized LED lights that celebrate wins and change colors throughout the game-play experience to add excitement and attraction. And we’ll spotlight a truly unique new visual merchandising innovation for the slot floor that will not only attract players from far and wide, but make the game-play experience even more immersive and celebratory.
Along with the new cabinet innovations, our G2E display will feature 70 games and more than 30 unique game titles for Class II and Class III markets, including a host of new content for our Orion Portrait, Orion Slant, and Orion Upright platforms. Taking center stage at G2E will be our Hold & Spin titles for the Orion Portrait and Orion Slant; Ultimate Choice Jackpots for the Orion Portrait; and Lucky Stacks for the Orion Slant, Orion Upright, and ICON platforms.
In our table products display, visitors will see new proprietary table games and side bets, as well as an array of innovative table solutions. Taking center stage will be our new Bonus Spin Xtreme, a pioneering progressive side bet system that can link all table-game progressives in the casino and innovatively uses three concentric wheels to reward all participating players with a prize – something never available for community-style games like roulette, baccarat, and craps. We will also demonstrate our STAX Progressive 2.0, with new O-WAP functionality and seasonal themed backgrounds, and our new PAX S single-deck packet shuffler designed for specialty games.
From our Interactive division, we will highlight our ConnexSys Social White-Label Casino, a turnkey, free-to-play mobile casino app that integrates the casino brand with our proven land-based titles to keep players engaged at home, work, and on-the-go. And with real-money gaming at the forefront of many operators’ agendas and our games now live in New Jersey, we will demonstrate our AxSys Games Marketplace and large library of titles featuring AGS top-performing games and a game library from third-party developers.
What can both operators and players alike expect to see from you in terms of product development?
We are an innovation-driven company and we continue to make strong investments in R&D for both the Class III and Class II markets. Over the past several years, we’ve grown our R&D headcount by 51 percent and have opened new game-development studios in Sydney, Australia and Reno, Nevada. We now have five game-development studios delivering unique game content and sophisticated slot platforms. And our table engineering team is first-rate. This year, in addition to introducing our PAX S shuffler, we are debuting the ACOT Chip Tray and No-Peek Device. Both fit into existing table layouts for ease of conversion for casino operators.
Which jurisdictions do you feel currently offer the most potential for gaming growth?
We still have plenty of white space in front of us for growth. Markets like Pennsylvania, Canada, Florida, California, Washington, and Michigan will continue to be important markets for us for the remainder of 2019 and into 2020. Mexico is also important to highlight; in our second quarter, we added approximately 720 new recurring-revenue units year-over-year in Mexico, driven by the recent introduction of our proven ICON and Orion cabinets, which helped us gain floor share. Mexico revenue was up 15 percent year-over-year and is a testament to our expanding product suite, as well as our deepening relationships with our existing customers and success in gaining new customers. And Brazil, should it legalize gaming, represents a great growth opportunity for AGS in Latin America’s largest economy and the world’s sixth-largest country by population.
What discussions should drive next year’s agenda? Where will the focus be?
Our focus for next year will be successfully launching our new hardware innovations, which include our Orion Rise and Orion 49C cabinets, as well as continuing to penetrate the market with our recently launched Orion Upright platform. We will continue to invest in R&D and look forward to seeing engaging new game content and new play mechanics coming out of our studios. And as I mentioned earlier, we’ve got some innovative new slot merchandising technology that we think is going to change the face of casino floors, adding more excitement and immersion in gameplay.
We’re also excited about our first online real-money gaming launch in the U.S. and in Colombia with Rush Street Interactive, and in 2020 we will continue our focus on real money gaming opportunities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania domestically, already-active markets globally, as well as other jurisdictions as they become legal.
What is going to be your strategy this year to outperform competitors and grow market share?
We have obtained most of the licenses and approvals we need domestically, but we have great opportunity to go from zero percent market share to, over time, get to five percent market share, which matches our current shipshare trends.
And we’ll continue focusing on our early-entrance markets where we have received licenses and approvals over the last two years – those still represent significant opportunities.
We will also continue leveraging our award-winning employee culture to retain and attract the best talent. We’re focused on driving a winning, collaborative, creative culture designed to foster innovation and to be a place where employees coming into work every day and have fun.
In your opinion, which will be the most prominent topics to be debated in the aisles at G2E and off the show floor?
I expect that some of the hot topics at G2E this year will continue to be sports betting, iGaming, omni-channel approaches to casino marketing, and even things like Esports, virtual reality, cybersecurity, payments, artificial intelligence, and on the people side – the importance of diversity, inclusion, and elevating women in our industry. G2E attendees will likely be buzzing about operator consolidation too.
From our customers’ perspective, they are going to want to see our product roadmap and all the new content we have for our Orion cabinet family, and they are going to be thrilled to see the three new hardware innovations we are unveiling. Our table customers are going to be really interested in our new shufflers and in seeing our innovations inside bets and the impressive things we are doing with table signage, including the new themes for our STAX Progressive 2.0.
Are you planning to attend any other industry-related events soon?
Yes, we’ll be at the Cutting Edge Table Games Conference November 18-20 at Paris Las Vegas Casino, where our Senior Vice President of Table Products John Hemberger will be speaking on a panel. We will also send AGS representatives to SAGSE Buenos Aires in Argentina and we will attend the ICE London show February 5-7, 2020. And we’ll be at the NIGA Indian Gaming Tradeshow March 24-27, 2020 in San Diego, California to exhibit and meet with many of our great partners in tribal gaming.
What are your expectations for the new Orion Upright slot cabinet at the show? Can you tell us about the feedback this product has been receiving so far?
We first showcased our Orion Upright cabinet at G2E 2018 and fully launched it into the market in August 2019. We are excited about the early performance of the Orion Upright, our second dual-screen cabinet. Early feedback has been very positive. With its ergonomic LCD button deck, pair of high-bright spin buttons, integrated charging port, and our signature Orion U-shaped lighting design, we are optimistic that the Orion Upright addresses an important niche on the casino floor.
Last month, AGS announced the acquisition of In Bet Gaming’s assets and operations. What were the reasons behind this decision and in which ways do you think this transaction, as well as the addition of In Bet Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer Ronald LaDuca, will help the company to continue engaging players across the globe and outperforming competitors?
AGS has had a strong partnership with In Bet Gaming and Ron LaDuca for years, and in 2017, we bolstered our relationship by acquiring five of their table progressives that are now adding significant value to the AGS portfolio. So acquiring the remainder of their assets just made good business sense; the partnership was already there, and their product performance speaks for itself. We were thrilled when Ron LaDuca agreed to join the team at AGS. He has been in this business for a long time, has great relationships with many of the table games customers, and is a true entrepreneur. We are confident that Ron, and the additional proprietary table games we acquired from In Bet, will play a strong role in our continued success and the momentum of our table business.