hat can you tell us about Aruze’s presence at SAGSE?
We went with Techno Gaming, our exclusive distributor for Argentina. They have done a fantastic job. About a year ago, Aruze decided to start managing the Latin American and Caribbean regions directly. We have experienced tremendous success, so we are very happy. Just prior to coming to SAGSE, we spent some days in Uruguay where we have some of our newest products, Muso Triple-27 and Muso Curve, and the customers there were very satisfied. We are going to get a little bit more than we thought we were gonna get out of that market, so we are happy.
SAGSE has been fantastic. We spent some time touring in bingos and casinos here in Buenos Aires, and the demand for our product was really good. Right now, the Muso Triple-27 has been top-rated as the number one machine in the U.S. in the last nine months, with gaming titles in the range of the top three, so we are very pleased.
We've negotiated some placements for the Curve here in Argentina, so I think we will probably see some of these machines here too. We had one customer which planned to buy 28 for a bingo here in Argentina, and he increased his order to 42, so we are very happy.
What makes your machines stand out from the competitor’s product and helps Aruze overcome the difficulties posed by the political and economic crises which currently exist in the Latin American region?
This is my 35th year in the business and 20th in Latin America, and I can tell you that the countries and the business go through cycles. We are very blessed that our Muso Triple-27 won a gold medal award a year ago at G2E for the best cabinet and it has lived up to its reputation, and that this cabinet and its games have been performing very well everywhere. We had a few here in Argentina and more over in Uruguay and because they are top performers they've won awards. That's how we survive the economic and political strive because we have a product that works, which is something really important for customers, especially during difficult times.
What does the Latin American region represent for the company in terms of market share?
Aruze has offices in Las Vegas, Australia, Macau, South Africa, and Europe. Our number one market for Aruze Global is the U.S. and number two, is Macau. Then I think South Africa comes in and then Australia. We think that LatAm will very quickly become the number two position within Aruze ahead of the other jurisdictions. First, because it is relatively close to the U.S., where our product is already well-known and, by managing the product in the countries directly, we are able to give the product to Latin America at a price point in conditions which make it attractive.
What is your view of this momentum of online gambling in the region, especially in Argentina?
It is growing and growing and every single manufacturer has some segment that is designated to the online space. Aruze is entering that market now. We have always supplied some game themes to others to put on their sites and we are actually developing that business now. We expect that in 2021, we will be straight into that business.
What are your plans and goals for 2020?
Aruze is having the best year it has ever had. The company goes back to 2005. Prior to that, we were Universal. So Aruze has 50 years' history in the gaming business, and this last year has been the best we've ever had and we are expecting next year to surpass it not only but just a little bit, but by 10% percents better next year.
Which jurisdictions do you believe currently offer the most opportunities for growth?
We are going to see tremendous growth here in LatAm and we are starting to see more growth in South Africa. In the U.S., we have about a 3%-5% market share. We are starting to turn up on our market share there, primarily because of the Muso cabinet. We had a little change in our infrastructure so we are able to penetrate that market a little bit better in the U.S.
Macau has been fantastic for us. We are the ETG King in Macau, so we feel we own that market when it comes to electronic techno games.
Australia has a bit of a struggle sometimes. They have the so-called "harm minimization laws". Which ban smoking, place betting limits and are set up to dissuade people from gaming, so that has hurt the market overall. But the gaming business adapts, we adapt. It is an activity that people enjoy. I am all for social responsibility in gaming. It is not good for the business from an operator or a supplier standpoint when people lose their life savings or get themselves into economic trouble because they gamble too much, but it should always be viewed from an entertainment point. If you spend 20, 30, 40 dollars to go to the movies in the US., there is probably no good reasons why you couldn't spend those same amounts in a local casino and enjoy yourself. That is really the way we focus our games, from an entertainment point. One of our big points, when our engineers are designing games, is the entertainment value. That's how we've been successful with our games.But we hold our own in Australia. We hope to do better.
We've just got our license in Pennsylvania and there will be more licenses coming early next year, so we are expanding our license footprint in the US. As far as regulations and law go, Latin America gives more press about the changes in governments, regulations, taxation schemes, etc., but those are things that, for instance in the U.S. and Australia, as I have already mentioned, happen all the time.