id ICE 2020 live up to your expectations?
DRGT CEO Jurgen De Munck: Without sounding too patronising, the short answer is yes. I think we were all a little wary of what effect the current goings on globally would have on visitor numbers, and they luckily appeared to have almost none.
DRGT Africa MD Charl Geyser: Agreed! We had a really good Tuesday, and Wednesday in my view was the busiest day from a general ‘unsolicited’ foot traffic point of view; I unfortunately can’t really comment on the South Hall, but our North Hall was really busy.
Jean-Michel, ICE is your key exhibition cum-networking event each year. As the head of your company’s Belgian distribution business, what drew the most attention from your customers?
DRGT Online MD Jean-Michel De Busscher: As you know we have been operational in our home country now for well over a decade, and as noted when we last spoke, we remain the market leaders there by some margin. As a result, our relationships with our Belgian customers are good, as is the case with the rest of our European customers who are looked after by Christian Eder and his team based in Austria, and they more often than not remain at the forefront of much of our product development. I think what raised the most interest at ICE this year was a stronger focus on actual player engagement and the tools available to ‘talk more frequently and more directly’ to the player, what I am referring to here is our drScreenFull EGM top screen integration (as a communications and player loyalty tool) and our drMediaManager, which allows operators to easily manage, schedule and then share advertising, promotions and reward content directly to individual players or groups of players.
Then, as always, there was also interest in our slots jackpots and a few new configuration option additions; in my view this too talked to operators focussing more and more on the player experience as a defining factor, and their search for ways to make that experience better than that of their competitors; bespoke jackpots is for sure one of those ways.
You launched a rather special tables jackpot concept at ICE, can you tell us more about that?
Geyser: As Jean-Michel noted, and as we discussed in our interview ahead of ICE, operators are looking for ways to continually ensure they offer a better experience; we also alluded to the key role staff play in driving that player experience. Whilst Tables games provide the perfect opportunity to engage directly with players, slots games with their attractive cabinets and ever-evolving game themes and jackpots do make for a really appealing offering. As a result, we saw a very real opportunity, one that I believe we partly realised with the development of our tables jackpots games —the company’s BlackJack11’s remains a much sought after game across the globe—, and that we have now fully realised with our Infiniti Tables Jackpot Arena.
So, what is it, and why do you believe you’ve now bridged in entirety the ‘jackpot gap’?
Geyser: We believed what was missing from every Tables Pit was that ‘surprise and delight’ slots jackpot experience: that massive jackpot sign, those dedicated ‘banks’ of jackpot machines and of course a compelling jackpot itself, and we are of the view that we have developed here is exactly that.
De Munck: In addition to that ‘wow factor’ we also looked at the practical side of things, the arena is designed with a circular footprint to ensure optimal use of casino floor space, and has a plug-and-play modular design to facilitate a simple and speedy installation. It also comes with two LED jackpot sign options: either a free-standing overhead LED jackpot sign, or if space and structures permit, a 3m diameter overhead hanging LED jackpot sign.
De Busscher: I’d also like to add, coming back to my reference earlier around slots jackpot options, that the Infiniti Tables Arena is fully integrated to offer standalone, floor wide of wide-area jackpots across multiple games types; there is a blackjack only option of 5 tables, or a 3 blackjack and 2 roulette table option. We’re convinced that Infiniti Tables Arena will without a doubt provide Tables players with a jackpot experience 2nd to none, and operators with a tool to deliver that experience.
Did your Tables Management System again appear to be quite the talking point?
De Munck: Yes, you are quite correct; we have spent a considerable amount of time over the last year or two focusing on this portion of our product offering. As was the case with our Tables jackpot products and is the case with our Infiniti Arena, we saw a very real opportunity here to provide a better solution to assist Tables Managers in measuring, managing and servicing their players better.
De Busscher: As an example, we now offer players the ability to buy in at the table with FOREX and offer operators the functionality to in turn offer those players real-time exchange rates. Then when they are ready to cash out their balance is simply transferred to their player card and they can then move to an alternate table, or simply use it to play their favourite slot machine.
Geyser: Add to that the fact that all Tables game play data now integrates into our accounting, cage and reporting modules, and that we’re able to now not only allocate loyalty points to Tables players, but double loyalty points to our jackpot game players, and we really do offer a compelling Tables Management Systems solution.
Charl, as with Jean-Michel ICE is integral to your African business. Was the continent well represented in London?
Geyser: I think so. Allwin Language, our Africa General Manager, and I were definitely not afforded any spare time over the three days. The South African Casino, Limited Payout Machine (LPM) and EBT (Electronic Bingo Machine) operators were all represented; what was most encouraging though was the wider spread of African representatives we engaged with. As an example, during the last quarter of 2019 we did a full management system install at the breath-taking Millionaires Casino in Nairobi, Kenya, and we continue to receive requests and interest in our system, our slots progressive jackpots, and our BlackJack11’s Tables jackpot game – in fact we had a lengthy discussion at ICE with an operator from Egypt. So, to answer your question: yes, Africa was indeed well represented - literally from Cape to Cairo.