“As an industry, we can see signs of progress within our own terms of reference”
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Max Lindenberg and David Orrick at Novomatic booth at recent Las Vegas event.
How did you see the show this year, with new venue and dates?
David Orrick: I think the change of the venue and the date have been extremely beneficial not just for Novomatic but also for the entire industry. I think more important than just that statement is that the change has been the fuel to move the show along to create a new atmosphere. Everybody accepts now that it is in a new place, in another date, so we are ready for change. And that has to be a very positive thing for the show.
We are very happy with the number and the quality of visitors we have seen from almost everywhere in the world, but specifically with a heavy emphasis on South American visitors. We made a special effort, as we always do, to bring colleagues from our associate companies accross Latin America, and they were all extremely happy with the visitors to our booth. Everybody’s been very satisfied with the results.
And what did you decide to bring to the show in terms of new developments, new products for the US market and for the international market? Something specific for Latin America?
Max Lindenberg: We brought a wide range of products. We presented a range of Coolfire II slot machines in the Super-V+ Gaminator as well as in our new slant top cabinet Novo Star with the latest Super-V+ Gaminator multi-game mixes, including up to 28 games per mix.
But besides standalone Coolfire II products, we have also display three products that represent major highlights in the industry today, which are: Community Gaming, Server-Based Gaming and Tournaments.
For Community Gaming we brought our new Bank Blaster community gaming jackpot system where up to five players team up to crack the safe and to share the community prize depending on what they have bet before. Thus it is a very fair community game in which one player does not have to share his prize with others as the prize of each guest depends on what he has bet before in the Community gaming rounds.
David Orrick: It is absolutely fair. You have five players, somebody wins the Community prize, and the prizes are then distributed proportionately directly to what the players originally bet. So if you have one guy who is playing, for example, ten dollars, and another guy who is spending one dollar, the guy who is winning ten dollars receives ten times more of the jackpot money than the other. So anybody can play but the results of the win are determined by the amount they play. The distribution is completely fair.
Is this product available right now?
David Orrick: Yes, it is ready, depending on individual market approvals. The interesting thing, following up what Max was saying, is that you asked the question, “What did you bring new?” These products are new, but the concepts behind them are not. Community gaming, tournament play and server-based gaming have been around for a long time. But certainly, it has to be driven by the technology, by innovation.
Suddenly the whole industry is talking about the tournaments again; the industry is talking about community play. It is coming from within the industry saying: “What have you got for tournament play? We have a real tournament.” “What have you got for community play? We have Bank Blaster.” And it is interesting that those ideas recycle themselves and now there is a definite attraction in the industry for them.
Ok. Let’s get back to the innovations presented here in Las Vegas. You mentioned server-based developments.
Max Lindenberg: We brought a line of electronic table games, our Novoline Novo Unity II system, which is able to interconnect an unlimited number of different types of table games out of our great range of products ranging from roulettes, poker, baccarat, bingo and sic bo in different versions (automated, semi automated and virtual) and even to also connect slot machines on the same terminal. This ensures, for example, that the guest does not have to leave his preferred seat to play slots in case he’s feeling not to be on a winning streak at the Roulette table.
The second server-based product is the Novoline VLT system together with Novoline GDS. The most evident difference between them is that for the VLTs random numbers are drawn on the external server and the machines display the game results and the GDS downloadable system, the complete games are downloaded to the machine where still the RNG is located.
Today we are able to offer the machines bases on NovoLine GDS also as a standalone version to our customer, so that they can now buy these machines as if they were standalone slot machines and then decide if they want to equip the gaming floor with the server-based option at a later point. With this alternative, they can just plug and play with the downloadable system in their casino, with all the advantages it brings in the configuration of their gaming floor and operation.
The other novelty we present is our Reel Tournament system, with which our customers are able to quickly run tournaments on the machines that are installed on the gaming floor. Available with multi-games the Reel Tournament gives the possibility to pick one game and by pushing one button to run the tournaments without changing any software. All selected machines can be switched to tournament mode with any game offered with the multi-games mix within 3 seconds. Also important for the seamless operation of slot tournaments is that the machines that play the tournaments don’t interfere with the online system.
David Orrick: That’s always been the critical thing. Machine downtime between regular and tournament play. Most casinos run tournaments because they have to; as a service to their guests. But really they were not so enthusiastic because, as Max said, putting the machines in the tournament mode forced operators to take them out of play for up to a couple of hours. And now that’s not necessary anymore. If, for example, somebody walks here in our booth and wants to see the tournament in operation, we push the button and, in a ten-second countdown, he sees and can play the tournament.
Getting closer to the end of the year, how was 2011 for Novomatic, in a year with important economic challenges?
David Orrick: The climate globally is still challenging. Even if we look at the day-to-day news broadcasts, we see that new challenges arise seemingly every day, but within the sphere of our industry specifically, the signs for the end of this year and into next year are more positive than they were 12 months ago. Why? Because the gaming industry has learnt to adapt. It has learnt to adapt to challenges, it has learnt to operate within new circumstances, and because we’ve got better at learning those lessons and implementing them inside the business. As an industry, we can see signs of progress within our own terms of reference.