etStone is a leading provider of cloud-based gaming solutions. How has your market segment changed over the past years?
Cloud computing has been a buzzword in recent years within the IT and technology industries. But the fact is, it’s been around in the gambling industry for over a decade. BetStone was at the forefront of the cloud-based gambling industry; we’ve delivered gaming software via the cloud for over 10 years, during which we’ve seen the market change considerably.
An unstable internet infrastructure meant the cloud-based gaming market in Mexico was relatively slow to pick up. However, with recent advances in technology and now a greater stability of internet service providers, BetStone has continued to grow as the demand for our cloud-based games in casino venues has increased.
Our customers see great value in having a cloud-based game and content distribution system, which is why we are continuing to sign big casino brands such as Caliente in the Mexican region. As a cloud-based provider, we have the ability to make remote changes to the system with instant effect; making changes in seconds as opposed to weeks for traditional land-based terminals.
This rapid response to changing market or venue demands, proves our skill and determination to supply truly bespoke gaming solutions.
How have your three business lines - games, systems and cabinets - performed in 2015?
Leveraging Microgaming’s world-class portfolio of games, BetStone titles are incredibly popular, particularly in Mexico. Available in some of the country’s flagship venues, during peak periods players queue to play our games, which is amazing to see first-hand! With over 150 games in our portfolio, there is great variety for casino customers, and excitement is building for our 2016 roadmap whereby we’ll be releasing a series of new HD games throughout the year.
In terms of systems, we are constantly evolving. As with so many technology firms, as soon as the latest release is delivered the next is already in the pipeline; this is true for BetStone and we are packing more features than ever before in the latest version of the platform.
On the cabinet side, we have recently introduced our Extreme 300 upright cabinet to the market. With its 22” screen, feedback for this cabinet has been very positive. Building on this success, 2016 will see us deliver our new Extreme 500 cabinet to venues. Featuring a 23” screen, programmable button panel and enhanced stereo sound, the Extreme 500 will complement our new batch of HD games perfectly.
Overall, the predominant power keeping us as a key player in the market is our remote controlled content management capability, and the immediate delivery of updates this provides.
What is the importance of your recent agreement with Caliente?
The Caliente deal is strategically important to us because it not only provides BetStone with a relationship with one of the largest casino groups in Mexico, but allows us to expand geographically, particularly in the North West of Mexico, where Caliente is a dominant force. The Caliente brand is not only big in Mexico, but renowned worldwide, particularly in Spain where the company has its origins. This global presence offers us great exposure to potential new markets.
This expansion is set to continue into 2016 with further deals to be announced in the coming months.
BetStone was platinum sponsor of SAGSE One Mexico. How important are these types of gaming events for the company?
Attending and having a presence at gaming events is very important in a number of ways. Shows such as SAGSE One Mexico offer a great opportunity to showcase new products and for networking, whether that be catching up with existing operators or meeting potential new clients.
SAGSE One Mexico proved to be a highly successful event to sponsor – it was well attended by key players in the Mexican market and BetStone was able to present its latest cabinets to the market for the first time.
BetStone has been operating in Mexico for almost nine years. What are both the pros and cons of the market?
Any market has its pros and cons. For BetStone our time in Mexico has been a largely positive experience. We are hugely practiced in this market, meaning we have a sound knowledge and understanding of our customers and can adapt quickly to market changes.
With great success comes great competition and we have seen many new entrants in the market looking to challenge our position as one of the leaders. The market in Mexico is highly developed, and so as a result players have high expectations and demands. But that’s not a bad thing. These high demands continue to drive us towards success.
As a whole, the volatility of the Mexican market in recent years has caused some disruption for gaming, with forced casino closures bringing instability to the marketplace. But we hope that with the passing of the new Gaming Law in Mexico the market will stabilize and we will see continued growth across the board.
How significant is it for a land-based gaming company to be powered by a worldwide specialist in online casinos, like Microgaming?
Having an online powerhouse like Microgaming behind us is an incredible benefit. Microgaming is at the forefront of innovation and technical gaming solutions, with the largest library of online content in the industry (over 850 games). This key asset is invaluable in providing us with our exceptional game offering, meaning highly successful games like Thunderstruck can be made available to players in the land-based environment. BetStone’s delivery of Microgaming content to this channel demonstrates our dedication to provide gaming solutions with no barriers, providing a true omni-channel service.
What’s more, the implementation of the forthcoming new Gaming Law in Mexico should see significant positive changes to the Mexican market, not least the opening up of online gaming. This provides potential for even further expansion for BetStone, and with the support of Microgaming, we can continue to offer market-leading omni-channel solutions to our current and future customer base.