ndrés Morano, President of Interblock LatAm, represented the Latin American segment of the company at the latest edition of ICE London and told Yogonet the experience was really positive: "Despite the region’s delicate economic situation, we were lucky enough to have over 45 Latin American operators visiting our booth. They were all very happy and amazed by our innovations."
Moreover, while ICE London was taking place, Interblock also organized a “VIP cocktail” for their customers at the end of day two of the trade show: “The mood was great, with more than 400 friends getting together at one of the most emblematic locations of London, the Natural History Museum.
This year’s ICE London broke records in terms of square meters and exhibitors. Were you able to notice this expansion at the ExCeL?
Yes, there was a record number of attendees. I believe online gaming firms, as well as those belonging to sub-segments within the gaming sector, help trade shows to grow and become larger and more diverse in the products offered. The industry is expanding into new gaming modalities as well as player profiles, and that was reflected at the show. In the past, there were five or ten slot machine suppliers, but today, we can see organizers of playstation tournaments. The industry is clearly evolving, adding new business units, new segments, new player profiles and we need to understand that to move forward.
Which were the most prominent topics or inquiries visitors wanted to discuss at your booth?
The new taxes in Buenos Aires Province, as well as Peru, were a common topic. There is concern in the region about the future and how much tax burden the industry will be able to handle.
What products attracted the most attention at your booth?
Universal Cabinet was THE highlight at our booth, the technology of these units amaze and appeal to all visitors. We received very positive feedback from all our clients, who are really looking forward to placing those products in their halls. Our multigame stadiums keep surprising our operators, who remain eager to carry out these projects and see what happens. It is a completely new notion in the industry; we have recently installed some of them in Santa Fe, Melincué and Chile. We have 2 or 3 other installations planned in the region this year, as many operators begin to realize this gaming and entertainment combination is what’s next and the new way to attract new customers, reduce venue costs and bring innovation. The industry follows an international line in terms of technology; it would not make sense to use the same machines and technologies for several years and not evolve. Even though there is a sense of traditionalism going on around live table games at casinos, I believe we are moving towards an industry where there will be product segmentation; we will be able to find not only slot machines and tables games, but also electronic table games or stadiums.
Are multigame stadiums your main focus to attract new generations of players?
Yes, casinos are beginning to realize this is not about table games on one side and slot machines in another, but instead, a new segment has emerged which combines traditional table games with state-of-the-art technology, which people love. ETG stadiums are faster, cheaper and have many more advantages which reduce operating expenses while increasing revenue. Many of our customers have already seen this segmentation coming and are beginning to install the first stadiums in South America. The main innovation brought by this notion is that it combines several game options to one play station so patrons can switch between their favorite table games from the same play station. This allows operators to reduce operation costs considerably, because a single croupier can be connected to an unlimited number of play stations, resulting in payment efficiency, avoiding mistakes, improving gaming speed and there is no need to pay out or touch chips.
What can you tell us about the number of Interblock terminals already installed in Latin America and future installations?
In 2017, we doubled the number of terminals installed in the region, and in 2018, we doubled them once more. For 2019, we have a very aggressive plan to continue growing at the amazing speed we have been demonstrating so far.
Which resources and strategies are you going to develop for the new jurisdictions in the region?
While we are the industry leader for electronic Roulette, we are much more than a Roulette supplier as we currently offer each table game type and because our products are modular, which translates to unlimited offerings based on casinos' needs. The range of products offered by Interblock is able to satisfy the demand for a vast number of countries across Latin America. Once the technology was adapted to local markets, from Mexico to Argentina, our products received very positive feedback.
In what ways can your business be affected by the increasing online gaming regulation and the emerging markets?
The industries are similar, they complement each other but they do not compete directly against each other. We believe entertainment, socializing and the environment offered by live gaming at land-based casinos can never be achieved by online casinos. Moreover, Interblock, in particular, can benefit from the popularity of the table games we automatize through video and electronic machines, which are available through online casinos, as this results in games promotion. Our products are a halfway point between traditional casino games and online casinos, as they comprise electronic table games such as automated Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat and Poker. Everything that is played live can be automated, whether through video gaming or other types of technology. There is a group of people that are already wagering and they prefer electronic gaming devices and are increasingly trusting in them. In the past, patrons used to trust the croupier, today they realize these machines are completely random, they are certified by top laboratories and can be as fun as live table games or even more!