Casino Review caught up with Hit Utopia CEO Dennis Korthouwer to discuss how the company’s unique promotional and side bet jackpot system can help boost poker rooms’ bottom line and just what this innovative solution brings to the table.
Installed on live gaming tables such as blackjack, baccarat and roulette, customised combinations of cash and non-cash prizes offered through Hit Utopia’s promotional and side-bet jackpot system, empower casinos to attract new guests, converting them into players, and encouraging them to play more.
Expanding its market, Hit Utopia has now brought an innovative solution to poker cash games and tournaments. Casino Review spoke with the company’s CEO Dennis Korthouwer to better understand how Hit Utopia improves both poker players’ experience and operators’ bottom-line results.
Casino Review: Could you give us a run-down of what Hit Utopia’s promotional and side-bet jackpot system for table games offers?
Dennis Korthouwer: In short, Hit Utopia increases market share. By offering casino specific free promotional and side bet prizes, casinos attract new visitors, turn them into players, and make them play more.
CR: What do you mean by “casino specific prizes” and why are they important?
DK: The problem of traditional progressives is that prizes and hit frequencies are pretty much the same all over the world because they are linked to the outcome of the underlying game. When you have the same prizes and hit frequencies in a 4-table casino in Ghana as in a 200-table casino in the USA, you cannot expect the impact to be the same because casinos and markets are completely different. If you want to do something more than just earn something extra on the side, then you need to customize your jackpot prizes and hit frequencies to maximize the effectiveness.
Hit Utopia’s promotional and side-bet jackpot system enables operators to activate prizes unique to their operation and goals “on-the-fly”, attracting this way new guests, converting them into players, making them play the side bet, and encouraging them to play more.
CR: You’re expanding into the poker segment; how does Hit Utopia help improve the player experience and increase revenue at large poker tournaments?
DK: Like regular table games, if you offer the right prizes at the right time, you’ll be able to make more money from poker players. At large poker tournaments, for example, a smart combination of time-limited free sponsored luxury prizes and “win your buy-in” cash prizes, increase the prize pool. When there is only a couple of minutes left for a prize to hit, players are more likely to do an additional buy-in. On top of that, winners of the extra prize are likely to reinvest that money in additional buy-ins as well.
Free sponsored luxury prizes and “Experiences You Can’t Buy” prizes make everybody play Hit Utopia. However, if you haven’t paid for the jackpot, you won’t be awarded the hourly guaranteed “win your buy-in” cash prize when it hits on your position. That’s called peer pressure. Sponsored luxury prizes, cash prizes early in the tournament, and additional buy-ins, enhance player experience, increase the prize pool with 15 to 20 percent, and boost bottom-line results.
CR: How has 2019 been for Hit Utopia and could you tell us about some recent deployments?
DK: Since completing technology upgrades and reducing hardware cost by 80 percent, we’ve signed 10, 13, 21, and 25 units deals with operators in South America, Europe and Asia. Everybody loves it, and all the more so thanks to our market-leading price and terms.
CR: Looking forward, what will be your focuses over the next couple of quarters?
DK: We received a patent in September for another new solution which allows casinos to expand their promotional and side bet jackpot system onto slots and thus further improve prizes, hit frequencies, customer experience and bottom-line results. This innovative addon technology enables casinos to upgrade existing slot machines without the need to recertify them.
CR: Could you tell us a bit more about your background – what inspired you to launch Hit Utopia?
DK: Most of the jackpot systems I was selling for other suppliers before starting my own company were not profitable to operators due to lack of customization and scale. Prizes were fixed by the math of the game and legally you couldn’t scale outside a jurisdiction. So, after finding out the flaws of all products out there, I created a promotional and side bet jackpot system for tables and slots, that can legally scale to any casino around the world. Hit Utopia puts casinos in full control of prizes and hit frequency to attract new guests, convert them into (online) players, and make them play more.
Until last year we were doing small single digit installations, but since 2019 we’re expanding rapidly and most of the deals are 20+ units. The market already loves the product when it’s only on tables! Imagine what the prizes, hit frequencies and player attraction will be when casinos can expand their promotional and side bet jackpot system from tables to slots in only some months from now…