In the lead up to this year’s G2E Asia, Tristan Sjöberg, executive chairman of TCS John Huxley, discusses the company’s strategy and the latest solutions destined for the global marketplace in 2016.
International Casino Review: How would you assess the global gaming market in 2016? Can you provide any information relating to casino installations for TCS John Huxley over recent months?
Tristan Sjöberg: The global gaming market is made up of many distinct segments and the various segments will have very different fortunes. I am convinced the table games market in Macau will experience stabilisation and growth in 2016 whilst many other parts of Asia will follow suit. And I expect de-regulation and liberalisation in restricted Asian markets to gather pace. In Europe, I believe the online segment will continue on the path of consolidation whilst the bricks-and-mortar casino industry will see tepid growth except in isolated regional pockets and with certain operators.
ICR: Asian gamblers are renowned for their love of live table games. Which innovations in this sector will you be showcasing at this year’s G2E Asia?
TS: We’ll be showcasing our Blaze LED surface technology, which brings added benefits to traditional live table games by increasing excitement and entertainment for players through our patented animated technology. Energy efficient LEDs fitted below the surface of the table display unique attraction sequences and themed animations, while also highlighting winning numbers. The benefits of instantly seeing these numbers highlighted not only assists players, but also allows casino staff to easily monitor game procedures from a distance – providing added security.
Blaze’s most unique feature is the custom animations that can be tailored to any in-game theme or design. Recent designs have seen dragons breathing exploding fire across the layout or even a giant tiger taking a stroll across the playing surface. These striking animations along with important game prompts and good luck messages build anticipation and add to the thrill of the game.
ICR: TCS John Huxley’s Gaming Floor Live (GFL) platform continues to evolve and help operators maximise their casino floor efficiencies. How would you describe your customers’ response to the platform in Asia, and which GFL developments should Asian operators expect to see at the Macau expo this year?
TS: Customer response to Gaming Floor Live has been excellent with over 1,000 tables currently using the system in Asia and a significant amount more due to be rolled out this year. Because GFL has been designed as a modular system, it is scalable and allows operators to build their own table management platform using varying combinations of the GFL modules. Optimisation and Bonusing have been available for some time, but at G2E Asia we will also be showcasing the Media and Gaming modules sitting alongside them collectively on the platform.
The GFL Media module provides a considerable benefit to operations, especially those that are the size and scale of Macau, which have literally thousands of displays in a venue. This display and media system can alter, schedule and configure content from a central point and send it to any display connected to the platform.
ICR: How closely do you work with Asian operators when it comes to the development of new products and solutions?
TS: Our close working relationship with all the operators extends to the development of new products across the board. We are very proud and privileged to have relationships in place and many of the innovations that we roll out globally now have their origins in Asia.
ICR: The decline in GGR across casinos in Macau has been widely reported over recent months. Have you changed the way you approach the market in the wake of the downturn? Could you offer any further predictions for Macau?
TS: Most of our products are focused on adding value and to optimise our customers return on investments, and as such we are working closely with all the operators to ensure that they get the most bang-for-their-buck with their spend. I personally think we are now at the bottom of the cycle and that the only way is up, maybe after a brief pause at this level for a month or two, and that towards the end of the year we will be seeing high single-digit growth back in Macau. I am a ‘glass is half-full’ kind of a guy!
ICR: Lastly (and particularly in relation to Asia), what do the next 12 months have in store for TCS John Huxley? Can you provide any information relating to new innovations or casino installations in the region?
TS: It is an exciting time for TCS John Huxley! We are extremely pleased to have been chosen to supply the two big openings in Macau this year: Wynn Palace and Parisian. Both properties will feature a wide selection of our products including, GFL Optimisation for Baccarat, Sicbo Blaze, Baccarat, Sicbo and Roulette e-FX displays, Automatic Dice Recognition units, Saturn Roulette wheels and layouts.
Another important project in the Australasia region sees the complete refurbishment of Casino Canberra’s gaming floor. This will be one of the first installations of our GFL Media system and also includes our GFL Bonusing module on some of the 34 tables and accessories we are also supplying, as well as Chipper Champ 2 chipping machines.