Novomatic has taken care to get its slot and electronic table offer right in Macau and beyond
At last month’s G2E Asia show, Austria’s Novomatic had a high profile on the exhibition floor. That reflected its long standing presence in the region and also its recent push into Macau, the world’s biggest casino gaming market by gross revenue.
Novomatic and its international commercial unit Austrian Gaming Industries recently recruited the assistance of the highly experienced slots executive Joe Pisano to assist with sales and service in Macau and across the region. Inside Asian Gaming spoke to David Orrick, Communications & Business Development Director for Austrian Gaming Industries, about Macau, Novomatic’s Super-V+ GAMINATOR and the dynamic world that is Asian casino gaming.
Inside Asian Gaming: Austrian Gaming Industries/Novomatic seems to have taken a ‘wait and see’ approach to the Macau market. You didn’t rush in at the beginning after market liberalisation with a lot of product like some competitors. Why was that?
David Orrick: As always, the answer is in the game. We wanted to be sure that the individual games and the multi-game mixes that we created were absolutely ‘on target’ for the requirements of the market. We believe that is now the case but, of course, we need to undertake a programme of testing on location to validate that belief.
What was your thinking on the timing of Macau market entry now?
Game development is an ongoing process but we are very much of the belief that we have the games that the market wants right now. Operators seem to agree, based on the requests for trials that we have received, so the time is now right to see what the ultimate judges—the players—think of what we have to offer.
Please tell us about what slot product you currently have in Macau and where it is sited and whether it’s all volatile or a mix of volatile/progressive.
We have started with the slot floor at Venetian; utilising Novomatic’s multilanguage, multi-denomination machines all fine-tuned to the requirements of the market.
Was the Super-V+ GAMINATOR the obvious choice from your product catalogue for Macau? If so, why?
The Super V+ GAMINATOR is our flagship product, so that—based on our experience in other markets—made perfect sense. There has also been a huge amount of interest in the NovoStar slant top cabinet and we will see that product gradually being introduced also; as is happening already across Asia.
The interesting thing for us about the GAMINATOR series is that it seems to be a branding concept that applies to both the box and the game mix and thus has staying power. The games and interface may change but people in the industry and consumers know the ‘GAMINATOR’ name. People think ‘GAMINATOR’ rather than ‘That’s a Novostar cabinet,’ or ‘That’s an Admiral cabinet’. Are we right? If so, what’s the thinking?
You are absolutely right to refer to the ‘GAMINATOR series’. The product and its name are so well established all around the world that it has created a brand evolution based entirely on its own success. That goes back to what we said about the Super V+ GAMINATOR being Novomatic’s ‘flagship’ product. The game is always the key but, with GAMINATOR in all its many forms, we have created a highly successful package that, based on its success, actually advertises itself.
Please explain how Joe Pisano and his company Jade Gaming will work with you in Asia on the slots side of the business.
Novomatic’s relationship with Jade Gaming is relatively new but, based on our experience to date, we are extremely happy with the wealth of market knowledge and technical expertise that they bring to the table. Jade will work with us in many countries other than the Philippines. For example, Joe Pisano has established Jade Gaming Macau, in order to provide the levels of on-site service and co-ordination that our market entry there requires. We are also looking at many new opportunities across Asia. Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are just three examples and Jade Gaming will be involved in supporting our efforts there also.
You’ve had a major presence in the Philippines market for many years. Please explain how that is developing.
Developments in the Philippine market are, essentially, politically led. That, in one sense, represents the dichotomy of PAGCOR [the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation] being both the country’s leading operator and also the body charged by government with the regulation of gaming. Following the national election of 2010 and the changes in senior personnel that were brought about within PAGCOR, there has been a change in direction. With new and successful operators now on the ground, PAGCOR has seen that it must rise to the challenge and compete to generate revenues and create wealth through employment. Novomatic stands ready to help with that process, both directly with PAGCOR and in co-operation with other operators.
What about other Asian markets? There’s a trend toward both participation/revenue share and slot management contracts within Asian casino markets. Are you, along with Jade, looking at new opportunities in that area?
It is clear that both participation/revenue sharing are business models that are increasing in importance; right across Asia. It is a model that Novomatic has used widely in other markets and we are open to all propositions to do so in Asia. Obviously, the precise nature of such details varies from market to market and, as new markets continue to develop in the region, we are keen to extend the benefit of our experience and know-how to help operators in duly regulated markets.
Regarding electronic table games, you already work with TCSJOHNHUXLEY in Asian and Australasian markets. Please tell us what your electronic table games plans are in Asia in terms of that partnership and in terms of overall sales/strategy.
As was made very clear during G2E Asia, the concept of increasing levels of electronic table game play shows no sign of having peaked. Quite the opposite, in fact. Novomatic was the original innovator of multiplayer gaming back in the mid-nineties and is still the leader today in key markets around the world. Our relationship with TCSJOHNHUXLEY has been developed and refined over many years and carries with it an ongoing technical and commercial plateau of excellence that is held in great regard throughout the world of gaming. TCSJH have a strong presence in Asia and we will continue to work with them tofurther develop our game portfolio and so satisfy the ongoing demand for excellence in electronic table gaming.
Please give us the main points you would like our readers to take away regarding Austrian Gaming Industries/Novomatic and its presence in Asia.
Novomatic is in Asia for the long term. That is the key for all our efforts in the region. Based on our experience of duality (being both a supplier and a highly successful operator) we know that both the supply and the operational elements of gaming have to work together in order to achieve success. Novomatic has the products, the development skills and the experience to form lasting partnerships with Asian operators and we will continue to do that; for the expansion and success of the entire The Novomatic booth at G2E Asia 2011 industry across Asia.