Matsui has been busy enhancing the security features and aesthetics of its gaming chips, which have been gaining a growing presence in the region
The Matsui group, headquartered in Tokyo, specializes in the manufacture and sale of gaming chips and layouts (both wool and synthetic). Its subsidiary serving Asian markets outside Japan and Korea, Macau-based Matsui Asia Ltd, is part of a global network also spanning Europe and the Americas. Its chips and layouts are used by more than 700 casinos in over 100 countries, and in addition to Macau, the group has sales offices in Manchester, England, Moscow, Las Vegas and Seoul.
All of Matsui’s manufacturing takes place at facilities it has 100% ownership of, ensuring its supply chain is fully secured. The company prides itself on its competitive pricing and speedy response to customers’ needs. Matsui’s high-quality chips feature a host of optional security features and are licensed in several gaming jurisdictions, notably having gained approval from Singapore’s famously fastidious Casino Regulatory Authority, with a visit by the CRA to Matsui’s production facility in Korea part of the rigorous screening process.
Inside Asian Gaming spoke to Shigeki Machida, MD of Matsui Asia Ltd, about the company’s latest product developments and plans for regional expansion.
IAG: What innovations have you made in the past year to make your chips more secure?
Mr Machida: Recently we have released a few significant developments of security features for Matsui chips.
The first relates to the “MG EYE” [pronounced “em-gee eye”] chip security feature, one of our very unique security features. We have already sold millions of chips with this feature. It can be incorporated in the decal—the center printed part of the chip. While this security feature is very reliable and offered at a very reasonable cost, we received feedback that the speed of verification was an issue because it took about one second to check each chip with the previous tester device. In response to the feedback, we have developed a new device which we call “MG EYE Scanner”. With this device, chips incorporating MG EYE security can be verified even more quickly. It has an LCD monitor which can show the result and can work just like a traditional UV light on gaming tables. This will be a great enhancement of technology for existing users and new users of MG EYE security chips.
Another very important development which we made is “MG EYE 2”. This is a new security feature for Matsui chips. While MG EYE is incorporated in the decal part of chips, the MG EYE 2 is put in the plastic part. The security material which is specially developed for our chips will be incorporated in the plastic part of the chips when injected, and it reacts to the tester which is only available from our company. Both MG EYE and MG EYE 2 are not visible to the naked eye and can only be verified by a reader which is supplied exclusively by Matsui.
Have you carried out any interesting customization jobs for customers recently?
We have just launched a new gaming chip product, “Premier Decal Chip”. The original idea for this product came from one of our customers who wanted their high value chips in our standard decal chip format rather than traditional plaque style. We have various chip diameters from 39mm to 50mm but the customer wanted it bigger and in a unique style. So we developed this rectangle-shaped decal chip which looks like a plaque but with a standard decal. This Premier Decal Chip is a very unique chip that is a hybrid of a traditional European-style plaque and an American-style chip. It accommodates all the security features available for our decal chips. One of the major advantages of this product compared to European-style plaques is that the price is much more reasonable, while the appearance is gorgeous and high-end.
Another interesting customization job arose when one of our long-time clients asked us to develop new colors for our chips. We have 43 standard colors but they had used most of those colors already and they wished to have some unique colors for their new set. Our R&D team took some time coming up with several very special colors which we call Antique Stone Series. Those new colors have recently been added to our standard colors. Like those cases, we are always open to customers’ suggestions and requests. The Matsui chips product range has actually been expanded by our users’ cooperation and input.
In addition to chips and layouts, you also supply table accessories including playing cards, a unique card-shredding machine, roulette wheels and winning results displays. How has this part of your business developed over the past year?
Yes, gaming chips and layouts are our core business but these other items are another important part of our business that we have handled for a long time. We supply various brands of playing cards including our own OEM brand to many casinos. The Card Shredder has been one of our best selling items in Asia for many years. It shreds paper cards and plastic cards very fast, at a rate of about 30 decks per minute. It is best for medium to small operations but big operators in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines also use this machine to destroy their playing cards after use. Our R&D team is planning a new version of this machine which will be even more powerful and heavy duty to meet customers’ demands.
What are the major orders you have received for your products in Asia over the past year?
We had several very big orders from the Philippines and Macau which kept our factory very busy last year. We also received many chip and layout orders from areas like Cambodia and India where our market share is significantly high.
What do you see as the big opportunities for your business in Asia over the next few years?
Asia is going to offer big opportunities for us, definitely. We started our factory for gaming chips and layouts in 2001 and opened our Macau office in 2006. The volume of business in Asia has been growing every year and we have had to expand our manufacturing facility several times as a result. Now Matsui chips and layouts are recognized as a major and reliable brand in the industry and customers appreciate the quality of our products and the level of our service.