IN-DEPTH 7 April 2017
How technology innovation is shaping the gaming industry
Gambling Insider sits down with AGS Chief Technology Officer, Sigmund Lee, to find out his thoughts on how the shifting sands of gaming technology affect tribal casino purchase decisions
By Gambling Insider
Are tribal operators early adopters of new gaming technologies or do they tend to stick with more traditional products?
It varies by the operator, but some of them are certainly early adopters willing to push the envelope of creativity. At the inception of the Technical Standards for CII, the basis of electronic play for Class II, bingo games required a more advanced technology platform than commercial markets. We’ve seen tribal operators recognise the advantages that the connected platform of games and systems can offer for progressives, bonusing and promotions.
What innovation in your products has been most well received by your tribal customers?
We have some of the best linked progressive technology and platforms. They have rich features that are flexible and scalable. Many customers have taken advantage of our capabilities to enrich their player’s experience.
‘Omnichannel’ has been the industry’s buzzword for some time, do you see it coming to fruition for tribal casinos?
We already see it being used or in progress for some of our customers that are embracing the technology available, extending services beyond their casino walls. Mobile, interactive, loyalty and promotions are all areas benefiting from this technology
Can technology-driven innovations such as AR and VR gaming attract a younger demographic to tribal casinos?
Customers are attracted to casinos for the gambling, dining, entertainment and social experience. The technology innovations of AR/VR themselves are not the drivers. Some of the applications utilising AR/VR can enhance the experience, which make it more appealing for the younger demographic, but the tangible services and products must remain competitive.
Do you feel that skill gaming is going to be a growth area for the gaming industry in general and if so how does AGS plan to take advantage of it?
Skill-based slot games remain challenging because they don’t necessarily address the reasons why people gamble to begin with, and the wagering mechanic is not natural. Although we don’t believe skill-based slots will be a significant growth area, we do believe it can add value by enriching the slot environment. Additionally, we believe table games satisfy the skill element in gambling as blackjack and poker incorporate some level of skill. Our table game products include many blackjack and poker derivative games, which combine chance and decision-making to deliver a truly exciting and volatile gaming experience.
How important are premium IP tie-ins to AGS? Do you plan to expand your partnerships with IP owners?
We are always thoughtful about Intellectual Property and its utilisation within our products. If the IP helps us to create a compelling experience for our players, we will definitely expand on the opportunity.
Digital table games are starting to make appearances at casinos, do you feel they can challenge more traditional formats?
I think they are already challenging some of the analogue formats in the sense they can be a gateway product. We don’t see them as a replacement, but perhaps they can augment the experience for a different type of player.