SHIFTING BUYING PATTERNS

By Gambling Insider
Todd Sims, SuzoHapp Vice President of Sales, Americas, explains how the gaming industry has changed over the years, picking out the latest trends and also highlighting the importance of in-person events

Can you tell us what SuzoHapp specialises in within gaming?

For over 60 years, SuzoHapp has served the gaming, amusement, and sports betting industries as a global manufacturer and distributor of components. However, we are more than just a ready supply of aftermarket parts and quick customisation capabilities. We are a trusted hardware partner with relevant expertise and a global network of partnerships eager to help businesses succeed.

 How has operator demand changed over the years?

The industry was hit pretty hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and we have seen customer buying patterns shift fairly significantly since then. There’s been a definite shift towards cashless payments, we’ve seen a lot more requests for anything that is self-service or automated, and operators are looking at how they can bring the home experience that customers got accustomed to during the pandemic into an in-person, retail space. 

SuzoHapp has been exhibiting at several recent in-person events lately. How exciting is it to have these events back?

We have seen a lot of positive reception at the recent tradeshows we have participated in. It has been great to see our colleagues and customers in person again and to start rebuilding that rapport, and those relationships. It has also been a great way to see what is new and upcoming in the industry, and see all the innovation that has taken place recently.

How important are these events for the industry?

Our sector requires a lot of trust to successfully navigate. We pride ourselves on being the industry’s trusted hardware partner, but we wouldn’t be able to do that without the face-to-face interactions. While video calls held us over during the height of the pandemic, it has really made us realise that true face time is necessary to build relationships and lay the foundation of trust, especially with new customers and partnerships. Going forward, we think we will continue to see attendance only get better at shows with more strategic key players.

What are the latest trends you can identify for the gaming industry?

With the rise of self-service kiosks and minimising touchpoints during the pandemic, cashless payment systems  have really taken off. SuzoHapp also just premiered its new Dual Change Cashless to serve the industry better and support this growing need. Additionally, we have seen a lot of activity in the rise of sports betting. Over the past year, SuzoHapp has worked to develop a sports betting ecosystem to help support platform providers and operators with a beginning-to-end system, with a solution for every instance of a bet. The ecosystem begins with an over-the-counter unit for a cashier to provide a betting voucher to a customer, then providing both kiosk-style terminals for traditional betting, as well as a tabletop terminal for in-game bets. Lastly, the betting cycle is completed with a cash redemption terminal, with a small footprint to allow for self-service payout of winnings or voucher balances.

SuzoHapp was recently granted a licence for the Ontario sports betting market. How much potential is there in Ontario?

We are very excited to see Ontario open up for sports betting. Really any new market for sports betting has so much potential, especially from a retail standpoint. We’re seeing new venues that didn’t even exist a few years ago develop, to look at new ways to let customers place their bets in a fun, inviting atmosphere. For Ontario specifically, it’s a large market with huge potential and we’re excited to get started in it.

What would you say the major differences are between US and European sports betting?

It is honestly not that different in the grand scheme. In the US, each state has different regulatory requirements, which can be challenging to navigate, but the same is true of each country in Europe. Some countries are stricter; some have greater flexibility. The major difference we see is the maturity of the market. Europe has had sports betting for many years now and our customers know exactly what they want, because they have been in the business for a while. In the US, sports betting is relatively new, and many operators are still testing the waters of how to make it work within their existing offering, so need additional guidance to determine what solutions will likely work best.

What does the rest of 2022 look like for SuzoHapp?

We have a busy rest of 2022 ahead of us. We will be participating in quite a few tradeshows globally and are very much looking forward to seeing our customers there again. Additionally, we are hoping to launch a new product at G2E this year (can’t spill the beans about it yet!). We’re working hard to plan out as far as possible to navigate the supply chain issues that have been plaguing the world, so that’s also keeping our hands full. 

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