“The highlight of ICE was innovation and the multi-channel strategy”
How is the company positioned in Europe; do you have any plans for the region?
There is a great deal of potential in the European market. BMM Testlabs already has three European test labs which are based in Spain, Austria and the recently opened new premises in Italy.
BMM’s goal is to offer a localized, quality service throughout Europe that leverages the strength of our global organization. Over the next year we will continue to provide the highest level of quality and service that our customers have come to expect, while expanding our business by working with new clients and organizations.
What do you feel next year holds for the industry?
Spain should see notable results with regards to the online casino market, especially due to the introduction of the slot games. The addition of slot games could motivate the large land-based operators to increase investments in their interactive product offerings. That said, however, we will not see the full impact of the new regulations until 2015.
Italy will see the introduction of betting exchanges and complementary schedules, independently managed by the operators, which should contribute to increased revenue coming from online sports betting. The availability of betting exchanges and social gaming through a myriad of mobile devices will enhance the growth forecast for the betting market.
Italy has approved new technical regulations for low limit gambling devices. The regulations refer to these devices as comma 6A slot machines but they are also referred to as NewSlot 3 or AWPs. The new standards will ultimately require the replacement of over 400,000 machines in accordance with a replacement schedule to be released by the government. This large number of devices to be replaced will provide opportunities for existing and new manufacturers to compete for floor space.
Finally, everybody is looking at Greece and what will happen with regards to the opening of the online and VLT market. The shape of that market is yet to be defined.
What was the highlight of ICE?
Innovation and the predominance of the multi-channel strategy from major gaming operators worldwide. While the ubiquitous land based casino products were on display, the internet game developers were out in full force showing their wares.
What trends did you see? How was the mood in general?
Again, there was a lot of innovation in the product offerings. After 3 years of repetitiveness, I have seen new and interesting products, most notably in the online and mobile offerings. This trend should continue for the foreseeable future since online gaming will grow as the US and its territories continue to adopt online gambling legislation.
How would you reflect on the show? Was it positive for BMM?
The ICE show was and always is positive for BMM. The new floor layout of the show and BMM’s location was deemed to be a success. It was our experience that there was an even higher attendance and more booth visits this year than last. The professional team in attendance, which represented all the corporate regions of BMM, had the opportunity to meet existing as well as prospective customers at the show. From BMM’s perspective, the show was a success!
Do you think standardization is what’s next for the industry?
Where possible, standardization will increase compatibility and interoperability testing will ensure consistent product operability to all stakeholders involved in the gaming industry. While standardization may be the dream of some, jurisdictions will always exercise their will to require certain traits in gaming devices and systems. Manufacturers will always seek to differentiate their products from their competition, thus always pushing the envelope to garner attention and increase sales. Just as customs and traditions remain ingrained in cultures, so do certain aspects of gambling devices. One should expect standardization to be achieved in a series of small ways and not as a complete conquest. Operators, regulators and testing laboratories continually work together to provide the best customer experience within the framework of adopted regulations.
What do you feel is the tendency among operators regarding online gaming?
This question can be approached in different ways with different answers. Depending on the market and the operators, the online experience is perceived differently by terrestrial and online operators. Online gambling can be perceived as a threat or an opportunity. Potential trends that can be anticipated will probably be the joining of forces between land based casino operators and online operators to enhance the offering of amenities. The second potential trend will be to offer the same products through as many different channels as possible in order to recreate online the casino experience.
What can you forecast about world regulatory frameworks? What for you would be the best development?
The biggest challenge is not the kind of game to be offered but the location of where the gambling activity will occur and where the recorded activity will be maintained. The use of cloud servers for the conduct of gaming and transaction recording will be the next challenge to regulators. Clearly there is large commercial usage of cloud servers outside the gaming industry for many industries with sensitive data such as medical and insurance records. The next big step for regulatory frameworks will involve adopting specifications of acceptable cloud security and accompanying audit procedures to accommodate the risk tolerance of regulatory agencies. The cloud concept is more likely to receive a consistent level of standardization among forward thinking jurisdictions than other areas of the gaming industry. Adopting secure standards for cloud applications will make the concept of portability a reality, rather than a vision for the future.