With more than 50 years of experience, International Game Technology (IGT) is one of the biggest gaming technology providers in the world. Based in Nevada, the company opened offices in Asia Pacific in 1986 and, given the exciting opportunities in emerging markets, has one of the most extensive network of local offices globally, including, Singapore, Philippines and Macau.
Andrew Hely, VP for IGT Asia Pacific, says that demand is outstripping supply across the Asia region, and gaming centers like Macau and Singapore are struggling to satisfy the demands of Asian players. This has come at an opportune time for IGT, with the slowdown in the North American market with the global financial crisis, and Mr. Hely – along with the VPs of the Latin American/Caribbean region and the Europe/Middle East/Africa region – all have the full support of IGT’s board and executive to make investments in their parts of the world to develop the international business.
IGT’s game studios in the U.S. and in Australia are busy designing new games and themes that appeal to the different Asian markets. “There is a great deal of effort being poured into products that are more internationalized and in tune with the players in the Asia and Macau markets,” explains Mr. Hely. “We have a new approach as far as our customer engagement model is concerned, and we are going to do better in Macau than we have done. These new games will be unveiled at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia in May.”
The profile of gaming in Macau differs from that in places like Las Vegas, where slot machines see more action than tables. “I think the defining characteristic for the Macau market is the dynamics around gaming between tables and the machines, which are quite staggering,” says Mr. Hely. “From IGT’s standpoint, we have products that address the table side of the market, with systems that operators use as part of their operations to manage tables.”
“Slot revenue in Macau is growing every year,” he adds. “Slot operators will continue to add to that part of the business as it matures through time.”
And the kinds of machines that are popular in Macau are getting bigger, brighter, and more entertaining, according to the VP, and that seems to suit the Macau market.
At present, IGT is deploying its sbx – which enables server-based downloads of games onto machines according to demand at different times of the day – in the Macau market with one of the local operators. “Basically, this product is designed to give the operators more flexibility in terms of how they manage their floor and gaming content, as well as providing a better entertainment experience for the player,” says Mr. Hely.
In this era of increased competition, it is innovation and technology to improve players’ experience that will give companies like IGT the lead.
“Across the breadth of gaming technology, be it games in traditional casinos, systems or interactive technologies, we think we’ve got a full portfolio of localized solutions here to partner with the operators in Macau and in Asia generally,” concludes Mr. Hely.