Supplier Awards 2011
Our gongs for the best in electronic casino games and table equipment across AsiaFriday, 01 April 2011
The major change to Inside Asian Gaming’s Supplier Awards in 2011 is the addition of Singapore to the market mix. Genting’s Resorts World Sentosa marked its first anniversary on Valentine’s Day. Las Vegas Sands Corp’s Marina Bay Sands will celebrate its first year in operation in April.
Singapore doesn’t have the baccarat monoculture seen in Macau, where over 90% of gross gaming revenues in 2010 came from live table baccarat. In the Lion City, other table games including blackjack, roulette and craps have significant appeal. This fact—and the strong acceptance of slots and multi-terminal games by the players at the Singapore integrated resorts—has created newopportunities for multiterminal suppliers serving the region.
Our judges are all senior executives in the regional casino industry with detailed practical knowledge on what it takes to create successful products in the high-revenue, high-energy Asia-Pacific region.
We’re also publishing the criteria on which the awards have been based. In most cases, winning products received more than one nomination and similar score weightings from multiple judges, thus creating a majority winner. In cases of deadlock, the weightings were rated against the original judging criteria and the best performer under those criteria was declared the winner.
The judging criteria for electronic games are:
* Revenue performance measured by average daily hold over period of installation (65% of the final assessment).
* Operator floor feedback based on software stability, quality of hardware build, ease of servicing (15% of the final assessment).
* Cost flexibility for operators based on the options made available (such as outright purchase/revenue participation/management contract). This was weighted 15% of the final assessment.
* Crowd pulling appeal of the cabinet and overhead sign (5% of the final assessment).
In the 12 months to December 2010, slot gaming in Macau generated revenues of 8.6 billion patacas (US$1.07 billion). That was a year on year growth of ‘only’ 32.5%. We say ‘only’ because despite the fact that most casino markets outside Asia would be overjoyed with that kind of growth, the live baccarat market in Macau grew 61.7% in the same period. That explains why the contribution of slots to Macau’s overall gaming revenue fell in 2010 to 4.7% from 5.4% a year earlier. The number of slots in the market also fell marginally (2.2%) for the first time since market liberalisation in 2002, ending the year at 14,050 units compared to 14,363 units at year-end 2009. There are, however, anecdotal reports that VIP slot play is making a greater overall contribution to slot revenue than in previous years, mirroring the behaviour seen in the tables market.
Another trend is the growing presence of Asia-based slot and multi-terminal manufacturers in multiple markets. Gaming suppliers based in Asia with Asian managements have been around for many years, but previously they tended to serve domestic markets rather than developing sales internationally. Sometimes—in the case of a manufacturer such as Aruze, it’s a question of a manufacturer with Asian ‘DNA’ but based in the US, capitalising on its North American marketing expertise to create industry-leading products. Sometimes it’s a question of manufacturers based wholly in Asia getting more global in outlook and successfully submitting their products to internationally recognised compliance testing in order to expand their market appeal.
As one of this year’s judges put it: “Major international manufacturers such as Aristocrat, IGT, and Novomatic continue to lead the way in supplying the best performing games. However, there are Asian manufacturers such as Jumbo [Taiwan] Aspect [Macau] and Hydako [South Korea] that are starting to develop their own niche.”
Best Standalone Slot
|Aruze||Memories of Love|
|IGT||Treasures of Troy|
Winner: Aristocrat –50 Dragons
Aristocrat’s 50 Dragons first burst onto the casino scene in 2008, and has consistently proved to be a winner with players and operators, especially in Asia. It has even surpassed the big hit 5 Dragons, launched in 2004.
Honourable Mention: IGT –Treasures of Troy
Best Progressive Slot
|Aristocrat||FA FA FA|
|Bally||Blazing 7s Hot Shot|
|IGT||Classic Freat Escapes|
|WMS||Jackpot Party Progressive|
Winner: Aristocrat – FA FA FA
FA FA FA, an Asian-themed Hyperlink, launched into the region’s markets on Aristocrat’s Viridian cabinet in the autumn of 2008. Available games include three of Aristocrat’s strongest standalone performers in Asian markets—50 Dragons, 5 Dragons and Choy Sun Doa.
Honourable Mention: IGT – Classic Great Escapes
Best Slot Innovation
|Hydako||3D Video Slot|
|WMS||Time Machine Sensory Immersion|
Winner: Aruze – Paradise Fishing
Slots with fish and fishing themes have proved very popular in Asia with at least four major manufacturers releasing titles in the region. The fishing reel built in to each unit of Paradise Fishing definitely makes the product stand out in the market. The Reel Feel™ Gaming Technology gives players the sensation that the fish on the screen has actually taken the bait and is wriggling to escape. That in turn gives players a sense of control and skill with the game, as did the ‘bash’ button on one of last year’s award winners—Aruze’s Lucky Sic Bo.
Honourable Mention: WMS – Time Machine Sensory Immersion
Best Multi-Terminal Product
Multi-terminals—a product category that used to generate much of its Asian sales growth in smaller casinos in secondary markets such as Indochina—have now become a sales success in primary markets such as Macau and Singapore.
There are probably several reasons for that. One is the government cap on live table growth in Macau. This has led operators to look for new ways of offering the excitement and communal feeling of live table games play—but with lower staffing overheads, more hands per hour, no mispays and consequently a lower cost per bet for the players. Another is that in the new casino market of Singapore, many players from the region are already fans of electronic multi-terminal games, having played them in clubs or casinos in neighbouring markets such as Malaysia and Cambodia. A third reason is that the intensification of competition in the multiterminal segment has helped to raise standards all round, creating new value for operators and fresh excitement for players with innovations on some electronic table games such as side bets and improved ergonomics.
Lucky Sic Bo
|Alfastreet||SL Line terminals|
|Novomatic||Novo TouchBet Multiplayer|
|Shuffle Master||Rapid Table Games|
Winner: Alfastreet – SL Line terminals
The 115 SL-M3 terminals installed by Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) in November complemented the 66 R1SL terminals initially ordered by the property for its opening in February last year. The reduced footprint of the SL-M3 is an important innovation. Floor space is a valuable commodity in all casinos but especially in Singapore where the casino area is capped by the government at a maximum 5% of usable floor space in both casino resorts.
The versatile Alfastreet SL Line terminals are highly configurable. At RWS, the terminals are based around semi-automated wheels that feature a live dealer spinning the ball, whereas the terminals in Marina Bay Sands are based around fully automated wheels without dealers, and the terminals are capable of being reconfigured between semi-auto and fully-auto modes with a simple software upgrade. Alfastreet has also developed multi-game functionality for its terminals, and is currently waiting for approval from Singapore’s Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) in order to roll out the multi-game product in the Lion City.
Honourable Mention: Shuffle Master – Rapid Table Games
It’s not every day that a gaming product gets a special mention in a casino company’s earnings conference call. But that’s what happened in the case of Shuffle Master’s Rapid Table Games installation at Las Vegas Sands Corp’s Marina Bay Sands. The installation was singled out for special praise for its combination of live dealer action and electronic betting providing more games per hour and more security than traditional live tables. Shuffle Master has supplied a total of 370 Rapid units to MBS and 133 to Resorts World Sentosa. On the strength of its Singapore success the company also recently fulfilled an order for two major installations of Rapid Roulette and Rapid Sic Bo at The Venetian Macao.
Honourable Mention: TCSJOHNHUXLEY – Novo Unity II TouchBet Roulette
Best Multi-Terminal Innovation
Selection in this category was at the judges’ discretion and features any product or product area they felt had provided an outstanding contribution to the development of electronic gaming in the Asian casino industry in the last year.
|Aruze||Shoot to Win Craps|
|Aruze||Lucky Sic Bo|
|AutoGaming||Super Odds 1000/1 Roulette|
Winner: Elektroncek – Organic Island
Organic Island makes its appearance in this category as its installations at Resorts World Genting and Resorts World Sentosa were still undergoing regulatory approvals at the time of going to press. The RWS installation is the biggest single Organic Island array in the world with 206 play stations offering multiple games including baccarat and roulette. Such was the scale of the installation that the company reserved a whole Boeing 747 cargo aircraft to transport it from its factory in Slovenia to Singapore.
Honourable Mention: Aruze – Shoot to Win Craps