IAG November 2014 - page 9

Cover Story
“The advantage is in the larger properties,” says Mr Pisano.
“If you’re operating a large property you’re going to have a larger
product range. You canafford toput insomeAspect, someHydakos,
some Weike. If you’re running 1,500machines you can put a bank
of each.” In light of which, “It’s great to have them,” he adds. “If we
look at some of these companies now, they’re building some very
successful games at the moment. It gives your casino floor points
of difference. At themoment, if we look at the industry it’s basically
ScientificGames andGTECH.”
But that’s an opportunity as well. “Bigger but not necessarily
better,” as Weike’s Ray Poh puts it. “Now
they’re becoming even bigger and the
competition is growing stronger but we
know that we will be able to fight toe to toe
with them. It’s definitely a lot easier for us
to increase our market share than for them
to maintain their market share. So we’re
definitely in a position to grow, and nowwith
all the consolidation we are sort of poised
to grab any market share that we can whist
they’re going throughwith all their changes.”
Mr Shepherd is counting on continuity.
“Operators need stability of the sales team
and theheadguy inAsia. If theykeepswapping
these around it’s a sign that everything isn’t
well, and itmakes operators nervous.”
For Weike, the “challenge” is what never
varies, saysMr Poh. “They have the scalability,
they have the resources, they have a lot more
things going for them than us, but we’ll
continue to fight along. I guess it is like a
David and Goliath kind of situation, but what
we know is that we can create products as strong as they can sowe
don’t see it as adisadvantage.”
And as slingshots go, being local is not without value.
“When it finally matures the Asiamarket will be the largest slot
market in the world,” saysMr Nguyen. “Like somany things driven
by the rising Chinesemiddle class. There is no precedent, and it is
extremely dynamic. So if you’re not on the ground andAsia-focused
when it happens, youmightmiss the boat.”
line—“to create amore enjoyable gaming experience for the player
that translates tohigher ROI for theoperator”.
“We see ourselves as being complimentary to the big global
manufacturers,” he says. “We’re all part of a bigger ecosystem
delivering entertainment.”
For Silver Heritage it’s about “the reach and familiarity with the
regions in which we operate,” saysMr Shepherd, which implies, in
his view, a certain community of vision. “Silver Heritage work in
partnership with our suppliers to promote their games into newer
markets. Suppliers who don’t want to join us don’t get the orders.
Whether they be big or small companies that
commitment to emerging markets has to be
there. …When it comes down to it the bigger
names tend to be able to see us as a partner
regionally andworth the effort, we hope. That
said, all the suppliers we are discussing here
have very strong markets. I wouldn’t call
any of them ‘small’ really. Less well-known
internationally perhaps. Jumbo is very big in
Taiwan,Weike inMalaysia, Singaporeandnow
Macau. LT is super-strong in Macau and is
flexing its muscles internationally, placing in
casino acrossAsia.”
For a company such as his, which sees
itself as very much an emerging markets
story—with an expansion under way in
northern Vietnam, plans to develop some
30 branded electronic gaming venues in the
Philippines and a five-star resort brand on the
drawingboard inNepal aimedat thevast India
market—the more choices for his floors the
better. Sizedoesn’t figure into it.
“We have bought from these names,” he says of the smaller
suppliers. “I think, where we are expanding, all would do well on
the floors of our clubs. They have some beautiful machines, with
great names and a good track record nowadays. They price more
competitively as well. If they do well on an ROIC then we’d order
more for sure.”
Andoperatorsand suppliersagreeon theopportunitiesavailable
to themboth from the growthof thesemarkets as destinations.
“When itfinallymatures
theAsiamarketwill be the
largest slotmarket in the
world. Like somany things
drivenby therisingChinese
middle class.There isno
precedent, and it isextremely
dynamic. So if you’renoton
when ithappens, youmight
miss theboat.”
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