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Inspired Gaming’s server based products offer casinos an extra edge thanks to deep data mining, a quality interface and flexible configuration

Friday, 01 July 2011 18:05
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Inspired Gaming—a specialist in server based electronic gaming products—made its G2E Asia debut this year. Inspired shared a booth with its regional sales partner, Gaming Concepts Group Ltd, a newly formed unit of the gaming operator Silver Heritage Ltd. Gaming Concepts will supply gaming products and casino management services in the region.

One of Inspired’s unique selling points is the extent to which casino operators can interrogate the data produced by its electronic games platforms and then use that data to configure the game offer to suit changing player demographics at certain times of the day on the casino floor.

At G2E Asia, Inspired showed its next-generation electronic roulette product, Multi-Win Roulette 4, on the new Sabre slant top cabinet. A key feature of this GLIcompliant product is the ability to connect the terminals to live or auto roulette wheels. It is distinctive in allowing players to bet on up to four wheels simultaneously. Inspired says it’s also the only electronic roulette product to have both a primary 26-inch high definition (HD) widescreen touch screen and a secondary ‘game insight’ touch screen. The main screen, with Real Touch technology, recreates the physical sensation of playing with real chips. The second Player Portal touch screen provides game analysis and venue marketing messages.

Inspired also offered an exclusive preview of its new Live E-Baccarat content for the Sabre terminal. As with Multi-Win Roulette, Live E-Baccarat can be connected to live tables within the casino or tables in remote locations. The Panoramic Bet layout of the HD widescreen terminal is designed to improve player entertainment.

Inside Asian Gaming met Lee Gregory, Managing Director for Casino at Inspired Gaming, to learn more.

IAG: What does Inspired Gaming have to offer Asian operators?

Lee Gregory: We are the world leader in Open server-based gaming™. Our core value is multi-content. And our pedigree is we are a leading provider of video lottery terminal products in Italy and the United Kingdom. Our products and platforms in those territories have many tens of games. That means underpinning all of our products is a deep and configurable platform.

We have up to 40 game developers writing games to our platform through a common and open API [application programming interface]. Beneath that API, Inspired has developed a platform that at the content and product level is highly configurable and highly flexible. At the deep platform level, back to the data centre, it allows transmission of high-quality data, content upload and download.

I mentioned that because one of our core values is that almost everything we do is multi-content configurable. We have a system that enables operators to schedule content by time of day, by day of the week. In essence, with the Inspired platform you get the ability to configure your content and customise your content specifically to the requirements of your venue.

In the case of roulette, for example, that means you can change your bet limits and schedule those changes according to what the data is telling you about play patterns at certain times of the week and certain times of the day.

Tell us about the products you have at G2E Asia.

We have what we call our Sabre hardware. We launched this product at the ICE show in January in London. We launched it with our Multi-Win Roulette content. We also have here in Macau our baccarat product for Sabre, Live E-Baccarat, which is new and being launched at this show, which is great news.

The roulette configuration in the Sabre hardware is GLI compatible. The baccarat product hasn’t yet been through the GLI process. The predecessor to Sabre, Multi-Win Roulette 3, had a 19-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio screen. The all new Sabre slant top cabinet has a 26-inch full HD screen. We decided to design in that extra retail space on the screen for the benefit of the players. We took that decision based on our research of the play data. We looked at two key areas—the racetrack bets and the wheel analysis. As you will know, the racetrack is an alternative to the main roulette betting grid. It follows the layout of the roulette wheel itself and is shaped like a racetrack. On most electronic roulette products, the racetrack bets are usually accessed via a second screen or a separate button press.

We mined our data on our estates and found that only in 0.5% of games played do players ever choose to press the secondary button and select the racetrack bet. The rest all look at the wheel results. When we created that extra retail space with the Sabre 26-inch HD screen, we decided to bring those racetrack elements of the game forward to the main screen. What the data was telling us—and we also did some focus groups with players—is that players like to play what they see. They don’t really want to go into second screens.

Has that ability to ‘interrogate’ the data on your platform given you other insights for product development?

There have been lots of eureka moments with players in research groups. We take opportunities to bring extra functionality into play. But we do try and maintain a ‘clean’ and relatively simple format because the user interface is a key feature of the product. It needs to be simple and clear. There are other suppliers in the market we feel have designed their products to be a little bit more ‘artistic’. But I think they’re not as intuitive. We’ve got a really intuitive player interface.

Other suppliers say they mine data to assist product development. Is Inspired Gaming doing something different?

We have dedicated data miners with sophisticated tools. They work on our products, with our retail customers. They will look for trends, for play sessions, for analysis around content, hot and cold sessions by day, and will work with our client base. They will advise on strategies for time of day. For example, during peak demand you may want to withdraw lower stake options on a game then reactivate them during slower periods. Or at certain times you may want to offer multi-stake content. It’s a real value add for the operator to be able to do this. It’s a value-add function we have developed out of our UK and Italian businesses over the last two years.

Is the data mining a value-add service or part of the core offer?

With our contracted retail partners in markets where we operate revenue share, it’s part of the overall contract. Where customers buy terminals from us outright, we offer that as a sort of value-add service which they can buy. We have a deal in the pipeline where we’re selling terminals outright. We are offering the customer a couple of quarterly deep dives into the data. We’ll dive in at the end of a quarter and get some wonderful insight around how the terminals are being placed, where are the hot spots, where are the cold spots, times of day that are warm and cold, and present those findings to the client. Those findings will in likelihood drive some actions by the client that will drive more revenue. We expect them potentially to buy those services from us in future.

Which Asian markets are you targeting?

With our existing Multi-Win Roulette product we already have over 350 of them deployed in Asia and it’s been proven to outperform competing products in venue trials. I think our success comes from delivering a higher yield, a higher hold than our competitors. That’s for two main reasons. Firstly, we deliver the messages through the system much more swiftly and enable the player to place bets much more swiftly. Secondly, the player can choose his wheel, so he can move much more swiftly between the wheels. The player can see at any point in time where four wheels are in that cycle. Subject to the legislative requirements of the jurisdiction, there can be a wheel with a random number generator, an automatic wheel or live wheels.

When will the Sabre cabinet be available?

Production of the new Sabre cabinet starts in the third week in July. The first two installations—based on pre-production units—go out in July with two UK customers.

And what about the baccarat product on the Sabre?

With Live E-Baccarat we’ve kept the familiarity of the chip layout. There’s lots of consistency between the two pieces of content. The player can move between the contents and recognise how to select a chip and place this chip. But the unique part of this piece of content in this presentation is we’ve got actually four variants of baccarat.

The first is standard commission baccarat with 5% commission to the house on winning bets. The second is a non-commission format, using Super 6. The third is commission based but with a pair of side bets. The fourth is non-commission baccarat with a banker’s bet. We’ve actually learnt a lot from being at the show in terms of exactly what flavours of baccarat we will offer on the final product. But what has gone down extremely well is that this is completely configurable and the player or the operator can run effectively all four games in one shoe. We can connect one live shoe and the player can select which flavour of baccarat they’re familiar with and they’d like to play. Or we can connect the server to four shoes and again play four separate shoes with four separate game cycles.

Do you have a Chinese language interface for the baccarat?

We do. At the moment, we’ve simplified Chinese and there’s no Mandarin voice. But there will be. The baccarat offer is unique in respect that nobody else has baccarat presented with the options of playing commission or non-commission on those bets. We’re talking to a number of IP owners in respect of which side bets and versions of baccarat we will ultimately offer and develop specifically for the Asian market.

Something else to mention is the Real Touch technology on the 26-inch HD screen. If you place a chip for a bet, you actually get the sensation of touching the chip. It’s technology that’s available on the open market but its deployment is unique in the gaming sector.

The reaction to Live E-Baccarat has been fantastic. It should be going through the GLI process very shortly. We’ll be customizing the fine detail on the flavour of baccarat, on a card squeezing option, the language, the Mandarin voiceover, and certainly we’ll be back to the market within a few months.

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