Inside Asian Gaming speaks with Trevor Ross about his recent promotion to Sales Director – Asia for Scientific Games.
Ben Blaschke: Trevor, congratulations on the new role of Sales Director for Asia. What changes for you in terms of your day-to-day duties?
Trevor Ross: Thanks very much Ben. As part of the SG “one stop shop”, I now head our sales team for slots and table products for a region that stretches from Goa to Vanuatu and up from Timor to Vladivostok.
The focus for me now is planning strategically and looking at the bigger picture and further into the future. In terms of the sales team, I’m enjoying coaching and developing their skills.
BB: Many industry figures will of course already know you, but for our readers who might not, can you tell us a little of your history in the industry and what you bring to the role?
TR: Oh, I’ll try to be brief, but I do love a long story. I started in the industry, as many did, with Aristocrat in 1988, managing their in-house service team at Crown Melbourne. For the last decade or so there I was in sales, with my customers being some of Australia’s largest operators.
What do I bring to the role? Relationships and experience. This business is built on people and being able to adapt solutions to specific needs.
BB: It’s been three years now since you returned to Macau with Scientific Games. What have been the key takeaways for you in that time in regard to the company and the market?
TR: The big one is the change in slot ship share. In Macau now, it’s a two-horse race between slot manufacturers with SG’s Duo Fu Duo Cai and Jin Ji Bao Xi leading the pack.
That said, we can’t rest on our laurels and we’re taking a rifle shot approach to maintain our number one performance.
BB: It’s also been 15 years now since you first moved to Macau. How have you seen the market change in that time?
TR: The industry is certainly bigger and there has been a gravity shift from the peninsula to the strip.
But, on a more micro level, there used to be a wider variety of table games, and that has gone due to table number caps. With that, entry bets are much higher.
BB: You step into the new role at an interesting time for the region given COVID-19 and the varying states of recovery in various jurisdictions. How do you go about implementing market development initiatives under such circumstances?
TR: Correct. Asia is all over the place in terms of business recovery. Operators’ capex is limited, so we are delivering on what their basic needs are; low risk, high performance and a great ROI.
BB: In terms of launching products into the market, is it business as usual or do you have to put thought into delaying certain products as a result of the pandemic?
TR: As a global business, the impact of COVID-19 on our business has been pretty much in line with the issues in those regions. Some regions were open while others were in lockdown.
We did have a virtual team working to bring to market a new slot cabinet, the Kascada, and that’s now released in the US. Australia will follow at AGE in August.
In Asia, we are all getting ready for when business does come back, and as we’ve seen in other markets, when it does, it has come back strongly and we will have new products ready to deliver – both for tables and slots.
BB: Has player behavior changed post-COVID?
TR: I think consumer behavior in general has changed, not just in casino players.
The live experience is part of our product, so players will return to bricks and mortar. Certainly in the medium term, safety and the ability to travel will shape player demographics, but over time, as it did post SARS, things will return to a new normal.
BB: How do you see the role of ETGs versus traditional table games in the future?
TR: ETGs are in a growth phase and that will be helped by players who are coming back from playing online.
The technology and security of the game allows us to do some great twists on standard table games with enhanced side bets and other things that just couldn’t be possible on a live table.
For example, we are about to release a roulette game that has player selectable volatility in the pays with random multipliers of up to 500 times your bet put on numbers.
ETG’s won’t replace live tables or slots, but will augment both of these more and more.
BB: Macau’s sole sports betting provider recently lost its exclusivity. As a company that has been actively involved in the growth of this segment in the US, what if any opportunities do you see potentially arising in Macau?
TR: We serve the who’s who in sports betting and it’s not just in the US that we have been active. We’ve been in sports betting across the globe for decades and our product Openbet is the market leader in sports betting.
In Macau, we have had enquiries from several concessionaires about this already.
For them, this is potentially another revenue stream, a point of difference, and with the changes we are seeing in the market in Macau, for operators this could also present a real good use of excess floor space and bring traffic to the venue. Of course, we’d need regulatory approvals.
BB: Finally Trevor, suppliers such as yourselves have grown accustomed over the past 16 months or so to talking to customers digitally. Do you see this continuing into the future as COVID eases or will direct customer interaction return as it was before?
TR: We’ve all had to adapt and become proficient in video conferencing. So, yes it will remain part of our tool kit going forward.
But once travel restrictions lift, we are keen to get back out there. Nothing replaces being able to visit a casino and learn as much as we can about our customer’s business and deliver the right advice and the best products.