The second day of G2E went off with a bang as the giant expo floor was officially opened to delegates. As anticipated, the event was packed from start to finish, with delegates waiting at the entrance prior to opening and a mass exodus taking place when the floor was closed for the day at 5pm. We expect the same for day three of the event, so stay tuned.
There were two celebrity appearances today on the floor, the first from 1pm-2pm at the Scientific Games booth, Larry Thomas, otherwise known as the “The Soup Nazi” from Seinfeld. The Soup Nazi was available for pictures and autographs for delegates and his appearance was to promote, you guessed it, Scientific Games’ new Seinfeld slot.
Scientific Games Executive Director of Community and Corporate Relations Laura Olson-Reyes told CalvinAyre.com there was no better way to promote their new Seinfeld Slot than by bringing along the Soup Nazi who is a brand in himself. She also mentioned how the Soup Nazi makes an appearance in the slot’s bonus round, making his presence even more appropriate.
Inspired Gaming wowed the crowed for the second year in a row by inviting American basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal to their booth to promote their Rush Basketball virtual game. Shaq was scheduled to arrive at 2pm, but the line for a picture with the legend started at 1pm and was wrapped around the conference floor by 1:45pm, a sign of Inspired Gaming’s brilliant marketing move.
Steven Rogers, SVP of Digital Games for Inspired Gaming, told CalvinAyre.com Rush Basketball is set to be launched in early 2017 and players can expect to see commentary from Shaq in the game just as they do in real TV. Rogers was absolutely delighted with the turnout at his G2E booth for Shaq’s appearance and could not believe the excitement surrounding the promotion at the event.
G2E is known for its display of innovation all across the expo floor and across all aspects of the gaming industry and this year was no different. The ACS booth had an innovative “cashless gaming” option for gamblers on display, something they call “PlayOn”. The device looks like credit card machine and lives on the casino game table so players do not need to leave their seats when they wish to purchase more casino chips by debit card.
ACS’s Stephen Warner, Founder and Chief Operating Officer, explained how their patented, PCI certified and GLI tested technology has been approved for use in California, Connecticut, New Mexico, New Jersey and tribal jurisdictions and is already operating in California and New Mexico. Warner has plans to expand into other states as soon as possible and said players are loving this technology as they don’t have to give up their lucky seats, pay absorbent charges to use ATM machines in casinos and it’s impossible incur any debt.
Warner also emphasized PlayOn’s convenience and safety and confirmed ACS does not store any customer data and is encrypted to ensure 100% security.
Running alongside the G2E Expo was a series of sessions touching on all aspects of the gambling industry. Today’s “Evaluating, Building and Operating a Social Casino” panel featured Frank Pracukowski and Eric Pearson of Foxwoods, Michael Alexander of Partis Solutions, Gabriel Cianchetto of Greentube and Kenny Huang of BlueBat Games.
Cianchetto said every casino needs to look at how the can leverage a social casino as its a way of extending their brand online and it’s a huge marketing platform. “Think about shifting those offline marketing dollars to in-game advertising”, he said. He added operators will know who their players are once they log on to the site, operators can then execute very direct targeted marketing and the cost will be significantly less than traditional marketing.
Before operators actually pull the trigger and launch a social casino site, Alexander warned there are many specific moving pieces to evaluate before launch, for example:
2)Do you have the right staffing in place
3)Marketing plan and financial planning- are you going to bring your branding to the platform? Do you have the budget carved out for this?
4)Do you want your CRM and loyalty program connected to it
Pearson added operators should equate launching a social casino to launching a loyalty program.
“You have to start with why- why are you doing this in the first place”, Perason said. “Is it just to get into action, that’s one thing…is it to monitize your database and sell virtual currency, that’s another thing…if you’re going to extend your brand and go after competition, that’s another thing. Staffing will depend on what way your trying to do. You must start with that question of why are you launching this in the first place”, he said.
Pearson also advised operators to start with their own database when launching a social casino. “Start with them first as they already have a relationship with your brand”, he said. Social Casino operators that aren’t hooked to B&M casinos don’t have as much success as they are trying to acquire players who have no attachment to the site, Pearson explained. It’s easier with players who have brand loyalty and casino integration can really offer this which is special, he said.
Foxwoods is leaps and bounds ahead of most B&M operators when it comes to their social casino offering and Pearson said their social casino has proven to be a great way to connect players to the Foxwoods property during the week and these players can then visit the property on the weekend. He said his team designed the site to include sounds and images from the actual Foxwoods Casino, so it closely embodies the experience of the property online. “That was our goal”, he said.