December 2019
by Buddy Frank

With the year’s end fast approaching, it’s a great time to consider where we’ve been and where we’re heading. Here’s a conversation between CDC’s Buddy Frank and four industry experts on the state of video poker:

  •    Jay Fennel, Corporate Vice President of Gaming for Golden Entertainment
  •    Mike Fields, Executive Vice President of Action Gaming and
  •    Bob Dancer, premiere video poker writer and teacher
  •    Darnell Johnson, IGT’s Director of Video Poker Product Commercialization

CDC – Jay, you’re one of the largest purchasers of video poker games in the country. What is the state of video poker today?

Jay – Honestly, today video poker is a little stale. We’re always looking for new content, and we’re not seeing a lot of it lately nor do we see others doing much with it. We’re actually seeing more interest recently in video keno.

Mike – Certainly the status of the market is that the footprint is shrinking for two reasons: first there is pressure from the players seeking more, or different, entertainment options. And secondly, there’s a migration within the video poker community from single-hand games to multi-hand games where there’s more volatility and entertainment within the video poker environment resulting in some shrinkage.

by Frank Legato

One of the hottest topics at this year’s Global Gaming Expo, and the subject of new product launches by several major slot and system suppliers, was the advent of cashless gaming.

More specifically, major slot and system suppliers rolled out modules for their casino management systems that relieve the patron of the need to handle cash. Typically, a smartphone is involved, as suppliers are asking operators and regulators to bring casinos – one of the last remaining businesses based on a model of cash-based transactions – into the 21st century.

Systems recently launched by several manufacturers are designed to allow customers of casinos to pay for their gambling entertainment the same way they pay for their coffee at Starbucks or countless other transactions in the non-gaming world. The major casino management systems have been augmented to appeal to the modern patron, particularly younger patrons who, outside the casino, generally pay for very little in cash.

by Buddy Frank

As an operator, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered what the architect was thinking (or smoking) when they placed a certain feature in a certain spot. Just for starters, why in the devil was the cage located in the worst possible location (at least from the slot team’s prospective)? In that sentence, you can substitute cage for bar, vault, TDR, the time clocks, or a good few dozen other things with an equal amount of frustration. Don’t they ever ask the folks who actually work on the floor where things should be?

(This book has nothing to do with any of that, but I just had to get it out of my system.)

Stefan Al’s The Strip: Las Vegas and the Architecture of the American Dream is a book well worth reading, however, and it should be on your shelf if you want to understand how casino architecture has evolved and how it reflects our culture, both past and present. And it’s relevant even if you’ve never been to Vegas. I’m often amused when Native American owners say things like “we didn’t want our casino to look like Las Vegas,” without really understanding that their ‘non-Las Vegas’ designs are actually concepts pioneered on the Strip.

ReelHot November 2019 Update
Top-performing game title per Supplier (trailing 3 months).

Click here or the chart below to see the full ReelHot index.
Upcoming Industry Events of Interest
777 W Cherokee St, Catoosa, OK - 12/09/2019 - 12/12/2019
 Advance your gaming management career by attending this unique program tailored to your industry. The University of Nevada, Reno and the OSU Spears School of Business have teamed up to offer a 4 day program to provide leadership sessions and concurrent tracks in slot operations, surveillance operations, table game operations, and casino accounting and finance management.
Las Vegas, NV - 12/09/2019 - 12/11/2019
The workshop is an opportunity to bring Tribal leaders, decision makers, and influencers together and provide them a platform to learn and create a strategic plan to truly understand and harness the power of Class II Gaming. To protect the assets and interests of their respective gaming tribes and create a new financial economic engine that provides protection for their tribal sovereignty today, tomorrow and well into the future.
Southern California - 01/29/2020
Four years ago, Raving began an industry movement to recognize those Tribal organizations that give back to their communities. We ask you to share those special events, those acts of generosity, those good works outside of your job description that have improved the lives of your community. Because the more we hear about people helping people, the energy spreads. Submit your entries starting October 1, 2019 through early December 2019.
Tropicana Las Vegas - 03/23/2020 - 03/26/2020
The WGPC is an annual conference that connects casino surveillance, asset protection professionals and regulators from around the world. The event examines current and emerging threats to casino entertainment complexes and explores opportunities and practices to combat those threats.
This report is edited by Buddy Frank, Frank Legato, and Justin Martin