January 2020
by Buddy Frank

It’s the time of the year for resolutions, but I’m breaking from tradition and instead making a “wish list” for the slot floor. And, while most New Year’s resolutions seldom last beyond a month or two, I’m certain that not a single one of the ten wishes below will ever be granted. But I can always hope.

1. Prohibit Corporate Ownership of Casinos – I love capitalism (especially my 401k) and wouldn’t trade it for any other system, but it seems to have gotten out of hand. Having spent the last two decades working closely with Native American tribes, it’s hard not to notice some key differences in the way it’s currently conducted. While no tribe is immune from seeking greater profitability, of course, you quickly become aware that their decision-making process is frequently based on the future – and that that future is not the next closing bell on Wall Street or even the next fiscal quarter. Decisions are often based on what’s best for the next generation, or the generation after that. That may sound like a line from a PBS documentary or a coffee mug, but it’s true. For every time I’ve been frustrated by the failure of a tribe to take advantage of some short-term decision that would benefit the bottom line, I was also proud to work for an organization that had the courage to take the longer, better path forward.

The short-term focus of corporate ownership has given us tighter slots and exorbitant resort fees, taken away free parking, produced 6-5 blackjack, reduced benefits, wiped out or laid off hundreds of thousands of workers and thrown exorbitant pressures on the ones that remain, and produced multimillion-dollar salaries for CEOs. There must be a better way.

From proprietary brands to giant cabinets to video games, here are 10 trends to watch in the new year.

by Frank Legato

In November, we examined what to look for in the booths of slot manufacturers at the Global Gaming Expo. Now that another G2E has come and gone, it’s time for a summary of the trends that will shape the slot floor in 2020 and beyond.

New technology in systems, new game styles, and some game mechanics that are starting to explode in popularity will appear this year. While we noted a few of these in our pre-G2E analysis, the displays of the slot manufacturers at the show both validated those choices and will join others in changing the shape, look and offerings of the slot floor. Here are 10 trends for the new year that are changing the nature of slot operations in the casino industry.

by Buddy Frank

“A child of the Great Depression, legendary mathematician Edward O. Thorp invented card counting, proving the seemingly impossible: that you could beat the dealer at the blackjack table. As a result, he launched a gambling renaissance. His remarkable success—and mathematically unassailable method—caused such an uproar that casinos altered the rules of the game to thwart him and the legions he inspired. They barred him from their premises, even put his life in jeopardy. Nonetheless, gambling was forever changed.”

With that as the pitch, how could you not want to read this book?

Indeed, Thorp’s name is legendary in blackjack circles. The first two books I ever read on gaming were Richard Epstein’s 1967 Theory of Gambling and Statistical Logic and Thorp’s 1962 Beat the Dealer. If you’re a serious card player, or trying to make a career in the pit, both of these are almost mandatory.

I’m no genius, but I was a university engineering student when I tackled Epstein, so that book may be a bit intimating for those without a strong math background. Thorp’s first book, however, was both instructional and easy to comprehend, which may explain why it’s since sold over a million copies.

ReelHot December 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
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.
ExCel London - 02/04/2020 - 02/06/2020
ICE London is the benchmark and driver of the B2B Gaming industry's international growth. Coming together for three days to engage with the latest solutions, content and networking opportunities across the globe and across all sectors of gaming. ICE London presents the complete platform for you to build revenue, innovations and invaluable relationships.
Crowne Plaza, Dubai - 02/26/2020 - 02/27/2020
AI adoption will account for 45% of the world economy’s total gains by 2030. The UAE ranks first in the Middle Eastern world in terms of expected annual growth of AI contribution to the economy at 33.5%. As a hub for technology and innovation, Dubai is the epicenter of all things AI in the Middle East. In addition, Dubai also has a burgeoning gaming market for games of skill and games of chance, video gaming, the racing industry, AR, VR and eSports.
This report is edited by Buddy Frank, Frank Legato, and Justin Martin