These days, more than ever, the progress of the gaming industry is marked by technological innovation. This is the 10th year we’ve logged this evolution by asking industry professionals to nominate what they feel are the most innovative technological developments of the year. At last month’s Global Gaming Expo, we announced the 10th annual Global Gaming Business Gaming & Technology Awards.
The Gaming & Technology Awards have become an important benchmark of achievement over the past decade, and this year is no different. As always, we separated the nominations and awards into four categories: Best Consumer Service Technology, Best Productivity-Enhancement Technology, Best Slot Product and Best Table Game Product or Innovation.
All of our nominee products and services were examined by a distinguished panel of judges, comprised of longtime industry professionals in a variety of disciplines. This year’s judges included Claudia Winkler, senior vice president, professional services, NEWave; Rob Russell, gaming analyst, Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C.; Gerhard Burda, managing director, ESCAPES Advisory Services; Lindsay Stewart, vice president of electronic gaming, Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM); and Frank Neborsky, senior vice president of slot operations for Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.
The judges had a typically difficult choice from a collection of great innovations. We asked them to pick the top three in each category, as well as two “Honorable Mention” selections. Here are what the judges consider the cutting edge in this year’s technological developments:
The top award for Best Consumer Service Technology goes to Aristocrat Technologies for its nRich Bonusing Engine, a module for the company’s popular Oasis 360 casino management system. The nRich module calculates daily theoretical win in real time, creating anticipation by giving players a meter showing them how close they are to a bonus reward. Thus, it is a reward system that actually increases time on device.
Second place in the Consumer Services Technology category goes to Bally Technologies for its new Mobile Platform, which allows rapid deployment of Bally games across smart-phone operating systems and other mobile devices. Third place goes to International Game Technology for its Intelligent Bonusing solution, another system that tracks player behavior and spend in real time for targeted rewards. Honorable Mentions include the JCM Global Paycheck 4 thermal printer and Multimedia Games’ TournEvent 4.0 slot tournament controller.
In the Productivity-Enhancement Technology category, this year’s winner is the Gaming eDeck from Cantor Gaming, a wireless device already in operation at the Venetian and elsewhere that lets players wager with real money anywhere in a casino where it is permissible.
Second place in Productivity-Enhancement goes to the Revolution System by Rainmaker Group, a leading suite of business-intelligence software products that provides operators the ability to accurately forecast demand to provide optimal pricing models. Third place goes to GLI Mobile, a smart-phone application that gives regulators and suppliers instant access to the global database of Gaming Laboratories International in a secure and password-protected environment. Honorable Mentions for Productivity-Enhancement go to Service Tracking Manager by Bally Technologies and the myDocument Manager Suite from NEWave.
This year’s Best Slot Product is Fish’n for Loot by Bally Technologies. This is one of the first slot games to use Bally’s iDeck interactive button panel, which won first place last year for Productivity-Enhancement.
Second place for Best Slot Product goes to Aruze Gaming for Amazon Fishing, the follow-up to last year’s hit game Paradise Fishing, using “Reel Feel” technology to provide tension on a joystick as players “fish” for a bonus. Third place goes to IGT’s Twilight Zone video slot, which features the image and sound-alike voice of Rod Serling, host of the legendary sci-fi show, as a host to 3D bonus events. Honorable Mentions go to WMS Gaming’s Pirate Battle competitive community video bonus game and Aristocrat’s More Hearts video slot.
This year’s Best Table Game Product or Innovation is Interblock’s G4 Organic Roulette. This is a stylish multi-player roulette game that provides every wager of the live game with a fast pace and immediate payouts.
Second place in the table-game category goes to Shuffle Master for i-Table Roulette, a table-game accounting and player tracking system that combines an electronic betting interface with a live dealer dealing cards from a reading shoe or shuffler, to improve game speed and security. Third place goes to EZ Baccarat with Panda 8 from DEQ Systems, a side bet that replaces the paying of commission on the banker’s hand with the Dragon 7 wager, which pays 40-1 on banker bets if the banker’s hand totals seven. Honorable Mentions in table games go to RFID Poker Table by Gaming Partners International and Pik-It Poker from DigiDeal Corporation.
10th annual Gaming & Technology Awards Winning Entries
Best Consumer Service Technology:
1. Aristocrat Technologies nRich Bonusing Engine
2. Bally Technologies Mobile Platform
3. International Game Technology Intelligent Bonusing
• JCM Global Paycheck 4 Thermal Printer
• Multimedia Games TournEvent 4.0
Best Productivity-Enhancement Technology:
1. Cantor Gaming eDeck
2. Rainmaker Group Revolution System
3. Gaming Laboratories International GLI Mobile
• Bally Technologies Service Tracking Manager
• NEWave myDocumentManager Suite
Best Slot Product:
1. Bally Technologies Fish’n for Loot
2. Aruze Gaming Amazon Fishing
3. International Game Technology The Twilight Zone in 3D Video Slots
• WMS Pirate Battle
• Aristocrat Technologies More Hearts
Best Table Game Product or Innovation:
1. Interblock G4 Organic Roulette OR FBS 12
2. Shuffle Master i-Table Roulette
3. DEQ Systems EZ Baccarat with Panda 8
• Gaming Partners International RFID Poker Table
• DigiDeal Corporation Pik-It Poker