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ALL IN THE FAMILY: Allon Englman

Vice President of Game Design and Strategy, WMS Gaming

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Allon Englman

Allon Englman was destined to be linked with gaming. His parents met in front of a slot machine.

The Sydney, Australia native has served the industry since 1997, first with IGT and for the last 11 years with Waukegan, Illinois-based WMS Gaming. He is the company’s vice president and design chief, directing the content for everything WMS produces. The company manufactures slot machines, video lottery terminals and software for casinos. It constantly produces new games and platforms, keeping Englman on the move. WMS has offices in major American gaming centers like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Its international bases include Argentina, Australia, India, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, China and the U.K.

Englman’s influence encompasses several areas.

On the product side, he oversees areas like game design, mathematical probability, product strategy, art and sound. He also pilots the company’s market research and performance management functions, which are responsible for determining what players want and how WMS products perform in the field.

 Finally, he needs to stay abreast of competitors and changing laws in each jurisdiction. Englman has obtained 55 patents, with another 134 under consideration covering many areas like community gaming, game mechanics and networked gaming.

He’s been involved in the development of approximately 1,000 games throughout his career.

Talk about a labor of love.

“After growing up in a family of people who appreciated the culture of gambling, I am fascinated by all of it,” Englman says. “This job allows me to probe the psychology of why people do what they do, what kinds of things they want in a game, etc. The beauty of this job is that I’ll never solve it. Players are unpredictable, so what works and what doesn’t work is constantly changing.”

 The upcoming year is an exciting one for WMS and Englman, with three new platforms being launched.

“This last year we have spent putting the finishing touches on our new cabinets Blade and Gamefield XD, as well as our new My Poker product,”  Englman says. “These new products will drive WMS into the future. While developing these products, we have taken a fanatical approach to listening to our players and customers. An example of this is our Bonus Guarantee and Wager Saver features we have in all our Blade games. These features were designed by listening to our players.”

Time will determine whether these products meet the success of Hot Hot Super Jackpot, the G Plus series of games or Monopoly Big Event. For Englman, hearing the crowd roar at those games is like watching a home run leave the park.

“There is nothing more satisfying than seeing an idea that has come into your head turn into a product that goes on the casino floor and makes people happy to play it,” he says. “When you are watching the people interact with the game and enjoying themselves, that is immensely satisfying.”

Casino Connection Sports Editor Dave Bontempo is an award-winning sports writer and broadcaster who calls boxing matches all over the world. He has covered the Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs, as well as numerous PGA, LPGA and Seniors Golf Tour events, and co-hosted the Casino Connection television program with Publisher Roger Gros.