Since Andrew Burke took the reins as CEO of slot manufacturer Bluberi in January 2020, the supplier has grown from what had been a Canada-based Class II supplier into a significant player in the Class III slot sector, winning two awards in this year’s Eilers & Krejcik Slot Awards. Burke has augmented a strong team based in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada with many veterans of the Class III market, including IGT veteran Michael Brennan, now Bluberi’s chief product officer. Burke (along with Michael Brennan, now Bluberi’s Chief Product Officer) spoke with GGB Editor Frank Legato from Bluberi’s Las Vegas offices in April. (Listen to complete podcast above or see video below).
GGB: Tell us what went into forging a new team at Bluberi that has so quickly expanded into the Class III market.
Burke: Bluberi’s sort of an overnight success story that was about 30 years in the making, going back to the founding of the company on a rich legacy of high-quality graphics, entertainment-based games, and a really sound technology. We had this amazing core group of folks in Drummondville, Quebec, who have been working on this business for a really long time with a tremendous amount of talent. When we paired that with some of our newer key additions, Bluberi’s become a superpower for us. So, it does feel quick, but it’s been a long time in the making.
What are you doing differently than past operations?
I think there are quite a few things that we’ve been doing differently, but our culture lies in having the Canadian team and the U.S. team really finding a tremendous amount of common ground and working together. It’s blended together to create one culture… Everyone is really working together and is in sync.
How have investments in research and development, and other areas, helped?
We’re making a ton of investments in R&D, but I think for a company our size, you’d be shocked by the investments we’ve made in product management, gaming operations, analytics—tools to tie all of our data together and to make better decisions. We really pride ourselves for being a small company in over-indexing in all of those areas of the business, which are extremely important to take a little company and make it big, and to get where you want to go faster.
To that point, you are now poised to grow. What is the plan for expansion in North America, and what’s next for Bluberi?
We want to keep expanding. I think we will have access to roughly a third of total jurisdictions in the U.S. By the end of 2026, we’d like to be in every market in North America. We actually just started the process here in Nevada, so that’s about a 15-month timeline. So, our goal is to really keep pushing. We actually doubled the business year-over-year last year, and we’re on track to more than double the business this year. It’s surprised some people maybe, but we don’t view ourselves as underdogs anymore. We view ourselves as coming out of that emerging tier of suppliers and moving our way up into the next tier. And that’s really our goal—to build this into a long-lasting, really big business that competes in all segments of the market.
With your higher profile, your products are getting more notice. Is there any concern you’re becoming more of a target for copy by other suppliers?
We know it’s happening. We saw our first iteration of Devil’s Lock (award-winner for Top-Performing Game from an Emerging Supplier at the EKG Awards) at the Indian Gaming trade show, and people are taking notice of what we’re doing, and want to swim in that same lane that we we’re carving out and creating. We’re not going to lose too much sleep about it; we know it’s going to happen. We’re trying to be diverse in our approach, and we welcome folks to make (other) versions, as everybody in this industry does, and we’re excited about all the next things we’ve got.