Slot and system supplier Bally Technologies dazzled its systems customers last month with its 10th annual Systems User Conference, held in the East for the first time at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun casino resort. The event hosted some 451 attendees, including 328 officials from casino operators across the country, for an exchange of ideas, introductions of new system technology, and educational sessions on the ways to best use what have become the most sought-after system products in the industry.
According to Bruce Rowe, senior vice president of sales support and customer consulting, while the attendance figures were up—particularly the number of operators, up to 320 from last year’s 180—what was more impressive was the diversity of the attendees. “We’re getting more and more participation from marketing, gaming operations and senior management than we have in the past,” he said, “because these (system) tools are being seen more as competitive weapons, and the general managers want to know how to use them.”
Those tools are related to two main Bally system areas—the Elite Bonusing Suite (EBS) of networked products for slot floors, and the Bally platform for mobile and online gaming.
Operators such as Buddy Frank, vice president of slots for California’s Pechanga Casino—where the previous two Systems User Conferences were held—joined Eldorado IT Director Peter Broughton and Mohegan’s own Slot Operations VP Frank Neborsky in a panel discussion on the benefits of the EBS stable of products, including iVIEW DM Tournaments and Virtual Racing, two products rapidly spreading across the industry which link slots on the floor via Ethernet to community bonus events that can encompass anywhere from a bank of games to the entire floor.
One major product launch announced at the User Conference was Super Slotline, a technology that allows customers to switch from a serial to a network-capable floor without the cost of retooling for Ethernet. The technology, not unlike a modem that allows digital television reception, creates what Rowe calls a “faux Ethernet” that allows the networked capabilities of EBS for around $100 per slot machine—as opposed to around $500 per slot for complete conversion from serial to Ethernet.
The Bally interactive product group used the conference to demonstrate how casinos can link the mobile, online and land-based casino worlds to create a cycle of business that benefits all three types of gaming.
Finally, the company rolled out return-on-investment numbers for many of its most popular system products. Among the statistics presented were numbers showing a 28.5 percent increase in coin-in during community bonus events and huge jumps in the number of players enrolled in loyalty clubs.