Changing the Face of the Game

New technology fosters greater individualized player experiences and operator creativity

The technology that gaming executives have been waiting for to turn the industry on its head has arrived, and with it, new opportunities to improve the player experience, increase player interaction, and add dramatically more excitement across the casino floor.

Player user-interface tools such as Bally Technologies’ iVIEW Display Manager use picture-in-picture-style technology to present players with more information, interactivity and service options than ever before. Much like the picture-in-picture options on TV, solutions such as iVIEW DM provide information on the main game screen without interrupting play. And since players are focused on that screen, they are more likely to read and react to the messages that appear.

In addition, players can access the services and marketing bonuses they desire. Touch-enabled buttons allow players to request beverages, show times or ticket reservations, choose their favorite bonus games, or tap into other services that the property chooses to offer. Players can even choose which side of the game screen the secondary window appears at the time of sign-up at the players club, and can hide the window if they prefer.

Pechanga Resort & Casino, which has used iVIEW DM for the past two years, has proven the technology on machines from a variety of manufacturers.  Pechanga is now on the cusp of trialing new applications which will radically alter how the property is able to create floor-wide excitement and communicate with their players to improve service and enhance the gaming experience.

“Placing the information in front of the player is smart, but the breakthrough is that they are getting something in return—a chance for more winnings, elevated service options, or choices tailored for them,” says Buddy Frank, vice president of slot operations at Pechanga.

Frank says Pechanga was initially hesitant about the picture-in-picture-style technology, concerned the addition of an on-screen message would be distracting. Player testing showed otherwise.

“As with any piece of new technology, its success is determined by how well you use it,” Frank says. “I’ve watched news programs with scroll bars at the bottom of the screen, an update window in the corner, and a ticker across the top. I have a hard time focusing on what the anchors are saying. So if our players are constantly receiving messages via the iVIEW DM, we’ll drive them crazy. But if we provide information that contains something they want, then we’ve exceeded their expectations.”

The technology adaptation also enables floor-wide bonus games targeted toward specific players and tailored to their personal wagering habits. This ubiquitous experience on any machine, available on games from any manufacturer, opens the door for floor-wide social experiences not previously available.

For instance, Barona Resort & Casino’s recent “Off  ToThe Races” promotion created a social gaming experience across the entire casino floor. Players selected their favorite horse on the iVIEW touch-screen display during game play, and if their horse won, they were awarded a share of $10,000. The casino added to the floor-wide excitement by displaying the race on more than 50 displays in the casino driven by the CoolSign media-management solution, and created content featuring live music, a professional race caller and bugle calls to the post.

“This promotion is the first event ever where 2,000 devices and more than 50 displays were all synchronized for a floor-wide community gaming experience,” says Mike Murphy, Barona’s vice president of technology. “Because our customers had to earn 100 points to be eligible to even participate, it helped generate revenue and increased the percentage of carded play. Plus, the interactivity and ability for players to choose their horse to cheer definitely added a feeling of excitement and anticipation on our floor. Off To The Races has been, by far, our most successful casino promotion.”

Because virtual racing was such a success, Murphy said they will tailor the products and infrastructure created for the promotion to do other floor-wide promotions and events that include interactivity and combine the in-game player user interface with the casino displays and sound system.

This kind of in-game technology to create differentiated player experiences is only the beginning. Bally is preparing to launch its iVIEW DM Wheel, which provides casinos the ability to use the award-winning U-Spin technology (first launched in the Cash Spin slot machine) in floor-wide promotions with a virtual wheel that players can touch and spin on the DM touch-screen display. This and other such applications add dramatic new levels of player interaction and an electric atmosphere across the casino floor.

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Ted Keenan, director of product management for Bally’s Systems Division, is primarily responsible for iVIEW DM and the Elite Bonusing Suite product lines. Prior to joining Bally in 2007, Keenan held executive roles in the online gaming and arcade industries. To reach him, call 702-584-7700, or email tkeenan@ballytech.com.

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