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GROWTH FOCUS: Cath Burns

Global Chief Executive Officer, TCSJohnHuxley

GROWTH FOCUS: Cath Burns

In Cath Burns, TCSJohnHuxley may just have found the perfect leader at the perfect time.

Burns, who became global chief executive officer of the London-based table game supply company last March, came to TCSJohnHuxley fresh off six years in which her achievements as vice president-Asia Pacific for slot-maker Bally Technologies displayed the precise skills that will help take TCSJohnHuxley to new heights.

In short, she helped Bally grow and prosper in the Pacific Rim. Under Burns, Bally prospered in Macau, returned to the Australia and New Zealand markets after decades with no presence there, and achieved massive new system installations at Venetian Macao, Galaxy Macau, Starworld, Grand Lisboa, Casino Lisboa and Marina Bay Sands Singapore.

Burns now looks to foster the same kind of growth at TCSJohnHuxley, albeit with a core product range that covers the table-game side of the business rather than the slots. “With everything, it’s about adding value for the customer,” Burns says. “Whether it’s Bally or TCSJohnHuxley, both companies are looking to add value to customers, drive revenue and drive efficiencies.”

Burns is leading TCSJohnHuxley just as the company is ripe for new growth—not only into new markets but in new product areas. The company has long been one of the world leaders in supply of traditional table games and equipment, and recently has gained significant ground in the area of multi-player electronic table games as well. However, the company also is rapidly becoming known as a pioneer in the application of advanced technology to the table game area. In addition to electronic side games and progressive systems, the company’s system division is concentrating on helping operators manage and grow revenue on their table games.

From products like Gaming Floor Live—which is a real-time data management system that tracks data and performs analysis on wagering, float, and even whether a roulette wheel is balanced—to tablet roulette, which allows roulette play on mobile devices, to Supernova, a table game bonusing and progressive jackpot system, TCSJohnHuxley is fostering growth by improving the efficiency and earning power of core products.

“We’re very focused on getting real-time data on the table side,” says Burns, “on getting real-time data out of chippers, out of displays, out of roulette wheels, which helps the customer analyze what’s actually going on in their business, so they can make strategic decisions.”

Burns is bringing a very methodical approach to taking the company forward. She spent her first months at TCSJohnHuxley carefully evaluating the company and its products. “I spent the first couple of months talking to our employees, our customers,” she says, “understanding the business—what we do well, what we don’t do so well, what we need more of—and have prioritized from there. Out of that, we’ve looked at the core infrastructure of our company. Are we ready for growth? We are getting prepared for it, so we have to focus on that—which we’re actively doing now.

“We’ve reviewed our product portfolio carefully, both traditional and technical products. We would like more technical products—things like Gaming Floor Live; Supernova, our table bonus system; and our tablet product. The reason we want to focus on those software-based products is that they become a foundation for us to move forward and grow with.”

The idea, says Burns, is to offer a total product solution to the customer. “We want to take a very product-focused approach, in which we look at what the benefit of the product is, and create a roadmap for each of the core products,” she says. “And in that roadmap, we will work out what we want to deliver, how we want to deliver it, and when we want to deliver and integrate it into the whole portfolio.

“I would like to see all core products integrated with our technical products and our traditional products, and then offer a core solution to the customer. We’ll take a very focused product management approach to how we’re developing product roadmaps and deliverables over the long term.”

She adds that new product development is moving forward on a common platform. “Whether it’s games, efficiency-type products or systems, they would all go on the same platform,” she says. “Then, we’re initiating a very targeted marketing approach. Let’s look at who’s going to adopt our products, support them, grow them, and build our markets from there.”

For Burns, expansion in new markets requires an approach just as methodical as that used in improving the core product range. “Asia is our focus. We’re growing in Asia,” she says. “We’ve added people in project management, technical support, sales—across our business—to get ready for the next phase in Macau and Asia.”

Macau is just the beginning. Burns says TCSJohnHuxley is preparing for explosive growth throughout Asia, gearing up for new sales in the Philippines, Vietnam and elsewhere.

At the same time, growth for TCSJohnHuxley continues in the Americas. “I’d like to see us have more of a presence in South America,” says Burns. “So, we’ll start to analyze where and what we can offer throughout South America. We need to focus on our business in North America as well. We’ve got a good business in Canada, and we’ve got a good business in most states in the U.S. That said, we would like them to be bigger.

“Again, we’re making sure we’ve got the right product mix for the specific region, and the right customer relationships.”The new year represents a wealth of new opportunity for TCSJohnHuxley, and Burns says she’s ready to make sure the company seizes those opportunities. “If we can deliver these products, implement them properly and drive that value, we can build our business around those high-level software products that drive business and drive revenues at the operator level,” she says.

“Marrying up the opportunity to our capability is probably our biggest challenge at the moment. We are committed to the right support infrastructure, and products that customers want to purchase. If we don’t have that commitment, we can’t support our customers globally.”

It’s a strategy that worked famously when Burns was with Bally. It’s a good bet that success will be repeated at TCSJohnHuxley.

 

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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