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PEOPLE TO WATCH 2014: Victor Duarte

Senior Vice President, Gaming and Content, GTECH

PEOPLE TO WATCH 2014: Victor Duarte

Last year, Victor Duarte’s job got a bit more interesting, as did his company. Duarte was president and CEO of Canadian VLT giant Spielo in 2010 when he was called upon to help oversee the merger and combination of Spielo with sister company Atronic, as COO of the then-newly formed Spielo International. At the same time, he also incorporated the two subsidiaries’ technology with that of their sister company, Lottomatica, the Italian lottery operator.

Ultimately, Duarte would help to oversee the combination of those companies’ gaming machine technologies under one corporate umbrella and brand: GTECH.

Traditionally a giant in worldwide lottery technology and services, GTECH is now one of the gaming industry’s most diverse suppliers, with products ranging from casino slots to VLTs to interactive games and lottery systems serving multiple continents.

“GTECH is our new brand,” says Duarte. “We felt that GTECH was the strongest global brand we had in our portfolio, and we’re obviously going to invest in and enhance that brand going forward. However, that doesn’t diminish Spielo, which has done a great job of enhancing its market presence over the last several years. I believe Spielo as a product brand is still very important to our casino and gaming-focused customers.”

If there was any doubt that Duarte, now senior vice president of gaming and content for GTECH, was up to the task of capitalizing on all the technological assets of the newly merged company, it was put to rest with the recent Global Gaming Expo, at which GTECH unveiled the consensus hit of the show, the remarkable Sphinx 3D slot machine.

That was just the latest of several dynamic new slot products Duarte has ushered into the market, and which are now part of the GTECH library. The company has achieved its most recent casino successes with recurring-revenue games like “Plants vs. Zombies” and others under a license with internet social game giant PopCap, and continued rejuvenations of its franchise “Deal Or No Deal” licensed brand.

With a greater focus on R&D, Duarte says that product library will expand even further. “In both our recurring-revenue and core-games segments, we are investing more,” he says. “We want to grow the business in the next several years. We expect to increase the number of games we produce each year, and expect to bring those forward on a global basis.”

Meanwhile, Duarte has helped GTECH achieve its most aggressive growth to date across a number of global gaming business segments, largely driven by the company’s successes in Italy, Canada, and the worldwide casino gaming market.

Under Duarte, GTECH was first-to-market in the highly competitive new Italian VLT market. “Being first is important, but being sustainable is even more so,” says Duarte. “Over the last several years, our content has continued to perform very well in that market, and that’s created demand. The success of Spielo’s product has created demand from the other concessionaires in the market.”

Today, the company supplies 10 different Italian VLT concessionaires, and latest available data shows GTECH’s VLT supplier revenue market share at more than 50 percent.

Duarte has also overseen GTECH’s most successful Canadian VLT and systems replacement cycle to date, despite a flood of new competitors to this market.

In 2014, Duarte says the company will work to build the reputation of the GTECH brand in all of its business segments. “We’ve announced the brand, but that’s only the first step,” he says. “The way to implement the brand and build perceived value is by doing what we do day-in and day-out—by delivering compelling products, top-performing content and the highest level of customer service.”

Duarte’s division is responsible for all gaming content coming from GTECH across land-based and interactive channels. He says the company’s main focus this year will be to spread its content further across North American casinos, as well as new potential VLT markets in Europe and elsewhere—and in channels other than brick-and-mortar casinos like internet and mobile gaming.

By any measurement, the new GTECH is off to a great start.

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.