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When the land-based industry hit pause, this innovative game maker invested its time in improvements. It's now back in expansion mode--on land and online


Trading on the global success of Link King and Link Me games, global game innovator Zitro has unveiled more link-based slots: 88 Link and Bashiba Link, initially slated for release in European and Latin American casinos. The games had been introduced in Mexico and several other countries before the Covid-19 pandemic shuttered casinos worldwide.

“We had to get through very complicated months, with little income, but very high operating costs,” says Sebtasián Salat, CEO of the Luxemburg-based company. “However, we’ve never lost confidence that the world, and with it our industry, would reopen and return, to a certain extent, to normalcy. We have not stopped for a moment creating new games for operators, and have invested our time in improving our processes. We’re making them even faster and more efficient, for when the industry is back in the game.”

Founded by Johnny Ortiz in 2007, Zitro worked on an arsenal of new games for the Illusion, Allure and Fusion cabinets. Illusion includes a massive 43-inch Ultra HD curved monitor and a 21.5-inch LCD topper, along with an improved version of a touch-screen technology known as SmartDeck. The cabinet also contains an extremely powerful Triton processor and a cutting-edge digital sound system with sub-woofers that allow impressive graphics and audio.

Their slim contours mean the Illusion, Allure and Fusion cabinets occupy less space on a casino floor than other machines on the market, according to Salat; the cabinets’ ergonomic design allows for plenty of leg space.

“Zitro is geared up to help casinos reopening their venues by offering high-profit products that players love,” he says.

Both 88 Link and Bashiba Link include multi-level stand-alone and local-area progressive jackpots. They provide players with exciting bonus rounds in addition to dazzling sound and graphics, Salat says. The new Link series, like existing models, features SynchroScreens, in which the upper screens sync up on a bank level, creating a visual spectacle that is aesthetically comparable to cost-intensive overhead signage.

88 Link Lucky Charms, a multi-game progressive bank that combines for the first time Zitro’s Link Bonus with a multi-way game mechanic on the Allure cabinet, offers four games inspired by Japanese culture.

“The games proved extremely popular within the player community and highly profitable for operators,” Salat says. “We are resuming these launches and taking them and all of our great games to newer markets, such as Florida and Asia.”

The first Link King units were installed in Florida, at the Gulfstream Park Casino, Hard Rock Casino, Dania Beach Casino and Coconut Creek Casino.

The pandemic has also accelerated technological changes and the overall online business. Many land-based operators throughout the world have realized that online gaming is not just a business unto itself, but a way to maintain their player base and keep them entertained during Covid-19.

“At Zitro, we have increased our efforts to provide video bingo and video slot games to the online casinos, and we will dedicate even more resources in order to expand our product library for this market,” Salat says. “We believe that the growth of the online gaming as a consequence of the pandemic will consolidate and even continue to grow further.”

In the last few years, Zitro has evolved as a leading game supplier for Mexican casinos, with a growing presence throughout Latin America. The company has achieved similar success in Europe, where Zitro has focused on launching its products. The first installations have been completed in the U.S., and more banked games will arrive in Asian markets as casinos get back to business.

“In regards to video bingo, we center all our efforts in commercializing these products in European, Latin American and Asian markets, where this type of game is extremely popular,” Salat says.

Zitro made its mark first in bingo halls and then with video bingo before adding video slots in 2016.

“We will be revealing new games as demand grows and as operators go back to usual business,” Salat says. “In the video bingo market, we have just launched a complete new and innovative set of games under the Dragon Lamp Progressive brand. This new package is taking traditional video bingo to a whole new level, offering complete new game mechanics that provide players with high-quality entertainment.”

Bill Sokolic is a veteran journalist who has covered gaming and tourism for more than 25 years as a staff writer and freelancer with various publications and wire services. He's also written stories for news, entertainment, features, and business. He co-authored Atlantic City Revisited, a pictorial history of the resort.

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