The Game-Changers: Top Gaming Vendors Target Social Media and Acquisitions

Mark Fogarty
11/22/14

The top American Indian gaming vendors are rapidly expanding into the new markets developing in mobile and social media play at the same time as industry consolidation is giving them a chance to increase market share through savvy acquisitions.

More and more, gaming vendors are helping Indian casinos develop an integrated strategy across all platforms, including land-based casinos, social media sites on the Internet, and access by laptops, tablets and handheld devices like smartphones.

These opportunities for the biggest players come amidst a backdrop of continuing year-over-year revenue increases for Indian gaming. Ernest L. Stevens Jr., Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association, noted at this year’s NIGA annual convention that the sector saw $28.6 billion in revenues for 2013, a 2.5 percent jump over 2012. Stevens also noted the presence of 381 vendors exhibiting at NIGA, which drew 5,700 attendees.

One example of the integrated strategy comes from Austria-based Novomatic Group. Its Greentube Pro subsidiary is now making a big push to integrate social media gaming into small- to medium-sized Indian casinos. Greentube recently told ICTMN that its private label social gaming for Indian casinos as well as access to Novomatic’s hundreds of games will help keep a casino’s brand in front of its land-based players and attract new ones as well.

Ken Huang, a consultant for Greentube, explained that the physical casino will give online IDs to players in its loyalty programs. These customers will play on the casino’s Facebook site when they get home, developing even more brand recognition that will prompt them to return to the casino. Also, those players will then recommend their Facebook friends to like the social media casino, gaining new customers that are key prospects to come in to the physical casino. Gabriel Cianchetto, president of market development for Greentube North America, said this is “a phenomenal way for casinos to keep in touch with players.”

Does the online/land-based casino connection work? According to Greentube, more than 35 million people in the United States visit social casino sites each month, and 82 percent of them have visited a land-based casino in the past year.

Meanwhile the acquisitions market has been very busy in the last year or so, with Aristocrat buying Video Games Technology, Bally acquiring SHML/Shufflemaster and Dragonplay and IGT’s just-announced sale to the Italian GTECH S.p.A. These are just the biggest deals going down as top vendors maneuver to give themselves strategic advantages.

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