Sabby Gill, Senior VP of International Sales at IGT
Highway Games recently had the chance to talk with Senior VP of International Sales at International Game Technology (IGT), Sabby Gill, about the company's involvement with G2E Asia, their history and future within the Asian Gaming market, plans for 2014 and what they are most excited about for the future.
Highway Games: G2E Asia debuted in 2007, the same year IGT opened a second office in China – the first in Macau in 2005. What is IGT’s history with the show? How long have you been showcasing products at G2E Asia and what do you think the benefits are as an exhibitor?
Sabby Gill: IGT has a strong history with the show having seen the potential of Asia for the outset. The show has become the launch platform for our new product offerings and has become the focal point for the industry in Asia as Asia has grown astronomically in size. Additionally, IGT has strong relationships with several of the top resorts in Asia, including MGM and Sands. Our involvement with G2E Asia is important as it shows our continued focus on to the players in the region, to the customers, and to the investment community.
HG: How has the Asian gaming market changed or evolved since IGT established offices within China? What predictions can you make about the future of the market, and what is IGT’s role in that future?
SG: In terms of its future, this is where IGT’s strength lies. IGT was borne out of the transition of Vegas from a tables and VIP market to a more mass market experience and we see places like Macau tracking along similar lines. And this is where IGT is poised to grow as we have the widest portfolio of games, not just those that are designed for player preferences in the region, but also mass market themes and brands with playing styles that appeal to the more casual player.
HG: More specifically, what do you see for the future of Macau and IGT’s role in that future?
SG: IGT comes equipped with one of the world’s largest portfolios for the region. We are one of the few suppliers who have global relationships with the main players developing properties in Macau. IGT can deliver what the properties need as they diversify from their focus on tables. This is not just in games but also with valuable Systems offerings as well.
HG: IGT has become synonymous with innovation and celebrated for a central focus on creating engaging content. What can we expect to see from IGT at G2E Asia and for 2014 overall?
SG: This year we have a strong focus on progressive links for the region. Having had huge success with our Megabucks link at LVS in Macau; we have 5 progressive links on show at G2E Asia. Our hero link is the new San Xing Bao Xi (3 Heavenly Stars) … which we have developed in response to our customers’ requests.
HG: The company often talks a bout "culturally-enhanced games". What do you mean when referring to “culturally-enhanced games”? What is the process/research involved in creating “culturally-enhanced games”?
SG: Over the last 3 years, IGT has increased its research and development programs in the region. From one of the largest player surveys to discover player preferences and distinct regional needs to one on one surveys with operators – all this work is funnelling back into our game studios to design games that are specifically designed with the features and maths that players want and operators need. We have over 15 such games with ‘Asian’ themes and other non-regional themes that have maths and an experience designed with the players in Asia’s needs in mind.
HG: How do you make IGT products stand out from the crowd, especially in such a highly-competitive industry?
SG: It’s not just products, although our Systems products stand out with unique features such as Lucky Chip – which recently won an award. It’s about relationships and about having the product to support a huge and diverse player base, with an expansive library that can be rolled out to support the needs of a changing game mix on a casino floor. It’s about being invested for the long term so our customers know they can count on us.
HG: Are there developments beyond 2014 in the works that IGT is excited about? What can you tell us about these developments, what they mean for IGT, and what impact they could have on the relevant markets?
SG: We are focused on long-term growth in all sectors of land-based gaming in the coming years. We are primed to benefit from the record-breaking performances and coming growth of the Cotai Strip in Macau. We also see the tourism booms in countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia which are positive signs for IGT’s plans to expand our game offerings even further across the region. We are watching Japan closely as well, as they will undoubtedly have a fantastic opportunity for revenue generation in the country in the coming years, should casinos be legalized in time for the Olympics in 2020.
Highway Games would like to thank IGT for taking the time to speak with us, we're very excited to see what they and G2E Asia has to offer, and wish IGT all the best in their future endeavors.