Gaming supplier Aruze Gaming America Inc is shifting focus in research and development to increase its portfolio of products tailored for Asia. The first products emerging from this strategy change are set to hit the market by the end of the year, says group chief executive Takahiro Usui.
“Our strategy for this year is to change a little bit the direction of the research and development team. We were focusing on the U.S. market, almost 80 percent to 90 percent, but we will change the organisation of the research and development department,” Mr Usui told GGRAsia.
He said one of the features Aruze Gaming will be introducing in the new games for Asia is higher volatility. “VIP players are willing to spend more money, but also want bigger wins,” Mr Usui said.
The new products are being developed in Japan.
Aruze Gaming America is a privately held company owned by Japanese pachinko mogul Kazuo Okada. Mr Okada controls Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, which is building a US$2.3-billion casino resort in Manila’s Entertainment City.
Mr Usui said Aruze Gaming is looking to sell more products right across the Philippines market, as the country expands its gaming industry to attract greater numbers of international tourists.
At another lot in Entertainment City, City of Dreams Manila casino resort is scheduled to open in October to coincide with China’s Golden Week holiday, Armin Santos, executive vice president for integrated resorts at co-owner Belle Corp, confirmed to GGRAsia during the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia 2014 last month. The US$1.2-billion casino resort will feature up to 365 gaming tables, 1,680 slot machines and 1,680 electronic table games upon opening.
Two other large casino-resorts are expected to open there within the next five years, including Mr Okada’s.
While Aruze’s slot-machine portfolio is not yet “100 percent suitable” to the Asian market, Mr Usui says Aruze Gaming’s electronic table games are very successful in the region, especially in Macau. He expects the segment to continue growing in the near future.
Union Gaming Research Macau Ltd forecast in a client note issued on Wednesday that the Macau electronic table game market could grow from the current 5,500 seats to at least 9,000 seats within the next three years.
To help growth in Asia, Aruze Gaming promoted Albert Yu in February to assistant general manager of its Macau subsidiary, overlooking Asian and European operations. The company boasted the largest booth (pictured) – covering almost 600 square metres (6,458 square feet) – at G2E Asia 2014, hosted in Macau.
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"The six Macau casino operators should not be penalised for upping expenditure on player incentives, so long as their EBITDA margins are not materially diluted”
George Choi and Ryan Cheung
Analysts at Citigroup