Blaine Graboyes is the CEO at GameCo, a company that is trying to modernise and add some excitement to casino floors the world over with its Video Game Gambling Machines (VGMs).
GameCo will have a stand at the upcoming Betting on Esports 2017 Conference in London in September (13-15). Attendees will also be able to hear Blaine speak on the ‘Saving Las Vegas, how and why esports and casinos should work together’. Joining him on this panel will be Alex Igelman, CEO of Millennial Esports, Seth Schorr, Chairman of the Downtown Grand and Melissa Blau, Director at iGaming Capital will moderate.
ESI: You’ve been making some moves in North America and are set to enter Macau…how do these markets differ in terms of the products on casino floors?
Blaine: While the North American market differs considerably from the Macau market, there are many commonalities, especially as it relates to attracting the next generation of casino patrons. In North America, slot machines generally produce about 75% of casino profits. However in Macau, the business is primarily focused on table games. There are significantly less slot machines in Macau as a percentage of the casino floor. Both markets, as well as other international markets, are definitely focused on diversification and the ability to generate incremental revenue from new customers.
“At GameCo, we’re also actively advancing expansion in Latin America, the U.K., and the Netherlands, as well as speciality markets such as cruise ships”
At GameCo, we’re also actively advancing expansion in Latin America, the U.K., and the Netherlands, as well as speciality markets such as cruise ships. The entire casino industry is now keenly focusing on innovation with new products with an eye towards expanding the player base and attract a younger audience.
In Macau, we’re definitely looking to create some new games specifically for the Chinese gambler while also bringing some of our best performing games from North America that will appeal to Asian gamers. We’ve also recently announced a collaboration with BANDAI NAMCO to bring Soulcalibur II to casinos. This will be the first AAA video game available in casinos and is opening the opportunity for GameCo to work with other top video game developers and publishers. These games will have strong appeal worldwide.
Esports Insider: Why did you decide to exhibit and speak at Betting on Esports?
Blaine: For a number of reasons, including a dedication to supporting the entire industry when it comes to innovation and the adoption of new products and services for casinos.
“While GameCo’s Video Game Gambling Machines (VGMs) are not directly in the space of esports, they are adjacent and appeal to many of the same customers”
While GameCo’s Video Game Gambling Machines (VGMs) are not directly in the space of esports, they are adjacent and appeal to many of the same customers. At GameCo, we use the tagline “The Video Game Casino” to show our positioning and support for the connection between video games and casinos in general. We believe that Gamers (video game enthusiasts) are one of the key target audiences for the casino of the future, along with Millennials as an age group and tech-savvy consumers as well. GameCo also has a wholly-owned subsidiary called The Gamer Agency, which is a premiere independent esports production company.
“In order to properly monetise the opportunity that esports offers, casinos need a strategy that moves beyond simply hosting one-off events and instead looks to programs that can operate on a daily basis year round”
We currently run esports programs in the U.S. for major brands and venues and have been actively expanding to provide services to casinos around esports. In order to properly monetise the opportunity that esports offers, casinos need a strategy that moves beyond simply hosting one-off events and instead looks to programs that can operate on a daily basis year round.
The Gamer Agency is perhaps the best positioned to provide such strategies and production services to casinos, given the parent company’s (GameCo) experience in casino services and the fact that we have, or are seeking, gaming licenses in most gambling jurisdictions. Casinos prefer to work with partners who are licensed as it provides a high level of diligence for their compliance with regulators.
ESI: Where do you see the esports opportunity for European casinos? After all, this isn’t Las Vegas…
Blaine: Gamers are everywhere and you don’t need to be in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or New York to attract an audience to your venue.
Gamers are an underserved audience in that there are few destinations for us to get together, socialise, play video games, and now gamble too. European casinos should be looking for ways to build daily, year round esports programs that entail a wide range of activities and move beyond hosting one-off events. This may involve components such as online leagues, dedicated areas for casual competitions, an entertainment strategy with content on Twitch and other platforms, building suites and bootcamp rooms for gamers and esports teams, and producing top-tier stadium events that do not rely on existing tournament organisers.
“Gamers are an underserved audience in that there are few destinations for us to get together, socialise, play video games, and now gamble too”
Casinos are the experts in hospitality and delivery of a “VIP Experience” to their customers. This provides a massive and unique opportunity for casinos to build valuable programs that appeal to Gamers everywhere. As new products and services enter the market, including skill-based games and esports betting, casinos will be well positioned to leverage their reach with Gamers.
ESI: What can attendees look forward to hearing you discuss on the ‘Saving Las Vegas’ panel?
Blaine: We’re thrilled to be contributing to the panel and will work hard to provide a basis of information on skill-based gaming in general as well as specifically about GameCo’s video game gambling products.
We will be showing demos of our latest games, which include some partnerships with top entertainment brands. At GameCo, we have a philosophy of “Radical Transparency” which we believe helps the industry adopt new, innovative technologies. As such, we will be sharing detailed performance data from our VGM placements, including metrics on Win Per Unit, Average Wager, and player demographics. Additionally, we have been working with a number of partners on several different thought leadership pieces that address the opportunities to attract incremental revenue and further innovation in the casino industry.
We’re looking forward to reviewing these insights at the conference. Casinos have invested billions of dollars in their facilities and offer a level of amenities not found anywhere else. We do not see land-based casinos going anywhere in the coming decades. But it is important for casinos to expand their product offerings for the next generation of customers.
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