The growth of digital gaming is not just about enhancing the player experience, it’s also enabling operators to drive machine revenues thanks to a combination of data and downloads, as Matt Bicknell, Operations Director at Regal Gaming and Leisure explains.
What are the implications of the digital revolution. Has it impacted the profile of the industry?
Technology has empowered the digital revolution in pub gaming but there’s no doubt that the ‘revolution’ if you want to call it that, is being driven by consumers. Players are voting with their disposable spend and while Regal will continue to cater for those players who do prefer the analogue format, digital represents a more contemporary way of playing which is why it’s acceptance continues to grow. From an industry perspective I think it means that low stake gaming has become more mainstream. Digital games are easier to understand and therefore easier to play, which means that they are more accessible and appeal to a broader audience, enabling the sector to move away from its previous niche reputation. The percentage payout on digital pub games has also increased significantly making it extremely good value for money entertainment. It’s a positive development on so many levels.
As one of the industry’s leading operators how is digital impacting the way Regal does business?
98 percent of Regal’s digital estate is now connected, which means that we have access to more data than ever before, encompassing topics such as game popularity, play patterns and underlying trends. Having access to this level of data is a new development for the industry and our job is to harness the intelligence it provides and put it to good commercial use on behalf of our customers. Having such a depth and breadth of data also helps shape the conversations we have with our customers which can directly impact revenues. This is dynamic retailing where the decisions we make in partnership with our PubCo colleagues are based on accurate and empirical-based evidence.
How would you describe the efficiencies that digital has delivered the business?
Since Autumn last year Regal has completed some 30,000 remote downloads comprising largely of game packs and security updates. Historically, each one of those would have necessitated a physical visit by an engineer. The way we have approached this is to redirect that resource in order to enhance the quality of the service across our entire offering encompassing gaming and non-gaming equipment. The Regal focus is on maintaining the highest possible standards – which is the Gauselmann philosophy – as opposed to taking short term profits.
Has digital changed the skill set required of operators?
There’s a slightly new emphasis, but the fundamentals remain. Service logistics are still key to the business and subject to a programme of continuous improvement. Alongside this there’s the content management function, which means delivering the right games menus for each venue and of course really strong account management. Our team of Account Managers has an open dialogue with the PubCo teams who they work with on a day-to-day basis. It’s a collaborative approach with a shared objective of improving the quality of the consumer offer and in the process increasing revenues. This relationship is able to draw on the player data and make best commercial use of the insights it provides.
What are your social responsibility commitments as an operator?
The Gauselmann Group has SR at the very heart of its business philosophy and we are fortunate to be able to draw on the inspiration provided by our parent company which percolates throughout the group and of course the insight of our sister brands in the UK with whom we share ideas and initiatives. We are continuously working with our customers and exploring how we can help deliver the highest possible SR standards.