Augustine tribal chairperson Amanda Vance named Synergy Blue’s new CEO

Augustine tribal chairperson Amanda Vance named Synergy Blue’s new CEO

  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
March 31, 2021 8:12 PM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
  • Other

The new CEO of gaming equipment provider Synergy Blue said the company weathered the economic downturn that was brought about by the pandemic and she believes there will be an increased need for “new types of gambling experiences.”

Amanda Vance, the tribal chairperson of Southern California’s Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians who became the interim CEO of the skill-based slot machine developer in February, said Wednesday gaming equipment sales were obviously “dependent on the casinos reopening, but we’re getting closer to a point where it will be safe to gather in public again.”

Vance has taken on the CEO role permanently in addition to her position leading the Coachella Valley-based tribe that owns Augustine Casino. Synergy Blue is majority-owned by the tribe.

 width=

Synergy Blue booth at G2E 2019

“Our industry has faced a lot of challenges over the past year, and, with that, we’ve seen a lot of change happening,” Vance said. “However the demand for innovative casino games and experiences has not slowed down.”

In January, Synergy Blue founder and CEO Georg Washington said he was stepping aside but didn’t give a reason. Synergy Blue was licensed in Nevada in 2019 and its arcade-style platform was approved by state gaming regulators last April following trials at two properties operated by Red Rock Resorts.

At the time Vance took over in the interim CEO position, Synergy Blue laid off much of its Las Vegas-based workforce and engaged Innovation Capital to explore “strategic alternatives.”

In an email response to several questions, Vance said the Las Vegas office has been open since June for in-office work with social distancing measures employed to work safely from the space.

“The pandemic created a lot of challenges for the entire casino industry, especially the brick-and-mortar locations that were affected by long shutdowns,” Vance said. “Synergy Blue felt the effects of COVID, through delays in placements and sales, due to casino furloughs, layoffs, and personnel changes on the slot floor level. However, there is also an opportunity here.”

Vance suggested a younger demographic of casino customers were likely to be the initial players to return to the properties. She said Synergy Blue’s arcade-style gambling experiences are still being created. Vance believes the company’s products will help the casino industry recover as gaming operators looking to attract a “previously untapped” market of new players.

Synergy Blue has 14 regulatory-approved game titles, 10 of which are currently on casino floors in California, Florida, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Europe. Vance said the company also has an interest in the online gaming space on its radar.

“In the current landscape, I think it’s important for everyone to have a digital strategy,” Vance said. “iGaming is a very complex industry, so right now we’re focusing on doing our due diligence.”

Synergy Blue’s gaming library includes mobile style connect three and matching games, as well as arcade driver games, and an arcade-style shooting game.

Vance said Synergy Blue has been successful in placing games with tribal casinos in California and other tribal gaming states.

“We look forward to announcing other tribal placements in the near future,” she said.

Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at hstutz@cdcgaming.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.