Frank Floor Talk: IGA short shorts

April 22, 2024 8:00 AM
Photo: CDC Gaming Reports
  • Buddy Frank, CDC Gaming Reports
April 22, 2024 8:00 AM
  • Buddy Frank, CDC Gaming Reports

If you’re a CDC Gaming Reports reader, you’ve seen good coverage of the Indian Gaming Association’s (IGA) annual conference and tradeshow.  However, like all these events, most of the attention (and the majority of our articles) goes to the major vendors. That makes sense since they have big budgets, show the most products and are technology leaders.

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But like ICE and G2E, one of the true benefits of attending these shows in person is to explore the smaller, under-the-radar vendors. If you’re new to the industry, you may not realize that some of today’s giant providers began with small 10×10 booths and a basic cardboard sign or two.

Below, I’ll give brief mention to a few of these new or overlooked vendors, their products and some minor newsworthy happenings or rumors:

  • Going #2 in a public restroom is never graceful. Using the so-called, flimsy paper “butt gaskets” is always a challenge: Can you get it out of the dispenser without it ripping? Will it slip out of place before you make a touchdown? And God forbid, will it (or parts of it) stick to your caboose when you’re finished? Not to worry if you equip your casino restrooms with new seats from Brill Hygienic Products, Inc. Just before you take a seat, a new, thin, sterile plastic sleeve slides out and encapsulates the entire seat. You can find these bug-free seats installed in about 50 casinos in the U.S. Brill’s handout calls this “a brilliant marketing tool for your female guests.” Shame on them for not mentioning the other sex. Both restrooms should have fewer plumbing issues, save water and get all male and female players back on the slots a lot sooner. Go Brill!

  • One of my rants a few months back was about the evil villains jacking up concert ticket prices. Help may be coming. As Sacramento TV station KCRA reported: “Since Ticketmaster and Live Nation were allowed to merge in 2010, ticket prices have gone up an astronomical 140 percent. That’s what Assembly member Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland (pictured), said in a news conference on Monday (4/8/2024 – the first day of IGA). Assembly Bill 2808 by Wicks looks to ensure tickets are sold to events on a competitive basis with fair access granted to multiple ticketing agencies. Wicks says competition would give fans better access to tickets at lower prices by loosening Ticketmaster’s near ‘monopoly’ on the market. Go Buffy!!
  • Automation and digital solutions were big topics throughout the conference, so it should come as no surprise that bartenders are next on the AI hit list. The “Rotender” was a kiosk-like device that dispenses dozens of drinks automatically mixed by the machine for casino players. It can accept cash, credit cards or be tied to the player tracking system to dispense “comps” where they are allowed.

  • Just as lithium-ion batteries are now powering electric vehicles, they are also emerging as a superior source for casino UPS devices (uninterruptible power supplies). N1 Critical Technologies said these units last longer and have a lower cost of ownership compared to their more-common lead acid counterparts. While they are not for massive property-wide units, they are perfect for slot bank switches and IT server applications.

  • Speaking of batteries, EV automobiles are becoming more and more common. Many customers now choose their destinations based on who has nearby charging stations. EVPS Global LLC was a new vendor at IGA this year, showing casino charging stations. One of their models featured some innovative tech for those will disabilities issues. The charging cables rest at lower wheelchair heights and the heavy cables extend and retract automatically. It greatly reduces the difficulty of topping off EV batteries for all users.

  • One of the best “old school” forms of promotion for casino celebrations and special events was a searchlight. These powerful “carbon arc” lamps would light up the clouds and allow anyone within miles to know that “something” was happening. The military first used them in the 19th century, and they became standard for new car dealers and Hollywood premieres in the 1940s to the 1960s. However, for safety and energy concerns, the carbon-arc and Xenon-based lamps fell out of favor. Now with newer technology, their beams can once again light up your sky and your events. NASA Searchlights (not the space folks, but the North American Searchlight Advertising company) claimed their lights are energy efficient and safe. They’re visible from five-to-35 miles away and are great for attracting both customers and moths. (Don’t forget to ask the FAA for permission in your area.)

  • Before scammers discovered how to cheat Aruze’s “Roll To Win” craps game, it was a potential game changer allowing a single non-math whiz to successfully deal the complex game. Unfortunately, “dice sliders” and other cheats who could sneakily enter fraudulent dice outcomes doomed the game’s future. Interblock bought Aruze’s ETG products at a bankruptcy auction last year, and they have fixed all the flaws. It’s almost perfect, except it still requires a live dealer to input the dice outcome on a keypad. In a nearby area, Interblock demonstrated similar technology that allowed cameras to record an actual dice outcome, with no operator input. There was no official confirmation, but rumors are that this feature could be incorporated into the “Roll To Win” product as soon as G2E 2024. I can’t wait. It will still need a diligent observer, but it will be a real game changer that should stick around this time.

  • Xpertx is a long-time exhibitor at the IGA shows, but only for their Keno systems. Now they’ve branched out to the world of Bingo with a new twist called “Wild Spots”. It has many keno features, including rich progressives, but it is a true bingo game which makes it legal in Native American properties. And you can increase your odds by betting more and buying extra “wild spots”.

  • You can’t watch broadcast TV these days without seeing an ad for replacing or upgrading your home’s windows. So, it was no surprise that at least one vendor was selling casino windows this year. Panda Windows & Doors said they’ve replaced hundreds of windows on the Las Vegas Strip already. The only booth I didn’t spot this year was someone selling “everything and the kitchen sink”.

  • There was not one, but two booths selling casino Christmas decorations. Christmas Décor Inc. and Nick’s Christmas Lightning & Décor were both selling their wares. In a year where the show crowds seemed a bit “dimmer” than normal, it was good to see them brighten up things on the floor.

  • Finally, if you were at the show, you should have picked up a FREE copy or two of Casino City’s “Casino Buyer’s Guide”. It lists all the vendors and their websites/emails. With a few exceptions, they list everyone at the IGA show and many more. You can still get a copy at their website for $49.95. It’s worth it.

Hopefully, we’ll see you roaming the small booths in person next year when IGA returns to San Diego on March 31st to April 3rd, 2025.