Aristocrat Gaming has an unwavering commitment to Class II gaming and the company’s theme of ‘Innovation in Motion’ will be on display at the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention later this month in San Diego.
Class II gaming is a big focus of this year’s Indian Gaming Association show, with an entire day set aside for discussion on March 27th. The tradeshow floor will be held over two days starting March 29th.
Aristocrat continues its Class II commitment by intentionally investing in innovation, taking some of its legacy Class II games and breathing new life into them.
In 2014, Aristocrat acquired Video Gaming Technologies (VGT) – a leading provider of Class II gaming machines for the tribal gaming market in North America.
At the IGA show, Aristocrat will spotlight a collection of industry-leading products and cabinets for Class II and for Class III. Key Class II games at the tradeshow include Hunt for Aztec Riches, Hunt for Neptune’s Gold Wheel, and Silver Dollar Shoot Out.
Making their debuts are Money Dragon Drop – Blue Skies and Money Dragon Drop – Purple Dawn, which are all-new versions of the player-favorite Class III game Big Fu Cash Dragons. The new game family has been configured for Class II play while maintaining the original essence of the game.
Also making its debut is Buffalo Triple Power, which has been reconfigured from its original Class II game play for Class III markets.
The IGA tradeshow is important because Class II is geared for tribal gaming in which all its customers attend. It’s a great time to roll out new products.
“The new games we are showing are player favorites that have been reimagined from stepper to our video platform,” said VGT President James Starr. “As legacy games, they have performed well for our customers. Today, we have six different cabinet styles the new games will appear on, which is another reason our new Class II portfolio is so exciting. Since Aristocrat purchased VGT, we have used that blended pool of talent to create innovative Class II products. This year, 80% of our Class II titles are new, and our goal for 2024 is that 100% of our Class II will be completely custom. Our customers experience excellent performance when we build a custom title, so want to continue to build on that success.”
Once Aristocrat acquired VGT, Starr said they started using their R&D and studios working on Class II content. In 2014 and 2015, all of the Class II companies were small and had small research and development budgets.
“We have made exciting progress with the power of Aristocrat behind us,” Starr said.
In May, Aristocrat opened its new Tulsa Integration Center where employees manufacture Class II video gaming terminals. It has nearly 200 employees working out of there at any given time, and another 125 field service technicians that take care of games.
“We have made a long-term commitment to Oklahoma and continue to re-invest in the state as it’s an important market for us,” Starr said. “It’s also very interesting because it’s a hybrid market so we place Class II and Class III.”
“Being centrally located and having manufacturing expertise, we’re doing more than just Class II builds. The Tulsa Integration Center is doing all of the remanufacturing in the U.S. for Aristocrat Gaming, as well as building some new games.”
Starr said they have proprietary titles that are “super strong” and capitalizing on its brands, like bringing player-favorite Buffalo games from Class III to Class II, will be a focus going forward.
“Tribal gaming has been extremely strong coming out of COVID, and we’re working on an on-premises Class II mobile solution for the future, and we’re excited to see this innovation come to market.,” Starr said.
Starr said a high percentage of the game development road map is dedicated to Class II, and the investment of both time and dollars is significant due to the importance of this class of gaming to the Tribal customers.
“We’re seeing a lot of interest in Class II across the country,” Starr said. “There’s a kind of renaissance going on right now with Class II. There was quite a bit of interest in the early 2000s, and then it kind of died off except for Oklahoma and Alabama. Now it’s coming back strong because (under Class II) tribes are the primary regulator. At Aristocrat we continue to invest in innovation and creating exciting, industry-leading products.”
Starr said Aristocrat strives to continue to get customer input, be a good partner and build what they need to help tribes with their strategic plan.