In this episode, Nick & Don chat with Dan Cherry, Vice President of Gaming Operations at Bally's Corporation. Dan discusses the major projects underway in Vegas and Chicago, as well as the challenges and payoffs of implementing operational and analytical standards within hyper-growth gaming organizations. Also in this episode, should I replace ETGs with slots?


Nick Hogan:                  How are things in Illinois today?

Don Retzlaff:                 Nice. After all the storms. Good morning, Nick.

Nick Hogan:                  Yeah, I was happy to see that your house wasn’t obliterated by the tornadoes you had in your neighborhood yesterday.

Don Retzlaff:                 Yeah, we’ve had some wild weather here in the Midwest the last couple of weeks. And tornado sirens going off, but nothing like what we had in Nebraska and Iowa over the weekend. That was crazy.

Nick Hogan:                  Yeah, truly devastating stuff. Well, spring appears to have tentatively sprung here in Holland and it can’t come soon enough. We’ve had an absolutely terrible winter here and it’s very nice to see some sun and get a reprieve from the driving rain and howling winds for once. And let’s see, I’m fresh out of the Casino Operations Summit, which took place in Amsterdam last week for anybody who’s not familiar with COS, it’s an annual gathering of gaming operations folks here in Europe by Lushen Weisman, who Don you remember from the real cast we did with him last season. And also his business partner, Ariane Corsians, who has a casino marketing consultancy here in Europe. So it’s a three-day gathering focused on European gaming Ops with the operators, vendors and advisors, congregating for talks, product demos, networking, and all kinds of evening events. They changed the location each year, 2022 was in Riga, last year was Bucharest and this year was here in Amsterdam.

And it’s this format, Don, that I absolutely love. You have about 300 people, you spend the days exposed to all sorts of interesting topics and you’re given the time to discuss them with the various attendees and in many cases the speakers themselves. And it’s just a layer of depth that you can’t get at, let’s say a G2E or IGA. It’s actually quite similar in the format to what AGS does with their game on customer summits. And man, I’m a fan of this format. It’s just such a great way to do stuff. So huge thanks to Lushen Ariane and the COS team for the lovely event. Once again, this guy’s just knocked the cover right off the ball. Questions, Don, before I jump in there, let me say, we’d love to tackle any questions that anybody listening may have. So if you have a question about what we’re presenting or something you’d like us to present, please drop us an email at Again, that’s

Our policy is to keep all questions anonymous, so please speak directly and don’t worry about us revealing your identity. We do not do that. Okay, so this one comes from an operator in the American West who asks, “Hi guys, I’m curious about your thoughts regarding ETG. Analyze as a game type competitor to tables or poker. There’s a place for them on my floor. Analyze against slots however, it’s rare for them to exceed house average performance. Although a few big players will jump on them from time to time, they don’t really stick with them or show any deeper level of interest. They take up a lot of space in my floor and I’m thinking I’d do better with slots. Do you see ETGs as being necessary to the overall mix or more of an expendable nice to have? Thanks in advance.”

So Don, you and I have covered this topic I think several times in the past. I think I’ve asked a similar question, why are we giving so much real estate to these things? And at least in a couple of them when we discussed it, was in jurisdictions where table games weren’t allowed. And then obviously in those cases it makes all sense in the world. But I’ve had this question too. So what’s AU Mr. Retzlaff?

Don Retzlaff:                 This one is so tough to answer. It all depends on the properties. You’re right, you’re not going to get much more than house average. If you’re lucky a lot of ETGs are well below house average, obviously cost. Are you better off having more high-end slot games? Probably. But there’s always that line, the thing I’m always afraid of is, if you pull them out, do you lose revenue? It’s kind of like Kino. You had to have Kino on your floor because that’s all they played. And there are customers out there that’s all they play is the ETGs. So yeah, you can’t devote 20% of your floor space to it, but I think as long as you’re not running up into some density and occupancy problems on the weekends, I think there’s a space for them on your floor.

Nick Hogan:                  And generally speaking, do you find certain flavors of ETG just better than others? So let’s say the automated roulette versus the other various options that are out there?

Don Retzlaff:                 It really has been mixed. I’ve probably looked at this at a hundred different places this last year, and there’s a lot of places where the craps games do really, really well. There’s others that the roulette do really well. Others at the blackjacks do well. But generally it’s the roulette and the craps that seems to do the best in most places. But usually it’s in limited numbers. There’s some stuff the stadiums work really well in other places, but it really is a mixed bag.

Nick Hogan:                  And do you have any type of rough occupancy, guidance on these things like versus let’s say core premium slots?

Don Retzlaff:     No, I used it more towards actual win than anything else, just because the gameplay is so slow. Matter of fact, I just looked at this last week and it was 1.02 spins per minute on a lot of the games, so it’s not exactly super fast. You’re looking at 12 spins per minute for a dragon [inaudible 00:05:52]. They’re really tough pin down the occupancy on games. So it’s more, I look more for

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