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Has server-based gaming’s time come? Benefits to player and casino alike seem to be overcoming worries about the level of investment required, reports Barnaby Page

hen the Aria casino in Las Vegas’s massive new CityCenter development opened a few days before Christmas last year, it wasn’t just another venue in MGM’s

connected W

portfolio and a thumb of the nose at recession. It was also a symbol – if one was needed – of the growing role that server-based gaming (SBG) is playing on the contemporary casino floor.

Nearly half of Aria’s floor, or around 900 games,

was server-based, mostly using slots from International Game Technology (IGT) along with a few from WMS Gaming. And it was said that only hold-ups in receiving regulatory approval for other vendors’ products were delaying the floor’s upgrade to 100 percent server-based, with all 1940 games using the new technology.

Or not-so-new technology; SBG has been around “The other key driver of growth in SBG is changes

to legislation by governments who view legalising the gambling industry in their country as a sound and logical source of tax revenue, but want to ensure it is controlled and monitored effectively. SBG allows this amount of control as all the player data and revenues can be monitored not only by the operator, but by the regulating body.”

At BetStone, Head of Business Development &

Marketing Marzia Turrini agrees that there are compelling advantages for casino operators. The company, which has more than 100 SBG titles in its library and is adding around 20 each quarter, is finding that the combination of a wide choice of content and built-in management and reporting capabilities is a winning one.

“For some gaming providers, the biggest challenge will be consistently delivering quality gaming content to meet demand,” says Turrini. “Operators need to be

for a few years now. But it is only recently that it has undergone a subtle change of status from “next big thing” to “current big thing”. Major installations besides Aria include the Barona in San Diego, MGM Grand in Detroit, Casino d’Evian in France, Grand Casino Helsinki, and Casino di Venezia. Also on the horizon is an Aria-scale rollout at Vegas’s new Cosmopolitan.

“There are two key drivers of growth in SBG at the moment,” says Martin Lucas, Managing Director of the British licensed betting office and international video lottery terminal businesses at Inspired Gaming Group. “One is the indisputable revenue increase being experienced by operators that understood the advantages of SBG early on and have already invested in the technology. These operators are now seeing SBG terminals outperform their old analogue equivalents and are doubling their revenues.


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