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COMTRADE Following


he gaming market, in its online and land- based forms, is evolving fast and the demand on the floors of today’s casino properties is greater than ever. Yet, technical challenges are never far away


from the developing entity, especially where updating gaming floor systems is concerned. Establishing a successful casino in today’s market


requires an awful lot more than just housing a few strategically placed gaming machines and tables in a big open space and branding it the ‘casino floor’. Indeed, it takes a lot more than merely following a seemingly successful blueprint and hoping to get it right, or that things just fall into place. By today’s standards the land-based casino market has certainly never been that challenging to master.


Market Conditions The financial challenges demanded of modern day


casino operators have not been helped by the financial malaise of the last two years. By way of example, we can look at the UK market which according to Ernst & Young’s (E&Y) Betting and Gaming Outlook for 2010, has suffered from a number of parameters beyond its control. It concluded that casinos entered 2009 “reeling


from the combined impacts of the smoking ban and a 50% top rate of duty which again, was not helped by the 2009 budget which introduced a tax rate of up to 50% on player to player games such as poker, which will hit the largest casinos most severely.” The fallout was that these conditions made high-


rolling casinos with volatile cash flow more vulnerable. Reportedly, this accounted for the closure of London’s prestigious Fifty Casino in Mayfair. However, E&Y concluded that “despite the difficulties, more recent results indicated that some


44 SEPTEMBER 2010


Today’s casino floor is primed to usher in the next generation of gaming platforms with interoperability as keyword for those looking to upgrade to new standardised systems, says Ales Gornjec, Business Development Manager for Gaming at ComTrade


protocol T


operators managed to trade through the period robustly”. It also alluded to a continued period of “tough trading conditions” but that those “able to invest in their estates and developing their brands will fare better”. This last point is significant as the ability to invest in the kind of architecture needed to further a casino’s operability is no easy task – but is achievable all the same. Investment in these areas isn’t cheap and operators


face huge challenges in juggling their finances to build a sustainable business robust enough to carry them into the next phase of operational maturity. Therefore, more cost-effective models are necessary in allowing operators to upgrade their existing systems, but not at the expense of productivity, any new systems should be able to be introduced alongside existing frameworks, allowing for seamless integration with zero downtime.


GSA Protocols Financial concerns also spread to replacing existing


technologies, which we will come to in a second, one possible route is via transition to standardized systems with new, modern solutions such as the Gaming Standards Association’s (GSA) G2S and S2S protocols. Two requirements have to be met to fully comply and profit from these protocols: First, you will need a casino or distributed gaming


system capable of handling Game to System (G2S) and System to System (S2S), or at least the possibility of attaching new capabilities, such as G2S frontends and S2S agents, to existing core frameworks. Second, you will need sufficient support for G2S in


your gaming machines. Bringing G2S and S2S to the casino floor brings


many advantages in terms of communication, co-


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