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MERKUR GAMING


Florida as the Sunshine State and the iconic Gauselmann Group laughing sun symbol that is known the world over. I still think that Florida is a great place for international game development, but it soon became clear that the people who had the skills that we were seeking were predominantly based in Las Vegas so, ultimately, that was where Sunshine Games found its home. Mike Halvorson, Sunshine’s Chief Development Officer and a man with a unique vision in terms of game creation and development, began to assemble a team and charged them with the task of creating, from scratch, a portfolio of games that were ‘made in America, by Americans and for Americans’. The influence of US created/inspired games in Latin American markets is very strong and so, with the Sunshine portfolio growing rapidly in terms of the number of games created as well as the diversity of themes and designs, we are encouraged by the resulting new opportunities across the region. Our research and market analysis suggests very strongly that our US-created games will prove highly successful in markets outside the US, hence we are, right now, initiating extensive trials in Mexico as a first step. We have come a long way with our product diversification strategy, adding US-created games to our portfolio, and the moment has finally arrived to put the Sunshine product, now taken to the next level by the innovative Rapid Thunder bonus, in front of real players, playing with real money, in a variety of different locations. To answer your question in the affirmative: Yes, there will be multi- market games development for Latin American markets and, Yes, this is only the beginning as more new games that we believe will be as attractive and entertaining as Taco Tuesday are already being developed to cater for the demand that we firmly believe will be created.


CI: Certainly, overseeing the creative side of the business is a mammoth job, so how is the company’s Americas infrastructure shaping up in the region? CH: Building a business from the ground up is a task that obviously requires the best people, the correct locations and, of course, the required investment. As part of the Gauselmann Group, Merkur Gaming Americas benefits hugely from the wealth of knowledge, experience and international success that is its strongest asset. We can, and do, draw constantly on the human, technical and


Mike Halvorson. Chief Development Officer, Sunshine Games


financial resources of the group as we continue to grow. We have recruited a team that has absolutely top skills and experience in all areas of the gaming business at the very highest level. We have now outgrown our original need for space and will very shortly be moving to a new, purpose-built site in Deerfield Beach in Florida that allows for further expansion as that becomes necessary. The wheels are turning, the business is creating new opportunities and expanding across our subsidiary companies in Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Mexico as well as our distribution expansion into new areas, for example, into Uruguay and Paraguay as well as Chile. Our brand recognition is high, our excellence in product development, manufacturing, sales and service is our greatest asset and we are confident of great success in the future; the very near future.


CI: Establishing Merkur in the Americas is a huge task; how did it evolve? CH: Our development across Latin America of Merkur Gaming quite naturally led to a planned expansion path into US markets, both in the tribal government gaming and traditional commercial gaming sectors. We understood from the outset that this is a huge challenge but one that we embrace and welcome. As is always the way with Merkur Gaming, we move deliberately and methodically to establish the strongest of foundations as we build our business. The human skills, the strength of our ‘made in Germany’ products, the resources that we have at our disposal and the strength of our brand all combine seamlessly to create those strong foundations that lead us toward success.


CI: As we move on to PGS in Lima, and Juegos Miami, closer to home in Florida, in the next few weeks, what does the panorama hold for Merkur Gaming in these markets? CH: The fourth edition of Juegos Miami is almost upon us. This is an event that is, thanks to its hybrid format of combining conference and education sessions with product presentations, networking opportunities and a vibrant social and entertainment element, unique in the world of gaming. As an event ‘for all of the Americas’ Juegos Miami is something that we have supported strongly since its inception and which we value highly. As has become traditional Merkur Gaming will once again sponsor the opening night’s reception at the Biltmore Hotel and take advantage of the many and varied networking opportunities that will undoubtedly occur. We are excited to display in our exclusive Tuttle Suite showroom our Rapid Thunder bonus innovation and to see the reaction of the international visitors from across the region who will be in attendance. From Miami, we quickly move on to the Peru Gaming Show in Lima (June 19th-20th), an event that is always a standout event for Merkur Gaming, where we are the show’s largest exhibitor. Peru represents a national market where Merkur Gaming reached a significant milestone in 2018, counting 3,760 machines on Peru’s slot floors. From the country’s 731 licensed gaming halls Merkur Gaming is installed and working in 84.9% (621 locations) an all-time record, thus far. Merkur Gaming is a respected, top-level, tier-one brand in Peruvian gaming and the company’s biggest success story to date has been the international smash hit Avantgarde Powerhouse multi-game machine that is now firmly established as Peru’s number one ‘must-have’ gaming entertainment product. And we have every intention to continue to build on that success. Each year the Merkur Gaming booth at Peru Gaming Show is the focal point of the entire event thanks to its exciting product display, its enthusiastic staff and the welcome provided to visitors by the Merkur Beer Garden which once again will be the place to see and be seen for two frenetic business days in Lima. In order to meet demand, this year’s Merkur Beer Garden will be bigger and better than ever! To sum up, the smiling Merkur Gaming Sun


continues to rise across all of the Americas as we build a success story based on our love of the games and our skill in creating even more in the future.


MAY 2019 35


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