JCM floor-wide at Fire Mountain

Casino International: Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain is quite a new property, how did the casino come about? Mark Birtha: We are owned by the Enterprise Rancheria Tribe in Northern California and they have been working on this development for 18 years. They partnered with Hard Rock International, which is of course owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida; it’s really the first east- coast/west coast Native American partnership in the US that we’re aware of. We had the pleasure of developing the property under the Hard Rock brand and we opened at the end of October 2019.

CI: Tribal properties seem to be great early adopters of technology; would you say that’s the case? MB: I think we see a lot of that. We have been able to incorporate a number of interesting technologies, amenities and innovations here at the property; I think one of the things this space affords is that innovation

JCM’s FUZION system has been deployed floor-wide at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain in a world-first. We caught up with Will Provance, VP Operations and Assistant General Manager and Mark Birtha, President of this exciting new property.

because many tribal properties are individually owned and have the ability to be more flexible and creative in their own respective markets. Other properties might have to implement something system wide or work on multiple properties; I think that’s why tribal gaming in the US might tend to be a little more aggressive, certainly innovative, and allows this space to be cutting edge in things of this nature.

CI: Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain has a floor-wide deployment of JCM’s FUZION technology, a world-first; how did that evolve, and what’s the starting point for a project like this? Will Provance: It’s something we evaluated as we approached the opening of the property. In 2019, I was involved with Mark on the ground level of opening the property and we were making a lot of the decisions on what we wanted to do; as Mark said, we had the opportunity to be a little more entrepreneurial than other properties, especially with trying to put together the vision of how we wanted to open, and in turn making some of those technological decisions to set ourselves up as technology leaders. Our intention was to lead the regional market but as you said, this provided us the opportunity to be a global front-runner. It comes with challenges of course. We looked at the

technology, it’s something that I had seen at G2E, and I had a relationship with the team at JCM from my days working in Las Vegas. While we were making selections for our slot peripherals – bill validators and ticket printers – we made the decision to go full-property JCM for both of those products. As we were working through that process, the FUZION opportunity came up and they said they were at the point where they could support a floor-wide deployment. Our timing worked for them. The JCM team put a lot of support behind the initiative and implementation. It wasn’t live the day we opened our doors but that was

a strategic decision to not interfere with the opening. We worked on the full installation through 2020, though we lost a few months of course thanks to extenuating circumstances.

38 MAY 2021

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