SUZOHAPP: “In this edition of ICE there will be a better opportunity for portraying the future of land-based gaming”

As a new year for the gambling industry starts, gaming manufacturer and distributor SUZOHAPP is getting ready to showcase its portfolio, including latest additions to its sports betting ecosystem, at ICE London 2023.

At the major gambling event, to be held February 7 – 9 at ExCel London, SUZOHAPP will be showcasing its solutions in its first full version of ICE after COVID. “In this version of ICE there will be a better opportunity for portraying the future of land-based gaming, which is very exciting,” Tim Kennedy, Vice President of Sales Europe, tells Yogonet in an exclusive video interview.

In conversation with Yogonet, Kennedy explains the main features of SUZOHAPP’s latest sports betting additions, discusses the state of post-pandemic gaming, and provides us his forecast for the year ahead.

SUZOHAPP will be exhibiting two new additions to its sports betting ecosystem: the SBT-500+ bartop and the SBT-2000 seated model. Can you describe them for us?

The bar top terminal now also accepts bills. So for the walk-up players who don’t want to open an account or go to the counter and deposit money, they can walk up with bills and/or notes and place a bet immediately.

The SBT 2000 is a sit-down cabinet, which would be very applicable for stadium-style or theatre-style operations. It’s also compatible with a wheelchair, so it’s fully inclusive. You can be in a very comfortable environment, have a drink next to you and place a bet.

It basically rounds out the whole ecosystem, everything from the countertop floor-standing terminal, bartop cashless, bartop with cash, and now the sit-down terminal. So we do the full range to meet all the requirements of sports betting.

In the case of the SBT-500+, it is an updated model of the SBT-500, which was launched last year. In what specific ways is it different from the previous model?

It contains a bill acceptor on an accessory plate and it can be let into the furniture. So instead of just placing it on a bar top or a table, operators have the opportunity to actually build the note acceptor into the furniture and place the 500 on top. It’s kind of an upgrade path for the existing 500.

Besides these two products, what else will be on display?

We’ll also be introducing our range of CountR products. So that’s cash redemption terminals. We’ve been partnering with CountR in the USA with a lot of success, where they have experience integrating many casino management systems and recently integrating sports betting platforms as well.

So we are creating that bridge between the two systems, and we’ll be introducing those in the UK and in Europe for the first time. So very excited about that. We’re able to offer those products to a number of new customers and we’re very much looking forward to that.

Ahead of ICE, SUZOHAPP has already participated in an expo this year: EAG 2023. What was the reception to the company’s product like at that event?

EAG is focused on the amusement industry, mainly in the UK, but also some visitors from Europe. We used it as a kind of barometer to test how the market was feeling about the future. And the reception was very strong. In fact, from an operator’s point of view, they pretty much universally had the same message to us, which was that last year was a very good year. Their revenues were very strong and the visits that they got from consumers were very strong as well.

As far as ICE is concerned, we are introducing a number of new products in the three sectors that we work in: gaming, sports betting and amusement. We are introducing products in all of those areas and we want to reach out to our customers and partners to understand what their requirements are for the coming year, to make sure we’re developing the right products and servicing them in the way that they would expect.

I would say EAG was very positive. The visitors that we got had some very focused conversations. Prior to COVID, visitation would be very high, but the amount of business was not always as high. Whereas I think post-COVID, the conversations are now a lot more focused on actually trying to solve problems and conclude business

Speaking about that post-COVID landscape, ICE organizers said that they expect the new edition to be the biggest on record yet. What opportunities do you see here, given the event’s importance to the industry?

Last year, a number of land-based vendors pulled out of ICE at the last minute due to a number of reasons, among them the rescheduling because of COVID. So the show was very much focused on online and payment systems and land-based operations didn’t really feature very highly. From my point of view, in this version of ICE there is a better opportunity for portraying the future of land-based gaming, which is very exciting.

The conversations that we intend to have with customers are all around our solutions business. We have a number of new products that are complete solutions, like our sports betting ecosystem. We can have different conversations with customers, whereas in the past we were talking about spare parts or dealing through a third party. Now we can have direct conversations with operators on what business problems they’re trying to solve, which SUZOHAPP’s hardware solutions can resolve.


Of all the things that will be on display at ICE, what do you think will attract the most attention from attendees?

I think the CountR payment systems will attract a lot of attention because of their flexibility and the ability of CountR to integrate into a number of different software platforms. That’s the first thing. And I think the second one is the full range of sports betting terminals.

We’ve had a great deal of success in the USA, and I think a lot of sports betting operators in Europe now are looking to refresh their estate. And we’re one of the few companies that can demonstrate a full range of options. We’re more than willing to open up those conversations with operators and talk about their future requirements.

We have now entered a new year for gaming. What are your expectations for 2023, and what new trends do you expect to gain momentum?

I think COVID affected the market greatly, so land-based gaming was particularly hard hit because the venues were closed. Last year was all about reopening, re-establishing and re-inviting customers back into venues. I think this year now is all about reinvestment.

So looking to the future, how can operators now reinvest in their businesses to start competing against each other? I think despite comments in the media around the poor economic situation, normally gaming is very robust as a business. The early indications are that the economy will start to improve and gaming revenues again will be strong. I think it could be a very exciting year.