In an exclusive interview with Yogonet, Jurgen De Munck, CEO of casino solutions provider DR Gaming Technology, reflects on the gaming industry’s trajectory in 2023, highlighting a year marked by resurgence and a return to normalcy. Moreover, notable among the industry’s shifts is the drive towards cashless gaming, where De Munck emphasizes the operational insights and personalized player engagement DRGT offers.
Looking ahead, De Munck emphasizes the pivotal role of collaborations and technological advancements like AI in shaping the industry’s future. Additionally, recent licensure in France positions the company well to leverage its experience to cater effectively to the evolving French gaming market, notes the CEO.
Concerning the goings-on of the last 12 months, what is your assessment of the year? What are your main takeaways and highlights from 2023?
In general, we cannot complain at all about 2023. I think we all saw it as one of resurgence and an opportunity to enjoy a solid 12 months of ‘normal’ trade. I say that considering that G2E in October 2022 was the first real ‘back to normal’ exhibition and ICE 2023 in February was our first showing at ExCel since 2020.
As a key 2023 takeout, my view remains the increased momentum from land-based operators to go cashless. Now notwithstanding the cost benefits associated thereto regarding the need to no longer have to supply coin-related peripherals, the insights and reporting it provides operators in respect of product management, general operational efficiencies as well as player relationship and engagement management is supreme.
In today’s day and age where customers (players) are becoming expectant of personalized offerings, whether that be at a casino, a retail outlet, or restaurant, or online, you’re at a serious disadvantage without the insights cashless gaming provides.
To the above end to remain competitive operators need it, and we as developers and service providers need to make sure we offer it; and not just offer a stock standard technology, but one that stands out and provides operators with tools and insights they perhaps didn’t even know they needed; but now cannot live without.
Our new web-based drReportsBI reporting software, which allows access to our reports from any device with internet access, is one of those, as is our recently launched Player App that not only offers a fully customizable UI but also full bank integration that allows for direct casino wallet top-ups and cash-outs to players’ personal bank accounts.
Do you think new technologies such as AI will play a key role in the development of products and services in the gaming industry in the next year? Which other trends do you see gaining momentum?
I have spoken before about collaborations, and as things, thanks to the technology you refer to, start to develop faster and faster, I believe the most efficient way forward for service providers (and in turn operators) is for us to focus on core competencies, and then engage and collaborate with partners to assist us in delivering a product or service that is ultimately better than the sum of its parts.
Two examples of this are our recent integration of unTill’s Point-of-Sale software solution into our casino management system, creating a seamless end-to-end food and beverage service offering to players in respect of them being able to either use cash or their loyalty points from their player wallet to pay for drinks and meals, as well as our long-standing jackpot relationship with Apex.
Our relationship with Apex has not only resulted in ‘our’ jackpots operating on thousands of devices across almost all continents but has also now expanded into us representing Apex in a number of jurisdictions; in fact, we expect to reach a revenue share installed base of 1,500 Apex EGMs in Mexico by the end of the year.
What markets and verticals surprised you the most in how they developed this year? Which markets do you expect to gain momentum next year?
We recently secured a supplier license in France; to date, much of our success has been based on us managing our business dealings as partnerships, and I remain convinced that as long as we can also initiate and then successfully nurture partnerships in France we will succeed there too.
Our sister company Infiniti has operated Casino Dinant (on the Belgian-French border) with our management, cashless, jackpot, loyalty, and player tracking technology since 2014, and as a result, we have been able to garner considerable French experience in respect of both player and operator needs.
We also have a number of existing partners who also operate in France, and as such I believe we are in an extremely favorable position to service that market with what we know (from the aforementioned experience) it needs and wants from day 1.