THAT CHANGE did not randomly occur at a poker table. It systematically evolved at the negotiation table overtime as Mark sat across from casino & resort vendors as the CIO of Santa Fe Gaming Corporation striking deals. “A selected few vendors had monopolies, they were indifferent toward solving existing challenges. There was a credible support deficit for customers, and that frustrated me,” recalls Mr. Bryant.
By 1997, Mr. Bryant’s frustration started brimming. This prompted him to cross over to other side of the negotiation table. He decided to step into the shoes of those vendors and walk the mile himself in order to deliver the customer experience he craved. Determined to “do the right thing regardless of the cost”, he founded Micro Gaming Technologies (MGT) and the rest, is history. Approximately two decades after its inception, Mark’s “doing right” strategy has brought good results for his Las Vegas based firm.
Adopting his “customer first” methodology, the company designs and develops software to automate, track, and report casino promotions. The gaming industry embraced his approach. MGT presently enjoys an inspiring 25 percent market share in the U.S. domestic gaming markets. Michael Essany from mGamingWatch wrote in 2015, “When it comes to leadership in the casino industry for providing kiosks, there is no higher authority than Micro Gaming Technologies.” Bryant, also the CEO of MGT, credits MGT’s success to the people in the company who “rise upto the challenges that other vendors try to avoid.” Bryant says his insistence on treating others the way one wants to be treated, doing the right thing, admitting the mistakes, and endeavoring to do the best job possible collectively reflect the culture of MGT.
With that strong culture to fuel its voyage, MGT entered the market with MGT Promotional Intelligence Suite (MGT Promo), which has since been the firm’s heart and soul. This solution was borne as a result of the challenge to automate casino promotions. MGT Promo revolutionized historically onerous and cost-intensive promotional campaigns. MGT’s technologies afford operators the ability to target promotional costs in ways that grant better visibility into promotional ROI on a per-player basis. This in turn puts the control of promotional reinvestment into the hands of marketing and operations executives. Operators can now maximize the effectiveness of their marketing expenses, significantly dial down their marketing and promotional costs, and invest into guest segments according to their value to the enterprise. With deployment to nearly 200 properties in the U.S., use cases that highlight MGT Promo’s revenue generation and promotional cost reduction capabilities are in sufficient supply. One such case is a client who moved from paper scratch cards to adopt electronic scratch cards. The savings made on the production of paper scratch cards alone paid for the entire cost of integrating MGT into the client’s environment. However, MGT Promo’s real value proposition extends beyond just promotional cost optimization.
Traditional marketing campaigns rely extensively on historical player data. MGT Promo, on the contrary, relies on a bi-directional, real-time interface that connects to almost every major player tracking and loyalty system in the gaming industry.
As a patron never leaves without the sense of winning from our client's premise, he/ she feels luckier than playing at another casino across the street
This functionality enables casinos to leverage MGT’s Offer Kiosk application and transform their on-premise kiosks into virtual employees. With the bi-directional, real-time interface running in the background, MGT kiosks can dive into the demographic and the spending history data of a player, allowing real-time tracking of player behavior. This translates into streamlined and more accurate determinations of the rewards which significantly enhance a player’s experience. “We were the first in the industry to offer the notion of utilizing a game experience as a mechanism to reveal offers to players, which can favorably influence player emotions,” avows Mr. Bryant. “As a patron never leaves without the sense of winning from our client’s premise, he/ she feels luckier than playing at another casino across the street.” And, all of this happens with the latest information available and within the constraints of maintaining reinvestment rates desired by the property’s executive leadership.
But, players today are not restricted to brick-and-mortar casinos.
Powered by internet and mobile technology development, the virtual player universe is only increasing. Eventually casinos will have to find their fit in this virtual space. To give its clients the edge to thrive in this new habitat, MGT drives its successful technology into a new focus, their API. MGT’s API allows their clients to leverage all the deployable technologies without having to worry about the associated risks. “By letting our API interact with third parties, we are allowing our customers to choose the mobile or web-vendor of their choice. This adds tremendous value to our customers,” states Bryant.
"MGT Promo relies on a bi-directional, real-time interface connecting to almost every major player tracking and loyalty system available in the market transforming in-premise kiosks into employees"
The company’s API footprint can be seen in its Casino Drawing Software— MGT EDraw—which allows players to see their drawing entries on mobile applications or a casino’s website. This is a significant move away from the traditional approach of paper drawing entries. The labor intensive manual drawing drum is time consuming and inaccurate in delivering entries to prospective players. Since the drawing rules in EDraw are defined in the system, the automated platform is a “green” alternative and one which significantly reduces the potential for fraud.
It is because of such innovative, first-in-the-market solutions that MGT stands as a leader in the space today. MGT’s clientele represents some of the largest gaming companies in the world. Mark Bryant says such accomplishments are due to MGT’s promise to always care about seeing each customer be successful. That is the MGT culture. “Our sales teams go onsite to provide live demos with gratitude for the opportunity to show a customer how we can help them, and not just what we can sell them. They sell our company’s culture, not our products.”
“Our watering hole for innovations is our customer base. A close relationship with customers and regular onsite visits provide us the window to look into and solve the real-world challenges our customers face,” explains Mark. In line with its customer-centric innovation, MGT offers modules such as C.L.E.R.K.—a self-service redemption module—and the MGT API, which are designed to enhance the company’s software portfolio to provide ongoing competitive advantages to its customers. Another such module is the Choose the Champs Promo, which Bryant says is a real-life success story. It was originally designed at the request of a valued customer in order to automate a promotion. Subsequent to the development of the automated promotion, the module increased the customer’s normal promotional count from 30,000 participants to over 80,000. This impressive promotional participant growth for their client transpired in less than one year after going live with the Choose the Champ Promo.
Today and Tomorrow; MGT and the Industry
Due to the inception and nature of the gaming industry, the space has become a highly regulated one. This puts casino CIOs in a tight spot as the growing need to integrate the newest internet and mobile technologies to remain competitive in the space can become burdensome. Bryant declares a prevailing, delicate balance in the atmosphere of the industry where CIOs have to strike the right balance between what technologies they choose and relevant conformance to regulations and jurisdictions. MGT leverages its position as an industry leader to introduce CIOs to a broader base of available internet and mobile providers and strategizes to put the “latest and the greatest stuff” on the table. “It’s important that approved vendors work collaboratively and diligently to bring forth new technologies and inject new meaningful relevant initiatives into our industry.”
With mobility’s growing permeation into our everyday activities, the gaming industry is united in the need to find new ways to keep casinos attractive to the millennial gambler. Bryant adds that even though technology is influencing gaming culture with changes such as online gambling, operators are still largely intent on channeling business to their brick-and-mortar facilities. “We are pulling our player-centric solutions together to provide promotional solutions that not only bridge the gap between online and in-casino experience, but also give operators the ability to drive traffic in that direction.” And, given the need for kiosks to maintain a presence on casino floors, MGT plans to keep its strategies moving toward business models where kiosks are an integral part. “However, in tandem with the on-going trends, we will focus much of our energy toward the notion of mobile devices evolving as kiosks of the future,” concludes Bryant, articulating that MGT still harbors the zeitgeist of its inception with the desire to serve and lead the market for the years to come.