In the lead up to the ASEAN Gaming Summit, held in Manila, Philippines on March 21-23, AGB interviewed Joji Kokuryo, Senior Compliance & Operations Manager of Aruze Gaming on the company’s outlook on gaming markets in Asia.
What kind of trends do you foresee in the South East Asia over the next few years?
We expect a significant increase in mass gaming markets in Southeast Asia over the next two to three years.
This is not limited to the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore however, as we are seeing an increasing market in areas such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia just to name a few jurisdictions. There should be an increased interests in not only slot titles, but also for electronic table games, which allow of players to become accustomed to table games in an easy and affordable way.
How is your company responding to these trends?
Aruze Gaming has always had a focus on Asia. It will be interesting to see how our titles work differently even within South East Asia. The titles which perform the best will not always be the same as Macau or Singapore, so we will continue to look for the best balance in game math and themes for these new markets.
Aruze has an advantage in that we have a R&D team permanently based in the Philippines, aside from our Japan and US R&D teams. We also have team members permanently based in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore, and frequently visit South East Asian countries for installations or just to check the market in general. We will continue to foster our relationships with our customers in those regions, while also look to expand and strengthen our presence in new markets.
What products are you currently offering in the Philippines / Asia?
Almost all of the Aruze game library is available in the Philippines and Asia. Whether it is link progressive slots or electronic Sic Bo tables, we have the products in the Asian market. I would say with confidence that a more diverse variety titles are readily found in Asia than in any other continent. This is due to the market diversity within Asia, and also to the casino operators willing to challenge the market with new products. Actually, you will never find us referring to Asia as a market, as it is too vast to combine into one. We have a strong focus on electronic table games in Macau, link progressive products in Malaysia, and of course products designed specifically for the Philippines. Our approach to each Asian country is different, and our vast library allows us to find the most suitable product for each jurisdiction.
What advice do you have to anyone looking into this market?
In general, it is important to look at each level of gaming to fully understand what is going on. All gaming suppliers do as such, possibly without even knowing it. What works in Asia? What works in South East Asia? What works in the Philippines? What works in large resort casinos? What works on the main casino floor of a resort casino in Manila? There is someone looking into every level of gaming performance, and it is important to have a reach and understanding into each level. Trends are just patterns of individual occurrences, but each occurrence is a big deal for any slots manager or floor attendant. There is always a hint in every bit of feedback we receive, and it is up to us not miss them when they’re there.